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farm safety

Spring is upon us and we will soon see farmers planting and cows enjoying green grass.  With the joy of working the land and livestock, farmers and ranchers must know to use caution.  While farming and ranching are some of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., they are some of the few industries in which the families are also at risk of injury, illness, and death.  Below are some safety tips adapted from different sources to be a reminder to take precaution daily when doing the hard work that feeds our world.  

Farm and Ranch Safety Tips

Adapted from, and

  • Wear protective gear, including safety goggles, at all times when handling chemicals. 
  • Follow manufacturer’s guidelines when operating machinery.  Inspect equipment routinely for problems that could lead to an accident. Avoid “jerry-rigging” equipment to get by.  Have machines repaired properly and in a timely manner.
  • Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide can form in unventilated grain silos and manure pits and can suffocate or poison workers, or explode.
  • Always take a few minutes to stretch out your muscles in the morning before going out to feed cows or cut grain. It could save a visit to the chiropractor or doctor. 
  • Know how to do CPR and how to treat common farm injuries.  Keep a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in every farming machine.
  • Install approved rollover protective structures, protective enclosures, or protective frames on farm tractors.  Wear a seatbelt when operating farm equipment. 
  • Rotate farm work among employees.  The worker who runs the same machine all day is not as easily aware of minor changes that can quickly become big problems.
  • Use safety blocks on headers when working underneath machinery.  


Preventing Accidents in Cattle Operation

Adapted from

  • Handle cattle calmly at either a walk or a trot. No yelling, screaming, or whip cracking.
  • Use quiet horses to move and handle cattle. Well-trained horses will help prevent bucking accidents.
  • Keep equipment well maintained. Worn-out latches on squeeze chutes have caused serious accidents when they have suddenly come loose. Gates should swing freely and have well-maintained latches that are easy to latch and unlatch.
  • Accustom cattle to being moved by people both on foot and on horseback. This will help prevent accidents when the cattle are shipped to a feedlot or meatpacking plant.
  • Cattle-handling facilities should have nonslip flooring in high traffic areas such as squeeze chutes, scales, crowd pens and loading ramps to prevent panic or injury if they slip.
  • Only half fill the crowd pen leading to the single-file chute. Cattle will move easier and be less likely to shove a gate back into a person's face when not overcrowded.
  • Wait until the single-file chute is almost empty before putting more cattle into the crowd pen. The cattle will move into the lead-up chute that leads to the squeeze more easily if they're able to pass through the crowd pen and are not forced to wait.

Taking that extra few minutes to think things through can make a huge difference to you, your employees, and family members whose lives depend on your safety practices. Take time to educate your family (especially children) and co-workers about how to farm and ranch safely.


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