FARM S.O.S. (Strategies on Safety)

FARM S.O.S (Strategies On Safety) logo

(Source: The Ohio State University)

FARM S.O.S (Strategies On Safety) is an agricultural safety education series developed by the Ohio State Agricultural Safety and Health Program. The Farm S.O.S curriculum consists of 13 topics and involves an easy-to-use presentation that includes speaker notes as well as educational videos for some topics.

Target Audiences

The target audiences for Farm S.O.S include farmers, farm family members, and agricultural employees.


The FARM S.O.S. topics are listed below. Topics marked with an asterisk (*) include a short video for use by the presenter as an introduction or a brief educational message. To access the FARM S.O.S. curriculum, click here to be directed to the Ohio State University Agricultural Safety and Health website. 

  1. All Shook Up. Topic provides an overview of vibration, information about risks and symptoms associated with vibration, and strategies to prevent or reduce injuries.
  2. *Beyond the Wheel. Topic explains the various hazards related to tractor rollover, tractor runover, power takeoff (PTO) entanglement, tractor lighting and marking, and roadway safety.
  3. *Consumed by the Fumes. Topic outlines respiratory concerns and hazardous atmospheres found on a farm and provides tips on ways to measure gas levels and decrease exposure.
  4. *Danger: No Entry. Topic provides an overview of how confined spaces are defined, various types of confined spaces that can be found on farms, existing hazards, and ways to manage/reduce the risks associated with these areas. An additional discussion on lockout/tag out practices is included.
  5. Down on the Farm. Topic includes an overview of injuries related to working with livestock, animal behavior traits and characteristics, warning signs of irritated animals, appropriate ways to approach livestock, proper care of livestock, and safety precautions to follow around livestock.
  6. Health Hazard. Topic provides an introduction to pesticides and common chemicals on a farm operation; an overview of chronic and acute toxicity; and information about various routes of exposure, ways to protect oneself from exposure, and proper storage and disposal of pesticides.
  7. On the Ground. Topic discusses the hazards of the eight points of peril (wrap, pinch, cut, free wheeling parts, burn, crush, thrown objects, and stored energy), demonstrates reaction time, and provides strategies to reduce injuries involving agricultural equipment.
  8. *Particles in the Air. Topic provides an overview of dust types, respiratory conditions, and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended for a person working in dusty work environments on a farm.
  9. Protecting your Ears. Topic addresses methods for measuring noise, ways to reduce noise hazards, the proper protection needed, prevention against hearing loss, and signs that might indicate that someone needs medical attention.
  10. *Riding Safe. Topic provides information about the characteristics, uses, operation practices, and hazards of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility-type vehicles (UTVs) and recommendations related to the use of safety gear when operating an ATV or a UTV.
  11. *Sharing the Road. Topic provides an overview of the risk factors involved when operating machinery on roads, including information about hazardous traffic patterns, slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems, local laws and regulations, closing distance, and proper lighting and marking schemes.
  12. Submerged. Topic focuses on the various drowning hazards in farm operations, risk factors related to these hazards, and steps to take to decrease drowning incidents.
  13. *Watch Your Step. Topic discusses the contributing factors of most falls, various types of falls that may occur on farms, injury types, and prevention strategies.


standard evaluation form provided on the FARM S.O.S website can be used for each curriculum topic in the series.


This program was developed by the Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agricultural Safety and Health Program with funding support from the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Rural Health and Safety grant number 2012-46100-2014.

Summarized by:
Kathy Mann, Ohio State University
Reviewed by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University –
Andrew Mann, Ohio State University –
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska –

User Directions for the SAY Curriculum Alignment Submission Tool

The Safety in Agriculture for Youth project (SAY) is compiling a national clearinghouse of materials for agricultural safety and health education. The SAY Curriculum Alignment Submission Tool (CAST) is an online instrument that participants use to submit an agricultural safety and health Formal Curriculum or Other Supporting Resource to SAY for possible inclusion in the national clearinghouse. Note: Explanations of the terms Formal Curriculum and Other Supporting Resource are included in the “Providing Submitter and Submission Information” section below. For convenience, these official terms are replaced by the term curriculum/other resource in most places in CAST and in these directions.

