Safety Warnings in Tractor Operation Manuals, 1920–1980: Manuals and Warnings Don't Always Work
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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 (1919-2007), 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.
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