Health and Safety Checklist

You are in your work environment day in and day out. This makes it difficult to see hazards that may be present since you have gotten used to them. Please use this checklist to identify hazards and address them with practical solutions. Contact us if we can help. We can provide you with the latest information on farm safety and health. Our services and resources are provided to you through non-regulatory government grants and are free of charge.

Why should I be concerned about safety? Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers may question why health and safety programs and policies would benefit them. Unsafe operations can cause injuries and illnesses. If you are unable to work, who will do the work? How will being short-handed affect your business? If people who work for you are injured, how does that affect your workers’ compensation insurance rates? Who covers for workers while they are gone? The following checklist is designed to help you identify hazards.

Once you know what the hazards are, you can:

  • Eliminate the hazard
  • Buy products or machinery that can accomplish the same task, but are less dangerous
  • Install safeguards, such as equipment guards or mechanical ventilation
  • Modify work practices (behaviors) so that you and your workers stay away from the hazard
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when other methods cannot eliminate the hazard

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency numbers, including name and address of nearest emergency medical facility, are posted where everyone can see them
Directions to your farm are posted by the phone
At least one person is trained in first aid and CPR
Designated safe places are available for floods, tornados, lightning storms, etc.
First-aid kits are stocked
Farms with open water have rescue equipment available


Fire extinguishers are kept in each building near exits
Fire extinguishers are checked each year to ensure they are charged
Everyone knows how to use a fire extinguisher
Building exits are free of obstructions
Working smoke detectors are located in all buildings
Work Above Six Feet
Ladders over 25 feet high have cages
Rails are installed on raised platforms
A harness is worn and worker is “tied-off” when working on a roof or from a ladder
Damaged ladders are fixed or replaced


Children have designated safe play site areas, away from work site
Children perform only those chores which they are physically and mentally capable of (check for more information)


Chemicals are stored in a locked room or cabinet
Incompatible chemicals are stored separately
Everyone using chemicals has read and understands the label
Chemicals are kept in their original containers and labels are intact and readable
Chemical handling and mixing takes place near an eyewash and safety shower
Everyone handling chemicals has had the required safety training

Flammables and Combustibles

Flammables are stored in approved containers and cabinets
Fuel tanks are protected by barriers
Bulk fuel tank stations are located outdoors
NO SMOKING signs are posted and enforced
Containers with flammable liquid are grounded when dispensing
Waste oil is recycled or disposed of on a regular basis

Compressed Gas Cylinders

Main valve is closed, no pressure is on regulator when not in use
Cylinders are labeled
Cylinders are chained to wall or cart and kept where they can’t be knocked over
Cap, protective collar or neck ring are in place over valve assembly
Empty cylinders are returned to dealer


Flash arrestor is in-line
Cables are in good condition
Work is done in a well-ventilated area
Eye protection and leathers are worn
Fire-prone materials are removed from work area

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Gloves fit and are resistant to any chemicals being used
Respirator or dust mask fits and protects against the airborne chemical or dust of concern
Chemical goggles are worn when mixing and using chemicals
Safety glasses are worn when there is potential for flying debris or dust
PPE is used, stored, or thrown away according to the manufacturer’s recommendations

Large Equipment

Tractors have ROPS and seatbelts are worn
“No Riders” policy is strictly enforced
Fire extinguishers and first aid kit are on board
Handrails are sturdy, steps are clean
Hydraulic lines/hoses are in good shape
PTO, bells, chains, pulleys and sprockets are guarded
Hitching balls/pins are in good condition
Tractor is equipped w/proper lighting (headlights, flashers, tail lights) and they work
Maintenance is only performed when equipment is off/locked out
SMV sign is in place and not faded
Tires are properly inflated and have good tread
Operators have read and can understand owner’s manuals
Drive lanes are free of ruts, bumps, and stones
Sufficient turning area is provided along ditches and embankments
Steep slopes are avoided
Operator has a walkie talkie or cellphone that works from any location on farm


Adequate lighting is provided
Floors are well maintained, free of clutter and puddles
Counters and workbenches are free of clutter and debris
Excessive dust, cobwebs and other combustible material removed

Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are clearly marked
Each worker knows what a confined space is and the danger of entering one, and uses a “buddy system”
A confined space entry procedure has been established and is followed
PPE is available when/if needed Electrical


Building wiring was installed by a certified electrician
Outlets are grounded
Outlets near wet areas are GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupted) protected
Extension cords have ground pins
Extension cords do not have splices or taps
Cords are in good condition without fray
Cords are protected from being run over
Workers know which extension cords can be used outside
Flat extension cords are not used
Circuit breakers are clearly labeled
Workers are aware of overhead power lines

Small Equipment

Guards are used on grinding wheels, drill presses, and other shop equipment
Equipment cords are in good condition
Each operator has read and understood the owner’s manual
Eye protection is worn
Leather gloves are worn when sharps or sparks are present

Powered Hand Tools

Each user has read and understood the owner’s manual
Eye protection is worn
Tool guards are in place
Cords are grounded or double insulated and free of damage

Material Storage

Storage shelves are rated for weight of load and secured to floor and wall
Loads over 50 lbs. are moved with mechanical assistance or a second person
Stacked materials are stable

Fences and Gates

All components of fences and gates are capable of holding the confined animal’s weight
Hinges and latches are checked routinely


Workers understand animal behavior and how they should act around animals
Steel-toed boots with non-slip soles are worn in animal handling areas
Cattle are de-horned
Special care is taken when workers are near animals with newborns
Handling bulls over six months of age is limited
Animal medications are kept in original container and used only by designated workers
Workers are informed on zoonotic diseases and their transmission

This checklist is not all-inclusive. You may have unique aspects to your operations that were not addressed here. Take time to consider workers' behaviours and equipment that could cause injuries or illnesses. Ask yourself what you could do to be safer. After all, protecting your health and safety will ultimately protect your business. This document is based on a publication and used with the permission of High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HI-CAHS).



National Farm Medicine Center
Marshfield Clinic
1000 North Oak Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449-5777

715-387-9298 • 1-800-662-6900
Fax 715-389-4950

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The National Farm Medicine Center is a program of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, a division of Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin

For more information, call us at 1-800-662-6900 or visit our web site at

Publication #: 2715-001

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