A Review of the National Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health

In 2000, the North Central Education/Extension Research Activity (NCERA) 197 committee was founded to develop strategies to implement the land-grant system’s research and extension capacity with the experience of agricultural producers to reduce work-related injuries, illness, and death. The NCERA-197 was reappointed in 2005 when its name changed from NCR 197 to NCERA 197.

This review provides background data to guide the development of a new national research and extension agenda for agricultural safety and health. Scholarly products consisting of peer reviewed journal articles, technical conference papers, and educational products published between 2004-2015 were identified and reviewed. A total of 1121 scholarly products were documented. An increasing trend was observed in the number of scholarly products published. Based on the number of the scholarly products reviewed, most products addressed the priority area of ‘Special Population and Enterprises’.

Click HERE to access the full review.

Click HERE for more information about NCERA-197.

Summarized and reviewed by:
Linda Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Serap Gorucu, Pennsylvania State University – srpgrc7@gmail.com
Michael Pate, Pennsylvania State University


Materials for Teaching Agricultural Safety in the College Classroom


Like crops themselves, teaching agricultural safety has its seasons. Over a career, an instructor might see periods when awareness and support of agricultural safety programs are high and parents, producers, and employees want more programs in the school or in the workplace. Then there are times when the focus shifts to other topics, and it is easy for people to think that we have already “taken care of” agricultural safety. Until the next local incident shocks us back into awareness.

Unlike our human focus, the hazards themselves never take a break. The range of hazards in the agricultural workplace that result from daily exposure to powerful machines and chemicals, from the repetitive day in, day out activity, from the stress of second-guessing the crops, the weather, the pests… Agricultural workers must face these hazards every day. 

Agricultural hazards take a heavy toll – agriculture remains one of the most dangerous occupations – yet, it rarely makes the front page. Instead of the dramatic incident in which dozens are killed or injured – incidents that make it into the newspapers and onto television, incidents that mobilize resources – agricultural losses are a steady drip, drip, drip – a tractor overturn here, a confined space injury there, an unfortunate encounter with a bull or horse… it adds up, and almost every farm family has these stories to tell.

Safety educators must work constantly to inform agricultural producers, their families, and their employees both when safety is “popular” and when it is not. In addition to this, at the high school and college level, we must work to prove the relevance of agricultural safety courses and raise the next crop of safety educators and safety advocates. Our hope is the materials in this book will motivate and facilitate the teaching of agricultural safety at the high school and college level and be the seeds of that crop. The hazards never take a break, and neither must we.

Carol J. Lehtola, Ph.D.
Charles M. Brown
Gainesville, Florida 2016

Click HERE to access the full curriculum.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Process of Hazard Identification and Correction (Evaluation)

Chapter 2 – Principles of Occupational Safety and Health (Evaluation)

Chapter 3 – Costs and Worker Compensation (Evaluation)

Chapter 4 – Introduction to Agricultural Safety (Evaluation)

Chapter 5 – Machinery Management Safety (Evaluation)

Chapter 6 – Confined Spaces and Trenching (Evaluation)

Chapter 7 – Livestock Handling and Zoonoses (Evaluation)

Chapter 8 – Grain and Materials Handling (Evaluation)

Chapter 9 – Hazardous Materials (Evaluation)

Chapter 10 – Emergency Preparedness and Security (Evaluation)

Chapter 11 – Fire and Electrical Safety (Evaluation)


Each chapter has a multiple question test that relates to the chapter objectives and content. Click on the link above to access the evaluation questions for that chapter.





Videos Disponibles en Español – Videos Available in Spanish

Los vídeos son recursos educativos valiosos para los productores agrícolas, educadores agrícolas, profesionales de la seguridad y salud agrícola y para el personal del Sistema de Extensión Cooperativa. Además de los recursos disponibles en extension y en el sitio web Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH), los recursos de seguridad y salud agrícola están disponibles a través de universidades y organizaciones. La siguiente información provee enlaces a videos en español publicados desde el año 2000 por las universidades y las organizaciones de seguridad y salud agrícola.

