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Farm Safety Series
This packet contains a set of fact sheets that will help you develop an effective
safety and health program on your farm or ranch. Safety specialists at the
University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Washington State University
grant permission to copy this information for on-farm worker training.
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
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P u b l i c a t i o n
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Published December 1998
$6.00
Farm Safety Series
This series of 15 fact sheets will help farm and ranch managers
conduct employee training on safety and health topics. Having a
regular series of training sessions with employees is an effective
way to manage risks associated with the work that is done on farms
and ranches. You may duplicate these masters as you provide
information about taking proper safety precautions and health tips
to your workers.
• (Introduction) Developing a Safety and Health Program
to Reduce Injuries and Accident Losses
• Tractor Operation Safety: Preventing Overturns
• Tractor Operation Safety: Preventing Falls and Runovers
• Safe Agricultural Implement Operation
• Highway Transport of Agricultural Equipment:
Preventing Public Road Accidents
• Backhoe and Loader Operational Safety
• Safe Harvesting Operations: Preventing Accidents
While Harvesting Hay and Forages
• Preventing Accidents While Harvesting Small Grains
• Truck Safety: Preventing Accidents with Trucks and Trailers
• Agricultural Machinery Maintenance:
Preventing Shop Accidents
• Using Hand Signals to Prevent Accidents
• Electrical Safety
• Medical Emergencies: Farm and Ranch Emergency Response
• Farm and Ranch Child Safety: Give Your Children
Appropriate Tasks
• (Evaluation) How Does Safety Rate on Your Farm Or Ranch?
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Developing a Safety and Health Program
to Reduce Injuries and Accident Losses
A sound safety and health program is an effective
way to manage risks, much like an irrigation program
or weed control program is to crop production. Accidents are costly. Estimated costs for agriculture-related
accidents can range from $58,000 to $87,000 per
disabling injury. A safety and health program can be
simple and should be tailored to your specific operation.
Whether you have five, 10, or 100 employees, the
information that follows will help you to develop an
effective farm or ranch safety and health program.
A safety and health plan needs to include at least
these items as part of an accident prevention program.
Make these items available to your workers in a location
such as the farm shop or display on a bulletin board:
•
•
•
•
Safety and health policy statement.
•
Formal training on safety and health awareness
for employees.
•
•
•
•
•
Periodic inspection of work areas.
Workplace safety rules.
Safety director’s name and phone number.
Record keeping system to report safety and
health issues.
Recognition of hazards.
Inform workers of safety items required by law.
Plan for emergency preparedness.
Maps locating emergency equipment and supplies.
Written Safety and Health Policy
A written policy statement is an effective way to
• Request that employees immediately bring all
communicate a commitment to farm or ranch worker
safety and health. The policy statement need not be
elaborate; a paragraph or two should be sufficient. This
document is also looked upon favorably by insurance
companies, regulators, and others should an accident
occur. Your safety and health policy should include some
of the elements listed below.
•
•
The overall goal of your policy.
•
Inform employees to follow all safety rules and to
report all injuries to their supervisor.
unsafe working conditions or equipment to the
attention of the supervisor.
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Inform employees that safety will be reviewed
periodically.
•
Encourage employees to offer solutions for safety
problems or concerns.
The safety and health policy should be posted where
employees will see it. Individual policies should be
signed by the employee. See the sample Safety Health
Policy on the next page.
A statement indicating your commitment to making
employee safety and health your highest priority.
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Sample Safety and Health Policy
__________________ (name of farm, ranch, or company) recognizes the value of the individual employee. The safety
and health of our employees is our highest priority. We will make every effort to provide safe and healthful working
conditions at all times. Employees are required to follow all company safety rules. Unsafe working conditions, unsafe
practices, or machines that are unsafe to operate must be reported to supervisors immediately. Employees also must
report to their supervisors any injuries that occur at the workplace.
__________________ (name of farm, ranch, or company) intends to comply with all safety laws and regulations.
Safety issues will be reviewed regularly with our employees.
_________________ (name, title) is responsible for having periodic safety meetings, providing safety and health
inspections, and making sure that ______________ (employee’s name) has a healthful and safe working environment.
I have read and understand the safety policy.
Employee ___________________ Date _________ Safety Director/Supervisor_________________ Date___________
Workplace Safety Rules
Safety Director
Basic and specialized safety rules need to be developed for all employees. Here are sample rules for a
farm or ranch workplace. You may wish to change rules
to suit the nature of your operation. Just remember that
rules are less likely to be effective if the list is long. They
must be simple, easy to understand, and be in a
language known to the worker (e.g., Spanish, English,
Thai, etc.).
Post your safety rules in highly visible locations to
serve as a continuing reminder to employees.
Someone must be responsible for the safety program.
It can be the owner, manager, or a reliable supervisor
or worker. This person should help establish a budget to
ensure that the program not only meets regulatory
requirements, but also effectively addresses all the
hazards of an operation. Employee responsibilities for
safety and health should be reviewed periodically. It is a
good idea to post the “responsibilities list” in an area
where it can serve as a regular reminder to all workers.
Sample Safety Rules
1. Employees will follow company rules.
2. Only qualified personnel are allowed to operate
machinery or equipment.
3. Handle chemicals only if properly instructed, and
under the direction of a supervisor.
4. No extra riders are permitted on any motorized
equipment.
5. Absolutely no “horseplay” in work areas.
6. Absolutely no use of alcohol or drugs in the work
area.
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7. Wear all appropriate personal protective equipment
(e.g., respirator, gloves, goggles), as instructed by
the supervisor.
8. All injuries and property damage accidents must be
promptly reported to your supervisor.
9. Ask questions if you do not understand the task you
are responsible to perform.
10. Consequences for not following safety rules must be
stated. These can range from verbal warnings to
suspension to work termination.
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Record Keeping System
Records must be kept of all training programs and accidents that have occurred. Have employees sign log sheets
indicating the training received and date it. Accidents should be investigated and causes of the accident recorded as
well as all circumstances surrounding it. Keep records of hazards identified and if and when they were corrected.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all materials need to be kept in a central location and available to all
employees. Also, make sure you have an adequate number of first aid kits and that workers know where to find them.
Training for Employees
5. A safety committee can be effective when there is a
large number of employees. This committee should
include representatives of workers, supervisors, and
management.
Conduct periodic training. Even short programs are
effective. Employees should be trained at least quarterly
or by season. Maintain records of all training activity.
Training should begin with new hires or when responsibilities change. Training may also be required when
injuries or “close calls” warrant additional training for
employees. It must be timely and thorough.
Use the following guidelines for designing and
conducting employee training programs. These should
be modified for your particular operation. Remember to
tell employees what they are doing right during the
training.
Training Tips
General Training Guidelines
1. Verify employee qualifications and experience,
particularly in machinery operation. Do not just
take their word for it.
2. All new employees should receive proper job
instruction and safety training for their particular
job responsibilities. List minimum competencies and
have employees demonstrate if necessary.
3. All employees should attend a safety training
session at least once a year.
4. Short (15 to 30 minutes) weekly training sessions,
called “tailgate” meetings, have proven to be
effective and can be used to discuss new topics and
review safety concerns of the past week.
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Explain how and why you want a job done a
particular way.
•
Personally demonstrate how to do the job properly
and safely.
•
Make certain that the employee understands the
importance of their job as well as all hazards
associated with it.
•
Before leaving new workers on their own, make
sure that they can perform their job properly and
safely. Stay until you are certain they are doing the
job correctly.
•
Make frequent checks on new workers. Don’t
“hover” over them. If there are problems with
employee performance, repeat the demonstration
of correct work procedure. Positive reinforcement is
more effective than negative criticism.
REMEMBER...
GOOD SUPERVISION
IS THE KEY TO SAFETY.
NEVER LEAVE TRAINING
TO CHANCE!
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Inspection of Work Areas
Regular inspection of work areas reduces and often eliminates potential hazards. Assign individuals—safety
director or a member of a safety committee—to inspect work areas on a regular basis.
The following items need to be
inspected on a daily basis:
Periodic inspections need to be
carried out on the following:
Equipment guards and shields
Personal protective equipment
Housekeeping
Power tools, cords, and extension cords
Ladders
Hand tools
Materials handling equipment
Fire extinguishers
First aid and emergency equipment
Wiring, lighting, and electrical boxes
Equipment storage and shop arrangement
Pesticide storage and disposal
Fuel storage
Ventilation
Emergency water supplies
Recognition of Hazards
In addition to regular inspections, employees need to be responsible for maintaining a safe, tidy workplace.
Employees should be encouraged to let management know of unsafe or hazardous situations.
Safety Items Required by Law
Safety items should be posted as required by law. Posters are available on Worker Protection Standards and other
laws that can be placed in a common area. Also, items such as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) and records of
sprayed fields need to be readily available to employees.
Emergency Preparedness and Procedures
Establish emergency procedures for use in case of injury, accident, or other emergency such as fire or severe
weather. Post written directions near the phone for getting to the farm or ranch for individuals to give to emergency
personnel in the event of an emergency.
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Establish a Safety Committee
If your operation involves numerous employees then a safety committee should be established. The committee
makeup should include workers and various levels of management. The role of the committee should be to identify
potential health and safety problems and bring them to the attention of the employer.
Summar y
Functions of the safety committee should include:
✔ Safety inspections
✔ Hazard control suggestions
✔ Accident investigation
✔ Review accident reports
✔ Safety training
✔ Field testing and personal protective equipment
recommendations
✔ Safety rules and work procedures
✔ Safety program evaluation
✔ Review job procedures
✔ Recommend improvements
Base your safety and health program on the safety
needs of your operation and your employees. Make your
plan simple and practical—one that catches your
employees’ attention. You need to follow through with
the safety plan even when things get hectic.
REMEMBER...
IF SAFETY IS NOT PRACTICED
IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST;
IT PAYS!
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho. For more information about farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Safety and Health Program
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Tractor Operation Safety:
Preventing Overturns
Half of all farming and ranching accidents resulting in fatalities involve tractors. The amount of time the tractor is in
use, the variety of uses, and its power and massive weight all contribute to why tractors are involved with so many
accidents.
Common Tractor Accidents
Tractor overturns or “roll overs” are the most common
tractor accident resulting in a serious injury or a fatality.
Overturns are involved in almost half of all fatal tractor
accidents. The two types of overturns are side and rear.
•
Operating a
tractor too close
to a road or ditch
bank. An unstable bank will
give way causing
the tractor to roll
into the ditch.
•
Hitting holes, logs,
stumps, or bumps, particularly at high speeds.
•
Improper loading of tractor on transport vehicles.
Tractors have slipped off the bed causing serious
accidents.
Causes of Side Overturns
•
•
Turning uphill on a steep bank.
Turning a corner too rapidly. Side overturns occur
even on a level surface because the centrifical force
will cause the
tractor’s center of
gravity to shift
from the tractor’s
center to the
outside wheel
causing the inside
wheel to lift.
•
Operating a
tractor equipped with a front end loader raised too
high with a heavy load. The higher the bucket, the
higher the center of gravity, making the tractor
unstable especially when turning.
•
Towing loads (implements, wagons, etc.) too heavy
or loads that are unstable can cause side overturns. The whipping action of the load or failure of
the tractor to control the load downhill can cause
the load to push the tractor resulting in loss of
control.
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Rear Overturns
Rear overturns happen very quickly (1 1/2 seconds).
In a rear overturn the tractor reaches the critical point of
no return in three-fourths of a second, which means you
cannot prevent the
overturn. Human
reaction time to
respond varies from
one half to 1 1/2
seconds, or usually
not fast enough to
prevent an overturn or
to escape.
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Preventing Overturns
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Causes of Rear Overturns
•
•
Attempting to free a tractor that is stuck or frozen
in the ground can result in a rear overturn. If the
ground doesn’t give, the torque forced on the rear
wheels will transfer to the tractor body causing the
front of the tractor to raise.
REMEMBER: IF SAFETY IS NOT PRACTICED
IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST; IT PAYS!
Improper hitching,
such as hitching a
chain or cable to
a point above the
drawbar when
attempting to pull
stuck vehicles or
stumps.
Prevention of Overturns
Following are several ways to prevent overturns and
to keep the operator and others safe.
1. Tractors should be equipped with rollover protective
equipment such as ROPS (Roll Over Protective
Structure) and seat belts. To be completely protected
always fasten seatbelts. If the tractor is not equipped
with ROPS, the farm management should install one
or talk to an implement dealer about installing
ROPS equipment.
2. Hitch loads
correctly. Always
attach loads to the
tractor drawbar,
not to the axle or
any area above
the drawbar.
3. When working in
an unfamiliar field
or one that you have not been in for a while, stop
the tractor, and walk over potential problem areas
of the field. Note ruts, rocks, stumps, logs, holes
and debris, etc. Moveable debris should be removed from the field before you start work. In areas
of tall grass or brush, mark problem areas to warn
or remind you or others of the hazard.
4. Reduce speed on rough ground, on slopes, when
turning, or when driving onto roads. Operate at
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5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
speeds appropriate to operating
conditions.
Avoid sudden
turns, especially
on sloping
ground. Avoid
uphill turns, and
turning too fast
with a load.
Operate front end loaders with the bucket as low as
possible. Raise only when necessary to dump the
load or to clear obstacles.
Familiarize yourself with the tractor by reading the
manual and going over the procedures thoroughly
before operating. Management should train
workers and family members in safe operating
procedures.
If the tractor has ROPS and the tractor starts to roll,
do not jump off of the tractor. Stay with it until the
machine comes to rest.
When loading a tractor for transport, keep other
workers out of the way until the tractor has been
adequately secured to the transport. Use the right
equipment for the job, such as a wide enough bed
for loading and transport, proper load tie downs,
and a secure ramp, not a roadbed.
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10. Operate the
tractor at least as
far away from the
edge of a ditch as
the ditch is deep
(e.g. 3 feet deep,
then 3 feet away).
11. If the tractor is
traversing a slope
or traveling on the
shoulder of the road with a sharp pavement incline,
do not turn up slope. Always turn down slope.
12. When working on sloping land, add weight to the
front and widen the wheel base of the tractor. This
adds stability to the machine.
13. Do not “pop” the clutch or give a sudden jerk when
pulling out stuck vehicles or stumps, or when pulling
any machinery. Instead, start out slowly taking up
slack in the rope or chain, and continue with a
steady pull. Try to loosen the object before pulling.
14. Keep the tractor in control at all times. Don’t let your
tractor bounce.
15. Use the tractor only for what it was designed to be
used.
16. Lock brake pedals together before driving on roadways so that you won’t press a side brake and
cause the tractor to suddenly swerve.
17. Get plenty of rest before operating tractors. Take
periodic rest breaks when operating the tractor for
long hours.
Safety Reminders
•
Slow down when turning or when working rough
ground.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Always hitch to the draw bar.
Make sure tractors are equipped with ROPS.
Keep the loader bucket low and go slow.
Stay far away from the edge of a ditch.
Watch out for holes, rocks, and stumps.
Ease the tractor in gear when pulling. Don’t “pop”
the clutch.
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Preventing Overturns
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Tractor Operation Safety:
Preventing Falls and Runovers
Falling off the tractor and being runover, either by the tractor or the implement being pulled, is a common cause of
fatal and serious agricultural injuries. Falls and runovers account for about a third of fatal and serious injuries involving tractors.
•
•
•
•
Causes of Falls and Runovers
• Slipping on the steps or platform when mounting
Being thrown off
the operator seat
when the tractor
hits a hole, stump,
or ditch.
or dismounting. Steps or shoes with grease or mud
on them or that are wet can cause operators to slip
and fall.
Extra riders.
Allowing extra
riders on tractors
is asking for
trouble since
sudden stops and
starts or hitting
holes, bumps, low
branches, or other
obstacles can
cause the extra
rider to fall off
and be runover.
Small children
have even been
known to fall from tractors with cabs when they
accidentally bump against the door handle, thus
opening the door.
“Jump” starting the tractor when standing beside
it. If the tractor is in gear when started it will lunge
forward or backward and could run over nearby
workers before they can get out of the way.
Trying to mount or dismount when the tractor is
moving, especially when the deck or railing is wet.
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Leaving the deck of the machine cluttered with
tools and other items. Loose tools can cause trips.
They can also become flying objects and strike
workers nearby.
•
Riding on the
tongue or any
part of the
implement being
towed. A bump or
sudden jerk can
cause the rider to
lose balance and
fall off.
•
The operator not aware of where others are when
the machine is started and put in motion.
•
Leaving the parking brake off when parking the
tractor especially on a slope. The tractor can slip
out of gear and roll forward or backward.
•
•
Poor maintenance of brakes and clutches.
•
Poorly trained and physically unfit operators. They
may not be able to effectively operate the controls
to avoid an accident.
An operator’s foot slipping off the clutch when
hitching implements or working on the machine.
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Preventing Falls and Runovers
1. Most new tractors have safety start systems that do
not allow the tractor to start in gear without depressing the clutch. Never bypass these systems.
When jump starting a tractor, always connect
cables to the battery and not the starter. Jumping
through the starter bypasses the safety start system,
resulting in the operator being run over if the tractor
is in gear.
2. Do not allow extra riders. The ONLY time extra
riders should be allowed is for training purposes.
Tractors are designed to carry only one person—
the operator.
3. Slow down on rough ground or where hidden
obstacles might be encountered.
4. When going into
a strange field or
one that you have
not been in for a
while, stop and
shut off the tractor
and walk over
potential problem
areas. Note
hazards and
debris. Mark these in areas of poor visibility, such
as obstacles hidden in tall grass or brush. If you are
able, remove debris before starting any tractor
operations. Operators must be familiar with the
area they are working!
5. Never try to mount or dismount a tractor or machine when it is moving. Keep decks uncluttered.
Keep platforms clean and dry. Wear shoes that are
in good condition with a slip-resistant sole.
6. Always shut off the engine and apply the parking
brake before dismounting the tractor. This will
prevent the tractor from moving or rolling while
parked.
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7. Operators should
take frequent rest
breaks to maintain alertness.
8. Always start the
tractor from the
operator’s seat.
When people are
around, always
make sure bystanders are clear of the machine before starting.
9. Train all operators thoroughly. The operators must
be alert at all times and be aware of bystanders
and potential hazards. They must be trained not
only how to safely operate the machine, but also be
familiar with the machine’s mechanical capabilities
and maintenance.
10. Maintain the equipment in top operating condition.
11. Install ROPS (Roll
Over Protective
Structure), and
wear seat belts!
Seat belts prevent
operators from
being thrown
from the seat and
under the tractor
should an overturn occur. However, if your tractor does not have
ROPS, do not wear a seat belt!
12. Never ride on the implements, especially on the
tongue.
REMEMBER: IF SAFETY IS
NOT PRACTICED, IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST; IT PAYS!
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Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Preventing Falls and Runovers
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E x t e n s i o n
O r e g o n
•
Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Safe Agricultural Implement Operation
Almost all agricultural operations involve implements of some kind. Safe use of these implements is of prime
importance. Most injuries can be prevented simply by paying attention to the job at hand. Trouble comes from taking
shortcuts because you are in a hurry or too impatient to do the job correctly. Slowing down and taking a few seconds
more to do the job correctly and safely is more important and less costly than having to do the job over again or
being injured in the process.
Causes of Injury from Usage of Implements
• Failure to turn off the tractor and implement’s
power and to wait for the machine to stop moving
completely before repairing or adjusting the
machine. You risk the possibility of getting hands
or clothing caught in or on the PTO or in a moving
pulley, belt, or
chain while
attempting to work
on a machine
while it is running.
Likewise, bystanders or others
working on the
machine can get
entangled in it.
• Failing to block
raised implements
when working on
them.
• Riders on the
implement. Riders
can be thrown
from or slip off.
They can be either
run over by the implement or fall into it.
• Not paying attention when working with the
machine. Operators need to react to changing
conditions as the implement does its work.
• Exposed moving parts (pulleys, PTO’s, cutter bars,
shafts, belts, chains, etc.).
Preventing Injury from Implement Usage
1. Keep all safety shields in place and in good repair.
Rotating shafts cause severe injury in a matter of
seconds by entangling loose or dangling clothing.
Certain types of farm machinery cannot be completely guarded due to the nature of their work.
Keep a safe distance from all cutting or moving
parts. Mowing equipment will cut people as well as
hay or weeds. Do not allow anyone to lean, push,
or stand on diggers to aid in penetration.
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2. Implements are not a safe place for riders. Do not
allow riders on implements for any reason unless
that implement is designed specifically for a person
to ride and perform an operation on that implement. Riders could slip off and fall under the
implement resulting in serious injury or death.
Likewise, tractor riders can fall off and be run over
by the implement before the operator can stop.
E x t e n s i o n
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P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Safe Ag Implement Operation
2 of 3 pages
3. When repairing or working on an implement, make
sure it is lowered to the ground. It should be braced
or blocked securely if you have to work on it in the
raised position, don’t depend on hydraulic cylinders
to support the implement alone. When making
repairs on a slope, block the wheels.
4. Always turn off power source and wait for all
moving parts to stop before working on the implement. Take the key with you before working on the
machine to prevent others from starting the machine
while you are working on it. Select proper speeds
for harvesting that will prevent clogging thus
reducing the need to unclog the implement.
5. Make sure the operator knows how to operate the
machine. The operator needs to know how the
machine will respond in any given situation. The
operator’s manual is a good source of information
and should be reviewed thoroughly. If the implement requires wider turns, the operator needs to
slow down on turns and avoid tight places.
6. Wear proper
clothing when
working on
implements. Loose
fit clothing can
get caught in
rotating shafts
and PTOs and
cause serious
injury. Make sure
all moving parts are stopped and turned off before
approaching. Keep a safe distance away from all
moving parts.
7. Cutting equipment is very hazardous. Keep a safe
distance from all cutting implements.
8. Make sure all equipment is in good working order.
All pins should be in place, all bolts and screws
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should be tight, and all other parts should be secure
and properly adjusted.
9. Know how high
and wide your
equipment is.
Look up when
moving equipment in the yard.
Know where
power lines are
and avoid them.
Be aware, also, of
buildings, fences,
and other obstacles when
moving equipment through
yards. When
turning in fields
slow down and
allow room to
clear obstacles.
10. When parking equipment, block the wheels so that
the machine will not roll. Hydraulically raised
equipment should be lowered and should have the
transport lock engaged when parked or blocked. If
this is not possible or the equipment needs to be
raised, then block the equipment with jack stands or
other suitable means.
11. Match the proper tractor for the implement. The
tractor should be properly weighted and able to
control the implement, especially when going up or
down inclines.
REMEMBER: IF SAFETY IS
NOT PRACTICED, IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST; IT PAYS!
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Safe Ag Implement Operation
3 of 3 pages
Safety Reminders
•
•
•
•
•
•
Turn power off the tractor or implement before
making repairs.
No riders on implements.
Work smart by being thorough and not hurried.
Block raised implements before making repairs.
Be cautious around moving parts.
Make sure equipment is in good working order.
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Safe Ag Implement Operation
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Highway Transport of Agricultural Equipment:
Preventing Public Road Accidents
Transporting agricultural machinery from one field to the next by way of public roads is a necessity for many in
agriculture. Motorists unfamiliar with slow moving agricultural machinery can make this a dangerous situation. The
potential for an accident is high. Equipment operators must be aware of the hazard their use of public roads causes
and take necessary precautions.
•
•
•
Causes of Accidents on Public Roads
• Poor Visibility—Corners, hills, and other blind spots
Difference in
Speed—Most farm
machinery is
transported at
speeds of 25 mph
or slower while
other vehicles
often are traveling
at much faster
speeds. This
difference causes motorists to miscalculate how fast
they are approaching farm machinery. Motorists
sometimes do not even see farm equipment because
they are traveling too fast.
reduce a motorist’s ability to see farm and ranch
equipment either traveling on the roadway or pulling
onto a roadway. Dirty windshields on equipment
also reduces operator visibility.
Farm Size and Location—As today’s farms and
ranches increase in size, land farmed is often
separated by long distances, necessitating the need
to transport of farm machinery on public roads.
•
Unskilled Operators—Because of today’s large and
complicated equipment, skillful operators are a must!
The operator must be attentive and react quickly if
needed when moving along roadways.
•
Motorists Unfamiliar with Slow-Moving-Vehicle
(SMV) Signs—Motorists may not slow down when
approaching a slow-moving farm machine. Because
of this accidents frequently occur between farm
equipment and motorists traveling in the same
direction.
•
Improper Transport Techniques—
Failure to securely
tie down equipment on truck beds
or transport
trailers can cause
equipment to slide
off when going
around a curve or
when turning, especially when traveling at high
speeds.
Size of the
Machinery—
Today’s large
equipment sometimes overlaps into
other lanes,
creating a hazardous situation.
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Preventing Public Road Accidents
2 of 4 pages
•
Outdated Equipment—Some older equipment may
only have minimal lighting or markings or the lights
may not be working.
•
Towing Equipment
Too Fast—The
equipment may
start to sway,
causing the
operator to lose
control. Towing
implements only
with a chain can
be extremely hazardous, especially if there is no
means to provide tension other than applying
brakes.
•
•
Extra Riders—
Riders on equipment can fall off
and be run over
by oncoming
traffic, or by the
farm machine
itself. Dogs and
other animals
falling out of transport vehicles also create hazards
to motorists.
•
Poor Maintenance of Machinery—Tractors in poor
repair, with no brakes or bald tires, are extremely
hazardous.
•
Time of the Year—Heavy seasonal use by equipment
and other vehicles such as during planting, haying,
and harvesting increases the potential for an
accident.
Poor Road Conditions—Potholes, ditches, rough
roads, and wash-outs can throw the operator off the
machine, or cause the operator to lose control.
Prevention of Road Accidents
1. Train equipment operators about proper machinery
operation and use. The operators should be licensed drivers and should know and obey the laws
and rules of safe driving and of farm machinery
operation on public roads. The operators must obey
the same laws as motor vehicles: stopping at stop
signs, signaling direction, obeying speed limits, etc.
2. Maintain equipment properly: check brakes, tires,
lights, and steering to make sure they are working
properly.
3. Each tractor and piece of equipment must have the
proper lighting to be transported or driven on
public roads. Make sure these lights can be seen.
The American Society of Agricultural Engineers
recommends that:
a. Install two white headlights on front, as far apart
as possible, and at the same level.
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b. Mount two flashing amber lights at least 42
inches high in both front and rear. These can be
used as signal lights as well.
c. Place on rear left at least one red taillight. If two
red lights are used, mount the other as far right
as possible.
d. Mount two red reflectors that are visible from the
rear. If towed or mounted equipment obscures
the rear lights, mount two flashing amber lights
on the equipment as far apart as possible.
Modify older machines to conform to state
lighting laws.
4. If a public road crosses your farm yard, install
warning signs and/or flashing amber lights at
points down the road that can be activated from the
house, machine shed, or barn to warn motorists that
farm equipment is crossing the road ahead.
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Preventing Public Road Accidents
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5. See and be seen.
Clean off windshields and lights.
Clear away blind
spots where
machines enter
and leave the
roadway so that
motorists can see
the machinery from a distance (this includes
intersections that have tall trees or crops along the
road). Turn lights on at dusk or in times of poor
visibility such as fog, rain, blowing dust, or cloudy
conditions. Use flashers when on roadways. Have
pilot vehicles ahead and behind wide equipment.
Replace damaged or faded SMV signs.
6. Use slow-moving-vehicle (SMV) signs. This is the
universal sign to warn motorists that a slow-movingvehicle is ahead. Remember that SMVs are to be
used on vehicles traveling slower than 25 mph.
7. Before entering the roadway, stop and look both
directions. Make sure you have enough time to
cross the road or enter the road if traffic is coming
or is close. It takes a tractor about 10 seconds to
cross a road. A car going 55 mph will travel about
800 feet in that time span. If you have a rear light
turned to white for field work, turn it off or to red
before entering the roadway.
