Farm Machinery Safety Tips From K-State

Carla Nemecek is Southwind District Director and agent.

Machinery represents an ever-present danger on the farm.

While machines save valuable time and are essential to productivity, use of farm machinery is hazardous, making them the source of most injuries and deaths on American farms and ranches.


While manufacturers design and build safety features into their machines, hazards cannot be completely eliminated without interfering with function. Timely maintenance, responsible use, and comprehensive safety awareness training are ways farmers can protect themselves and others from injury or death when working with and around agricultural machinery.


The primary responsibility for machinery safety rests with the operator. Operators must be aware of potential hazards with the specific piece of machinery they are operating. Safe operators respect machines for the work they perform and the dangers they present. Use these eight simple steps to be a safe machinery operator.


  1. Be aware. Recognize where and what the hazards are.
  2. Be prepared. Replace worn parts promptly and do daily pre-operational checks. Include preseason checks. Take advantage of the off-season to do additional maintenance work. This gives you time to order any shields and other parts you may need. Anticipate problems.
  3. Read the operator’s manual. The simple tips and precautions in this publication are no substitute for the operator’s manual for each piece of machinery. If the manual is missing, contact your dealer or check online to get another one.
  4. Shield all moving parts. Make the machine as safe as possible.
  5. Respect PTO and hydraulics. Remember that any machine that is powered by a power takeoff driveline (PTO) or has hydraulic systems is inherently dangerous.
  6. Shut it off. Before servicing any machine, disengage the PTO, turn off the engine, remove the key, and wait for all parts to stop moving.
  7. Watch yourself. Try to avoid particularly hazardous jobs if you’re physically ill or mentally distracted. Fatigue and stress cause many accidents.
  8. Use a machine only for its intended purpose.


With more consistently warmer temperatures, farmers will be in the field and on the roads. Pay special attention to slow moving vehicles, as the machinery operator has limited visibility.


To emphasize farm safety, the Southwind District will offer a Tractor Safety training on Tuesday, May 21 in cooperation with Fort Scott Community College for youth ages 14-15. For more information about farm or machinery safety or for details on Tractor Safety Training, please contact the Southwind Extension District at

Carla Nemecek
Southwind Extension District
Director & Agent
[email protected]
1 North Washington, Iola, KS 66749

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