Tractor Safety Courses

UNMC, Extension schedule course in Gering in June

A tractor safety course for 14- and 15-year-old youths who work on farms is scheduled for June 18 and 19 at Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering.

Gering is one of 12 towns across Nebraska where tractor safety courses will be provided by members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicles safety with a variety of hands-on activities.

Instilling an attitude of ‘safety first’ and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Course for those 14 and 15 years old who work on farms. Those under age 14 are not eligible to take the course.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course grants an exemption to the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

The most common cause of agricultural-related deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs, said Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension educator in Kearney and Franklin counties.

Cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials and instruction, supplies and lunch. To register, contact Scotts Bluff County Extension office at 308-632-1480.

The first day of class will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, hands-on participation, concluding with a written test, which students must pass to attend the second day of training.

The second day of training will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Classes begin at 8 a.m. both days. 

Students will demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. The ATV simulator will be at most sites and will demonstrate experience about safe behavior and laws for ATVs and utility-task vehicles (UTVs).

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duysen; UNMC graduate students Dan Kent, and Jill Oatman; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner and John Thomas. 

End times vary depending on the number of participants.