8. Be aware of the
road conditions.
Know where the
hazards exist
before you start,
such hazards
include potholes,
ditches, washouts,
narrow bridges,
blind corners, and
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9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
sharp curves. Look out for mailboxes and road
signs. Trying to avoid these may cause you to drive
in the other lane. Be aware of traffic in both
directions. Know how wide your equipment is and
the route you are planning to take.
Slow down when leaving the road. Turning too fast
can whip the towed equipment into the path of
oncoming traffic or cause a side overturn.
Do not allow extra riders at any time for any
reason. Extra riders can be easily thrown off and
injured by the farm machine or oncoming traffic.
Go down a steep
hill in the same
gear that you
used to go up the
hill. This will help
maintain control
of the machine
and the load.
Equip large
trailers or equipment with separate brakes since your tractor or
truck may not have the braking power to stop a
free-coasting trailer.
Securely tie down equipment to transport trailers
and truck beds. When transporting equipment on
trailers or in trucks, slow down around curves since
equipment may shift and break the chains holding
it, especially large tractors or implements. Use
trucks and trailers with beds wide and heavy
enough for the load. Also, use proper sized chains
and tie-down clamps.
When towing equipment, make sure it is secure by
using safety chains on the tow bars. Use the proper
size ball and hitch assembly. Lock tractor brake
pedals together to ensure adequate braking on both
wheels when traveling down roadways.
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Preventing Public Road Accidents
4 of 4 pages
14. Maintain speeds that are appropriate for the area,
the road conditions, and the time of the year.
15. Prepare implements for transport. Raise hydraulic
wings and lock them in place. Relocate hitch points,
remove headers, and do what is necessary to make
equipment narrower for the road. Also, perform a
pre-trip road check on the machinery.
16. Assist large machines, such as combines, with pilot
vehicles equipped with flashing amber lights and
signs warning of an oversized load.
17. Drive slow moving vehicles as far right as possible
but stay on the road. Traveling on the shoulder may
be hazardous for two reasons:
a. Motorists may try to pass in hazardous situations.
b. The shoulder may be soft or may have ruts or
potholes causing the operator to lose control.
Slow down to let vehicles pass and get as far
over as safely possible. Stop until all vehicles
pass you.
18. Stay off public roadways with farm machinery after
dark unless absolutely necessary and then only
when your vehicle and equipment is adequately
lighted for night travel.
REMEMBER:
IF SAFETY IS NOT PRACTICED
IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST; IT PAYS!
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Preventing Public Road Accidents
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P a c i f i c
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Backhoe and Loader Operational Safety
Backhoes and loaders are useful tools on farms and ranches. Accidents involving backhoes and loaders occur and
are often tragic. While accidents may be similar to those that happen to tractors the additonal of an attached backhoe
and/or loader increases the likelihood of an accident due to increased height and length of the machine. Common
accidents with these machines are overturns, falls, runovers and contact with other people and other objects. Because
of the size of these machines and added features, increased diligence is needed to prevent accidents.
Causes of Injuries with Backhoes and Loaders
• Overturns caused by turning uphill on a steep
• Starting the tractor in gear. If a person is either
slope. Turning too fast on a downhill slope may
also cause an overturn.
•
behind or in front of the tractor wheels they could
be run over before they can get out of the way
should the tractor move after started.
Loaders may
overturn if the
bucket is raised
too high when
loaded especially
on uneven ground
and in turns. The
higher the bucket
is raised, the more
unstable that the tractor is.
•
Poor maintenance and work around machines.
Hazards include leaving shields off or wearing
loosely secured clothing while working around
turning PTO shafts.
•
Hitting an object
such as a ditch,
stump, or hole
while moving can
cause an overturn
or cause the
operator or an
extra rider to fall
off and be
runover.
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•
Falls caused by slipping on the platform or steps
while mounting or dismounting or by falling out of
the bucket as it is being used to transport or lift a
another worker.
•
A common
accident when
using industrial
equipment occurs
when the loader
falls on another
person or when a
load falls due to
inadequate ropes,
chains, or cables to lift objects, or inattentive
operators.
•
Excavating unstable soil, undercutting a bank with
a backhoe, or operating too close to a steep bank
or excavation can result in an overturn.
•
Improper equipment transport. Among the hazards
are failure to properly tie down backhoes and
loaders to trucks or trailers and failure to have
proper lights and slow-moving-vehicle signs. Not
observing traffic rules when on public roadways
also can cause accidents.
E x t e n s i o n
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P u b l i c a t i o n
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Backhoe and Loader Safety
2 of 4 pages
Preventing Injuries from Backhoes and Loaders
9. Add ballast or
rear weight when
a heavy load
makes this
precaution
necessary.
10. When excavating
with the backhoe
on a hill, swing
the backhoe uphill to dump the load in order to
maintain stability. Dumping downhill may cause the
machine to tip.
11. Always shut off the engine, lower the bucket and
backhoe, and apply the parking brake before
dismounting the machine.
12. Use extreme caution when back filling. The weight
of the fill material added to the weight of the loader
could cause the edge of a new excavation site to
collapse. Before starting to back fill, walk over the
area and test the soil for stability.
13. Keep steps and
platforms clean
and uncluttered of
parts, tools and
debris. Do not
mount or dismount when the
machine is
moving. Wear
proper footwear
with good gripping soles.
14. Never use a front end loader as a man lift as the
hydraulic system may fail or someone can accidentally touch the controls causing the worker to fall.
Use proper lift equipment for the job.
1. Slow down when
conditions dictate
to do so. Some
examples are
traveling on
rough ground,
going up or down
a slope when
towing or carrying heavy loads, when entering public roadways,
and when turning with a load in the bucket.
2. Know the machine that your are operating. Read
and review the operator’s manual. Get familiar with
the controls before working with the backhoe or
loader.
3. Know the area where you are operating. Locate
ditches, stumps, debris, and undercut banks and
avoid these hazards by keeping a safe distance
away.
4. When front-end loaders carry high loads, be aware
of overhead obstacles such as power lines.
5. Keep the bucket as low as possible to ensure
stability and increase your visibility and to become
aware of bystanders. Raise the loader only when
necessary to dump.
6. When excavating with a backhoe, never undercut
the area beneath the backhoe stabilizers. If you
suspect the soil is unstable, use a platform under the
rear wheels and stabilizers to prevent cave-ins.
7. Do not allow extra riders PERIOD.
8. Make sure that the machine is not in gear before
starting. Always start from the driver’s seat. Make
sure no one is in front of the wheels when starting
the machine. Do not bypass safety systems that
prevent the newer tractors from starting when in
gear.
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15. Use machines equipped with roll over protective
structure (ROPS) and seat belts. Seat belts will
prevent the operator from being thrown out and
crushed in a rollover.
16. Be sure the area
is safe and clear
of bystanders
before you start
excavating or
moving the
backhoe. Keep
rear-view mirrors
clean and in good
condition. Use
back up alarms when in reverse gear.
17. Know you equipment and its capacity. Train all
workers in proper, safe operation of the equipment.
When lifting objects, use cables and chains in good
condition and strong enough for the job. Do not
allow a person to walk or work under a raised
load.
18. Operate the backhoe or loader only from the
operator’s seat.
19. When transporting equipment, be alert to potential
hazards, caused by poor visibility, adverse ground
conditions, excessive speed, unstable loads, or
other vehicles in the area. Use slow-moving-vehicle
signs on the tractor and have the proper lights:
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20.
21.
22.
23.
flashing yellow and solid red for the rear and
flashing yellow lights for the front as well as headlights. Turn headlights on when transporting on
public roadways. Slow down. Travel only as fast as
conditions allow.
Be aware of the
environment
around you at all
times. This
includes low
hanging power
lines, tree limbs,
bridges, or other
obstacles. Know
where gas,
power, and phone lines are buried before you start
to dig.
Be careful when lifting round objects such as bales,
poles, etc., in the bucket. Raising the bucket too
high or tipping the bucket too far back could result
in these objects rolling rearward down the loader
arms onto the operator.
Visually check for hydraulic leaks or malfunctioning
parts.
Make sure hydraulic lines are connected properly
after repairs, otherwise an accident is likely to occur
when a control operates in a direction other than it
should.
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Backhoe and Loader Safety
4 of 4 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Backhoe and Loader Safety
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Safe Har vesting Operations:
Preventing Accidents While Harvesting Hay and Forages
Harvesting hay or other forage crops involves many different operations. These range from driving tractors, trucks
and hay conditioners; to loading, transporting and unloading crops; as well as transporting equipment; and making
repairs in the shop or in the field. Because of the many types of machines used, number of people and different
operations involved, accidents can and do occur during this busy season. Producers and managers need be aware of
the many hazards involved and stress safety to family members and field workers.
Causes of Accidents While Harvesting
Tractor Overturns
Working in
Unfamiliar Fields
This is the No. 1
cause of injury and
death on the farm or
ranch. Tractors will
overturn in many
ways such as traveling
too fast around a
corner; driving along
a steep slope; pulling
an unstable load (such as a load of loose bales that
shifts when going around a corner); a front-end loader
that is carried too high; hitting a hole, rut, or debris in
the field; or trying to free a tractor or truck that is stuck.
Hitting a hole, rut,
or stump may cause
an overturn, or throw
the operator from the
platform of the tractor
and cause an accident.
Unsafe Transport of Equipment
Going too fast, not having clear sight when turning
onto the road, failure to have the proper signs and
lights, and not driving defensively all contribute to
accidents. Driving on the shoulder—half on the road
and half off—is dangerous since it encourages people
to pass in possibly unsafe or dangerous situations.
Improper Use, Hitching, or Maintenance
of Implements
Harvesting forage and hay involves mowers, rakes,
balers, stackers, harrowbeds, loaders, and other
machines. All have moving parts that can easily entangle a person who comes in contact with them. If these
are used improperly, such as a platform for standing or
riding, the result could be falls and runovers by the
tractor or the implement. Improper hitching of the
implements could cause the tractor or truck to overturn.
Improper maintenance may result in loose parts flying
off and striking bystanders or workers. Trying to unclog
a machine when it is still running is a major reason for
serious accidents.
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Lifting Bales onto a Truck or Wagon
Sudden movements
by the truck or tractor
can throw workers off
balance. Workers can
fall off the platform
and be run over by
the machine, or they
can lose control of the
hay bale causing it to
fall off the platform and strike a worker.
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Harvesting Hay and Forages
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Prevention of Accidents While Harvesting
(Setting up for a Safe Harvest)
1. Remove stumps,
stones, or other
debris from the
field, or clearly
mark them to
prevent upsets,
turnovers, and
damage to
equipment. Also
mark ditches and
banks. Some banks are undercut. You need to be
aware that what appears to be the edge may not be
solid, but that there may be an open space below it.
2. Slow down when working on hillsides. Plan harvesting so that equipment travels downhill on steep
slopes to avoid overturns. Space tractor and
equipment wheels as far apart as possible when
operating on slopes.
3. Keep equipment well maintained and in good
repair. Keep all shields in place, especially the PTO
shield. Keep platforms clear of debris. Never mount
or dismount a machine when it is moving. Make
sure all machines are hooked up correctly—do not
hook up a 540 rpm mower to a 1,000 rpm PTO.
Operating a mower or forage harvester at excessive speed can cause machine failure and possible
injuries from flying debris if parts fail.
4. Never try to unclog a machine when it is still
moving or in operation. For that matter, never
attempt to work on any machine for any reason
while it is still in operation or running. Several
machines involved in harvesting forages have cutter
bars, augers, reels, crimper rolls, and other moving
parts. There are different safety precautions for
each of several different machines.
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Cutterbars: Stop the tractor and disengage the
PTO. Raise the cutterbar and back up. Shut off the
engine and engage the parking brake or shift the
transmission into park (or neutral). Pull hay away
from cutterbar. Check for broken guards or knife
sections. Lower cutterbar. Start engine and engage
PTO at low speed. Ease mower into standing hay
and resume operation.
Reels, Crimper Rolls, and Augers: Stop the
engine and disengage the PTO before doing any
work on them. Wait until the part has stopped
moving. Back the material out of the equipment to
unclog the unit.
5. Although balers and bale handling systems have
different parts, the same techniques apply when
working on balers and bale handling systems.
Disengage the PTO after shutting off the tractor.
Wait for the flywheel and other moving parts to
stop. Test the bale-knotter by turning the shut-off
system by hand to see in slow motion what is
happening with the bale-knotter. Keep hands away
and observe. The same safety precautions apply to
round balers. Bale ejectors are for throwing bales
or rolling them into place. Never allow someone to
stand behind or work on the ejector while the PTO
and engine are operating.
6. When loading
bales manually,
be sure that the
driver does not
start and stop
suddenly. This can
throw workers off
the wagon or
truck. Make sure
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Harvesting Hay and Forages
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7.
8.
9.
10.
General Safety Reminders
workers do not ride on top of the stack. They could
fall off and be run over. Instruct workers to be
aware of the stack condition and where fellow
workers are throwing the bales. Bales falling off the
stack can strike a worker and result in a serious
injury.
Block or secure
machines such as
headers, bars,
stackers, when
working on them.
Block the wheels
too. This will keep
the machine from
falling or rolling
on workers as it is
being repaired.
Many machines have hydraulic systems that can
potentially cause serious injury if not kept in good
repair and handled properly. Keep fluid clean and
check often for damage to the system. Use a piece
of cardboard to check for hydraulic leaks, as the
high pressure can penetrate the skin. Many machines also have belts and chains. Keep these in
good repair and have the right tension on them at
all times.
Be sure the tractor has front end ballast. This will
prevent the tractor from tipping backwards.
Big balers form bales weighing as much as 2,000
pounds. Do not eject bales where they might start
rolling. Not much will stop a 2,000 pound bale if it
starts to roll. Observe all safety precautions regarding to the PTO and the hydraulic systems. Do not let
anyone stand near the rear of the baler when a
bale is coming out. Again, stop the engine and
disengage the PTO before dismounting to work on
the baler.
