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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 3. General Plant Equipment and Special Operations
Article 13. Agricultural Operations

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§ 3441. Operation of Agricultural Equipment.

(a) Operating Instructions and Safe Work Practices.
(1) At the time of initial assignment and at least annually thereafter, the employer shall instruct every employee in the safe operation and servicing of all equipment with which the employee is, or will be involved including, instruction on the safe work practices and operating rules provided in subsection (a)(2).
(2) Agricultural equipment shall be operated in accordance with the following safe work practices and operating rules:
(A) Keep all guards in place when the machine is in operation;
(B) Permit no riders on agricultural equipment other than persons required for instruction or assistance in machine operation;
EXCEPTION: to Subsection (a)(2)(B): The operation of agricultural tractor-mounted personnel transport carriers when used, operated and maintained in accordance with subsection (i) of this section.
(C) Stop engine, disconnect the power source, and wait for all machine movement to stop before servicing, adjusting, cleaning, or unclogging the equipment, except where the machine must be running to be properly serviced or maintained, in which case all steps and procedures which are necessary to safely service or maintain the equipment shall be taken;
(D) Make sure everyone is clear of machinery before starting the engine, engaging power, or operating the machine;
(E) Lock out electrical power before performing maintenance or service on agricultural equipment. (See Article 3 of the Low-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders.)
NOTE: For overhead electrical hazards see Section 3455 of this article.
(b) All self-propelled equipment shall, when under its own power and in motion, have an operator stationed at the vehicular controls. This shall not prohibit the operator occupying or being stationed at a location on the vehicle other than the normal driving position or cab if controls for starting, accelerating, decelerating and stopping are provided adjacent and convenient to the alternate position. If the machine requires steering other than ground or furrow steering or operates at ground speeds in excess of two miles per hour, steering controls shall also be provided at the alternate location. Seedling planters and other similar equipment traveling at a speed of two miles an hour or less where a control that will immediately stop the machine is located at the operator's work station will satisfy this requirement.
(1) Furrow guided self-propelled mobile equipment may be operated by an operator not on the equipment provided that all of the following are complied with:
(A) The operator has a good view of the course of travel of the equipment and any employees in the immediate vicinity.
(B) The steering controls, when provided, and the brake and throttle controls are extended within easy reach of the operator's station.
(C) The operator is not over 10 feet away from such controls and does not have to climb over or onto the equipment or other obstacles to operate the controls.
(D) The equipment is not traveling at over two miles per hour ground speed.
(c) Safe access to a safe place for all personnel riding on mobile equipment shall be provided.
(d) All self-propelled equipment shall be equipped with a braking device controlled from the operator's station, capable of preventing the vehicle from moving while parked.
(e) Where mobile farm equipment is towed by a tractor or truck and the tractor or truck driver cannot see the employees on the towed equipment, a positive signaling device shall be installed on the towed equipment, or there shall be a device on the towed equipment that can be actuated to stop the towing equipment in case of an emergency.
(f) Engine exhaust systems shall not be piped into or through an enclosed cab on tractors or other equipment.
(g) All tractors, self-propelled farm equipment, and trucks used between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with at least one headlight which shall be used to illuminate the area in front of the equipment or truck at least 50 feet. There shall be at least one rear light which shall illuminate equipment at the rear. Additional lighting shall be provided where the operation requires field adjustment or the operator's attention.
NOTE to Subsection (g): See Section 3449 for illumination requirements for working near agricultural equipment during hours of darkness.
(h) Adequate means of access shall be provided so that employees can safely reach the top of the load for manual loading or unloading of high loads.
(i) Tractor-Mounted Personnel Transport Carriers (PTCs).
(1) Use of PTCs shall be allowed only for employees who are installing, removing or maintaining irrigation pipe for low-lying row crops. No other employees shall be allowed to board or ride on PTCs. When the term “tractor” is used in subsection (i), it means “agricultural tractor” as defined in Section 3649.
(2) Employees may ride in PTCs only in the furrowed area of fields while performing irrigation activities.
(3) The slope of the fields where employees ride on a PTC shall not exceed a 5% grade.
(4) PTC Design and Construction.
(A) PTCs shall be approved for their intended use as provided in Section 3206 of these Orders.
(B) For existing PTC units built prior to the effective date of these provisions, January 1, 2016, a qualified person shall inspect and approve the PTC units for structural integrity and design prior to the units being placed into service.
(C) Seat belts shall be installed for all passenger positions on PTCs.
1. Seat belts shall be labeled as meeting the design requirements of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J386 JUN85 or JUN93 standard, Operator Restraint System for Off-Road Work Machines; or
2. Seat belts shall be equivalent to the tractor operator seat belt provided by the tractor manufacturer.
(D) Sufficient steps and handholds shall be provided on the PTC so that employees can maintain a three-point contact while entering and exiting the PTC.
