Handrails designed to bolt to the lowest bottom steps provide the best stability and avoid having to reach up for a higher handrail.

Accessing your farm vehicles more conveniently and safely with Universal Design

By Dee Jepsen and Laura Akgerman   

The Ohio AgrAbility program works with farmers of all abilities. Our team provides outreach education about good body mechanics and safe lifting. We also make recommendations to farmers, agricultural businesses, landowners and gardeners about making their work environment safe and accessible.

A popular recommendation is to use equipment that is based on Universal Design (UD) concepts. The term Universal Design refers to the creation of products and systems that can be used by all people, without the need for adaptation or specialization. Using UD equipment and tools around the farmstead can be beneficial to all individuals and promotes independence for those with physical or mobility limitations. The UD products encourage farmers to maintain good ergonomics and body mechanics, which may make tasks easier and reduce the chance of injury.

Here are some Universal Designed examples that can be purchased or fabricated for accessing trailers, tractors and trucks.

Removeable deck ladder

The ladder securely attaches to the side of a flatbed trailer deck and provides stability and easy access to the deck. The ladder locks in place for use, and folds up and out of the way for road transportation.

Extended steps for tractors

These extensions make that first tractor step easier to reach. Years of hiking your leg up to the first step and jumping down from it can take a toll on your joints and back. Extended steps make the tractor easier to access and saves your body from repeated impact and pain. 

Extended handrails

Adding a handrail to the tractor steps allows for easier access and better stability as you climb on and off the tractor. Handrails designed to bolt to the lowest bottom steps provide the best stability and avoid having to reach up for a higher handrail.

Wheel steps  

This product attaches to the tire to allow easier access to items in the cargo area of a flatbed truck or trailer.

For these and other ideas, please visit the Ohio AgrAbility site at https://agrability.osu.edu/. There are handouts with these items and many more, just click on the “Resources” tab and then click the link labeled: “Webinars, Conferences and Handouts.”

Dee Jepsen, Professor, Jepsen.4@osu.edu and Laura Akgerman, Disability Services Coordinator, Ohio AgrAbility and OSU Extension. For questions about Ohio AgrAbility, please email Akgerman.4@osu.edu, or call 614-292-0622.

Check Also

Messy legalities (Part 2)

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth      Legal battles for family farms gets messy. Here is a recap …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *