Back-Saving Solutions

Farming with a BAD BACK has its problems. The good news is that by using modifications you may prevent further injuries and reduce back pain.


  • ADD A STEP with non-slip material to farm machinery to help with getting on and off farm machinery safely.
  • SUSPENSION SEAT could be installed in your tractors or a SEAT CUSHION with lumbar support and ADJUSTABLE ARM RESTS. These modifications could reduce stress or pressure to the lower back.
  • AUTOMATIC HITCHING DEVICES and AUTOMATIC GATE OPENERS can reduce the frequency of getting on and off a tractor.
  • ADDITIONAL MIRRORS could be added to the inside and outside of the tractor cab. You can see what is happening behind you without twisting your back.
  • OUTDOOR MOBILITY AID such as a utility vehicle, golf cart or lawn mower can reduce the amount of time you are on your feet and help with fatigue.
  • Use a SIT/STAND STOOL for milking and/or other tasks that require standing and bending for long periods of time.
  • Use LONG HANDLED TOOLS to avoid bending.
  • Use HANDLE EXTENDERS to improve leverage.
  • Use a CART OR WHEELBARROW to transport heavy materials, store items and reduce bending.
  • GRABBERS can be purchased to retrieve small items on a shelf or on a floor to reduce bending. Two types of grabbers are pincher or magnetic.
  • Add a GATE WHEEL to the end of a sagging gate to allow you to roll the gate open versus carrying it open.  
  • MANY LOW COST MODIFICATIONS can be used on your farm to help reduce back pain and prevent further injury.

A portion of the information shared from: National AgrAbility Quarterly May 2003, Volume 3; Marshall Field Clinic, “Back Saving Tips”; Easter Seals Society, “Safety Tips for Farming with a Back Injury or Back Problem”.

For further information please contact the NY AgrAbility Project, Cornell Agricultural Health and Safety Program, 777 Warren Road, Ithaca New York 14850 or by phone 1-877-257-9777. The New York AgrAbility Project can not guarantee the effectiveness of any suggestions, solutions or recommendations. The New York AgrAbility Project is administered by Cornell University through funding provided under the United States Department of Agriculture CSREES project number 2002-41590-01372.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More