As fall approaches, communities across the nation begin gearing up for festivals complete with pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrides. As the weather cools down and the leaves begin to change, families show up to enjoy the fun not realizing the potential risk that comes along with some of the events, especially hayrides. As a community, there are a few things that can be done to ensure all participants not only have a good time but return safely from the excursion. Below are a few safeguards that should be considered:
- Before a tractor goes in service for hayrides, it needs a full documented inspection. A few items to inspect include tire pressure, lights, brakes, as well as checking for loose boards or screws on the wagon. Also ensure that the wagon is securely fastened to the tractor.
- Never tow more than one wagon behind a tractor.
- Provide railings on the wagon to prevent falling off during the hayride.
- Choose drivers who are experienced with a clean driving record. It’s important to also train drivers before operating the tractor with passengers. If the driver is unable to stop and start smoothly, passengers can be easily thrown from the wagon, resulting in injury.
- Passengers need to remain seated at all times during the ride.
- Provide supervision via volunteers or staff to ensure the safety of passengers and to ensure rules are being followed. Before the hayride begins, instruct the passengers with rules that not only keep themselves safe but also the staff and driver.
- Provide assistance for passengers to safely enter and exit the wagon; this may include a ramp or steps.
- Check the hayride route ahead of time to inspect for any hazards. If hazards are identified, either remove or avoid them. Drivers should also practice the route before towing any people to become comfortable with the route and any potential hazards they must avoid.
- Have a set speed for tractor pulling the wagon.
- Avoid public roads if possible; if public roads must be used, an escort vehicle should lead and follow the wagon with proper safety lighting and signage.
- Check weather conditions to confirm they are appropriate for hayrides. Inclement weather or slick roads are grounds for cancellation.
For additional tips to consider, check out: Agritourism – Keeping Passengers Safe on Hay Rides
If you have questions on how to better manage your risk regarding hayrides or special events, contact us at RiskControl@onebeacon.com.