Materials submitted should align in some part with the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Career Cluster Content Standards promoted by the National Council for Agricultural Education and the National FFA Foundation. A currently existing curriculum/other resource may not align closely to these standards because the standards are relatively new to the agricultural safety and health community. However, even a curriculum/other resource with a low level of alignment can be a valuable educational resource for the SAY National Clearinghouse. Those not familiar with the AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards are strongly advised to study them thoroughly before submitting a curriculum/other resource. If your curriculum/other resource aligns with AFNR Career Cluster Content Standard(s), it will be added to the SAY National Clearinghouse and assigned high, medium, or low alignment. The alignment is based on the information that you provide in your submission so please be clear and concise. The following definitions outline the three alignment categories:

High Alignment—The curriculum/other resource aligns very well with this component of the Performance Indicator.

Medium Alignment—The curriculum/other resource has a moderate degree of alignment with this component of the Performance Indicator.

Low Alignment—The curriculum/other resource does not align well with this component of the Performance Indicator, but enough common language is involved to conclude that some alignment exists.

Before you begin the submission process, click HERE to open the latest version of the safety related AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards, Performance Indicators and Measurements. Print a copy so you can refer to it when completing your submission. This document will help you compare the objectives, goals or outcomes of your curriculum/other resource with those of AFNR. You will notice three shades of green (or gray). The darker shade is the Common Career Technical Core Standards. These are the broadest level of standards, and ultimately what your curriculum/other resource will align to. You will notice that these are very broad statements so more specific statements are listed below these. The middle shade is the ‘Indicators’. When you actually submit your information in the submission template, you will be submitting under the appropriate Indicators. Because these too are very broad, you will notice various statements below each indicator. These are the lightest shade. These measurements are examples of standards under the specific indicators. To us, it makes sense to compare your curriculum/other resource objectives and activities with these statements, because they are more specific.

As you compare your objectives and activities with the AFNR measurements, we suggest making a note of the lesson/page number(s)/activity that relate to the AFNR measurement. You may find that there are multiple activities that together will meet some measurements. For example, participants may need to complete a group or skills activity and/or correctly answer evaluation questions. You will be asked to enter this information on the CAST.

Once you feel that your program’s objectives come close to these examples, you are ready to start filling in the submission template (CAST). After printing these directions, click HERE to access CAST to submit your curriculum/other resource.

Providing Submitter and Submission Information

In the first part of CAST, you will provide information about the submitting organization and the materials to be submitted. The explanations that follow will help you complete this task.

Name of Submitter: Name of the person submitting the curriculum/other resource. This person should be an author or someone working with the author(s).

Name of Organization: Name of the organization that created and/or published the curriculum/other resource.

Email Address: Email address of the person making the submission.

Phone: Phone number for the person making the submission.

Title of Educational Resource: Name of the curriculum/other resource being submitted.

Type of Submission: Choose Formal Curriculum or Other Supporting Resource by clicking the appropriate button. Choose only one option. The term Formal Curriculum refers to material that: 1) has learning goals or objectives that are clearly stated; 2) includes subject matter content supportive of the learning goals or objectives; and 3) has an evaluation component (for example, some type of student assessment, such as a quiz). The term Other Supporting Resource refers to more individualized, originally authored resources, such as technical fact sheet series, video clips, PowerPoint presentations, or other materials that lack one or more of the three elements of a Formal Curriculum. Both types of materials may be supportive of AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards and can be valuable educational materials for youth agricultural safety and health.

Date Published/Latest Revision: Materials should have been authored or revised within the past 10 years.

Check the format of the curriculum/other resource you are submitting: Choose the best description of the format of the curriculum/other resource. If the curriculum/other resource is available only in hard-copy form, choose hard copy. If an electronic version is available, choose online/electronic. If the curriculum/other resource is available electronically, provide a link in the Describe how others can access this curriculum/other resource item in this part of the submission tool (described below). If the curriculum/other resource is available in hard-copy form only, mail a copy to Davis Hill, 204B Agricultural Engineering Building, University Park, PA 16802.

Describe in a sentence or two the curriculum/other resource being submitted: Provide a couple of sentences that describe the curriculum/other resource. Include information such as training type (for example, online training, in-person training, field day, and so on); intended length of the program; and unique aspects of the curriculum/other resource.

Check the age group(s) of the target audience: Choose all age groups that apply for the target audience of the curriculum/other resource.

List the learning goals, objectives, or outcomes of the curriculum/other resource: Provide the learning goals/objectives/expected outcomes for the curriculum/other resource.