Animales (Animals)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación

Entrenamiento de Seguridad de Lecheria 1.1 – El Cuidado de los Animales en los corrales (Dairy Safety Training: Outside Animal Care)

8:58 minutes

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
5:04 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
4:19 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
8:27 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015

Previniendo lesiones por piquetes de agujas – El uso apropiado en lecherías (Preventing Needlestick Injuries – Proper Use on Dairy Farms)

2:30 minutes

Salud y seguridad agrícola del medio oeste superior (Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health)


Previniendo lesiones por piquetes de agujas – En granjas porcinas (Preventing Needlestick Injuries – Proper Use on Swine and Hog Farms)

2:33 minutes

Salud y seguridad agrícola del medio oeste superior (Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health)


Salud en el trabajo (Occupational Health)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación

Enfermedades por el Calor (Heat Illness)

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014
Farm Shop Safety SAIF 2016

Lesiones de Escalera (Ladder Injuries)

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015


Productos Químicos y Pesticidas (Pesticides)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Como Protegerse de los Pesticidas en el Trabajo (Sección 1 de 2) Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014
Despues del Trabajo: Proteja a Su Familia (Sección 2 de 2) Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014

Tractores y Maquinarias (Tractor & Machinery)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Señales con las Manos (Agricultural Safety Signals) Universidad de Penn State 2011
Seguridad con Tractores Agrícolas: Más Allá de Arados y Tomas de Fuerza  Farm Tractor Safety: More than Plows and PTOs Departamento de Trabajo e Industrias del Estado de Washington 2010
Para Su Seguridad: Prácticas de Seguridad con Segadoras Industriales y Agrícolas For Your Safety: Industrial and Agricultural Mower Safety Practices Asociación de Fabricantes de Maquinarias (AEM) 2005
Módulo I: Vestimenta Segura (Safe Personal Dress) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo II: Equipo de Proteccion Personal (Personal Protective Equipment) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo III: Senales Con Las Manos (Hand Signals) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo IV: Subir/Bajar y Encender/Apagar Tractores (Starting/Stopping Tractors and Mounting/Dismounting Tractors) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo V: Peligros Mecanicos (Mechanical Hazards) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo VI: Revision De Pre-Operacion (Pre Operational Check-ups) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo VII: Ejemplos de Practicas de Trabajo Seguras e Inseguras (Examples of Safe and Unsafe Practices) Universidad de Penn State 2013
seguridad de skid steer loader (Skid Steer Loader Safety) Universidad de Penn State  
Tractor Safety Elements SAIF Consejo de Corporación y Agronegocios de Oregan 2011


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 – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Andrew Mann, Ohio State University – mann.309@osu.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

811 and Pipeline Safety for Your Farm

Enbridge Photo

(Source: Enbridge)


Use the following format to cite this article:

811 and pipeline safety for your farm. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/72268/811-and-pipeline-safety-for-yo….


More than 20 million miles of underground utilities transport water, fuel, energy, electricity, and even fertilizer across the United States to end users. Government studies have shown that pipelines are the safest way to transport energy products, but anyone working around pipelines must take proper precautions to avoid harmful or even deadly consequences. If you strike a pipeline while excavating, you may be responsible for fines and repair costs. However, striking a pipeline can harm more than just your pocketbook. A product released from a pipeline could damage your property, and contact with the product could result in injuries or even death.

Calling 811

811 is a free, nationwide service designed to keep you safe from damaging pipelines and underground utilities when digging or excavating. Calling 811 is meant to be a simple process to help you avoid significant consequences. Also, many states now offer online “811” options; click here to find out whether an online option is available in your state.

Under What Circumstances Should You Call 811?

Call 811 before performing any task that disturbs the soil. Such tasks may include but are not limited to the following activities:

  • deep tilling
  • ditching
  • soil ripping
  • installing drain tile
  • constructing fences, roads, driveways, ditches, berms, overhead or underground utilities, or other facilities

Even if you believe you may be exempt under state one-call laws, you should make the call. Like refraining from texting while driving, making a call may not always be required by law, but it’s always the safest option.

