Tractor Safety Course Trains Youth

May 20, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Tractor Safety Course teaches the area's youth how to prevent injuries and handle dangerous farm equipment safely.

Approximately 300 children every year are injured in farm accidents, but that number is constantly shrinking. UNL extension educator Mark Hinze thinks an extension course is contributing to that drop.

The course teaches teenagers ages 14 and 15 skills that will help them work on the farm safely. Youth who take the class will be exempted from the federal law prohibiting them from working on farms other than their parents'.

The first day of the course consists of classroom study covering mechanical, safety and handling aspects of farm equipment. Instructors also show a video of farm accidents to demonstrate the risks of unsafe behavior.

"We're trying to instill an attitude of 'safety first'," Hinze said. Students who pass the exam at the end of the first day move on to a certified driving course for the tractor they will be operating. This hands-on training will teach students about making wide turns and driving into and backing out of spots with a trailer attached. Students will hook up a power shaft and check for hydraulic leaks.

Hinze said that becoming familiar with the equipment can help to prevent overturns of tractors and all-terrain vehicles or remind young drivers that they should not have passengers if the equipment is not designed for it.

"The instruction gives youth a chance to learn about and respect the tools, to be aware of what not to do," Hinze said. "Even the drawstrings on a sweatshirt can be a threat."

The seven classes this year will be held:

– May 23 and 24, fairgrounds, Kearney

– May 29 and 30, UNL Haskell Agricultural Lab at Concord

– June 3 and 4, Farm and Ranch Museum, Gering

– June 6 and 7, fairgrounds, Valentine

– June 10 and 11, fairgrounds, Osceola

– June 13 and 14, UNL West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte

– June 16 and 17, College Park, Grand Island

Pre-registration at least a week prior to the session is recommended. Those interested can pre-register for the course by contacting their local UNL Extension office. Cost is $60 to cover classroom materials, testing, meals and other supplies.

Mark Hinze
Extension Educator
Hall County

Kristina Jackson
Student Writer
IANR News Service

Sandi Karstens
IANR News Service