Identifying and correcting hazards is an excellent way to prevent farm accidents. It’s wise to periodically take a critical look around buildings and animal facilities for potential safety hazards.

The following is a farm-hazard checklist, from Kansas State University Research and Extension’s Ag Safety and Health Program. You can use these insights to evaluate your farm’s safety status.

Buildings:

  • Are buildings free from accumulations of trash, junk and other materials that could start or feed a fire or cause someone to fall?
  • Do stairs have handrails and are they being maintained – specifically, are they clear of objects and in good repair?
  • Are buildings adequately lighted?
  • Are “head bumpers” such as low ceilings, beams or low doors marked with warning signs? Are buckets, tools and other items hung so that people won’t hit their heads?
  • Is there ample walking space between stored machinery?
  • Are keys removed from stored machinery?
  • Are stacked materials and supplies stored so they will not fall on someone or collapse if a worker climbs on them? Are they blocking walkways?
  • Are there fire extinguishers in the building? If so, are they the correct size and type for potential fires? Is there a nearby water supply?
  • Are toxic substances locked up and out of reach of children and pets?

Animal Facilities:

  • Are pens, gates and fences in good repair?
  • Are steps and walkways roughened in animal facilities to prevent slips and falls? Are those same walkways kept clear of manure, snow, mud and spilled grain?
  • Is feeding, grinding and feed-handling equipment properly shielded with all guards in place?
  • In confinement housing, are vents and fans in good operating condition?
  • Are heaters or heat lamps kept away from combustible materials?
  • Are permanent heating units properly installed and vented?
  • Are animal pharmaceuticals and barn chemicals kept in their original containers in a secure area out of the reach of children?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then a hazard exists, and you need to take steps to correct it.