When Should You Call 811 and What Information Should You Provide?

Call 811 two or three business days before undertaking a soil-disturbing project. When you call, include the following important details:

  • descriptions of the type of work you will be doing and the area you will be excavating
  • the date and time that you will begin excavating
  • the street address of your work site, the road on which the work site is located, and the nearest intersection
  • driving directions to or GPS coordinates for the work site

Within two or three business days, professional locators will mark underground utilities. These personnel will mark pipelines with yellow flags or paint so that you can conduct your work around them, saving yourself from potential damage or injury.

Other Safety Precautions

Excavating safely goes beyond making the call to 811. Keep in mind that it’s never safe to assume the depth of pipelines. Pipeline depth can change due to erosion, previous digging projects, and other factors. Also, some pipelines may be located above the ground.

Remembering the following guidelines will ensure that you always dig with “CARE”:

  • Call 811 before you dig.
  • Allow required time for markings.
  • Respect the markings.
  • Excavate carefully.


Call 811 website (http://call811.com)

Enbridge Companies’ Call 811 web page (http://www.enbridge.com/call811)

811 in Your State (http://call811.com/)

National Pipeline Mapping System (https://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/)

Common Ground Alliance “Don’t Ignore” PSA Video (http://youtu.be/zspyp4Kp3gM)

Marathon Farmer Testimonial (Video) (http://youtu.be/oe-iknpYzF8)

7 Myths about Safe Digging

811 Survey Article


Use the following format to cite this article:

811 and pipeline safety for your farm. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/72268/811-and-pipeline-safety-for-yo….

Summarized by:
Kesley Tweed, Enbridge – kesley.tweed@enbridge.com
Reviewed by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Charles V. Schwab, Iowa State University – cvschwab@iastate.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

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 http://articles.extension.org/pages/71216/lightning-protection-systems. 


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 http://articles.extension.org/pages/71216/lightning-protection-systems. 




Chamberlain, D. and Hallman, E. (1995) Lightning protection for farms. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/5168/2/LIGHTNING%20PROTECTION%20FOR%20FARMS.pdf.

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 http://nasdonline.org/1168/d001010/lightning-protection-for-the-farm.html.

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 – lmf8@psu.edu
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 – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Lightning Safety

Photo of storm clouds approaching

Photos provided by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH)


Lightning and thunderstorms typically occur during the spring and summer months. As human beings, we are great conductors of lightning because approximately 65 percent of the human body consists of salt and water. Lightning can cause injury or death to humans and animals, either by direct strike or transmission indirectly to and through the body. Also, it can cause structure fires.

Cloud-to-ground lightning can cause injuries by direct or indirect means because the current can branch off to a person from a nearby tree, fence, or other tall object. Lightning flashes can send a current through the ground to a person after hitting a nearby object, such as a tree. Additionally, injuries or death can occur due to fires or falling objects caused by a lightning strike.

Awareness and Preparation

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio and local radio/television stations are the best sources for the latest forecasts and emergency updates in your area. Remember that a thunderstorm watch means that storms are possible whereas a thunderstorm warning means that severe weather has been reported by spotters or radar in your area. Even though it is not possible to have lightning without thunder, there are times when you cannot distinctively hear the thunder. When this happens, typically during the summer months, the lightning you see is called heat lightning. The term dry lightning refers to lightning that occurs without rain. This type of lightning can cause forest fires.

In preparation for thunder and lightning storms, you and your family should take the following actions:

  • Choose a place in the house where family members will meet in the event of a storm.
  • Make a list of specific items that need to be brought inside during a storm.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed and remove debris from around buildings to reduce the potential that items (for example, weak tree limbs) will become projectiles.
  • Ensure that you have a place where your animals can go to be protected.
  • Consider installing permanent shutters that can be closed easily and quickly for better protection.
  • Install lightning rods on your home, barn, and other structures that house animals. Also, install a lightning arrestor or diverter on any electric fence.

