A Tractor Safety and Machinery Operation certification course for youth has been scheduled for Wednesday evenings from February 1 through March 8 through OSU Extension. March 15 is a possible make-up day in the event of inclement weather. The six sessions will go from 6:00-9:00 pm in the OSU Extension office Spark Lab, 1021 W Lima Street, Kenton. There will be an exam at the conclusion of the course, along with a hands-on operation skills course component that is planned for Saturday, March 18 at the Hardin County Fairgrounds as part of the Community Farm Safety Day planned by Farm Bureau. This certification course is recommended for youth ages 14-15 who will be operating farm machinery either on their parents’ farm or someone else’s farm. Individuals successfully completing the course will receive a certification card. Other ages can observe the class, but are not able to be certified until age 14. Older youth can participate at the recommendation of their parent or employer.
The six sessions will include Introduction: Overview of agriculture, types of risks, and regulations related to agricultural safety and health; Safety Basics: Youth safety and risk, appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE), warning signs, hand signals, and basic first aid; Agricultural Hazards: Hazards associated with machinery, animals, pesticides, electricity, confined spaces, and farm chemicals; The Tractor: Comprehensive overview of the tractor, including but not limited to tractor types, hazards, controls, lightning, and starting and operating a tractor; Connecting and Using Implements with the Tractor: Various types of implements, such as drawbars, three-point hitches, and how they are connected and used with the tractor; and Materials Handling: Skid steers, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and utility vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Orders (AgHOs) regulation prohibits 14 and 15-year-olds from operating farm tractors and attached powered equipment unless (1) they are working on a farm owned/operated by their parent or legal guardian, or (2) the youth has successfully completed an approved safe tractor and machinery operation-training program. General information regarding tractor and machinery certification for Extension educators, high school ag instructors, parents, and employers can be found at http://agsafety.osu.edu/programs/tractor-machinery-certification-program. Education and training on safe operation is always encouraged, even if it is not legally required.
Registration for the Tractor Safety and Machinery Operation course for Youth needs to be completed by January 18 by calling the Hardin County Extension office at 419-674-2297 to ensure enough time to order manuals. The cost to participate is $40 for the course, which includes manuals, handouts, certification card, and refreshments. The course will be taught by Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator Mark Badertscher with possible assistance from Hardin County Agricultural Education Instructors and Farm Bureau members. There may be possible scholarships provided by the Hardin County Farm Bureau. Preference for enrollment will be Hardin County youth, but young people from other counties will be encouraged to enroll with a limit of 25 students.