The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles. Employing anyone uncertified under age 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those children operate such equipment.
Nebraska Extension’s tractor safety and hazardous occupations courses take place at several locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm. Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class. Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment is the primary goal of the course.
The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Classroom instruction will cover required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two, which will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. In most locations, instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs. Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.
All on-site classes begin at 8 a.m. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Training site locations, Site coordinator contact numbers and dates of training are as follows:
Local training sites include June 11 and 12, Plains Equipment, O’Neill, 402-336-2760 and June 20 and 21, fairgrounds, Wayne, 402-375-3310.
For more information, contact the Nebraska Extension - Holt County office at 402-336-2760.