When and Where to Seek Shelter

The National Weather Service recommends using the 30/30 rule to know when to move to safety and when to return to your activities. If lightning is within six miles, locate a safe place and stay there until no lightning has been seen nor thunder heard for 30 minutes. The “flash to bang” count can determine the distance of the lightning. When you see lightning, start counting seconds (one one-thousand, two one-thousand, and so on) and stop when you hear the thunder. Every five seconds equals a mile, so move to safety if the count is less than 30 seconds.

Choose your safe place wisely. A fully enclosed metal vehicle or building is a safe shelter if the outer metal shield is not compromised. This means you should keep windows closed; avoid objects that penetrate from the outside to the inside; and in a vehicle, do not touch external objects such as door handles or radio knobs.  In a lightning storm, avoid water, high and open ground, metal spaces, canopies, picnic or rain shelters, trees, and electrical/electronic equipment. If you are in a structure that has curtains or blinds over windows, close them to prevent glass shards from flying into the structure from a broken window.

If you cannot find a safe shelter, place yourself as low as possible to the ground without lying on the ground. Seek low ground, such as a ditch, or crouch down with your feet together and your hands over your ears to protect your hearing.

During a lightning storm, take the following precautions:

  • Do not hold anything that can conduct electricity, such as a shovel, a hoe, or a golf club.
  • Do not operate farm equipment.
  • Avoid water! Do not take a bath or a shower or run water for any purpose (for example, to wash dishes). If you are swimming or boating, get out of the water.
  • Protect your electronics and electrical items from lightning strikes and power surges by unplugging televisions, computers, and other valuable appliances.
  • Avoid electric fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails, telephone poles, and other conductors.

Fires and Entrapments due to Lightning

An electrical fire can occur when an appliance or a tool catches on fire. If possible, unplug the appliance from the outlet; however, if doing so places you in danger, turn off the current at the fuse box. Use an ABC or BC fire extinguisher on an electrical fire, and remember never to pour water on an electrical fire. Leave the area, and contact your local fire department if the fire is more serious than a simple appliance fire. If you notice fallen electrical wires, report them immediately to the police or local utility company. If you find someone trapped in a vehicle by fallen wires, tell the person to stay in the vehicle without touching any metal parts of the car while you go for help.

Injury Types and First Aid

Most lightning strike victims survive, but common injuries include burns, broken bones, heart attacks, and neurological damage. Short-term effects of lightning strike include memory loss, chronic headaches, ringing in the ears, fatigue, personality changes, muscle spasms, joint stiffness, numbness, sleep difficulties, and dizziness. Additional injuries can be caused by fires or objects that fall after being struck by lightning.

First aid needs to be started immediately after a lightning strike. If the person is conscious, check his or her breathing and pulse. If there is no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Check the victim for additional injuries, such as fractures, but do not move the person if you suspect a spinal injury. If the victim sustained an electrical burn, cover the burned area with a dry, sterile dressing. Remember to look for multiple burn areas because separate burned areas may exist where the current entered and exited the victim’s body. Also look for burned areas on the person’s extremities (fingers and toes) and on areas next to buckles or jewelry. Contact your local emergency responders. Even if a person does not appear to be injured, he or she still should be seen by a medical professional.


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

Click here for more information about NOAA Weather Radio.

Click here for information about lightning safety for outdoor workers from the National Lightning Safety Institute.

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

Lightning Protection Systems



Cyr, D. and Johnson, S. (2003) Lightning safety. University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from http://umaine.edu/publications/2315e/.

Kithil, R. (n.d.) Decision tree for personal lightning safety. National Lightning Safety Institute. Retrieved from http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/decision_tree_people.html.

Thunderstorm safety. (n.d.) American Red Cross. Retrieved from http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/thunderstorm.

Thunderstorm safety checklist. (2009) American Red Cross. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-o….