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1. Know your
machine! Read
the operator’s
manual before a
machine is
operated for the
first time. If the
machine has not
been operated
for a long time,
first get familiar with the machine’s operation.
2. Wait! Be sure the harvester is completely stopped
before hooking up any wagons, doing any
repairs, or servicing or unclogging the header or
other parts. This is especially true for the
cutterhead, auger, rollers, crimpers, and PTO
shafts. These parts may continue to rotate for
several minutes, even after the engine stops. Do
not open shields until these parts have completely
stopped. Keep all doors and shields tightly latched
during operation. Replace or repair all damaged
shields.
3. Stay out of
danger! Never
stand under or
near the discharge spout of
harvesters. Hard
objects can
become dangerous projectiles.
4. Take your time!
Do not be in a hurry. Slow down and be safe.
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Harvesting Hay and Forages
4 of 4 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Harvesting Hay and Forages
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Preventing Accidents While Harvesting Small Grains
Safety procedures for harvesting small grains have unique concepts that must be learned and followed in order to
ensure a safe and productive harvest. Every year new safety devices and procedures are developed to make combines
and other equipment safer to operate. However, responsibility for safety remains with the operator. Each operator must
be aware of hazards and remain alert to situations that are potentially dangerous.
Safety Procedures for Combines
Safety Before Starting
the cab door and
shout, “is everyone
clear,” and wait for a
reply if you are
working with someone. Do not allow
extra riders on the
machine with you.
Before starting the
combine: sound the
horn (if it is equipped with one), disengage the header
drive, disengage the separator drive, place the gearshift
in neutral and depress the clutch pedal. Because starting
fluid is extremely flammable you need to be careful if
using starting fluid on diesel engines.
Before attempting
to start the combine
the first time each
season, study the
operator’s manual. It
has operating information and specific
safety recommendations for that particular machine.
Regular maintenance is important. Clean the combine to remove trash around the exhaust system, which
can cause fires. Tools and debris on the platform or in
the cab can lead to injuries from slipping or tripping
and falling. Open the doors of the machine shed if the
combine has been stored inside. This will prevent fumes
from injuring workers.
Check tire pressure each day. Under-inflation can
cause the tire to fail. Over-inflated tires can cause more
“bounce to the ounce” resulting in loss of control.
Check the brakes once a week. With hydraulic
brakes, make sure the master cylinder is full and not
leaking and that no air is in the lines.
Check the cylinder rocking bar to see if it is clear of
the cylinder. Make sure all shields are in place. Always
use the hand rails for mounting and dismounting.
Operating Safety
Combine operation
requires constant
attention by the
operator. Never
operate the combine
in poor health or if
you are sleepy. Keep
alert at all times.
Wear proper protective equipment and
clothing, such as appropriate footwear.
Check the field before harvesting for ditches, debris,
fences, bank overhangs, and other obstacles. Be aware
of the weather conditions.
Starting the Combine
Before mounting the combine, make sure everyone is
clear. Even after getting into the operator’s seat, open
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Slow down when operating or turning on hillsides,
and avoid sharp turns. Slow down when you have a full
grain tank. This makes the combine top heavy and more
subject to rollovers, especially if grain tank extensions
are used.
Always sit down when operating a combine, especially over rough ground. Be careful when activating the
leveling devices on a hillside combine. When using the
brakes to make sharp turns, slow down and always turn
the steering wheel before applying the brakes to assist
turning. Failure to do so can cause the combine to
swerve and turn dangerously.
rely on the hydraulic system alone to hold the header up
as it may fail. Use secure supports when working on
any part of the combine that can move or fall.
Keep all shields and safety devices in place and in
proper operating condition. Keep all belts, chains, and
other adjustable items aligned and in good condition.
Install a spark arresting muffler when operating in
dry fields. Avoid sparks or flames when working on the
battery. The hydrogen gas emitted by the battery may
explode.
Refueling and Fluids
Always try to refuel outside of the field. Do not smoke
or allow any flames nearby when refueling. Allow the
combine to cool before refueling. This includes the
engine, the cooling system, and the exhaust system.
High-pressure fluid leaks in the hydraulic or diesel fuel
system are extremely dangerous. The leaks can be small
and not seen and can penetrate the skin. When checking for leaks, use a piece of stiff paper, cardboard, or
wood.
If injury does occur,
seek medical help
immediately. Always
carry a first aid kit.
Keep at least one 2A
10BC Dry Chemical
Fire Extinguisher on
the combine at all
times.
Field Repair and Maintenance Safety
Always keep the machine clean to prevent fires and
falling. Before doing any repair or servicing on the
combine, turn off the engine, disengage all drives, and
wait for any moving parts to stop completely. Never try
to unclog a machine when it is still operating or moving.
Stay clear of all
moving parts. Corn
headers can pull
material 12 feet long
through in one
second—faster than
you can let go.
Wear protective
gear and clothing: ear
plugs, eye protection,
head protection, and
proper fitting clothing
and footwear.
Use proper lifting
techniques when
lifting heavy parts.
When working on
the header, block it up
with supports. Never
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Stopping the Combine Safely
Disengage all headers, drives, and put gear shift in
neutral. Lower the header. Apply the parking brake.
Remove the ignition key to prevent accidental starting or
to prevent tampering, especially when working on the
machine or when it is parked. The hydrostatic drive unit
is not an effective parking brake.
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3 of 4 pages
Transporting the Combine
General Safety Reminders
For long distances, haul the combine on a flatbed
truck or trailer. When towing a combine make sure the
load is secure. Slow down; be aware of the dangers of
driving in towns, narrow roads, bridges, under low
bridges, low power, or telephone lines, and adjust for
general weather and road conditions. When driving the
combine on roads, use the flashing lights, rear tail
lights, slow moving vehicle signs, and headlights and
have a pilot car in front and back with flashing lights.
Always lock the brake pedals together to ensure
adequate, even braking. Be careful when applying
brakes if the header is still attached. The added weight
of the header could cause the machine to tip forward
and even crash into the ground or preceding vehicles.
Put the unloading auger in the transport position,
making sure it does not interfere with the safety lights.
On self-propelled combines, never use the header
safety support when transporting the machine. Raise the
header enough for safe ground clearance, but not high
enough to reduce visibility. On pull-type combines,
always use the header support when transporting the
machine.
Slow down when making turns, always plan your
route and know where there may be dangerous corners
or poor visibility. Never coast downhill; go down hill in
the same gear with which you used to go up the hill.
When the combine is moving, you cannot shift it back
into gear. Always maintain control of the machine.
1. Know your machine! Take time to review the
operator’s manual before the harvest season.
2. Keep alert! Get
plenty of rest at
night and take
frequent rest
breaks during the
day.
3. Prevent fires!
Keep the combine
clean and refuel
the machine after
it has cooled off. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
4. Wait! Make sure all moving parts are stopped
before working in them. Replace all shields.
5. Be aware! Know the conditions of the field you are
operating in. When on the road turn on the
warning lights
and be aware of
traffic approaching from the front
and rear. Before
starting or moving
the machine make
sure everyone is
clear.
Safe Towing
Never tow the combine at speeds higher than 20
mph. Always keep the transmission in neutral or the
“tow” position if the combine is so equipped. Never tow
a combine equipped with hydrostatic drive since towing
can cause damage to the drive unit.
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P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Small Grain Harvesting
4 of 4 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Small Grain Harvesting
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
E x t e n s i o n
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P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Truck Safety:
Preventing Accidents with Trucks and Trailers
Transporting crops from the field to the storage or processing center is an important part of the farm operation.
Farm trucks compete with other drivers on the road and are susceptible to accidents due to infrequent operation, poor
roads or driving conditions, inexperienced drivers, and poor equipment maintenance. Proper maintenance and
training are important to prevent a potentially serious accident.
Causes of Accidents
•
•
•
•
•
Truck Overturns—Major causes of accidents are
driving too close to ditches or on soft shoulders,
driving on slopes with an uneven load, and raising
the truck bed on uneven ground.
Crushed by the Bed—Failure to block a raised bed
while working on the hoist can result in the bed
coming down on
a person.
Backing—About
25 percent of
accidents involving trucks are a
result of backing
over a person or
into an object.
Vehicle Collisions—Accidents resulting from poor
brakes, nonworking signals, or driver fatigue are
common during the harvest season.
Transporting Equipment or Other Materials on
Trailers—Failure to load and secure equipment or
•
•
other materials properly can cause the load to
either fall off trailers or cause the towing vehicle to
lose control.
Overloaded
Trucks or Trailers—Overloading
trucks or trailers
puts additional
strain on the
vehicle, particularly the brakes
and tires. Towing a trailer with a weight heavier
than the towing vehicle will lead to loss of control,
especially down hills.
Loads That Shift Weight—Livestock will shift weight
when turning corners or when making sudden
swerves. Liquids in tanks will slosh back and forth if
no baffles are installed in the tank. Maintaining the
control of a truck is difficult when weight slips
especially on poor road conditions.
Prevention of Truck and Trailer Accidents
Trucks
2. Be familiar with the truck operation and driving
characteristics before operating the truck (e.g.,
room needed to make a turn or how high the bed
will be raised. New drivers need to have a valid
driver’s license and be trained before hauling loads.
Drivers need to be aware that a loaded truck will
take longer to stop than other vehicles.
1. Proper maintenance is important for truck safety.
Daily inspection should include checking tire
pressure and condition, brake and all other fluids,
lights and turn signals, as well as making sure that
windshields are clean and mirrors are clean and
adjusted properly.
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3. Follow all traffic laws established for the state.
4. Drivers need to be alert when driving any vehicle
especially a truck. A loaded truck takes longer to
stop and get up to highway speed than other
vehicles. Cars pulling out in front of trucks are
common, making
it necessary to
slow down.
Drivers need to
take frequent
safety breaks such
as stretching and
breathing deeply.
Getting out and
walking around
the vehicle helps. If feeling drowsy, stop and have
some coffee or soup—don’t drive.
5. Increase the following distance from other vehicles
on the road. Use the 4-second rule—count 1001,
1002, 1003, 1004.
6. Keep the same distance away from a ditch as the
ditch is deep in fields on unstable roads.
7. Do not drive on soft shoulders of road-ways because the shoulder can give way causing a loaded
truck to tip over.
8. Be aware of the conditions of the field. Make sure
that drivers are aware of any potential problem
areas in a field.
9. On hilly terrain drive trucks on top of hills. Travel as
much as possible straight up or down hills. Traversing a hill with a load will cause a problem especially if the load is concentrated on the down-hill
side. Keep the load evenly distributed. On extremely
hilly ground it is better to bring the combine to the
truck than drive the truck to the combine.
10. Make sure that approaches and bridges are
adequate to carry the weight of a loaded truck.
11. Regularly inspect brakes on semi trailers.
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12. Be aware of the “blind spots” in mirrors, especially
when turning and changing lanes.
13. Sound horn when backing to indicate your intentions. Be aware of others in the area. In a congested
area either have a spotter direct you or get out of
the cab and look over the situation before backing
up. Consider installing backup alarms.
14. Be aware of children in the area. Before moving a
truck know where the child is at all times.
15. Be aware of the characteristics of the load that is
being carried. Livestock will have a tendency to shift
during turns while in transport, liquids will slosh if
the tank is not full, and high loads may come into
contact with power lines or tree branches.
16. Load and unload equipment using a solid loading
ramp. Trying to drive onto a trailer or truck from a
roadbed is risky and has been a cause of many
accidents.
17. Before loading a truck or trailer be sure to use
wheel chocks to prevent the truck from moving while
being loaded.
18. Do not overload a truck. An overloaded truck is
hard to steer and stop. Also, the additional weight
puts stress on the tires, suspension, cooling system,
and drive train.
19. When parked set the parking brake and move the
shift lever to the neutral position if the engine’s
running and put in gear when engine is stopped.
20. Always block or brace the bed of a truck when
working on it in
the raised position.
21. Make sure load
clears overhead
obstacles such as
power lines,
bridges, and
overpasses.
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22. Only raise a loaded bed on level ground. A raised
bed rises the center of gravity. Side overturns are
common on sloped ground or when a truck makes a
turn with the bed raised.
23. Maintain conveyer belts and pulleys in beds
equipped with them. Make sure electrical connections are in good condition and wired and
grounded properly for the site that they will be
used.
4. Use tie downs or
chain binders to
secure loads to
the trailer. Check
bindings after
you traveled
some distance to
be sure the load
has not shifted.
5. Load trailers properly. Put about 60 percent of the
load toward the front. Too little weight in the front
will cause the trailer to fishtail. Too much weight will
cause the hitch to drag and may raise the front of
the towing vehicle, which reduces steering control.
6. Keep decks free of dirt, oil, and debris. Steel decks
can be slippery when wet, and extra caution is
needed when loading and unloading.
7. Do not overload the trailer. Make sure the truck will
be able to handle the load. Check the owner’s
manual of the truck for gross vehicle weight and
other information regarding towing capacities.
8. When towing a trailer down a hill use the same
gear and speed as when going up the hill.
9. Make sure tilt beds are in the locked position before
moving.
Trailers
1. Make sure trailers
are properly
hitched to the
towing vehicle.
Use safety chains
and attach the
lighting connector.
Make sure signal
lights work
properly.
2. Inspect tires and wheel bearings before each use.
Make sure bearings are properly lubricated. If the
trailer has brakes inspect them daily and make sure
all connections are in tact.
3. Load and unload on level surfaces. Always make
sure the brakes are locked before loading.
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Truck Safety
4 of 4 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Truck Safety
A
P a c i f i c
I d a h o
N o r t h w e s t
•
Farm Safety Series PNW 512
E x t e n s i o n
O r e g o n
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Agricultural Machinery Maintenance:
Preventing Shop Accidents
Equipment maintenance and repair is necessary to avoid down time and to minimize major repairs. However,
maintaining and repairing machines can lead to serious injury. Workers should be trained in shop safety and have the
proper equipment to minimize or even eliminate the impact of shop accidents.
