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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00003301/00001
 Material Information
Title: Avoid the Invisible Hazard: Know about Soil Shear Lines
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Lehtola, Carol J.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "First published September 2001. Minor revision: August 2006. Reviewed: August 2009."
General Note: "ABE305"
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00003301:00001


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1 Carol J. Lehtola and Charles M. Brown2 1. This document is ABE305 (formerly AE305),one of a series of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published September 2001. Minor revision: August 2006. Reviewed: August 2009. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Carol J. Lehtola, associate professor and Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist; and Charles M. Brown, coordinator for information/publication services; Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. If you've ever seen a dump truck pour a load of sand, you've watched the sand as it formed a conical pile behind the truck. Why conical? Because the sand can only support a fraction of its weight. As more is poured on, the pile collapses under its own weight. Now imagine what would happen to the pile of sand if you walked on it. It would collapse even more. Right? What if you drove a tractor on it? It's easy to perceive a canal bank as solid, but actually it is just like the pile of sand. If you add too much additional weight, the bank will collapse. If you and your tractor are unlucky enough to be that extra weight, it could be the last ride you take. Every year, farmers die when they drive a tractor too close to an embankment, and the collapse of the bank leads to an overturn. It happens quickly and with tremendous force, but it can be avoided. Stay on the safe side of the shear line and prevent bank collapse and tractor overturns Equipment needs to be kept behind the shear line of the soil and embankment. The minimum distance recommended for operating machinery near embankments is a 1:1 ratio to the depth of the embankment. In other words, the tractor should be no closer to the edge than the depth of the embankment (Figure 1). Following this recommendation prevents bank collapse that can cause tractors to overturn thus crushing operators or drowning them in canals. This distance increases with adverse soil conditions such as sandy or wet soil. In some cases, it may be a good idea to move field roads farther from canals and ditches so that tractors are not forced to travel in the danger zone.

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Avoid the Invisible Hazard: Know about Soil Shear Lines 2 Examples and detailed analysis of deaths due to soil shear are provided in the following reports: 1. "Tractor Overturn Kills 16-Year-Old Farm Worker in Washington State." SHARP Report No.: 52-6-2001. Investigation No.: 99WA05601. Release Date: July 31, 2001. Washington FACE Program, Olympia, WA. Follow link "Reports & Narratives." Note: This teenager was employed for the summer on a farm and had limited experience driving a tractor and had never driven one on a public roadway. A witness saw the incident and the young man's difficulty in guiding the tractor on the narrow road surface. The victim made an unsuccessful attempt to jump free, but the physics of an overturning tractor make that nearly impossible. The tractor was not equipped with a ROPS. 2. "Part-Time Farm Worker Dies During Tractor Overturn." Case Report: 02NY023. New York State Department of Health FACE Program, Bureau of Occupational Health, Troy, NY. . Note: The victim in this case had a life-time of experience in farming and was working part-time on a neighbor's farm. He was apparently not aware of a 35-foot embankment at one edge of the field he was mowing when he approached it too closely and the ground sheared out from under the tractor. The tractor was not equipped with a ROPS. For more information about tractor safety, visit the Florida AgSafe Web site: ; or the National Agricultural Safety Database (NASD): . This publication is a part of the Safer Tractor Operator series. A complete list of publications in this series is given below. All are available at your county Extension office, at the EDIS Web site, , and at the Florida AgSafe Web site. Safer Tractor Operations: Introduction Getting Started on the Right Foot: Dangers of Bypass Starting Filling Gas Cans Safely Lighting and Marking Farm Equipment for Road Travel -Summary of ASAE Standard S279.10 Road Safety for Tractors Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) Avoid the Invisible Hazard: Know About Soil Shear Lines (ABE305) Shortcuts Are Shortsighted! or Invest Seconds, Save Lives Ready or Not? Get Ready with a Tractor Operator Checklist Yee-Haa! Formula for a Successful Tractor Rodeo Hand-me-down Hazards: Dangers of Used Equipment Safety Tips for Tractor Loading and Towing Safer Tractor Operations for Agricultural Employers Safer Tractor Operations for Privately Owned and Operated Farms and Ranches

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Avoid the Invisible Hazard: Know about Soil Shear Lines 3 Safer Tractor Operations for Acreages and Homeowners Safer Tractor Operations for Landscape Maintenance and Horticultural Industries Safer Tractor Operations for Emergency and Rescue Personnel Safer Tractor Operations for Farm Workers and Employees