Safe Operating Procedures for Hitching Implements and Trailers

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Safe Operating Procedures for Hitching Implements and Trailers
Purpose
To define the safe operating procedures in a manner that informs and instructs employees of
[Employer/Organization Name] of the key health and safety hazards and controls to remember
when hitching implements and trailers to vehicles, such as tractors, loaders and trucks.
Hazards
The following hazards may occur when hitching implements and trailers:
Critical injury or fatality
Crushing injury
Entanglement
Amputation
Puncture (hydraulic fluid under pressure)
Roll-over
Equipment or implement runaway if accidentally disconnected
Personal Protective Equipment
Safety footwear
Eye protection
Hearing protection
High-visibility clothing
Safe Operating Procedure
Always refer to the operator’s manual for both the vehicle and implement, to confirm the proper
requirements are met.
Only those who have been trained on how to safely operate the vehicle and implement are
allowed to perform the hitching function.
Ensure the vehicle is properly ballasted, with sufficient weight
Evaluate surrounding environment, note any obstacles such as ditches, buildings, other
equipment, power lines, etc.
Be aware of potential problems which may occur during the connection procedure, such as the
implement falling off its supports, or components being repositioned.
Confirm compatibility between the vehicle and implement:
Power and hitch types
Pin condition
Safety chain condition
If working with a helper, confirm the signals and instructions prior to backing up the vehicle.
Always ensure the helper remains safely outside the path of the machine while it is moving.
Drawbar Connection
Adjust the implement hitch height to align with the vehicle’s drawbar height.
Back vehicle towards the implement hitch at the slowest speed possible, ensuring it is square to
the implement.
Make appropriate steering adjustments, either with a helper signaling with instructions, or by
dismounting the vehicle and confirming alignment.
Continue to operate the vehicle slowly and in small increments if necessary, to avoid impacting
the implement with the drawbar.
Once the drawbar and implement hitch holes are aligned, shut off vehicle engine, engage parking
brake, and insert hitch pin and positioning lock.
Attach the safety chain, ensuring enough slack to allow for articulation.
Three-Point Hitch Connection
Back vehicle towards the implement hitch at the slowest speed possible, ensuring it is square to
the implement
When close, adjust the draft links to the height of the lower implement pins, and shut off the
vehicle.
Dismount and inspect the relative link and pin alignments, both vertical and horizontal.
Make necessary lower link adjustments and appropriate steering connections, either with a helper
signaling with instructions, or by dismounting the machine and confirming alignments.
Continue to operate the vehicle slowly and in small increments if necessary, to avoid impacting
the implement with the vehicle links.
Once the link holes and implement pins are aligned, shut off vehicle engine, engage parking
brake, and slide the lower arm holes onto the pins and install the retainer clips.
Align the top link hole with the top pin. Insert the pin and retainer clip.
Power Take Off (PTO) Connection
Ensure the vehicle has adequate power, operates at the correct PTO speed, and that the splines
are compatible.
The vehicle must be shut off, parking brake set, and key is removed. Do not attempt to connect
an implement to the PTO while the engine is running.
For drawbar connections, lock the drawbar in a position that is directly below the PTO stub shaft,
so the centerlines of both are aligned.
For vehicles equipped with a 3-point hitch, move the drawbar into a position that will not
interfere with the implement or the hitch.
Confirm the implement’s driveline shaft guard can freely rotate independent of the driveline
shaft.
Cradle your hand around the integral shaft guard to support the weight of the implement
driveline.
Align the implement driveline U-joint splines, with the machine PTO stub shaft splines.
If they will not align, try turning the PTO stub shaft or implement driveline slightly to get them
to align.
Slide the U-joint onto the PTO shaft until the implement driveline locking mechanism is aligned
or engaged.
Ensure the PTO is locked into place prior to engaging or transporting the implement. This can be
verified by pulling back and forth on the implement driveline.
Return and lock the PTO shield in its required guarding position.
If equipped, attach the implement driveline guard retaining chain to a fixed point on the machine.
Hydraulic Connection
Clean the male and female portion of each fitting component.
Always be aware that even when an implement is disconnected, the hydraulic lines may still be
under high pressure. Do not relieve this pressure by depressing or impacting the tip of the male
coupler.
Engage the implement safety locks, or lower the equipment to the ground before connecting the
hydraulics.
Wear gloves, and push male fittings into the female fitting on the machine.
Do not operate the vehicle’s hydraulic controls until all circuits have been properly connected,
and the implement has been mechanically connected to the vehicle.
Test the hydraulic circuits to ensure the components move as expected.
Electrical Connection
Inspect the harness for wear.
Turn off any implement monitors on the vehicle to prevent possible damage.
Ensure the male end from the implement matches the female end on the machine.
Clean any dirt or foreign objects from both ends.
Align the inner mating slides, and push the connections together.
Ensure the catch on the female connector cap is retaining the male end.
Check the routing of the wiring harness from the implement to the machine, to ensure it is wellsupported to minimize sagging, prevent tangling, and allow it to flex while turning without
pulling tight.
Quick Coupler
Inspect the quick coupler for wear.
Engage the quick coupler onto the work tool.
Extend the stick cylinder and extend the bucket cylinder until the work took is curled past a
vertical position.
Move the electric switch to the lock position.
Hold the control lever for the bucket cylinder in the extend position for five seconds.
Ensure the quick coupler pins are engaged, retract the bucket cylinder and drag the attachment on
the ground, this will ensure the quick coupler pins are engaged.
To disconnect, extend the stick cylinder and extend the bucket cylinder until the work tool is
curled past the vertical position.
Move the electric switch to the unlock position.
Hold the control lever for the bucket cylinder in the extend position for five seconds.
Retract the bucket cylinder until the tool is completely disengaged from the quick coupler.
Additional Resources
Ministry of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines for Farming Operations in
Ontario
Document Management
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