•
•
•
•
•
Improper Lifting—
By lifting incorrectly or lifting
items that are too
heavy or awkward
causes back injury
that results in lost
work time or even
permanent
disability.
Causes of Injuries When Repairing Machines
• Dropping Heavy
or Sharp Objects—Heavy or
sharp objects that
are dropped on
hands, feet, head,
or other parts of
the body can cut,
smash, or crush.
The worker who
fails to wear gloves, hard hats, steel-toed shoes, or
other protective gear often suffers the worst injuries.
Poorly Maintained Tools—Using tools, such as
chisels with mushroomed heads, could result in a
piece of metal flinging off and hitting a bystander or
the worker. The ragged edge of the tool also can cut
workers.
Improper Hydraulic System Maintenance—Hydraulic systems can produce pressures of over 2,000
pounds per square inch. Pinhole leaks in a hydraulic
system under this pressure can easily penetrate skin.
Always use a piece of paper or cardboard to locate
leaks along hydraulic lines.
Using the Wrong Tool for the Job—Sometimes we
are tempted to use a wrench as a hammer, but the
wrench can glance off the object and cause serious
injury.
•
No Safety Shields—Shop equipment and tools
should have the proper shielding in place, such as
grinding wheels with the protective aids. Fragments
of the wheel or tool being ground can fly off and
injure someone.
•
Bad Wiring—Substandard or obsolete wiring in the
shop can cause severe electrical shock and even
death. The old two-wire outlet and older power tools
do not provide a ground, thus exposing the worker
to the potential of an electrical shock.
•
Unsafe Work Areas and Habits—Examples of
unsafe conditions are such things as incorrect use of
a ladder, not blocking hydraulically-supported
machinery when working on it, working in an
elevated position without proper footing, not using
the right supports or safety equipment, and cluttered
work areas.
Unsafe Repair in Field—Many accidents occur when
repairing machines in the field without stabilizing
them so that the machine will not roll or fall and
crush the worker.
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Preventing Shop Accidents
2 of 4 pages
•
Personal Protective Equipment—
Not wearing the
necessary protective equipment
and clothing for
the job results in
many injuries each
year. Protection
may be needed for eyes, ears, head, feet, hands,
and the body for certain jobs. Loose, dangling
clothing can become entangled in machinery
causing severe injury and even death.
•
Repairing Machinery While Running—Trying to
unclog a machine while it is running, tightening a
bolt, or doing other repairs is an accident waiting to
happen. Serious or even fatal injuries may result in
you being crushed, cut, or pulled into machinery at
shear points, crush points, pinch points, wrap points,
and pull-in points of the machine. Servicing springs
is also dangerous because of the stored energy in
springs.
•
Poorly Maintained Work Area—Leaving oil or other
fluids or debris on the floors and work benches can
cause falls.
Prevention of Injuries When Repairing Machines
1. Develop safe work areas, good habits, and establish good housekeeping practices.
2. Train workers and family members and encourage
safe work habits.
3. Maintain machinery properly and promptly when
repairs are needed. This eliminates down time and
worker exposure to hazards of repairing machines.
Read operating and repair manuals and keep them
handy. Study manuals to know how to perform the
task at hand, and train your workers to study them
also.
4. Slow down and
take time to think.
Visualize what
steps need to be
taken. Do not rush
a job! Accidents
happen when the
workers hurry to
get a machine
back into production and they do not take the time to be safe.
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5. Turn off the machine when working on it. Prevent
others from accidentally starting the machine by
removing the keys or the battery cable. Lock the
brakes and stabilize the machine as best you can
by using blocks in conjunction with the machine’s
own safety devices. Do not use a jack alone to
stabilize a raised machine! If the work can’t be
done without the proper support, do not work on
the machine until you can properly support it.
6. Keep shields and guards in place. Replace them
when they are damaged or missing. Remember to
put back guards and shields that were removed for
repairs.
7. Wear proper clothing and protective gear. Do not
wear loose, dangling clothes that can become
entangled in moving parts. Wear protection appropriate to the job such as gloves, eye protection, ear
protection, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes. Wear
welding masks and goggles, gloves, and leather
aprons when welding. If working with chemicals,
wear the protective equipment specified by the
label.
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Preventing Shop Accidents
3 of 4 pages
8. Use ladders
properly. Firmly
place the ladder
on the ground
with a distance
away from the
wall no more than
1 foot for every 4
feet of height. Do
not use metal ladders near power lines or other
areas that may cause electrical shock.
9. Lift objects correctly. An injured back means lost
work, pain, and/or disability. Lifting subjects the
back to its greatest stress. Train your workers to lift
properly. Keep the back straight while using the legs
to lift the object. If heavy objects are to be lifted,
provide back supports for workers. Better yet—use
mechanical lifting devices.
10. Have a hazardfree shop. A welllit, clean work
bench and work
area, along with
a regular cleaning schedule of
the shop area,
will go a long
way in eliminating hazards. If your shop doesn’t
have proper wiring, install an up-to-date electrical
system in the shop including a grounded 120 volt
three- wire outlet system with a ground fault circuit
interrupter available for outdoor use or in areas that
may be wet.
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11. When working on electrically powered equipment,
lock out the control box to prevent someone from
accidentally turning on the equipment while someone is working on it.
12. Isolate hazardous work areas. Have a proper
storage area for paints, pesticides and oily rags. A
separate area is needed for welding with a fan to
vent gases from welding. Keep compressed gas
welding cylinders in a safe area and secured so that
no one can accidentally knock cylinders over and
accidentally break off the valves, which could cause
an explosion. Keep protective clothing and gear on
hand for all operations. Know where it is and how
much you have!
12. Be aware of
common safety
hazards. Look
around and spot
potential accidents and eliminate the hazards
as much as
possible. Take the
time to look where you are going: not only ahead,
but behind, to the side and above. Remove a
potential hazard. It is much cheaper to take a few
extra minutes and remove a hazard than to pay for
the hospital bills or worker’s compensation if a
worker is hurt on the job.
REMEMBER:
IF SAFETY IS NOT PRACTICED
IT WON’T BE USED.
SAFETY DOES NOT COST; IT PAYS!
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Preventing Shop Accidents
4 of 4 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Preventing Shop Accidents
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N o r t h w e s t
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E x t e n s i o n
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Using Hand Signals to Prevent Accidents
Often noise from tractors and other farm equipment prevent operators from hearing or communicating with others.
Hand signals provide an excellent way to inform workers of the operator’s intentions or for the supervisor to give
instructions to the workers on various operating procedures. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers has
established a set of hand signals for farm machinery operators. All family members and workers should learn and use
these signals. Hand signals along with radios and other communication devices can be part of a total farm and ranch
communication system.
Hand Signals
• Start the Engine—Move
arm in a circle at waist
level, as though you were
cranking an engine.
• Move Out/Take Off—Face
desired direction of movement. Extend arm straight
out behind you, then swing
it overhead and forward
until it’s straight out in front
of you, with the palm down.
• Stop the Engine—Move
your right arm across your
neck from left to right in a
“throat cutting” motion.
• Speed It Up—Clenching
your fist, bend your arm so
that your hand is at shoulder level. Thrust arm up and
down several times.
• Move Toward Me/Follow
Me—Look toward vehicle or
person you want moved. If
more than one person or
vehicle is present then point
to the one you want to
move. Hold one hand in
front of you, palm facing you, and move your
forearm back and forth.
• Slow It Down—Extend arm
straight out to the side,
palm down. Keeping arm
straight, move it up and
down several times.
• This Far to Go—Raise
hands in front of body,
palms facing each other.
Move hands together or
farther apart to indicate
how far to go.
• Come To Me (May mean
“Come help me” in an
emergency)—Raise arm
straight up, palm to the
front and rotate the arm in
a large circle.
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• Stop—Raise arm straight
up, palm to the front.
• Raise Equipment—Point
upward with forefinger,
while making a circle at
head level with your hand.
• Lower Equipment—Point
toward the ground with the
forefinger of one hand,
while moving the hand in a
circle.
Traffic Signals
Hand signals are widely accepted for traffic move• Left Turn—Extend left
ment and direction. Standard traffic signals should be
used by tractor operators when driving tractors and
when transporting equipment on roadways. This is
especially true when operating a tractor without a cab
and that does not have turn signals. The operator needs
to clearly indicate direction and intentions when on
roadways and these signals should be understood by all
motorists.
• Stop—Lower left hand
down to the side, palm to
the rear.
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hand and arm straight
out.
• Right Turn—Raise the left
hand up while bending the
elbow.
Hand signals provide a means for communicating
with workers in a noisy environment and with traffic on
roadways. Clear, understandable signals can also
prevent workers from being injured when they cannot
hear or see the signalling devices on the machine,
provide everyone knows and uses them.
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P u b l i c a t i o n
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Hand Signals
3 of 3 pages
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho. For more information about farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Hand Signals
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
E x t e n s i o n
O r e g o n
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P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
Electrical Safety
Electricity serves an important function on farms and ranches. It has proven to be a valuable servant to perform
such tasks as lighting, heating, crop processing, and irrigation pumping, as well as many other tasks. Because it is so
commonly used, we tend to take it for granted and many times fail to recognize the potential dangers that may be
present with electricity. It’s this common complacency that often leads to accidents related to electricity.
Causes of Accidents
•
•
•
Faulty wiring in buildings is a common cause of
injury on farms and ranches. Often the wiring
system is outdated or not kept up-to-date for it to
handle current loads. Corrosive environments and
rodents cause wiring to decay and create a hazardous situation.
accidents and electrical burns. Many sites have
voltages that range from 430 or more. Corrosion
and poor grounding are leading causes of injury.
Power cords that
are frayed or have
wires exposed is
common. Cords
are exposed to
heavy foot and
vehicle traffic and
other abrasive
actions that cause
wires to be frayed,
thus exposing them.
•
Poorly grounded tools or tools that have shorts or
other electrical malfunctions cause many electrical
injuries. Often work is done in wet or dusty
environments.
•
Contact with
power lines by
loaded trucks,
augers, irrigation
pipe, and other
farm equipment
causes many
injuries and
deaths. Overhead
wires are a common fixture in the farm and ranch
setting and in fields. Often the location of wires
overhead is not realized until it is too late.
Faulty wiring on irrigation systems and other high
voltage sites have the potential to cause serious
Prevention of Accidents
1. Have the wiring checked by a competent electrician.
Proper grounding is important in a farm or ranch
work environment. Be sure the wiring system is able
to handle the loads that will be used. This includes
the outlet boxes and the service entry boxes. Be
sure the circuit breakers are in good shape and not
corroded. All wires should have the insulation on.
Check for mouse nests and damage to wires.
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2. Use recommended fuses or circuit breakers for
circuits. Do not overload a circuit. If the fuses or
circuit breakers continue to “blow” do not replace
them with larger ones. Add another circuit.
3. Protect wiring from abrasive and corrosive environments by placing it in conduit or inside of a protective shield. Keep mice out of the electrical components since mice can eat the insulation material.
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4. Use explosion proof fixtures in dusty environments
such as a feed grinding area.
5. Check all extension cords for damage and be sure
the ground prong is attached. Use an extension
cord that is the same size or larger than the cord on
the tool or motor being used. Keep cords out of foot
and vehicle traffic areas as the constant contact with
the cords can cause abrasion and expose wiring.
Also, cords can be a tripping hazard.
6. In outdoor or moist environments use a GFCI
(Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) to prevent electrical injury should a short occur in the tools being
used.
7. Inspect power tools and cords often. Repair or
replace defective power tools, and never use a tool
that is known to have a short in it.
8. Do not use metal
ladders when
working around
power lines.
9. Locate overhead
power lines away
from work areas
such as around
grain bins where
augers will be
moved from bin to bin. Consider placing power
lines underground that pose potential problems such
as in grain storage and other crop storage areas. If
a live power line falls on a metal grain bin the
whole bin can be electrified creating a hazard to
anyone who comes in contact with it.
10. Make a map of all underground power lines and
make sure your workers have access to this information.
11. Prune trees away from power lines. The power
company may be able to assist you with this.
12. Before opening a high voltage power panel, such
as an irrigation system panel to inspect it or to turn
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13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
on or off the current, always brush the back of the
hand against the panel. This will allow you to free
yourself from the panel if electrified. If you grasp it
and the panel is electrified, then it is possible the
current flowing through you will not allow you to let
go of the panel.
Have a competent electrician check the wiring for
irrigation pumps and motors before each irrigation
season. Be sure that it is properly grounded.
Locate irrigation pipe storage areas away from
overhead power lines. Before moving irrigation
pipe, always look up.
Be aware of power lines during harvesting or
haying operations as raised equipment or loaders
can come into contact with power lines. Never
place bale stacks under power lines.
Be aware of clearance of tall equipment such as
combines, cultivators, and raised grain augers from
power lines. Have an observer watch for clearance
when moving under low overhead lines to prevent
contact with the wires.
Always turn off the electrical power and lock out
power boxes when doing repairs or maintenance
on an electrically powered device to prevent
another person from turning it on and causing an
accident.
Before using standby generators for emergency
power install a transfer switch to prevent power
from entering the power utility lines, which will
present a hazard to linemen working on the lines.
This switch also
protects your
generator.
Before digging
with a backhoe or
shovel know where
the underground
power lines are
located.
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Prevention of Further Injury or Death
1. Make sure family
members and
workers have
training in CPR
and First Aid.
2. All family members
and workers need
to know where the
main electrical shut
off switch is located.
3. Have fire extinguishers on hand that will handle
electrical fires. Use a general purpose dry chemical
fire extinguisher on electrical fires. Never use
water.
4. If another person is
electrocuted by a
power line or tool
or appliance, do
not remove the
person until the
power is turned off
or wire removed.
Do not remove a
live wire with a dry board as paint can conduct
electricity. Call the power company. They have the
equipment to do it safely.
Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho. For more information about farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Electrical Safety
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W a s h i n g t o n
Medical Emergencies:
Farm and Ranch Emergency Response
Farm and ranch accidents can and do occur. Being prepared for medical emergencies is important. Knowledge of
basic first aid is vital to rural residents since rescue personnel have to travel much longer distances in rural areas than
in the city. A typical emergency response is a few minutes in a city compared to one-half to several hours in rural
areas. Also compounding the issue is that injured persons may not be discovered until hours after the injury because
of the remoteness of the work areas.
Knowing what to do in the time before help arrives may make the difference between life or death or how well the
victim recovers after the accident. We must make a conscious effort to be prepared for emergencies, however remote
the possibility of an injury may seem.
Areas of Basic Knowledge and Preparedness
•
•
•
Have at least one
or two family
members and
workers trained in
basic first aid.
Ideally all workers
and family
members should
be trained in first
aid. If only one or two people are trained and they
are hurt or not around, then the victim is in trouble.
Be sure they keep their training updated. (CPR
annual, Basic First Aid bi-annual)
Everyone should know what to do in an emergency.
Develop a plan: know what to do in case of an
accident, health problem, and a natural disaster.
Have this plan on file and update the plan on a
regular basis. Practice the training and plans on a
regular basis so that workers have these concepts in
their minds always. Knowledge and preparedness
are the best way to fight fear and panic and help
everyone be calm in an emergency situation.
Rely on the experts. When confronted with an
emergency, assess the situation carefully and decide
what to do and in the correct order. Speed is vital in
most cases, but remember, first aid is only tempoA
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rary, on-the-spot assistance. It is not a substitute for
expert medical care.
Post all emergency numbers near the telephone.
Write down exact directions to the farm or ranch
including road numbers and landmarks so that
anyone can give the directions to the dispatcher.
Know what to do at the scene of an injury.
1. Protect yourself. Assess the situation. If a
dangerous situation exists then do not attempt to
assist the victim until the situation is under
control. If you are injured then you will not be
able to help the victim. Get help if needed.
2. Stabilize the scene. Make sure that the situation
does not get worse and cause additional harm to
the victim. For example, shut off fuel lines, turn
off the engine, or block raised components.
3. Stabilize the victim. Use the ABC’s of first aid—
Airway,
Breathing,
Circulation.
Make sure the
victim is able to
breath and that
the airway is
not obstructed.
If the victim is
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not breathing, perform rescue breathing. If the
heart is not working perform CPR. Control
bleeding and check for broken bones.
4. Call for help as soon as possible. Do not
attempt to move the victim unless there is a
danger to the victim (e.g., fire or explosion).
Moving the victim may make the injury worse,
especially with spinal cord injuries. Describe to
the dispatcher the nature of injuries and situation
so that the emergency response team can bring
the right equipment.
5. If possible have someone watch for emergency
personnel and direct them to the injury scene.
Wait for
emergency
personnel to
transport the
victim. If a
cellular phone
is available
take it to the
injury site so
you can get
assistance over the phone until emergency help
arrives or to help rescue personnel to find the
site.
Emergency Procedures for Specific Accidents
Tractor Rollovers
1. Fire is a constant threat because of fuel leaks on a
hot engine in an overturn situation. Shut off the fuel
supply and have an ABC-type extinguisher available.
2. Shut off engine and remove the key—even if it isn’t
running. Rear wheel movement could restart the
tractor. Turn off the fuel supply valve.
3. Block or crib the
tractor to prevent
further movement
and prevent
additional injuries
from occurring.
4. Unless trained for
rescue wait for
emergency
personnel to
extricate the victim.
around the shaft. Proper stabilization by emergency
personnel of the victim is necessary to prevent
further injury.
2. Turn off the power and block the implement to
ensure firm support. Secure the implement to
prevent movement. Do not attempt to disengage the
PTO as this can release pressure and create additional injury to the victim.
3. Unless trained for rescue, wait for emergency
personnel to extricate the victim. Do not attempt to
cut away clothing wrapped around the shaft as this
may act as a tourniquet and stop bleeding. Remove
clothing only if it restricts breathing.
4. Have someone available to assist the rescue personnel to remove or separate the ends of the shaft if
needed. If the rescue workers are unfamiliar with
the machine, get expert help from the local dealer.
This may save time and the victim rather than using
trial and error.
PTO (Power Take Off) Entanglement
Electrocution
1. Spine and neck injuries are common with accidents
involving PTOs if the victim‘s body is wrapped
1. Always assume that any downed power line is
energized. Do not touch it until power company
personnel arrive.
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Manure Gas Poisoning
2. Do not touch an
injured person
who is in contact
with the power
line or you may
become a secondary victim.
3. If a power line is
on the victim, call
the power company for help since they have trained personnel
who can handle the situation. Never try to move the
wire with a dry board since even old paint can
conduct electricity through the board to the rescuer.
4. Administer first-aid immediately, as soon as it is
safe and the victim is clear of the power source.
Apply the ABC’s of rescue and check for bleeding
and broken bones. Treat for shock. The victim
should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
1. The gas present in and around liquid manure
storage facilities is extremely toxic. Wearing a selfcontained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a must
before attempting to rescue the victim. Back-up
personnel with life lines are also necessary to
provide assistance if needed.
2. Restore ventilation to facilities with below-floor
manure storage facilities as rapidly as possible.
Open windows and doors and activate ventilation
systems or use smoke evacuation equipment.
3. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedures immediately to revive the victim after the
victim is moved to fresh air.
Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion
Know the symptoms:
Heat exhaustion. Symptoms include excessive fatigue
and dizziness, and skin temperature normal but damp
and clammy feeling.
Treatment: Get victim to a cool spot and encourage
victim to drink cool water and rest.
Heat stroke is serious. Symptoms include mental
confusion, collapse, unconsciousness, and fever with dry
mottled skin. A heat stroke victim will die quickly if not
assisted immediately.
Treatment: Move victim to a cool place out of the sun
and begin pouring water over victim and fan the victim
to provide good air circulation until help arrives.
Silo Gas Exposure
1. Silo rescues usually require the victims to be removed by litter, harness, body, or backboard. This
requires a skilled team with the proper equipment
and not something that should be attempted by
untrained people. The victim can be helped by
turning off the power to the silo so that the unloader
may not be switched on accidentally.
2. The rescue team
must have selfcontained breathing apparatus
(SCBA) and
enough rope to lift
the victim out of
the tallest silo.
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Poisoning
When any poisoning occurs always call the poison
control center. Do not give the victim anything to drink
unless directed to do so by the poison control center or
indicated by product label. When taking the victim to
the hospital always take the container with you or at
least the product label. Products with poisonous vapors
should be carried in the car trunk or in back of the
pickup.
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1. If poison is solid such as pills or other material,
remove it from the victim’s mouth with a clean cloth
or finger.
2. If poison is gas, use an adequate respirator to
protect yourself. Reduce the vapors by ventilating
the area with fans or opening doors and windows.
Move victim to fresh air only after the area is safe to
do so.
3. If poison is corrosive to the skin, remove the clothing
from the affected area and flush with clean water
for at least 30 minutes.
4. If poison is in contact with eyes, flush eyes for 15
minutes with clean water.
since medical technology today has made reattachment a very real possibility, with minimal loss of use
of the reattached tissue or limb. The severed part
should be located, but do not attempt to clean it.
Place it in sterile gauze or cloth, then wrap it in a
plastic bag and then place in an ice pack. This will
preserve it so that surgeons can attempt to reattach
the part to the body. Never place a body part
directly in contact with the ice as this will freeze
tissue or cause the body part to shrivel.
2. Be active in your community in securing the equipment and trained personnel for farm rescue. Some
communities do not have the proper response teams
available. However, good planning, cooperation,
wise use of available resources, and working
closely with other municipalities could improve
many existing services. Implement dealers are
excellent resources for working on farm equipment.
Other Concerns
1. Preserve tissue for reattachment. It may be gross
and horrible to think about, but retrieving a severed
hand or finger or foot or other tissue is necessary
Have First Aid Kits Available
Have a good first aid kit available preferably in each
work location. By having several kits available you can
prevent a minor injury from becoming life threatening.
Check the kits often, preferably every 3 months, to make
sure that supplies are still there. Kits can be purchased
or assembled and placed in durable containers such as
fishing tackle boxes. Examples of kits are given below.
•
•
•
A First Aid Kit for a Tractor or Combine
•
•
A basic kit used to treat small wounds, stop bleeding
or support a fracture or sprain:
• Basic first aid manual
• two triangular bandages (36 inches) to make slings,
control bleeding or splint fractures
• antiseptic spray (not pressurized can) to disinfect
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contaminated wounds (use before dressing)
12 large adhesive bandages for small cuts, puncture wounds, abrasions
4 safety pins to anchor triangular bandages
4 sterile 2x2 inch compress bandages to dress
wounds and control bleeding
4 sterile 4x4 inch compress bandages to dress
wounds and control bleeding
roll of 2-inch tape to anchor dressing
6 pressurized 8x10 inch bandages to control
bleeding and splint fractures
scissors to cut clothing and bandages
2 rolls of elastic wrap to anchor dressings
5 clean plastic bags (one garbage, two kitchen, two
bread-sized) to transport amputated tissue.
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Specialty Kit for Poisoning
Prepare a specialty kit to use during pesticide
application or to have available near areas where
hazardous materials are stored.
• Emergency and poison-control center numbers
• Syrup of Ipecac (use only if advised by a doctor)
• Two one-quart containers of clean water
• Tongue depressors (to stir with or for seizures)
•
•
Two small empty plastic jars with tight-fitting lids
Can of evaporated milk (attach a can opener with a
rubber band)
Blanket for treatment of shock
Plastic bandages and tape to cover exposed areas
Disposable rubber gloves and goggles
•
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Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho, and A. K. Jaussi, former graduate assistant, Washington State University. For more information about
farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Medical Emergencies
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Farm and Ranch Child Safety:
Give Your Children Appropriate Tasks
Every year we see far too many injuries involving
young children on farms and ranches. These injuries are
particularly tragic in a family as well as in the community, especially since many of them could have been
prevented.
Sometimes as parents, we give our youth tasks that
may be beyond their skill level for their particular age. If
we expect too much from our children, an injury can be
the result. It may be something minor such as a cut
finger, or it could have tragic results, such as a serious
injury or death.
To prevent tragedy
on a farm or ranch
one should take into
account developmental characteristics of
children. By understanding traits of child
development we can
give children tasks
appropriate to their skills and mental, physical, or
emotional abilities.
This bulletin does not attempt to completely describe
or detail child development ages or stages. However, it
does describe typical development characteristics for
different age groups.
The table on the following pages identifies growth
stages of children, their development characteristics,
causes of deaths and injuries, as well as developmen-
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tally appropriate work
tasks. The information
is based on research
and experience,
however, the work
task suggestions for
each age group
represent the opinions
of several child
development and farm safety experts. Keep in mind
each child is an individual and may not fit all the
criteria within any age group.
Parents’ Roles
The parents’ job is to be good role models. They
should show by example the proper methods of performing tasks on the farm or ranch. Parents need to
provide the supervision needed for each growth stage.
Parents need to be realistic about their child’s ability.
Since some children develop differently, tasks assigned
must take this into account.
Few children under the age of 14 can anticipate or
handle danger since they may not possess the cognitive
ability to perceive and quickly react to a crisis. Parents
need to anticipate potential dangers and make work
decisions for their children. In some cases a child may
not be able to handle the whole job but the job can be
broken into several parts that he or she could handle
safely.
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Child development and appropriate work tasks.
Growth
stage
Developmental
characteristics
Causes of
deaths/injuries
Preventive
strategies
Developmentally
appropriate
work tasks
Birth to 4
• Rapid growth, beginning
(infant/
motor skills development
toddler/
• Has balance problems,
preschooler)
slow reaction time
• Is curious, exploring
• Is fascinated by movement
• Has illogical or “magic”
thinking
• Is very energetic, releases
tension by playing, even
when exhausted
• Is self-centered but
interested in group
activities
• Falling from tractors or • Never have a child
• None. Children
heights, such as ladders
as an extra rider.
this age should
• Ingesting poisons
• Use strong physical
not be exposed
• Being kicked or trampled barriers such as locks
to work hazards.
by animals
and fences around
• Drowning in ponds or
ponds and manure pits.
manure pits
Lock up chemicals.
• Being run over by tractor • Store ladders out of
sight and reach.
• Provide a fenced-in
play area way from
farming activities
• Provide maximum
supervision at all times
because of small children’s poor coordination,
high energy, and lack of
fear. Keep children where
you can hear and see
them at all times.
Ages 5 to 9 •
(preschooler/
early
elementary •
school age)
•
• Sliping and falling from
tractors, trucks, or
heights
• Suffocating in grain
• Being kicked or trampled
by animals
• Becoming entangled in
augers, other machines
•
•
•
•
•
Is learning to use small
and large muscles—
slow, steady growth stage
Has poor hand-eye
coordination
Tries to master more
complex skills
Operates with concrete
facts, not capable of
abstract ideas/thinking
Wishes to appear competent; seeks parent’s OK
Wishes to take on tasks
without adult supervision
Is discovering that parents
make mistakes, are human
Rarely follows through on
a task—not yet ready for
responsibility
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• Set rules.
•
• Discuss safe behavior
with children.
• Assign and closely
supervise chores.
• Monitor from a close •
distance; check every
10 to 15 minutes.
• Talk openly about
•
types of injuries and
consequences.
• Never assign intense,
physical chores. They
can lead to exhaustion.
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Tasks of short
duration that do
not require
hand-eye
coordination
Projects with
hand tools, not
power tools
Help with watering plants and
feeding small
animals, such as
pets or orphaned
baby animals
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(cont’d) Child development and appropriate work tasks.
Growth
stage
Developmental
characteristics
Causes of
deaths/injuries
Preventive
strategies
Developmentally
appropriate
work tasks
Ages 10 to • Is growing at a steady
13 (middle
rate—approaching
school age/
puberty; girls grow more
early teen)
quickly than boys
• Small muscles are
developing rapidly
• Has same coordination
as adults but lapses of
awkwardness are common
• Has greater physical and
mental skills
• Desires peer and social
acceptance
• Wishes to try new skills
without constant adult
supervision
• Signs of independence
emerging
• Success important for
self-concept
• Becoming entangled
with machinery
• Hearing loss from
exposure to noisy
machinery
• Injuring head or spine
in motorcycle and
all-terrain vehicle
accidents
• Extra rider falling from
tractor or other equipment
• Potentially the most
•
dangerous age
because of constant
•
risk taking and ease
of distraction and
clumsiness. Never
mistake a child’s size
for ability to do work!