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
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 – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

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 – lmf8@psu.edu
Kristen Mullins, University of Vermont – kristen.mullins@uvm.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Safety and Health Management Planning for General Farmers and Ranchers

Safety and Health Management Manual Cover

(Source: Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences)

Agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Penn State’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program has developed a best practices manual titled Safety and Health Management Planning for General Farmers and Ranchers. This manual assists farm owners and managers in developing health and safety management plans for their agricultural operations. The following five units of the manual outline the reasons a safety and health plan is needed along with hands-on activities and steps to take to develop a successful safety and health plan:

  1. Establishing Safety Policies and Procedures
  2. Identifying and Assessing Hazards and Risks
  3. Preventing and Controlling Hazards and Risks
  4. Educating and Training Employees
  5. Evaluating Training Programs and Resources

A complete copy of Safety and Health Management Planning for General Farmers and Ranchers is available through Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Publications

Click HERE for learning objectives and evaluation questions for each unit.

Click HERE for a copy of the Instructor’s Guide to be used in conjunction with Safety and Health Management Planning for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.


Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Penn State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Penn State University – djm13@psu.edu
Sam Steel, Penn State University (Has since retired)


Job Instruction Training

Use the following format to cite this article:

Job instruction training. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70638/job-instruction-training.


Safety training is important in all workplaces, and production agriculture is no different. Think about all the equipment, processes, and tasks that workers complete daily on farms and ranches across the country. Farm and ranch managers may make assumptions that workers know how to do certain jobs, but those assumptions can be wrong. As a farm or ranch manager, you are responsible for ensuring that each worker understands how to safely complete the jobs he or she must do.

Job instruction training (JIT) is a systematic, fast, and effective method for teaching your workers to do a job correctly and safely. This method of training workers through a simple breakdown of steps is easy to understand and complete. By providing such training for your workers, you could reduce the risk of an injury or death to a worker, prevent costly equipment repairs, or avoid lost work time.

JIT Planning

When planning to conduct JIT, you must choose an effective trainer, identify an appropriate location and time for the training, and determine what information to convey to the workers. A JIT trainer should be familiar with all aspects of the job and should be a safe worker. Also, a good trainer is patient and has the desire and ability to teach the necessary skills. To enhance learning, provide the training in a realistic setting, using real tools and equipment. If you are training multiple groups, ensure that the training is the same for all workers. Provide ample time in the training for the trainer to present the information and for workers to demonstrate the job and ask questions. When possible, plan to hold training sessions during a slow time of the year at your farm or ranch to allow appropriate time for instruction and interaction. Use JIT to convey to workers any new information, techniques, or processes.

Steps of the JIT Method

When conducting JIT, the trainer uses the following four steps:

  1. Preparation: Provide a positive learning atmosphere for the workers by putting them at ease, evaluating what they already know, and reiterating the importance of job safety. Treat the workers as peers.  
  2. Presentation: List and demonstrate individually each step, stressing key points, while the workers observe. Provide an opportunity for the workers to interact by asking questions. 
  3. Performance: Give the workers the opportunity to complete the steps of the process while they explain the key points. If workers cannot explain the key points, they have not internalized the instructions and explanations. They do not thoroughly understand the job and are likely to perform it incorrectly or unsafely. Repeat this step until the workers successfully explain and complete the task. 
  4. Follow-up: Monitor the workers’ performances as they complete the steps, and correct their actions before they become habits. Provide workers a means for follow-up by designating a contact person for assistance, and encourage them to ask questions as needed after completing the training.

Click the image below to view the JIT method in action.



Benefits of the JIT Method

A main advantage of the JIT method is that training is practical and realistic because work tasks are demonstrated in real-life settings that encourage personalized, hands-on learning. By using personalized training, you will be able to motivate your workers more easily and focus on areas of improvement or need specific to your farm or ranch. Be sure to evaluate the training session to determine whether the workers clearly understood the content and whether you should address additional areas in the future.


For information related to JIT, click here to read an article about job safety analysis.


Use the following format to cite this article:

Job instruction training. (2014) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/70638/job-instruction-training.



Kelly, M. (2002) Job instruction training: A checklist. Retrieved from http://migashco.com/cambrian/JIT.html.


Reviewers, Contributors, and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University–lmf8@psu.edu
Willard Downs, University of Missouri–willard@missouri.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center–aaron.yoder@unmc.edu