Machinery Safety

Machinery Safety


Tractors are considered a critical piece of equipment by most, however tractors are also the number one cause of death on the farm.

Failure to observe safety precautions when operating tractors and attachments can result in serious injury or death. The most common types of serious accidents are:

  • Rollovers
  • Runnovers
  • Being caught in moving parts
  • Collisions

Safety starts before the engine.

  • A thorough inspection of the tractor is important before beginning work each day.
  • Make sure there is no one working or standing around the tractor when you go to start it.
  • Make sure a rollbar is installed on any open cab tractor and always have a PTO shield in place.

Additional Resources:

Tractor Safety Tip Card (SW Ag Center)
Ag Safety Checkoffs | Tractors (SW Ag Center)
Ag Safety Checkoffs | Rural Roads (SW Ag Center)
Tractor Safety Posters (SW Ag Center)
Tractor Safety Guide (OSHA)
Rural Road Safety (Great Plains Center)
Rural Road Training Guide (SW Ag Center)
Machinery Safety (Show Me Farm Safety)
Tractor and Machinery Safety Video Series (US Ag Centers)


The most frequent cause of tractor-related deaths are side and rear overturns (96 deaths per year). 80% of rollover deaths happen to experienced farmers. ROPS are 99% effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn when used with a seatbelt, and 70% effective when used without a seatbelt. Through the National ROPS Rebate Program, the average out-of-pocket expense for a ROPS kit is $391.

Additional Resources:

ROPS Rebate Program
How a Rollbar Can Save a Life Video (Tractor Mike)


Many farmers and ranchers rely on ATVs to get around and complete chores however serious injuries can result from improper use. Taking proper safety precautions, can reduce the risk of ATV-related injury or death.

ATV injuries and fatalities on farms and ranches are widespread and increasing. NIOSH identified 2,090 ATV injuries and 321 ATV fatalities between 2003 and 2011, with three out of five of the occupational deaths occurring in agriculture.

The majority of these ATV incidents result from:

Employers should provide ATVs that have the following features:

  • motorcycle-type handle bars for steering control
  • large, low- pressure tires
  • single worker design
  • seat that can be straddled by the worker.1

Additional Resources:

Ag Safety Checkoffs | ATVs (SW Ag Center)
ATV Safety Posters (SW Ag Center)
ATV Safety During Farm Work (OSHA)1
ATV Safety at Work (CDC, NIOSH)
ATV Safety in Ag (HICAHS)
Youth Work Guidelines (Cultivate Safety)