Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List.

Close Icon
CSU Extension - A division of the Office of Engagement. Providing trusted, practical education to help you solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.
Established 1908

Health & Safety Checklist   arrow

Why Should I Be Concerned About Safety?

Land owners with small acreage may wonder why enacting health and safety programs would be of benefit to them. Agriculture continues to rank second only to mining in deaths per 100,000 workers. In 1999, 770 persons died from injuries sustained while working on farms or ranches. An additional 150,000 suffered disabling injuries.

If equipment is being built safer and better designed, why have injuries and accidents remained so high? There is a one word answer that sums it all up: behavior. Research shows that 90% of all accidents were caused by behavior while only 10% were due to unsafe conditions.

The following checklist is designed to help you identify those aspects of your operation that can be hazardous. Once you know what hazards are you can:

  • Eliminate the hazard;
  • Buy products or machinery that can accomplish the same task but are less dangerous;
  • Install safeguards such as equipment guards or mechanical ventilation in areas that are very dusty or contain toxic gases;
  • Modify work practices (behavior) so that you and your workers stay away from the hazard;
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when other methods don’t mitigate the hazard

Emergency Preparedness for Your Family

  • Emergency numbers are posted by the phone
  • Directions to your farm are posted by the phone
  • At least one person is trained in first aid and CPR
  • First Aid Kits are kept in each building and vehicle
  • Name of primary care doctor and phone number are posted where employees can see them
  • Designated safe places to go when there is a flood, tornado, lightening, storm, etc.


  • Fire extinguishers kept in each building near exit
  • Fire extinguishers checked regularly to ensure they are charged
  • Each person knows how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Building exits are free of obstructions

Work Above Six Feet

  • Ladders over 25 feet high have cages
  • Rails installed on raised platforms
  • A harness is worn and person is “tied – off” when working on a roof or from a ladder
  • Damaged ladders are fixed or replaced

Children’s Safety

  • Children have designated “safe” play area
  • Children perform only those chores that they are physically and mentally capable of


  • Chemicals are stored in a locked room or cabinet
  • Incompatible chemicals are kept apart
  • Each person who uses a chemical has read and understood the label
  • Chemicals are kept in their original containers and labels are intact and readable
  • Chemical handling and mixing takes place near an eyewash and safety shower

Flammables and Combustibles

  • Flammables are stored in National Fire Prevention Association approved containers and cabinets
  • Fuel tanks are protected by barriers
  • NO Smoking signs are posted and obeyed
  • Flammable liquid containers are grounded and bonded when dispensing
  • Waste oil is recycled or disposed of on a regular basis

Compressed Gas Cylinders

  • Main valve is closed and no pressure on regulator when not in use
  • Cylinders labeled
  • Cylinders chained to wall or cart and kept where can’t be knocked over
  • Empty cylinders returned to dealer

Welding / Cutting

  • Flash arrestor is in-line
  • Cables are in good condition
  • Work is done in well ventilated area
  • Eye protection and leathers are worn
  • Fire prone materials are removed from work area

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Gloves fit and are resistant to the chemical being used
  • Respirator or dust mask fits and protects against the airborne chemical or dust of concern
  • Chemical goggles are worn when mixing and using chemicals
  • Safety glasses are worn when there is a potential for flying debris
  • Personal Protective Equipment is used, stored, and thrown away according to the manufacturer’s recommendations


  • Adequate lighting is provided
  • Floors are free of clutter and puddles
  • Counters and workbenches are free of clutter and debris


  • Building wiring installed by a certified electrician
  • Outlets are grounded
  • Outlets near wet areas are GFCI protected
  • Extension cords have ground pins
  • Extension cords do not have splices or taps
  • Cords are protected from being run over
  • Know that not all extension cords can be used outside
  • Flat extension cords are not used
  • Circuit breakers are clearly labeled
  • Be aware of overhead power lines

Material Storage

  • Storage shelves are rated for weight of load and secured to floor and wall
  • Loads over 50 lbs. Are moved with mechanical assistance or a second person
  • Stacked materials are stable

Fences and Gates

  • All components of fences and gates are capable of holding an animal’s weight
  • Hinges and latches are checked routinely


  • Animal medications in original container and used only by designed workers
  • Handlers are informed on zoonotic diseases and their transmission
  • Handlers are well versed on animal behavior and how people should act around animals
  • Special care is taken when near animals with newborns
  • Cattle are de-horned
  • Steel toed boots with non-slip are worn in animal handling areas


  • Tractors have Roll Over Protection and seatbelts are worn
  • “No Riders” policy is strictly enforced
  • Extinguisher and First Aid Kit onboard
  • Handrails are sturdy, steps are clean
  • Hydraulic lines/hoses are in good shape
  • PTO, belts chains, pulleys and sprockets are guarded
  • Hitching bolts/pins are in good condition
  • Tires are properly inflated and have good tread
  • Operators have read and understood owners manuals
  • Drive lanes are free of ruts, bumps, and stones
  • Sufficient turning area is provided along ditches and embankments
  • Steep slopes are avoided
  • Guards are used on grinding wheels, drill presses, and other shop equipment
  • Equipment cords are in good condition
  • Each operator has read and understood the owners manual
  • Eye protection is worn

Powered Hand Tools

  • Tool guards are in place
  • Cords are grounded or double insulated and grounded or double insulated & free of damage
  • Vise used to secure small work pieces
  • Eye protection is worn
  • Each user has read and understood the owners manual

All Terrain Vehicles

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have become a fixture on farms and ranches. An ATV can make hard to get to locations more easily accessible than with pickup truck or farm equipment. There are also a lot of non-farm people who “head to the hills” to ride trails and hunt. Unfortunately, a number of people do not take the time to learn about protecting themselves before riding four-wheelers. Here are some ways to prevent ATV accidents from occurring:

Young riders should meet the following engine size recommendations:

Age Engine Size
6-11 50-60 cubic centimeters (cc)
12-15 70-90 cubic centimeters (cc)
16 & older 90+ cubic centimeters (cc)

*Wear protective equipment (Helmet & eye protection)

*Do not allow passengers. ATVs are built to carry only the driver

*Do not operate ATV on paved roads

*Do not use drugs or alcohol while riding ATV

*Read and follow the operating guidelines in the Owner’s Manual

*Practice driving the ATV on flat ground where you can become familiar with how it handles

*Tread Lightly! This is a program to help protect the environment for future users. Stay on trails, pick up trash and Get Permission to Ride on Private Property