Ag Safety STAT: May 2015

Ag Safety S.T.A.T. – Safe Tactics for Ag Today is an electronic newsletter prepared by team members from the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety & Health Office. The goal is to provide seasonal safety news and activities that may be re-published in your own newsletters or programs. If you have safety-related questions or program ideas that you would like to share, please contact Dee Jepsen at
For a printable version please click here.


  1. Add Safety to your Program!

    Do you offer any educational outreach for a youth audience? Have you thought about adding safety to those outreach efforts like a Farm Safety Day Camp, Ag Awareness, Farmers Breakfast, FFA events, county fairs, school programming?

    If so, check out what resources OSUE Ag Safety and Health group was waiting for you!

    Your outreach efforts can provide youth an opportunity to learn about agricultural hazards and injury prevention. The mission of the program is to teach youth about rural dangers; however the participants do not have to be farm children to benefit from the educational sessions. Injuries from horses, livestock, ponds, lawn mowers and electricity can occur to anyone, not just farm kids. Participants learn in a fun, interactive way the consequences of poor judgment around power machinery, flowing grain, and livestock.

    OSU Ag Safety & Health can provide you with:

    • lesson plans with hands-on activities
    • session demonstration equipment
    • educational display posters

    This programming effort can also serve as an ideal conduit between businesses and community organizations interested in the health and safety of local youth.

    Please contact Kathy Mann ( if you are interested in learning more using these resources in your outreach efforts.

  2. ‘Making the Connection’ with a Reliable Hitch Pin

    By Dewey Mann, Research Associate-

    “A farmer connected a nurse tank of anhydrous ammonia to the rear of the tractor-mounted applicator…When the tractor moved forward, the HITCH PIN FAILED, causing the connected hose to stretch and fail, which released ammonia vapor into the air. There were no injuries reported, but emergency first responders were called to monitor the release of the ammonia vapors (Iowa, 2002).”

    During spring planting and field work, think about how many times you install a hitch pin to secure a seed tender, anhydrous ammonia tank, implement, etc. I would venture to guess, if it hasn’t happened to you, most farmers at least know someone that has a ‘hitch pin story’, possibly similar to the one above. Fortunately, most stories are usually similar in nature: no injuries and insignificant property damage. However, for incidents that occur during transportation of equipment on roadways, the consequences can be disastrous, regardless of what is being towed.

    Smaller farm equipment may be more susceptible to hitching failure or loss of a hitch pin, due in part to the hitching configuration (size and type of hitch pin used). Small tractors, 150PTO horsepower and smaller, typically have category 0, 1, or 2 drawbar hitches. Larger row-crop tractors, 250-400+PTO horsepower, have category 3 or 4 drawbar hitching systems that typically use a specific hitch pin and locking mechanism. 

    Regardless of tractor size, here are some hitch pin tips to ensure you are making a good connection:
    • Use safety hitch pins that have a locking device to keep them in place.
    • Use the largest diameter hitch pin that will fit through the tractor drawbar and implement hitch.
    • NEVER use bolts or fasteners as hitch pins.
    • Hitch pins supplied by the equipment dealer are preferred; low-cost hitch pins may be of inferior strength (currently no standardized testing    
       protocol). Note that hitch pins are sold by shaft diameter and length rather than actual load capacity. 
    • ALWAYS attach a safety chain between the tractor and equipment when transporting on the road; this won’t stop the hitch pin from coming out
       or failing, but will minimize damage if the pin does fail.
    • Discard worn or damaged (e.g. bent) hitch pins to avoid the temptation to use them; throw them in the scrap heap, not in the toolbox.

    Safe towing!

    Dewey Mann, research associate for agricultural safety and health, and lecturer for agricultural systems management, can be reached at (614) 292-1952 or

    Scenario and foundational information referenced from:
    Deboy, G.R., Knapp, W.M., Field, W.E., Krutz, G.W., Corum, C.L. (2012). Establishing the Need for an Engineering Standard for Agricultural Hitch Pins. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, 18(2): 141-154.


  3. Protect Your Back as Spring Planting Continues

    By Andy Bauer,  Ohio AgrAbility Educational Program Coordinator

    Now that spring planting is finishing up and summer work is coming on, we must remember to take care of and protect our backs. Agricultural workers are at a very high risk for back injuries since much of their job involves lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy loads, awkward working positions, vibrations and sudden jolts when driving across rough terrain as well as trips and falls from uneven ground.

