WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety warning over the use of tractors following two serious incidents involving the machines in a matter of days.
In the first incident, a man was trapped under a rolled tractor south of Ballarat for 18 hours before he was rescued.
His machine did not have rollover protection, although it has been compulsory for all tractors in Victoria, including those in non-workplaces, since the early 1980s.
In the second incident, a farmer on a vegetable farm at Pearcedale in Melbourne's south-east was also run over by a tractor.
It was moving slowly when the 49-year-old stepped off to check seed dispensers, but it appears he slipped on the step and was run over by the tractor which weighed nearly three tons.
While the tractor's back wheel went over him, the man appears to have escaped serious injuries because the ground was relatively soft and he was pushed into it. He was able to call for help quickly because he had his phone on him.
"These incidents are stark illustrations of how simple safety measures can make a difference," said director of WorkSafe‘s manufacturing logistics and agriculture division, Ross Pilkington.
"It is only good luck that both these men did not suffer more serious injuries or were killed.
Unless tractors are properly equipped, maintained and great care is taken with them, Pilkington said they can be dangerous and potentially deadly.
"This applies whether the operators have been using them for decades or if they're a non-farmer with small holdings and uses them occasionally to help with work on their property," he said.
"Tractor safety is not that hard and farming is not intrinsically dangerous, but it requires focus and an understanding of what can go wrong whether you've done the job once or a thousand times.
While machinery like tractors helped get work done more quickly, he said the tradeoff was that the risks associated with more power or speed had to be controlled.
"When something goes wrong there's little opportunity to stop it. That's why people must be trained and competent to use the equipment, understand the risks and control them," he said.
"Even then, having a phone with you or letting someone know where you are working and when you're due home can result in help getting to you if something goes wrong."