Describe the testing/evaluation component(s) of the curriculum/other resource: Provide a brief description of the testing/evaluation component of the curriculum/other resource. If there is no testing or evaluation component because the material is an Other Supporting Resource submission, type “Not Applicable.”

Describe how others can access the curriculum/other resource: Provide a brief explanation of how people can access the curriculum/other resource. For example, state that the curriculum/other resource is available online through a university, and provide the applicable website.   

After you have entered the required information about the submitter and the submission, click the forward arrow to continue to the part of CAST in which you will provide information about how your materials align with the AFNR Common Career Technical Core Standards. CAUTION: Use only the forward and back arrows at the bottom right of the screen to navigate within CAST (Figure 1). Do not use the browser arrows (if you do so, your information may be lost).

Forward Back Button on Qualtrics

Fig. 1. Forward and back arrows on the CAST screen.

Completing the Self-Assessment of Alignment to AFNR Standards

The Curriculum Alignment Committee and SAY team members have identified the AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards that include agricultural safety and health Indicators and Measurements. For each relevant standard, CAST presents a block of questions you will use to supply information about the alignment of your materials to the standard. The block of questions is the same for each standard. The steps that follow provide information for completing the self-assessment of alignment to the standards.

  1. The first question asks whether your curriculum/other resource aligns with a specific Common Career Technical Core Standard. (Figure 2). Answer by choosing Yes or No. If you answer “Yes,” the next question in the block for the specified Common Career Technical Core Standard displays. If you answer “No,” the first question for the next Common Career Technical Core Standard displays.


CAST Question 1

Fig. 2. Example of the first question in each block.

  1. After indicating that your curriculum/other resource aligns to the specified Common Career Technical Core Standard, identify the particular Performance Indicator(s) with which your curriculum/other resource aligns. Each Performance Indicator for the specified Common Career Technical Core Standard is listed with a corresponding check box (Figure 3). Your curriculum/other resource might align with multiple Performance Indicators, so choose all that apply. 

CAST Question 2 with text box

Fig. 3. Example of Indicators.

For each indicator that you check, you will need to indicate where the subject matter is located in your curriculum/resource that aligns with the indicator. Type this information in the text box below each of the indicator(s) and note that the size of the text box can be increased by clicking on the corner and expanding the box.  We suggest referring to the sample measurements in the downloaded document to help decide which specific indicator to list your material. It would be most helpful to us if you listed the sample measurement number with your submission. For example, in Figure 4, we have listed Lesson 7, pgs. 47-50 under CS.03.02 to say that the curriculum being submitted relates somewhat to measurements under this indicator and this can be found in Lesson 7 (on pages 47-50) of the submitted curriculum. That would make it easy for us to find and confirm.

CAST Question 2 with page numbers

Figure 4. Stating location indicator is addressed in your curriculum/resource.

Thank you for submitting your curriculum/other resource for possible inclusion in the SAY National Clearinghouse. If you have questions about the curriculum/other resource submission process, contact Dave Hill at or (814) 865-2808.

Summarized and reviewed by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Penn State University –
Kirby Barrick, University of Florida
Davis E. Hill, Penn State University (has since retired)
Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University –
Dewey Mann, Ohio State University –
Dennis J. Murphy, Penn State University (has since retired)
Ben Swan, California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo)
Brian Warnick, Utah State University

Lightning Protection Systems

Use the following format to cite this article:

Lightning protection systems. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from 


Lightning protection systems are recommended for all barns to reduce the risk of damage sustained from a lightning strike. Thunderstorms involving lightning occur across the United States but are most prevalent in central and eastern states. Lightning is a stream of pure energy, approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide and surrounded by 4 inches of extremely hot air, that is looking for the path of least resistance between the clouds and the ground. The amperage from a lightning flash can be approximately 2,000 times greater than the current in a typical home.

Lightning and Potential Damage

The powerful force of lightning can ignite fires in buildings, damage electrical equipment, and electrocute humans and livestock. Typically, lightning enters a building by striking a metal object on the roof, directly striking the building, hitting a tree or structure (for example, a silo) that causes the strike to jump to a nearby building, or striking a power line or wire fence that provides a path into the structure. You can protect your farm or ranch structures by installing a lightning protection system, which will direct a strike away from your buildings and dissipate the strike in a safe manner.

