Accidents and injuries are a major source of loss in the agricultural industry, but most can be prevented. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offers the following recommendations for accident prevention.


  • Make accident prevention a management as well as a personal goal. Develop an awareness of hazards on the farm and make a conscious effort to prepare for emergency situations, including fires, vehicle accidents, electrical shocks from equipment and wires, and adverse health effects from chemical exposures.
  • Reduce your risk of injury and illness with preventive measures. Read and follow instructions in equipment operator's manuals. Follow instructions on product labels for safe use, handling, and storage.
  • Conduct routine inspections of your equipment to determine problems and potential failures that may contribute to or cause an accident.
  • Conduct meetings with employees and family members to assess safety hazards, discuss potential accident situations, and outline emergency procedures.
  • Be especially alert to hazards that may affect children and the elderly.
  • Minimize hazards by careful selection of products you buy, by providing good maintenance of tools, buildings, and equipment, and establishing good housekeeping procedures.
  • Provide rollover protective structures, protective enclosures, or protective frames as appropriate for farm tractors.
  • Use seat belts while the tractor is in operation.
  • Make sure guards for farm equipment are put back on after maintenance to protect workers from moving machinery parts.
  • Review material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and labels that come with chemical products.
  • Communicate information concerning hazards to all workers. Prevent pesticide poisonings and dermatitis caused by chemicals by ensuring that protective measures recommended in the MSDSs or labels are taken.
  • Take the necessary precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos or hoppers.
  • Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide can be present in unventilated grain silos and manure pits in quantities sufficient to cause asphyxiation or explosion.