Iowa State Extension has really great resources on safety that are free to read, you can find the article I'm referencing here. Here are the highlights from their Safe Farm article called "Evaluate Equipment For Dangers":
The most serious injuries and fatalities on
the farm involve machinery and equipment.
In recent years, nearly half of all Iowa farm
deaths resulted from working with or around
Farm operators depend on powerful equipment
to effectively handle commodities. Although some
injuries occur in recognized danger areas, such
as around power take-offs, many others occur in
areas where hazards are not readily apparent.
For example, more Iowans were injured
while operating skid steer loaders than
balers in a single year. Farm operators who
work with balers know the dangers of
getting caught in the windrow pick-up area
and take appropriate precautions, while
operators of skid steer loaders often fail to
recognize the hazard of being crushed by
the hydraulic loader arm.
equipment, loaders are used frequently in
some operations, which increases exposure
to danger. Side screens on an operator’s cab
can help prevent this hazard.
The key is to recognize hazards while
working or living on a farm. Then you
can avoid dangerous situations or at least
minimize your exposure to them.
Recognize the dangers
The first step to avoiding danger is to
recognize that hazards exist. Carefully read
the safety section in operator manuals.
Identify specific hazards associated with
equipment you use.
Then consider how you use equipment. Are
you using it for tasks it was meant to perform?
Are you following all safety precautions
recommended by the manufacturer?
Most machinery accidents result from
human error. The operator either forgot
something, took a shortcut, ignored a
warning, wasn’t paying close attention,
or failed to follow safety rules. Be familiar
with the operator manual so you know
the limitations of your equipment and can
follow safety measures automatically.
Carefully evaluate the operation of each
implement for safety before starting work. For
example, a skid steer loader bucket is a poor
choice for a human lift because the bucket is
designed to dump its contents. It has no guard
rails and no way to prevent the bucket from
dropping if hydraulic power fails.
Check equipment guards
Equipment guards cannot eliminate all
injuries. The best auger intake shield won’t
work if it’s not in place, or if the shield is
damaged or improperly installed.
Check guards on all equipment as part of
your routine maintenance schedule. During
seasons when equipment is used heavily,
check guards more often.
It may be possible to retrofit older
equipment with shields. Check with your
local implement dealer or the manufacturer
to order specific retrofit parts.
Recognize secondary hazards
Many farm injury victims recognize
hazardous situations, but they misjudge
the seriousness of the hazard because of
For example, spilled grain or debris in
an unloading area could cause you to slip
and fall into the intake auger. Icy, muddy,
or manure-covered surfaces make the
work area slick and increase the risk of
injury. Bystanders or children in the work
area can distract the operator, or limit
You can’t completely eliminate the hazard
of working around grain augers, but you
can reduce the hazard. Remove or eliminate
secondary factors that are under your
control. Keep the work area clean and
uncluttered. Control access and shut down
operations when others enter the work area.
Consider human factors
Farm operators can overestimate their
ability to stop or avoid a dangerous
situation. This is common when operators
work around powerful equipment every
day and become comfortable with their
ability to control the machinery.
However, operators are limited by their
reaction time. The human reaction time
to a stimulus commonly ranges from
one-fourth to three-fourths of a second.
Time varies by individual, and with age
and physical condition. Human reaction
time is not quick enough to avoid an injury
Gravity also is faster than human reaction.
For example, it is very dangerous to reach
underneath the hydraulic loader arm of
a skid steer loader. If the hydraulic line
breaks, gravity could pull the loader bucket
to the ground at a rate of about 9 feet in
three-fourths of a second, and crush the
extended arm of the operator.
Manufacturers have built safeguards
into equipment but all hazards cannot
be removed. Take a realistic approach
to equipment safety and think about
these principles for the operation of all
• Be aware of the dangers. Read the
operator manuals and think about how
you use the equipment.
• Regularly repair and replace protective
guards or shields on all implements.
• Look for and remove secondary hazards,
such as spilled grain or debris.
• Recognize the limitations of you and