Farm equipment plays a key role in modern agriculture, making various tasks more efficient and manageable.
However, when not designed with safety in mind, these machines can pose significant risks to operators and farm workers.
1. Inadequate safety guards
One of the primary design defects in farm equipment is the absence of or inadequate safety guards. These guards protect operators and bystanders from moving parts like belts, chains and gears. When safety guards are missing or not properly designed, there is a high risk of entanglement or crushing injuries.
2. Poor visibility
Another common issue in farm equipment design is poor visibility. Farm machinery often features large structures or equipment attached to the front or rear, obstructing the operator’s line of sight. This limited visibility can result in accidents, especially during turning, backing up or navigating through tight spaces.
3. Inadequate rollover protection structures
Farm equipment, such as tractors, are prone to rollovers, which can have devastating consequences for operators. The absence of or poorly designed ROPS is a significant design defect that can lead to fatalities and serious injuries. ROPS are important structures that provide a protective cage around the operator in the event of a rollover, preventing the equipment from crushing the operator.
4. Unprotected moving parts
Farm equipment often includes various moving parts, such as power take-off shafts, that can stay exposed due to design flaws. These unprotected components can pose severe risks, as they can entangle clothing, body parts or hair, causing severe injuries. Proper design should incorporate shields or covers.
In 2020, 11,800 workers in agriculture crop production, animal production and aquaculture sustained nonfatal injuries that kept them from working. With all the potential risks the industry presents, staying aware of equipment defects may prevent additional injuries.