Tractor Maintenance Advice

Advice for farmers on tractor maintenance and safety

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has issued advice on tractor maintenance and keep safe around tractors.

From 2000-2017 there have been seven deaths on Northern Ireland farms due to faulty or poorly maintained tractor brakes and handbrakes. These accidents can be avoided by ensuring that the parking brake is applied before leaving the tractor cab and regularly checking that the brakes and parking brakes are in good order.

The slightest incline where you park a tractor can be enough to cause the tractor to roll downhill if the brakes have not been applied properly.

Farm equipment, such as tractors, are one of the four main farm safety risks; slurry, animals, falls and equipment. The risks of using farm equipment can be reduced by keeping them in condition.

Tractor safety checklist
The following Farm Safety checklist should also help you and others to stay safe on your farm:


  • keep the brakes on all your machines properly maintained, especially the parking brakes
  • ensure all guards are in place on tractors and equipment, especially PTO guards
  • make sure that all mirrors and cameras (if fitted) are clean, correctly set and fully functional on tractors and telescopic handlers
  • make sure equipment is stopped fully before clearing blockages
  • operate tractors with enclosed safety cabs or roll bars
  • take care when mounting or dismounting tractors or telescopic handlers
  • only start your tractor from the driver’s seat
  • make sure that your tractors starter system works properly
  • make sure the brakes are connected to the tractor and work properly when pulling heavy machinery equipped with hydraulic brakes


  • attempt to repair machinery if you do not have the correct tools and equipment and are not competent to do so
  • run a tractor down a slope to start it
  • work near overhead power lines when tipping trailers or using high reach machinery
  • check hydraulic pipes for leaks by running your finger or hand along them while they are connected and under pressure