The U.S. Department of Labor’s Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Orders (AgHOs) regulation prohibits 14 and 15-year-olds from operating farm tractors and attached powered equipment unless (1) they are working on a farm owned/operated by their parent or legal guardian, or (2) the youth has successfully completed an approved safe tractor and machinery operation-training program. Here is general information regarding tractor and machinery certification for Extension educators, high school ag instructors, parents, and employers. Education and training on safe operation is always encouraged, even if it is not legally required.
Here are list of potential approaches to completing the course:
1.) Local Extension office or ag program course
Supervision for a tractor and machinery certification course can be provided by Extension educators or high school ag teachers, but anyone with experience in agriculture can help teach the course. However, ONLY Extension educator or ag teacher can sign off on the certificate. Check with your local Extension office or high school ag programs to see if they are offering a course near you.
2.) Self-Study course
If the youth are interested in getting their certificate, but there are no classes offered in their area, they might be able to complete an independent study course, where they would do most of the work on their own. There are online resources available:
A) National Safe Tractor & Machinery Operation Program
On this site, the student can download the task sheets (a hard copy is also available through the Ohio 4-H family guide). The material focuses on safety including maintenance, operation and general agricultural safety (livestock, pesticides, skid steer loaders, ATVs, etc.).
This online course provides an overview of identification and control of hazards common to farms and agriculturally related rural businesses, focusing on hazards associated with machinery, structures, equipment, animals, chemicals and outdoor environment. There is a cost of $50 for this online course. The user is able to receive a certificate with a minimum passing score on all quizzes (*satisfies the written test component mentioned below).
Requirements to get the Certification:
Complete ~25 hours of instruction (in class or independent study is acceptable)
Pass the written exam*
Pass a skills AND driving test