year there are an alarming number of farm related injuries
nation-wide. In 1990 alone, there were 120,000 disabling injuries
and 1,300 deaths(1) . Farm owners and managers must begin
to make a greater effort to ensure safety around the farm
and reduce farm related accidents. Buildings are the site
for almost 30% of all farm-related injuries(3) . To help reduce
the number of accidents and injuries to employees, visitors
and stock, care needs to be taken to ensure that buildings
and the surrounding areas meet common safety standards. With
a reduction in injury claims, insurance companies will likely
begin to lower liability insurance premiums. This fact sheet
will help owners and managers to identify areas of concern
and how to correct any possible problems.
should be no unnecessary trash or debris lying around inside
or outside of buildings. It is unsightly, an attractant
to rodents, can start or aid in the spread of a fire, and
could cause an injury or fall to a person or animal.
ornamental shrubbery around the exterior of the barn should
not be poisonous to livestock. Check with your county agricultural
agent for assistance in identifying plants poisonous to
Smoking signs should be posted at all exterior doorways.
Have sand buckets for cigarette butts available at the doors.
No Smoking signs should also be posted in lounges, bathrooms
and in several other conspicuous places around the barn.
size and type of fire extinguisher should be located at
every exterior door, in the middle of long aisles and next
to the main electrical panel box. Fire exits should be clearly
farm/stable should have an emergency first aid kit for both
humans and horses/livestock. A phone with posted emergency
numbers should be easily accessible.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved lighting should
be available for maximum visibility around the exterior
of the building and throughout the interior. Wiring and
switches should be encased in metal, weather proof boxes,
and out of reach of stock.
building should have lightening rods and be properly grounded.
and aisles should be free of obstructions and sharp projections,
need to have a height of 8-12 feet.. Door frames should
be a minimum of 8 ft. high with a minimum width of 4 feet.
need to be inaccessible to horses and livestock, covered
with bars or screening and made of safety glass.
and pen walls should be smooth, free of all projections,
and of adequate size for the number of animals to be housed
and to prevent casting. Stall doors should have secure latches.
sources should be grounded to prevent accidental electrical
tubs and water buckets should be smooth, clean and placed
securely at the proper height so that the animals cannot
should be easy to keep clean and provide traction for animals,
especially those with shoes. (Note: excessively rough flooring
can cause abnormal wear, soreness and bruised feet especially
in cattle). Any rotten floor boards should be replaced immediately.
and other tying areas with safety release snaps should be
provided to secure horses.
and wash stalls should be in open areas; clean and well-drained
to prevent wet and/or icy barn floors.
storage needs to be away from heat and electrical sources,
and if at all possible in a separate building from where
livestock and horses are housed.
to haylofts should have hand rails and kept free of slippery
substances and clutter. Railings should be installed around
loft and ladder openings, and ladders should be firmly attached
to the wall.
and bedding should be stacked so as not to fall on top of
beams and pipes (under 7 ft. clearance), steps or uneven
floors should be marked.
rooms need adequate racks and storage areas to keep equipment
off the floor and out of the path of traffic.
areas should be large enough to keep shovels, pitchforks,
wheel barrows, etc. safely away from animals. Items should
be hung so that people cannot strike their heads on them.
Hoses should be neatly hung in wash rack areas so that people
and animals cannot become entangled in them.
storage systems should be ratproof, weather proof and not
accessible to horses and livestock.
around vents and fans should be kept clear. Fans should
be properly maintained and cleaned frequently.
receptacles should be available for the deposit of refuse,
bailing twine and wire.
paddocks and pasture fencing should be sturdy, 4-6 feet
in height, and able to keep livestock in and unwanted "visitors"
out. Any protrusion on which stock may become caught should
be removed. Fencing material should be suitable for the
type of livestock being housed. Loose wires and broken boards
or rails should be attended to immediately.
should be a minimum of 4 feet wide, swing freely and have
no sharp edges or corners.
should be free of ruts and stones and well-drained.
should be free of debris, foreign objects and toxic plants.
and equipment should not be left in pastures and turnouts.
irrigation and open drainage ditches should be fenced.
branches and tree stumps should be removed.
should be fixed promptly.
bridges should be strong enough to support horses and machinery.
pasture checks should be made to ascertain that no poisonous
plants are growing in or around the pasture area.
and driveways should be wide, free of deep ruts and bumps.
hanging tree branches and shrubs should be trimmed back.
should be wide enough for machinery and trucks, and set
far enough back so vehicles are off the main road when stopping
to open or close the gate.
wires should be high enough for trucks, trailers, tractors,
and other equipment to pass under.
should be 10 feet wide fire/emergency lanes around all buildings
should park in designated areas only to keep roadways open
for emergency vehicles.
and trailer parking should not be permitted next to barn/stable.
traffic should proceed slowly and with caution.
limit signs of 15 mph or lower should be posted and enforced.
and courses should have ample, suitable footing; free from
ruts, holes and unevenness.
should be a minimum of 4 feet high and of adequate strength.
overhead and protruding branches should be cut back so as
not to be a hazard.
accessory equipment (e.g., jumps, trail obstacles, barrels,
poles) should be in good condition. Any broken or unstable
items should be fixed or replaced immediately.
and jump courses should not attract attention from "outside"
such as skateboarders, dirt bikers or all-terrain vehicle
should be secured so as to deny entry to unauthorized users.
around the barns, rings and pastures should be free from
large water storage tanks and waterways should be fenced
and posted with "no swimming" and "no fishing" signs to
passageways, hay drops, manure pits, etc. should be properly
fenced and maintained safely.
following the above recommendations, the number of farm
related accidents and injuries should greatly be reduced.
Farmer. October 10, 1991. "Agriculture: A Dangerous Industry".
Safety Council/Farm Family Insurance Company. 1990. "Your
Farm Safety Is No Accident!".
Safety Council. 1975. "Hazard Checklist For Agriculture".
Association of Minnesota. 1983. Fire Safety In Agricultural
William J., Buildings For Pleasure Horses. 1979. Rutgers
M. and Malinowski, 1991. - Accident-Proofing Farms and Stables.
R. Margentino, Program Associate in Animal Science and Karyn
Malinowski, Ph.D., Extension Equine Specialist
publication was made possible in part by a grant from the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Program
on Agricultural Health Promotion Systems for New Jersey
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