(E) PTCs shall be designed with a safety chain, door or gate at each passenger entry/exit opening that shall withstand a force of at least 200 pounds, applied vertically downward and horizontally outward on the exit side of the PTC opening. Passenger entry/exit openings shall be kept in the closed and latched position whenever the tractor is in motion.
(F) Each PTC shall have an effective and reliable means of communication by which passengers can relay an emergency signal to the tractor operator. When the tractor operator has a clear line of sight to the PTC passengers, verbal communication meets the requirements of this provision.
(G) Structural elements of the PTC shall be constructed of steel. The strength of the elements shall be sufficient to support the anticipated loads.
(H) All welding or repairs affecting the structural integrity of PTCs shall be performed by a qualified person.
(I) Front ballast shall be used in accordance with the tractor operations manual on all tractors which are equipped with PTCs. The required ballast shall be calculated for each tractor model prior to using the tractor for transporting employees on PTCs.
(J) Seat cushions and back cushions at least 1.5 inches in thickness shall be installed on all PTC sitting benches and their condition shall be inspected as part of the daily inspection. Seat cushions shall cover the sitting area of the bench such that all employees can comfortably sit on the cushion with seat belts fastened. Damaged seat cushions shall be repaired or replaced in a timely manner.
(K) The PTC width shall not extend beyond the outside edges of tractor tires.
(L) The PTC shall be equipped with a shade cover or roof on the top of the unit.
(5) Operating Conditions.
(A) PTCs shall be mounted only on tractors that are equipped with ROPS.
(B) The tractor operator must remain in the operator's seat at all times when employees ride on the PTC and no other persons other than the tractor operator and passengers inside the PTC are permitted on a tractor while in motion. The tractor shall be shut off before the operator dismounts.
(C) Safe speed limits shall be established for the operation of equipment in fields in which PTCs are in use. This limit shall be determined in accordance with anticipated field conditions and shall not exceed five miles per hour.
(D) Employees shall exit the PTC whenever the tractor reaches the end of the row and before the tractor begins to turn. Employees shall not enter the PTC until the tractor has completed its turn and is on a straight path through a row. Employees shall never enter or exit a PTC while the tractor and PTC are in motion.
(E) All passengers in the PTC shall be seated and seat belts shall be worn whenever the tractor is in motion. Passengers are not allowed in the PTC whenever the tractor is operating within 10 feet of the paved edge of a public road.
(F) Employees shall not be permitted on PTCs if the tractor or pipe trailer is within 10 feet (measured from the outside wheel edge) of a ditch, canal, retention pond, unprotected edges of embankments or levees, culvert, excavation, or other similar locations that present an overturn hazard.
(G) Employees shall not ride in PTCs in conditions where tires may lose traction or in muddy locations where the tractor is likely to become mired.
(H) The tractor operator shall bring the tractor to an immediate controlled stop, and employees shall dismount and stand clear of the tractor if any of the following conditions occur:
1. The tractor loses traction or becomes mired.
2. The tractor operator detects an unusual or unsafe condition, including, but not limited to, excessive pitch or yaw, erratic motion, or hazardous surface conditions.
3. The employee(s) in the PTC signal that there is a hazardous condition.
(I) Only tools, implements, or other objects incidental to the work being performed shall be permitted to be carried in occupied PTCs. Such objects shall be placed in a designated location under the seat in the PTC during transport. No object shall be transported in the PTC unless it is fully contained within the designated location. Water bottles, water coolers and personal coolers or lunch boxes shall be permitted in the PTC in a designated location.
(6) Inspections.
(A) Prior to daily use, a visual check and inspection of the PTC shall be made by a qualified person that includes examining welds and structural members for signs of stress cracks, condition of the seat belts, safety restraint chains, connection pins and 3-point hitch points to the tractor and connection pins and hitch point for the pipe trailer.
(B) Any PTC with defective parts or damage which creates a hazard shall not be used until the unit has been repaired and re-inspected by a qualified person who has found the PTC in proper condition for use.
(7) Training.
(A) Training for all employees involved in irrigation operations using PTCs including tractor operators shall be provided in the safe operating conditions and provisions in this section at or prior to the employee's initial work assignment.
(B) Refresher training shall be provided at least annually. All training shall be documented and made available to the Division upon request. Training records shall be maintained in accordance with the General Industry Safety Orders, Section 3203.
(C) In addition to the training required in subsections (i)(7)(A) and (B), tractor operators shall be trained in the inspection of tractors, PTCs and pipe trailers used in the irrigation operations subject to these provisions.
(D) All training shall be in language(s) understood by all affected employees.
Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. Amendment of subsection (a) filed 1-9-76; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 76, No. 2).
2. Repealer and new section filed 5-13-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 20).
3. New subsection (a)(6) filed 5-15-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 20).
4. Amendment of subsection (a)(5) and repealer of subsection (a)(6) filed 9-19-2000; operative 10-19-2000 (Register 2000, No. 38).
5. Amendment filed 12-2-2002; operative 1-1-2003 (Register 2002, No. 49).
6. New subsection (a)(2)(B) - Exception and new subsections (i)-(i)(7)(D) filed 9-15-2015; operative 1-1-2016 (Register 2015, No. 38).
7. Amendment of subsection (g) filed 6-3-2020; operative 7-1-2020 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2020, No. 23).

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