Lightning Protection System Components

Barn Protection

(Source: Penn State Ag Safety & Health)

A lightning protection system consists of the following five parts: air terminals (lightning rods), conductors, ground connections (electrodes), bonding, and lightning arrestors.

Air terminals. Air terminals, or lightning rods, are metal rods or tubes installed at every projecting high point of a building—such as the peak, a dormer, a flagpole, or a water tank—to intercept a lightning bolt. Solid copper rods should be a minimum of 3/8-inch in diameter, and solid aluminum rods should be a minimum of 1/2-inch in diameter. Rods should extend between 10 and 36 inches above the projecting object. Typically, rods are 10 to 24 inches long; extra support or a brace is needed for a rod that is more than 24 inches long. The most effective spacing is 20 feet apart for rods that are less than 24 inches long or 25 feet apart for rods that are between 24 and 36 inches long. Additionally, a rod should be located within 24 inches of the end of any building ridge or projecting object. Strategic placement of rods on a structure ensures that lightning will strike the rods rather than another part of the building.

Conductors. Conductors, which are copper or aluminum cables, provide the connection between the air terminals and the earth to direct the lightning strike deep into the earth where it can safely dissipate. Choose copper or aluminum rather than a combination of the two because galvanic or chemically corrosive action can occur between the two elements. Main conductors connect all of the lightning rods with the down conductors and then connect to the ground connections.

Ground connections. Ground connections, or electrodes, provide contact with the ground to safely dissipate the lightning charge. A minimum of two ground connections should be used for most buildings; additional ones may be needed for larger structures. The type of ground connection may depend on the conductivity of the soil in your area. Ground electrodes should be 1/2-inch diameter, 10-foot long copper-clad steel or solid copper rods driven at least 8 feet into the ground.

Bonding. Bonding involves branch conductors that protect against sideflashes by connecting metal objects (such as ventilation fans, water pipes, and so on) with the grounding system. Common grounding can eliminate lightning sideflashes. Grounding is achieved when all electrical systems, telephone systems, and underground metal piping are connected to the lightning protection system.

Lightning arrestors. Lightning arrestors provide protection against a strike entering your building through the electrical wiring system and thereby causing potential power surges that may result in severe damage to electrical devices. To provide the best possible protection, lightning arrestors should be installed on the building’s exterior where the electrical service enters the building or at the interior service entrance. 

Protection of Livestock and Trees

Examine your farm or ranch with a certified installer to determine whether lightning protection should be extended to protect valuable trees; trees located within 10 feet of a structure, such as a silo; or trees used for shade by livestock. If livestock stand under a tree, they can be killed by a direct lightning strike to the tree or from contact with resultant charged soil. To avoid this scenario, consider removing trees favored by livestock, fencing livestock away from trees, or providing protection with a conductor system. 

Lightning protection for a tree involves placing air terminals at the tips of the main trunk and attaching a full-size grounding cable to a ground rod. The ground rod should be located away from the tree’s root system. Air terminals with smaller cables can be attached to main branches. If the tree is 3 feet in diameter or larger, use two ground rods attached to the main conductor system.

Protection of Fencing

Lightning can travel up to 2 miles along an ungrounded wire fence, posing a threat to humans and livestock. Fences may be attached to wooden posts, steel posts set in concrete or to buildings, and even trees (not recommended). In all circumstances, the fence should be grounded to safely route the lightning’s voltage into the earth. To ground a fence, drive 1/2-inch steel rods or 3/4-inch pipe 5 to 10 feet into the ground next to wooden fence posts at intervals of 150 feet. Allow a few inches of the ground rod or pipe to extend past the top of the adjacent fence post. Attach the rod or pipe to the fence post with pipe straps to ensure a tight connection.

System Installation and Maintenance

A certified installer should install your lightning protection system to reduce the risk of a system failure and to ensure that your system meets necessary codes and standards. The Lightning Protection Institute certifies systems meeting all its requirements. To maintain a system’s certification, regular maintenance and annual inspection must be completed. Damage due to high winds, building additions, and roof repairs or upgrades can alter a system’s performance. To locate a certified installer in your area, click one of the resource links below:

Lightning Protection Institute

Underwriters Laboratories


Click here for more information about structural lightning safety from the National Lightning Safety Institute.

Click the link below for more detailed information about the related topic.

