How often do you use a bucket attachment to move dirt? How often do you move equipment from farm to field? Now think: How many times could someone get injured when using an attachment or transporting a piece of equipment?

Decooman cheryl
President / People Management Group
Cheryl DeCooman, CHRL, can also be reached at (519) 532-2508 or @udderlySAFE on X and Instagram.

In one case, a 24-year-old man had to have his leg amputated after a bucket attachment that was not secured to a tractor fell and crushed his leg. The young man was working beside the tractor; when the operator lifted the bucket, it came loose and fell to the ground, crushing his leg under the bucket.

Could this happen to you? Of course, it could happen to anyone, but there are preventative steps to help reduce the risk of an attachment malfunction.

Buckets or other attachments that are not properly secured can fall off at any point during operation, causing serious injury or damage to workers, material and equipment. In order to reduce the possibility of an injury occurring, follow these steps:

  • When securing an attachment to your equipment, ensure you drive straight into the attachment and raise the equipment a few inches to pick it up.

  • Engage the locking device; this may be locking pin, locking arms or another locking device.

  • Ensure any secondary locking devices are also engaged.

  • Raise, tilt and lower the bucket or attachment before use to ensure it is secured in place.

Loading attachments or heavy items

Use caution when manually lifting or moving heavy attachments or other material. Before you start a lift, plan out the best way to lift and move the item. If you are carrying the item to a new location, ensure your pathway is clear, as the item you are carrying will most likely obstruct your view. Do not lift excessively heavy items; use equipment to move or load heavy items. Alternatively, you can do a team lift. This is when you and a co-worker collectively lift a heavy or awkward shaped item if there is no equipment available to use.


Use caution when lifting, carrying, moving or repositioning attachments or other heavy items, as injuries can occur quickly. Be aware of ways your hands or other body parts can be injured. Remember, with crush injuries, even if there is little visible damage on the outside, serious damage may have occurred on the inside. In the event of an injury, it is always best to seek medical attention.

Loading equipment for transportation

Large buckets and attachments can be difficult and dangerous to move from farm to farm and field to field if you do not secure them properly. No matter if you are going 10 metres or 10 kilometres, keep in mind the following safety tips when transporting attachments and equipment.

Before you load

  • Inspect: Inspect the truck, ramps, rub rail and attachment points to ensure it is in good condition.

  • Brakes: Ensure the emergency brake is on and the hitch, chains and other connections are hooked up.

  • Tiedowns: Ensure all tiedowns and hooks are in good condition and have been inspected before each use.

  • Limits: Consider the height, width and weight of the equipment. Do not exceed allowable limits according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

  • Backing up: Try to minimize backing, check behind you before backing, and use a spotter when available. Keep pedestrians out of the area. Spotters must remain visible and wear retroreflective vests. Ensure the trailer is on stable ground and the weight of the load can be evenly distributed.

Securing the load

Whether you are just driving between barns or down the road to a different property, it is vital you properly secure any and all loads you are transporting.

Loads on implements, such as hay wagons towed with trucks, are required to be loaded, bound, secured, contained or covered so that no portion of the load becomes dislodged, falls, leaks, spills or blows from the implement.

If the truck towing the implement is also loaded, see Ontario Regulation 363/04 (Security of Loads) made under the HTA for the load security requirements for the truck.

Ensure tiedowns and straps

  • Are connected to mounting points on the trucks designed for cargo securement

  • Have working load limit marked, and do not exceed allowable limits

  • Are attached and secured so that they don’t create rub points, become loose, unfastened or released in transport

  • Are secured at the proper angles and positions to ensure equipment cannot move (up or down, left or right, forward or backward)

  • Are located inside any rub rails

Other best practices when securing loads for transportation

  • Test the locking pin before you begin transportation to ensure it works correctly.

  • If your chain is too short, do not attach two chains together.

  • Use binders to secure long chains. Excess chain must be secured so it cannot fall off the trailer or equipment.

  • Equipment that can pivot, tilt or move sideways must have a locking pin or be secured in place.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and others in the area when you are throwing tiedowns; ensure tiedowns cannot swing back at you or hit anyone else in the vicinity.

  • Consider how accelerating, braking, or emergency lane changes will affect tiedown securement.

  • Ensure equipment is stable, centred and tiedowns are in place based on the size, weight and type of equipment being transported.

Every farm tractor or self-propelled implement on a highway must display a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign. SMV signs should be centred on the rear of the rear-most vehicle, 0.6 to 2 metres (2 to 6 feet) above the road. A SMV sign warns other users of the road that the vehicle is traveling at 40 kilometres per hour or less.

Remember, when securing attachments or loads for transportation, take the time to think through each step and ensure equipment and loads are secured properly and safely.  end mark

Cheryl DeCooman, CHRL, can also be reached at (519) 532-2508 or on Twitter and Instagram.


Cheryl DeCooman