• Enroll child in bike
safety classes, if
•
available. Always
require helmets.
• Set clear, consistent
rules. Discuss consequences and rewards.
• Provide specific
•
education on farm
hazard prevention.
• Plan increased chores
and responsibilities.
• Start with low-risk
tasks such as working
with hand tools. Give
more responsibility for
follow-through with
less supervision.
• Monitor work frequently.
Ages 13 to • Is growing rapidly and
16 (adolechanging physically; can
scent/young
be an uneasy time
teenagers)
• Girls growing faster than
boys
• Has moved from concrete
thinking to abstract; enjoys
mental activity
• Can find solutions to own
problems but still need
adult guidance
• Hearing loss from
exposure to loud
machinery
• Head and spine injuries
from motorcycle or
all-terrain vehicle
accidents
• Machinery rollover/
roadway accident
• Amputation due to
PTO entanglement
• Judge size and age
to measure maturity
for tasks.
• Be consistent with
rules.
• Provide education
from peers with farm
injuries.
• Provide all-terrain
vehicle training,
protective gear.
Hand raking,
digging
Limited power
tool use (supervision from a
distance and be
able to stop child
if necessary);
hand tools better
Operating lawn
mower (push
mower, flat
surface, under
supervision) or
garden tractor
Handling and
assisting with
animals
• Still needs adult
supervision but
ready for more
adult jobs such
as equipment
operation and
maintenance
• Gradually
increase tasks
as experience is
gained
continued
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(cont’d) Child development and appropriate work tasks.
Growth
stage
Ages 13 to
16 (cont’d)
Developmental
characteristics
Causes of
deaths/injuries
• Feels need to be accepted
by peers
• Resists adult authority
• Feels immortal
Preventive
strategies
• Become involved in
4-H and FFA safety
projects.
Developmentally
appropriate
work tasks
• Manual handling
of feed and
feeding animals
• Can operate a
tractor over 20
PTO horsepower
or connect/disconnect parts to
or from tractor at
ages 14 and 15*
with proper training, ideally after
the completion of
a 10-hour tractor
or machinery
operation training program.
• Can carry out
routine machine
operations after
proper training,
preferably after
a 10-hour tractor
or machinery
operation training program, if
available.*
*The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that youth between ages 14 and 16 be required to take a tractor or
machinery operation training program in order to be hired on non-family farms. In Oregon youth up to age 18 must
complete the training before being hired on non-family farms.
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(cont’d) Child development and appropriate work tasks.
Growth
stage
Developmental
characteristics
Causes of
deaths/injuries
Preventive
strategies
Ages 16 to • Awkwardness overcome;
• Same as adult tasks:
18 (middle/
mastery of small and large
respiratory illness, hearolder
muscles basically complete
ing loss, muscle/bone
teenage)
• Knows abilities, moving
injuries, rollover from
further away from family
tractor, machinery
and into community as
entanglements
independent person
• Additional risk if
• Feels immortal
experimenting with or
• May act like child one
under the influence of
day, adult the next
drugs and/or alcohol
• Rebellion, risk-taking,
aggressiveness typical
behaviors
• Consistent treatment from
adults important
• Needs independence and
identity
• Has increased sense of
adult responsibilities,
thinking of future
• May experiment with drugs
or alcohol
• Provide rules regard- •
ing drugs and alcohol;
open communication.
• Reward for accepting
adult responsibilities.
• Serve as role model—
teach younger children
farm safety.
• Parents may still have
cause for concern with
recklessness and risktaking and may work
side-by-side with
young adult until
absolutely ready.
Developmentally
appropriate
work tasks
May be ready to
work with tractors, self-propelled machinery,
augers, elevators,
and other farm
equipment, but
must earn this
responsibility.
Should be
trained, educated, and
supervised at
regular intervals.
Information for this publication was adapted with permission from Penn State University, “Children and Safety on the
Farm,” ps6361, U.Ed.AGR97-25, June 1997. For further information please contact Pennsylvania Safe Kids Coalition,
2578 Interstate Drive, P.O. Box 68525, Harrisburg, PA 17106-8525, phone 717/657-1222, fax 717/657-3796.
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Farm and Ranch Machiner y Operation
The machinery operation “learning curve” could
start with a small lawn tractor about age 13. Train
youngsters in controlled situations where their actions
can be closely observed. Watch to see how often or
how easily they are distracted. The child can gradually
move up to small tractors after training and supervision.
Although some children may begin operating some
farm machinery by age 13 (under close supervision)
age 15 may be a better age to begin to allow children
to operate self-propelled equipment. Tractors operated
by youngsters should
be ROPS (Roll Over
Protective Structure)
equipped with the seat
belt in use. Let the
child get the “feel” of
the tractor while doing
minor jobs (such as
towing empty wagons,
raking, etc.) around
the farmstead.
Remember that
today’s equipment is
bigger, faster, and
more sophisticated
than 20 years ago.
Though easier to
operate, today’s
equipment requires additional operating skills because
of the speed and size.
Before a young trainee heads to the field, observe
and test them verbally to see how they would handle
various crisis situations. Choose large, open fields and
flat terrain for the child’s first experience with tillage or
other field work. Keep a close distance and monitor
their performance. Be prepared to stop the child to offer
suggestions and explain precautions. However, don’t
“hover” and put too much pressure on the child!
Child Safety Is in Your Hands
Child safety is the responsibility of adults. No matter
how careful they are taught, children lack the experience and knowledge to make all the right choices on
their own.
While this is a brief discussion of child development
and how it relates to farms and ranches, it should be
used as a guide to consider when assigning tasks to
children. Parents’ expectations for their children often
exceed the development of their children.
Remember that although a child is large in size,
mentally and emotionally he or she is still a child and
will react like a child. If the child is not comfortable with
the task, they are generally not ready to perform the
task.
As Marilyn Adams, founder of Farm Safety For Just
Kids, once said, “We need to remember that children
are not little adults. We cannot expect them to react like
adults when situations occur.”
Information for this publication was adapted with permission from Farm Safety Association, “On the Farm, Children
Are at Constant Risk,” Fact Sheet No. F-018, March 1995. For further information please contact the Farm Safety
Association, Unit 22, 340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario, telephone 519/823-5600.
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A Child Safety Checklist
The following list covers several of the most important
threats to children’s health and safety on the farm. It is
by no means comprehensive, but can serve as a starting
point toward making your farm or ranch a safer place.
Discuss the list, point-by-point, with your children. See
who can come up with additional safety hazards. This
exercise will help boost overall family safety awareness.
❏ No riders! NO RIDERS! NO RIDERS!
❏ Before moving equipment (especially when backing
up), make sure that children are safe.
❏ When tractors and self-propelled machines are
parked, brakes should be locked and keys removed
from the ignition.
❏ Do NOT allow children to play with idle machinery.
❏ Leave hydraulic equipment (such as front end
loaders, 3-point implements, combine heads, etc.)
in the “down” position or use the attached hydraulic
cylinder locks.
❏ Always leave a tractor PTO lever in the “neutral”
position.
❏ Keep machinery in good repair. Pay particular
attention to protective shielding, ROPS, and seat
belts.
❏ Safety training must be completed before children
are allowed to operate machinery. A degree of
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❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
❏
supervision will continue to be needed until teens
become experienced operators.
Farm ponds and manure storage structures should
be surrounded by child-proof fencing.
Place fixed ladders out of reach, or fit them with a
special barrier. Store portable ladders away from
danger areas.
Practice good housekeeping. Do not leave items
lying around to create a tripping hazard. Heavy
objects should not be left leaning against walls or
fences.
Livestock facilities and operating machinery should
be “off limits” to young children. Adult supervision
is required at all times.
Shield dangerous machinery components, electrical
boxes, and wiring. Place these out of reach of small
children or fit with locking devices.
Store pesticides and other dangerous chemicals in
locked facilities.
Place warning decals on all grain bins, silos,
wagons, and trucks.
Do not start unloading grain from wagons or bins
until you have double-checked that no one is inside.
At regular intervals, set aside time for family safety
instructions.
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Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho. For more information about farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Farm and Ranch Child Safety
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How Does Safety Rate on Your Farm or Ranch?
Each year many people die or are seriously injured in farm and ranch accidents. Most of these accidents are
preventable. This checklist can be a guideline for farm and ranch operations in evaluating each particular circumstance. Unsafe acts or conditions, faulty equipment, or human error often cause accidents that may result in injury,
death, or property damage.
An inspection of your workplace will help prevent injuries by identifying hazards, recording them, and taking
corrective action. You must be committed to correcting the hazards in some manner if you are to succeed in reducing
accident potential.
Aspects of Workplace Inspection
How to Complete the Inspection
Your inspection should not be taken lightly. You may
need several family members or workers, or an outside
set of eyes to see some hazards that you may pass
every day. No work area can be 100 percent free of
hazards. Include the questions “Who, What, Where,
When, and How” for each area examined.
As you go through the various sections of the following inspection checklist, answer the questions or statements by checking “Yes” or “No”. If you have answered
“Yes”, no action is required. If you have answered
“No”, then a hazard exists requiring corrective action.
You should then determine a priority level for the hazard
to indicate the urgency of the corrective action:
When to Inspect
Priority level
Many locations on
a farm or ranch can
be inspected year
round. The home
buildings and other
structures are examples of this.
Machinery and
equipment can best be
inspected when
gearing up for work in early spring, or in operation.
Static inspection examines the machine itself (shields
and guards, decals, wear and tear on parts), while an
inspection during equipment operation looks at unsafe
acts of the operator or hazards in the field.
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You should determine a priority level for the hazard
to indicate the urgency of the corrective action:
A Major
Life-threatening or serious injury potential
B Serious
Injury or property damage corrections in the
short term
C Minor
Long term action can correct the problem
Indicate a realistic target date to correct the hazard
on the attached sheets. When a hazard has been
corrected, check it off in the last column.
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Checklist
Yes
No
Priority
level
HOME SAFETY
Are some detectors installed in appropriate locations
and operating properly? They should be tested
periodically.
Do you keep extra fuses on hand?
Do small rugs have non-skid backings?
Do you have a proper step stool or ladder
for in-home use?
Are there covers on electrical outlets where
children play?
Are all firearms safely stored and locked up
according to new regulations?
Do you post emergency numbers at all telephones?
STAIRWAYS
Are stairways clear of all hazards (shoes, toys, etc.)?
Are there full-length handrails in good repair?
Can stairways be well lighted?
Are treads, risers, and carpeting in good condition?
Are spills and wet surfaces cleaned up immediately?
BATHROOMS
Do you use non-skid mats/surfaces in bathtubs
to prevent falls?
Do you have a proper medicine cabinet?
Are expired medicines disposed of properly?
Do you keep electrical appliances away from sinks,
tubs etc.?
Do you have a night-light to prevent tripping?
Is a ground fault circuit interrupter installed (GFCI)
for bathroom circuits?
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Checklist
Yes
No
Priority
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KITCHEN
Do you clean the stove’s exhaust hood and
duct frequently?
Are cleaners, disinfectants, poisons, etc., secured
out of reach of children and away from foods?
Do you always use a step stool for climbing?
Are utensils and knives neatly stored?
Are handles of pots and pans always turned away
from stove fronts?
Are cracked or chipped dishes and glassware
disposed of immediately?
Are spills wiped up immediately?
Are cupboard contents kept orderly to prevent
falling objects?
Is a fully charged fire extinguisher available?
Are matches and lighters kept out of reach of children?
ENTRANCES
Is there adequate lighting at entrances?
Are tripping hazards cleaned-up?
Are steps well maintained?
LIVING ROOMS/BEDROOMS
Is furniture arranged to avoid bumping knees and shins?
Are electrical cords kept away from carpets?
Are fireplace screens used effectively?
Are throw rugs avoided to prevent tripping hazards?
Is furniture kept away from windows to prevent children
from falling out?
Are screens and windows secured to prevent children
from falling?
Have plans been made for a fire escape route
from bedrooms?
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Checklist
Yes
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Priority
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LIVING ROOMS/BEDROOMS (cont’d)
Are lamps located near beds to prevent tripping in the dark?
Are all chimneys checked for obstructions?
BUILDING SAFETY
Are buildings free of litter and debris?
Are walkways, aisles and traffic areas clear
of any obstructions?
Is there adequate lighting in work and travel areas?
Are stairs in good condition and equipped with handrails?
Are stairs kept clear of obstacles on steps and landings?
Are permanent ladders in good condition and
inspected regularly?
Have defects in concrete floors been repaired?
Are low ceilings, beams, etc., marked clearly with signs
or florescent materials to prevent bumping into them?
Are stored materials properly stacked to prevent them
from falling?
Are protrusions such as nails removed from walls, railings,
etc., to prevent contact?
Are nails removed from used lumber before stacking?
Do you wipe up spills immediately?
Is there ample walking space between stored machines?
Are keys removed from stored machines?
Do large doors open smoothly?
Are floor openings protected to prevent individuals
from falling through?
Do you keep your tractor and/or other fuel burning
equipment in an outbuilding separate from the barn
or other buildings?
Do you avoid storing flammable liquids in barns
or other structures?
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Checklist
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Priority
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FIRE PREVENTION
In hazardous areas, are NO SMOKING signs place
in prominent locations?
Are light bulbs and heat lamps protected with wire guards?
Are roofs checked for leaks where hay or straw are stored?
(Wet hay or straw could lead to spontaneous combustion.)
Are lightning rods checked for proper installation
and grounding?
Do all telephones prominently display fire department
numbers and farm location?
Are appropriate fire extinguishers located strategically
for easy access in case of fire?
Are fire extinguishers inspected regularly?
