Safety Warnings in Tractor Operation Manuals, 19201980: Manuals and Warnings Don't Always Work Academic Article uri icon


  • This article studies the history of one of the most critical, unresolved problems in mechanized agriculture: Tractor operators do not read the operation manuals, particularly the safety warnings. The result: sustained death and injury of these operators for well over a century. The article tracks the emergence of warnings in tractor operator manuals found in the archives of the University of Nebraska Tractor Test Museum (19192007), describes efforts of manufacturers during this time to alert operators to dangers associated with tractors, and concludes with a summary of current research on tractor safety and the problem that remains unresolved: how to change the culture of farmers who use these implements, critical to agriculture production, to encourage them to read and follow safety practices.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Technical Writing and Communication

author list (cited authors)

  • Tebeaux, E.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Tebeaux, Elizabeth

publication date

  • January 2010