Farm Grounds Safety Checklist

The grounds on your farm may include a variety of terrain, including fields, woods, and roads. From muddy roads and ditches to low-hanging tree branches and rocks, farm grounds host a range of hazards that can harm staff and damage vehicles and property.

Use this checklist to inspect your grounds, and work with your employees and/or contractors to address areas that need attention.

Fields and Woodlots

  • Construct and maintain fences around all open drainage and irrigation ditches. Create buffer zones (unplanted or grassed) along ditches so tractors have ample turning and running room.
  • Make sure field bridges are strong enough to support heavy equipment and loaded trucks and wagons. Install side rails on all bridges.
  • See that field roadway side slopes are sufficiently gradual so tractors and other vehicles don’t overturn. Slope pond shorelines gradually into the water. Design terraces with minimum practical side slopes to reduce overturning hazards. Warn machinery operators about the overturning hazards of terraces, and instruct them to stay off steep slopes.
  • Remove any “tractor tippers,” such as stumps and rocks, from fields. Flag any immovable obstacles, and fill or flag all holes. Park equipment away from where tractors and other machinery will be driven.
  • Remove low tree branches from areas where machinery is driven.
  • Instruct equipment operators to cross hillsides carefully at a reduced speed and to watch for gullies or other obstacles that could cause the equipment to overturn.
  • Promptly repair washouts to prevent vehicles from getting stuck.
  • Construct fences around stilling pools and tailwater ponds, and post appropriate signage to discourage swimming.
  • Make sure all drives on the property are free of deep ruts or bumps. Trim or remove trees located alongside drives and lanes to avoid interference when machinery is moved.
  • Ensure that employees are aware of overhead power lines when driving or moving tall equipment or when handling or carrying long sections of pipe, metal ladders, etc.
  • At intersections and drives, keep all corners clear and plant tall crops far enough back from the road to avoid blocking drivers’ vision. From a truck or car seat, a driver should be able to see at least 700 feet (800 feet on a busy highway) in both directions. Drivers should also be able to see at least 10 feet from the edges of the roadway.
  • Install gates wide enough to allow machinery and trucks to enter and exit easily.

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The illustrations, instructions, and principles in this material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations nor to identify all potential risks or requirements.