Farm Shop Safety

It is the time of year when most farms are servicing, maintaining and repairing the wide variety of equipment that is used to till, plant and harvest.  The farm shop is the scene of many incidents that involve the eyes, hands, and feet.  Injuries include lacerations, burns, sprains to various body parts, abrasions, or even more serious, amputations.

Make sure you have safety rules established for the shop, and that safe work practices are followed.  Best practices for the shop should include the following:

  • Keep work areas free from clutter (housekeeping).
  • Set a limit on weight to be lifted by a worker, and use equipment to lift heavy objects.
  • Establish procedures for accessing and conducting all work over 4’, to minimize the potential for fall injuries. 
  • Make appropriate personal protective equipment available and  ensure it’s in good condition.
  • Maintain required guards on all tools and equipment.
  • Install and maintain emergency eyewash station(s) & first aid kit(s).
  • Locate Safety Data Sheets in the work area and make sure employees are familiar with them. 
  • Mount portable fire extinguishers in plain view.
  • Keep air hoses and cords off the floor, and out of normal travel areas.
  • Ground and anchor shop machinery such as drill presses, band saws and pedestal grinders.
  • Check grinders for proper placement and adjustment of tool rests and tongue guards.
  • Portable power tools must be double insulated or have three-wire grounding.
  • Use stands and blocks to support equipment that is suspended by hydraulics, or other means, to prevent collapse or falling.
  • Document periodic inspections of the shop.

For more information related to farm shop safety and safety checklists, visit MEMIC’s Safety Director or any of the following web sites -  California Farm Bureau Federation, UW Cooperative Extension, or the National AG Safety Database.