Lightning Safety


Use the following format to cite this article:

Lightning protection systems. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from 




Chamberlain, D. and Hallman, E. (1995) Lightning protection for farms. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from

Linn, R. (1993) Lightning protection for the farm. Montguide. Montana State University. No longer available online.

Murphy, D. (1988) Lightning protection for the farm. The Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved from

Specifications for lightning protection – ASAE engineering practice. (1998) The Disaster Handbook 1998 National Edition. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services. No longer available online.


Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
William C. Harshman, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Tom Karsky, University of Idaho (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center –

SAY Project Background

Safety in Agriculture for Youth logo

SAY Project Logo

Special Note:  The material below represents the original plans for the SAY project as stated in the 2013-15 project proposal.  While much progress has been made toward the original goals and objectives, these and organizational structures shift over time.  To stay abreast of SAY project changes, be sure to look at the annual SAY project reports at the bottom of the SAY Project homepage

Project Vision

The mission of the Safety in Agriculture for Youth project (SAY) is to develop a sustainable and accessible national clearinghouse for agricultural safety and health curriculum for youth. This “national curriculum” is not a curriculum per se but is an umbrella compilation that includes many different curricula, programs, projects, and activities that together have a common purpose of increasing safety and health knowledge and reducing hazard and risk exposure to youth on farms and ranches. Additionally, this national curriculum must be sensitive to all types and scales of production agriculture and all ages and experience levels of target audiences; it must include parents and other educators; it must be culturally appropriate; and it must be usable in both formal and informal educational settings.

Project Goals

The goals of SAY are to coordinate a national curriculum and become a sustainable national clearinghouse by 

  1. connecting and enhancing existing educational resources in this area;
  2. developing a centralized location for relevant training and farm and ranch safety materials for both formal (school) and informal (home and agricultural industry) settings; and
  3. developing a national strategy that would enhance awareness of, access to, and utilization of farm safety materials by youth and adults who instruct and/or work with youth.

Project Objectives

SAY has the following implementation objectives:

  • Formulate the project team and identify and invite organizations to serve on the national steering committee and stakeholder groups.
  • Identify formally all safety and health curricula for agricultural youth that possibly align to current nationally recognized core competencies and learning objectives or outcomes.
  • Establish a protocol for development of a pool of exam items (test questions).
  • Develop and deliver an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved, 10-hour, web-based youth agricultural safety and health training course.
  • Develop and deliver an OSHA-approved, 10-hour, traditional (classroom-based and instructor-led) youth agricultural safety and health training course.
  • Establish a risk-assessment protocol for developing supervision strategies and guidelines for formal secondary students’ experiential learning activities (that is, supervised agricultural experiences).
  • Provide, through workshops, access to supervision and safety best practices and risk-assessment protocols.
  • Develop an immersive, 3-D, virtual learning environment, in proof-of-concept form, teaching farm safety hazards to youth ages 13 to 15.
  • Develop a sustainable process that ensures user-friendly access to educational resources and expertise.
  • Develop and implement a national strategy to promote awareness and utilization of youth safety materials by diverse stakeholder audiences.
  • Develop and implement a national strategy to increase use of youth safety materials through

Project Organization Chart

This two-year project began in September 2013 and will use the project team, a national steering committee, and four stakeholder groups (shown below) to complete the stated objectives.

SAY Natl Steering Comm

Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
Reviewed by:
Dave Hill, Pennsylvania State University –
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University –

Play It Farm Safe: An Online Educational Game

Play it Farm Safety Logo

(Source: University of Vermont Extension)

University of Vermont Extension 4-H has developed an online educational game called “Play It Farm Safe.” The Play It Farm Safe game is a self-paced learning tutorial for youth ages 12 through 15 that addresses the following topics:

  • tractor and machinery safety
  • animal and livestock safety
  • ATV safety
  • woodlot safety
  • general farmstead safety

Modules include educational diagrams, videos, and questions used to reinforce agricultural safety and health topics. Once a participant has completed all the modules, he or she can print and send a form to the University of Vermont for a completion certificate that will be mailed to the user.

Click HERE to visit the Youth Farm Safety Project and access the online training or HERE to view the program flyer. 

In addition to accessing the game, educators will soon be able to download free companion materials from the site. These materials will include game content for pencil and paper and other farm safety activities that align with Common Core Standards and National Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Career Cluster Standards.

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
Kristen Mullins, University of Vermont –
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University –
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center –