    Back health is often ignored on the farm until an injury has occurred. Often individuals continue working in spite of pain. With an endless “to do list”, farmers often put off seeing a physician or even taking time to rest, which can many times add to the injury.

    Lets stop for just a minute and take a look at some preventive measures we can do to protect the back from injury. Think about your posture, balance, and body mechanics. Then remember to incorporate the following tips into your daily routine.
    • Stretch and warm up before starting warm muscles work better than cold
    • Use proper lifting technics keep your back straight lift with your legs keep object being lifted close to your body
    • Avoid twisting at the waist when lifting, turn with your feet
    • Get help if something is too heavy for you or if help is right there use it!
    • Take breaks operating equipment for extended periods of time, stop on a regular basis to stretch, walk around. Use this time to check equipment.

    Jumping down off equipment, prolonged sitting, vehicle vibration, jolts from rough terrain, along with twisting and turning of the trunk and neck to monitor equipment can all cause back pain or increase already existing back issues.
    Some things to consider to help with these are:

    • Replacing old worn out seats
    • Use mirrors or cameras to monitor equipment
    • Extend steps to make mounting and dismounting equipment easier
    • Modify tongues on equipment to reduce bending and pulling when hooking up equipment

    All of these measures should be considered to help reduce back injuries and make the long hard hours of spring work easier to handle and safer. A little bit of prevention now can help avoid a lot of pain for years to come.  For more information on prevention of back injuries contact Ohio AgrAbility at or Andy Bauer at or (614) 247-7681.

  4. Recognizing Farm Equipment Hazards

    By: Kent McGuire,  OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Spring planting is in full swing. In many cases there are multiple pieces of equipment working simultaneously throughout the farm. Today’s equipment is powerful, very efficient and versatile in how it can be used. This includes tractors, tillage equipment, planting equipment, and even extremely specialized machinery for fruit and vegetable production. However, all agricultural equipment share many of the same hazards that can seriously injury someone if the hazards are not recognized. Farm equipment hazards can include:

    Wrap Points: Any exposed equipment component that rotates at high speed or with a high degree of torque.  Injuries occur because of entanglement with the part. The most common wrap points are associated with drive shafts or power take - off shafts.

    Shear / Cut Points: Shear points happen when two edges come together or move passed each other to create a cut. Cut points happen when a single edge moves rapidly and forcefully enough to make a cut or a solid object strikes a single edge. Injuries can range from severe cuts to amputation. Common equipment includes mower blades, disc coulters, cutter bars and parts with sharp edges.

    Pinch Points: Any equipment that has two objects that come together with at least one of them moving in a circular motion. The point at which the two objects come together becomes the pinch point. Injuries can include abrasions, cuts, or being pulled further into the part. Most pinch points involve belts and pulleys, chains and sprockets, gear drives, or roller assemblies.

    Crush Points: This occurs when two objects come together or a single object moves towards a stationary object creating a blunt impact. Injuries usually involve damage to tissue, bones, or internal organs. Crush points can include being caught under or between moving parts or equipment.

    Burn Points: Any area on a piece of equipment that can generate enough heat to cause a burn to the skin if touched. It only takes 5 seconds to create a 3rd degree burn touching something at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Common burn points include exhaust mufflers, engine or hydraulic fluids, friction of moving parts, and worn out bearing assemblies

    Free-Wheeling Parts: Some mechanical systems will take time to come to a complete stop, after the power source has been shut off. Many times these parts are moving silently after the equipment operator has dismounted the equipment. These parts can include rotary mower blades, flywheels, and equipment that must go through a full revolution or cycle to come to a complete stop.

    Stored Energy: Any amount of potential energy waiting to be released. Injuries occur when the energy is unintentionally or unknowingly released. This can include pressurized hydraulic systems, electrical circuits, spring tension, and chemical reactions.

    Thrown Objects: Occurs when material or objects are discarded from the equipment with great force. Injuries occur when the object strikes the individual. Objects can be throw during mowing processes, from discharge chutes, or tossed from rapidly rotating parts.

    By recognizing the hazards that can be present with the farm equipment and respecting the power and speed of the equipment, potential for injuries can be significantly reduced.

    For more information about OSU Ag Safety visit or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.