Tractor Driving and Maintenance
If you have passed a regular car driving test (Cat B) then you automatically have entitlement to drive an agricultural tractor. Otherwise you will need the relevant licence, which is obtained by passing a tractor driving test, to drive a tractor on the road. Find out more about tractor driving tests on the Gov.uk website.
You don’t require a licence to drive a tractor off the public road but it is against the law for children under the age of 13 years to ride on or drive a tractor and other farm machinery. It is also a legal requirement that employers must take full account of tractor operators who are younger than 18 years old, due to their inexperience and lack of awareness.
No matter a person’s age, without proper tractor training, serious accidents can and do occur when work involves tractors. Therefore, employers should provide adequate training, to ensure that all tractors and equipment are operated safely no matter the age of the operator.
Types of tractor training available
Whether you are employed in agriculture, forestry, leisure or marine business or are self-employed and use tractors in your work, then a HSE approved tractor driving course is sufficient to ensure you have received suitable training.
Young person’s tractor driving, Ages 13 - 16
You must be of a minimum age of 13 years old to participate in this course and a signed parental guidance form is required before the course commences.
These courses take you through the basic legislation, pre-start checks and routine maintenance. You will develop an understanding for tractor controls and instruments. You will also learn the safe operation of tractors and any trailed equipment, including three-point linkage mounted equipment, loaders and their attachments and how to drive a tractor in various ground conditions and terrains.
You will also gain an understanding of the problems and dangers of PTO (Power Take-Off) driven equipment, however, under H&S legislation, people under 16 years old are NOT permitted to operate PTO powered equipment.
This tends to be a general tractor driving course that is suitable for both trainees and experienced drivers who are looking for a refresher or proof of tractor driving capabilities.
During the course the following objectives will be met: the preparation, maintenance, driving, and handling and safety procedures for safe tractor driving. You will learn how to hitch and manoeuvre your tractor whilst attached to a trailer and mounted implements, how to fit and operate PTOs and the basic use of a tractor mounted loader.
Driving on slopes
This is a course designed for those who either currently drive or will be driving a tractor on sloping land. This course is intended to help competent tractor drivers on normal land to develop and expand their driving knowledge and confidence.
Driving tractors on sloping land can be very dangerous, therefore, these courses teach you to understand and recognise the main causes of these accidents, a safe working slope for tractor implement combinations on typical ground surface conditions, how to measure slopes in field conditions and assess the suitability of the ground before you drive over it.
For more detailed course outlines and guidelines visit Hush Farms for more information about the qualifications most suitable for yourself, volunteers or employees.
Photograph copyright Hush Farms