Tractor safety course teaches students safety and when to say no

by Chabella Guzman

Weston Schaefer
Weston Schaefer of Harrison, left, answers a question asked by John Thomas, Nebraska Extension educator, at the annual “Tractor Safety” course in Gering.
June 4, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. —Nebraska Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, held an annual “tractor safety” training course on June 1 at the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering.

“Farming is probably one of the most hazardous occupations that there is for people with lots of injuries every year,” said John Thomas, Nebraska Extension cropping systems educator. 

He was one of the instructors at the tractor safety course, along with Aaron Yoder faculty at UNL Medical Center. The class offered instruction for young people to be safe in and around tractors and other farming machinery. They learned about the different models and a little bit about each one. The youth had also completed online training before attending. 

The tractor course included a tractor and a trailer. The students had to hook up and drive through the course, which was challenging for the first-time drivers. Thomas said one point they wanted the youth to take away with them was not just learning about safety but using it.

“If they are out working on a farm or agricultural operation, maybe the person employing them asks them to do something they know is dangerous. We want to instill in these kids that they can very respectfully decline to do something if they know it's dangerous,” he said. 

The training course also offered education on safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), other off-road vehicles (ORVs), and grain bin safety. The students also learned about “Stop the Bleed,” where if there is a severe injury or cut, how to properly apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and save a life.

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