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// Photo by Mya Kraft

Tractor safety the focus of pilot workshop

February 4, 2017 — 

A day-long workshop to provide information about working safely with and around tractors was held on January 26 at the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station.


// Photo by Mya Kraft

This pilot workshop was funded through support from the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and the FCC AgSafety Fund, a grant administered through a partnership between Farm Credit Canada and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association to provide training to keep farmers, their families, agribusiness operations and employees safe at work.

Tractors are used on almost every farm operation, and are often of varying vintages and with a range of safety features. Statistics from the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba show that tractors are responsible for many of the severe farm injuries and fatalities in our province.

Workshop organizer Thea Green with the School of Agriculture noted that few farmers take any formal training on tractor operations. “Most of what we learn is passed down through families or on-the-job training, and safety is often missing from the instruction provided.”

The attendees, which included over 80 first year agriculture diploma students and a number of external participants, rotated through four stations during the day. Ten presenters shared their expertise on topics such as power take-off (PTO) safety, extraction of stuck equipment, and prevention of rollovers and run-overs.

While many of the diploma students had previous experience operating tractors, few had received training on safe operation in a variety of settings and uses. And for some of the students new to agriculture, this was their first introduction to tractors and working safely around them.


// Photo by Mya Kraft

“Too often safety workshops are focused just on awareness of information, like rules and regulations. This day was developed to target and modify on-farm behaviour through hands-on and scenario-based learning activities,” said Green.

A key outcome of the event, she adds, is that 80+ students and producers returning to their farms will be able to share this knowledge and provide training to their family and workers on their farm operations.

Participant Laura Moran, Safety Manager with Moran Farms found the day very informative.  “I especially enjoyed the presenters who had ‘real life experiences’ to share and think that a lot of those stories hit home with the other students. It easy to say ‘Be safe or this, this and this could happen’ but when there is a personal story added to that it makes the students (hopefully) think and plan a different way of acting to ensure that same thing won’t happen to them, their workers or their loved ones.”

With the pilot workshop complete, organizers are willing to share the workshop plan with interested groups who would like to hold a similar tractor safety training event.

Statistics from Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba

Main causes of machine related injuries in MB from 2010 to 2014 in agriculture (listed in order of frequency of occurrence)

  • stuck or pinned
  • entanglements
  • falls
  • runovers
  • rollovers

Main causes of death from 2009-2013 in MB agriculture

  • Vehicle runover/rollover
  • Caught in/under object or equipment
  • Round hay bale
  • Front end loader


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