Do livestock buildings have at least two exits for animals?
Are doors and gate latches easy to open?
Are faulty wiring and electrical equipment repaired
or replaced immediately?
Does your family periodically review how to operate
fire extinguishers and discuss emergency plans?
Do you regularly dispose of garbage and
other combustibles?
Are flammable liquids properly stored away
from any ignition sources?
Do you take care not to damage concealed electrical
wiring when drilling hole or driving nails into walls?
Are matches and lighters stored safely and out of reach
of children?
Is there a water source that can be quickly and
easily accessed in all kinds of weather for fire fighting?
Are chimneys and heater pipes clean and in good condition?
Do you obtain an outdoor burning permit where required?
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Priority
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ELECTRICAL SAFETY
Have you discussed the various types of insulation
in buildings with your insurance company?
Are power lines, poles and other electrical hardware
coming into the farm in a state of repair?
Have trees been trimmed away from conductors?
Have you had overhead lines relocated underground
to avoid contact with high vehicles in the farmyard?
Do all outlets have three-pronged receptacles
to provide proper grounding of electrical tools
and appliances?
Are there sufficient outlets to eliminate the continued
use of extension cords?
Are bare light bulbs protected from being hit by objects?
Are outside outlets weatherproof and installed
with ground fault circuit interrupters?
Is your TV antenna located far enough from wires
in case it falls during a storm?
Do you have warning systems to indicate the failure
of vital equipment?
Do livestock ever act wary or refuse to drink?
Do you unplug tools and equipment
that are not being used?
Do your tools and appliances carry UL listing?
Are checks always made for underground wiring
before digging?
Is the correct sized fuse always used in circuits?
Are proper fuses used in circuits where furnaces,
dryers, ranges, air conditioners, etc. are connected?
Are fuses and switches all labeled properly
to prevent confusion in an emergency?
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WORKSHOP
Are all electrical outlets in the shop properly grounded
with ground fault circuit interrupters?
Are floors kept dry at all times?
Is personal protective equipment available (e.g., goggles,
face shields, hard hats, etc.)?
Is a stocked first-aid kit available?
Are work areas debris-free and uncluttered?
Is there adequate lighting to prevent working in shadows?
Are suitable receptacles available for oily rags, used oil, etc.?
Are there at least two exits available?
Is adequate, well-organized storage available for tools
and equipment?
Are extension cords used only for temporary work?
Are portable lights properly shielded to prevent breakage?
Are portable tools unplugged when not in use?
Are benches tidy and drawers kept shut?
FIELDS, WOODLOTS, LANES DRIVES, AND YARDS
Do you leave a sufficient turning area for machinery
along ditches and embankments?
Are washouts repaired and filled so vehicles
will not be stuck?
Do you trim low tree branches that could hit equipment?
If underground utilities (e.g., gas lines, power lines, etc.)
cross your farm, are they well marked?
Do you keep your drive/lane in good condition, free of ruts
and bumps or stones?
Are all gates (yard and field) wide enough for machinery
and trucks to enter and exit easily?
Are workers made aware of overhead powerlines
when moving tall equipment, ladders, etc.?
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FIELDS, WOODLOTS, LANES DRIVES, AND YARDS (cont’d)
Are lanes and drives marked before winter snows
to indicate ditches, etc. for snow removal?
Are all obstacles that can be snow covered removed
from yard and work areas before winter?
Is equipment kept off steep slopes where stability
can be uncertain?
Are sidewalks and walkways in good repair?
Are lawn and garden tools put away after use?
Is the yard clear of rubbish, dead vegetation, waste,
mislaid tools, etc.?
Is there protection from the danger of uncovered water
tanks, wells cisterns, etc.?
Do you inspect trees after storms and in spring for broke
limbs that could come down?
Do you have an assigned play area for childre
(e.g., a fenced area)?
Do you kill or remove hazardous plants such as poison ivy?
Do you check for nests of stinging insects and take
appropriate action for their removal?
Are clotheslines high enough for pedestrians to walk under?
FARM TRACTOR SAFETY
Do you read the operator’s manual for you farm tractor,
and follow the operating, maintenance and safety
recommendations found therein?
Before operating, do you walk around the tractor making
a visual check for bystanders and other objects?
Is the tractor equipped with a rollover protective structure
(ROPS) and seatbelts?
Do you always wear seatbelts with ROPS?
Do you enforce the rule “NO RIDERS ON THE TRACTOR
AT ANY TIME?”
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FARM TRACTOR SAFETY (cont’d)
Is there a SMV (slow moving vehicle) sign on the rear
of the tractor or towed equipment for roadway travel?
When towing equipment, do you use safety hitch pins and
chains?
Is there a first-aid kit mounted on the tractor?
Is a fire extinguisher located on the tractor?
When operating a tractor in buildings, do you open doors
and windows or start ventilation fans?
Are steps free of mud, tools or debris that could cause slips?
Are keys removed from the tractor when not in use,
to prevent theft or unauthorized people from using
the equipment?
Do you always avoid hazards such as ditches, steep hills
and other areas where tractors can tip?
When using front-end loaders, do you travel with the
bucket low to avoid tipping sideways?
Have all tractor operators on your farm received training
on their equipment and reviewed the operator’s manual?
Do your tractor operators always do a proportional check,
which includes a walk around the equipment to check lights,
visibility, tires, brakes, etc?
Is mounted equipment always lowered before the operator
leaves the tractor?
Are towed loads always hitched to the drawber, and
never higher?
When towing high loads, are clearances from overhead
powerlines always checked?
Is the exhaust system on each tractor in good condition
and leak-free?
If the tractor does not have a sound proof cab,
does the operator always wear hearing protection?
Are brakes adjusted regularly?
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PTO DRIVEN EQUIPMENT
Do all PTO’s have shields and guards in place?
Is there a master shield in place where the PTO
meets the tractor?
Are shields on PTO’s checked periodically to ensure
that they rotate freely? (Check only with power off.)
Before leaving the tractor seat, is the PTO always
disengaged?
When working with PTO driven equipment,
is clothing close-fitting, long hair covered, and no laces, etc.
exposed?
Do you always avoid stepping over a PTO shaft?
Are worn or defective parts replaced as soon as possible?
GENERAL FARM MACHINERY
Are key warning decals on machines readable?
Are all shields and guards in place?
Are all machines free of jagged metal or protrusions
that could injure workers?
Are hydraulic lines free of excessive wear or leaks?
(Do not check hydraulic hoses for leaks with your hands,
as fluid under pressure can be injected into human tissue.
Use cardboard or wood to detect leaks.)
Are defective and worn parts replaced as soon as possible
on all machinery?
Are tires inspected regularly and properly inflated?
Are children and bystanders kept away from operating
machinery?
Is the power turned off before adjusting or servicing
machinery?
Are farm equipment manuals readily available
to the operator?
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GENERAL FARM MACHINERY (cont’d)
Is any equipment that is likely to be towed on roadways
equipped with a slow moving vehicle sign, safety chains
and safety hitch pin?
Are SMV signs in good condition (clean and not faded)?
Are moveable components properly blocked before
repair or adjustments?
Do you always observe the “NO RIDERS” rule
on machines or drawbars?
Are brakes adjusted regularly?
PESTICIDES STORAGE
Is your pesticide storage area used exclusively for the
storage of pesticides?
Is this storage area kept neat and orderly?
Is the storage area vented to the outside?
Is the storage area secure?
Have you posted a chemical warning sign on all entrances
to the storage area?
Do you have adequate safety equipment (respirator, rubber
gloves, boots, etc.)?
Have you posted emergency telephone numbers?
Is the storage area free of floor drains?
When storing chemicals out-of-doors, do you keep them
in a secure area?
When chemicals are being stored in a vehicle,
are they inaccessible to the public?
Does your storage vehicle have a chemical warning sign
prominently displayed?
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ANIMAL HANDLING FACILITIES
Are steps and walkways roughened in facilities
to prevent slips and falls?
Are walkways and aisles kept free of debris, manure,
feed, etc.?
Are outside ramps, steps and entranceways protected
from rain or spilled liquids that could freeze?
Are animal drugs and barn chemicals kept in a secure
area in original containers?
Are pens, gates and fences in good condition,
without protrusions?
Are ventilation fans and vents operative and
in good condition?
Are heaters kept away from combustible materials?
Do you use special care in handling animals
with newborn young?
Do you make animals aware of your approach so as not
to frighten them?
Do you have cattle dehorned?
Do you forbid anyone to excite, tease or abuse animals?
Are icy areas in feedlots sanded?
Do you wear protective footwear and head protection
when handling animals?
Do you leave yourself an “out” when working in close
quarters with animals?
Are pets and animals immunized as required?
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LADDER SAFETY
Are ladders inspected before each use? Are they replaced
or repaired immediately if found faulty?
Are wooden ladders coated with clear preservatives
so that faults or cracks are visible?
Are metal ladders free of weld cracks, missing rivets, etc?
Are ropes on extension ladders in good condition?
Are the feet of the ladder in good condition?
Do you face the ladder when climbing up or down or
when working from the ladder?
Are areas around the top and bottom of the ladder clear
of obstruction or debris?
Are straight ladders placed at a four to one angle
(the base set one foot out for every four feet up)?
Are metal ladders avoided where electrical contact
is possible from overhead wires?
When using a ladder, does it extend at least three feet
above the landing level?
Have you replaced any missing or damaged rungs
on the ladder?
Are two people involved with moving or
erecting long ladders?
Do you store ladders where they cannot be damaged?
Do you always put a ladder on firm footing
or compacted soil?
Is work with ladders avoided in windy or stormy conditions?
When working from a ladder, do you always
keep the trunk of your body centered within the ladder rails?
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SAFE LIFTING AND MATERIAL HANDLING
Has everyone on your farm received instructions
on safe lifting techniques?
Is the “bend your knees” rule always followed?
Is appropriate protective equipment worn when lifting
and handling materials (steel-toed boots, gloves)?
Are two people or mechanical means used to move
heavy loads?
Do you check for a clear pathway before lifting and
moving objects?
FIRST AID/EMERGENCY ACTION
Do you maintain first-aid kits in the following locations:
Home?
Workshop?
Tractors?
Vehicles?
Are first-aid kits periodically checked, replenished
and updated?
Has anyone on your farm or ranch received first-aid
training in the last three years?
Do you have a good first-aid manual for reference?
Do all family members know how to shut off all machinery
if someone is caught or pinned?
Do you act on issued weather warning?
Are you prepared for blizzards, floods, lightening,
tornadoes, etc., should they strike?
Do you know what to do for accidental poisonings?
Are emergency telephone numbers posted by all telephones
along with farm location and directions?
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SPECIAL STRUCTURES: SILOS, GRAIN BINS, ETC.
Are entrances to silos and grain bins secured against entry
by children?
Are fixed ladders sound and in good condition?
Are there safety cages around ladders on silos?
Are warning signs posted to warn of silo gas or
oxygen deficiency?
Do you use appropriate self-contained breathing
equipment when entering silos where gas may be present,
or where an oxygen deficiency may exist?
Are workers made aware of hazards of flowing grain
entrapment and crusted grains?
Can power be locked out so that unloading mechanisms
cannot start by accident?
Are all shields and guards in place on unloading
mechanisms?
Do you always avoid entering a manure pit for any reason?
Are dust respirators used when handling moldy hay and
grains, or when grain dust is present?
Is your silo free of cracks and structural problems,
corrosion, etc.?
TRANSPORT VEHICLES: TRUCKS, ETC.
Are keys removed from motorized equipment to prevent
starting by children?
When entering the roadway from your driveway,
is there clear vision in both directions?
Do you check your vehicle before going on highways
(e.g., tires, lighting, visability, security of load, etc.)?
Do you always wear seatbelts on the roadways?
Are hoist-equipped trucks stored with boxes down
when not in use?
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Checklist
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LAWN MOWER HAZARDS
Does the person who uses the lawn mower always
wear heavy shoes?
Does the person who mows the lawn always pickup
trash etc., first?
Does the lawn mower have safety shields?
Is a grass catcher used to help prevent objects
from being “thrown” by the rotary mower?
Do you always turn the lawn mower off (or disengage
the blade) before crossing gravel drives or walkways?
Do you always refill the lawn mower and other
gas tanks outdoors?
Is extra gasoline stored in a safety gas can?
Do you always disconnect the spark plug wire before
tipping the lawn mower up to do any servicing under
the mower deck?
Do you keep good mufflers on all gasoline-powered
lawn mowers, leaf mulchers or snow throwers?
Do you insist that everyone leave the area of lawn you
are mowing?
Do you work across the slope with a hand lawn mower?
Do you mow up and down the slope with a riding mower?
Do you always look behind you before backing up
a riding mower?
Do you make it a practice to never pull a hand mower
toward yourself?
Do you always wear hearing protection when operatin
power lawn equipment?
A
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Written by Tom Karsky, University of Idaho. For more information about farm safety, please contact:
Tom Karsky, Extension Farm Safety Specialist, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
83844-0904, phone 208/885-7627, fax 208/885-7908, email (tkarsky@uidaho.edu).
Myron Shenk, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University, 2040 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-2915,
phone 541/737-6274, fax 541/737-3080, email (shenkm@bcc.orst.edu).
Bill Symons, Extension Safety Specialist, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Washington State University, 204 L. J. Smith Hall,
Pullman, WA 99164-6120, phone 509/335-2902, fax 509/335-2722, email (symons@mail.wsu.edu).
This series is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), Department of
Environmental Health, Box 357234, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234 (phone: 800/330-0827, email:
pnash@u.washington.edu). PNASH is funded by CDC/NIOSH Award #U07/CCU012926-02.
Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension
System, the Oregon State University Extension Service, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. The three participating Extension services provide equal opportunity in education and employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran as required by state and federal laws. The University of Idaho
Cooperative Extension System, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Washington State University Cooperative Extension are Equal
Opportunity Employers.
Published December 1998
Farm and Ranch Safety Rating
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Farm Safety Series PNW 512
P u b l i c a t i o n
W a s h i n g t o n
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