Agricultural Safety and Health Mobile Apps

Chicken ROPS Run iOS & Android App

Mobile apps—computer applications that run on mobile devices such as smartphones—can be educational, fun, and easy-to-use, and they can help users improve agricultural safety and health. The number of safety and health mobile apps continues to grow in number and functionality. Below is a list of mobile apps that may be useful for agricultural safety and health:

Ag Safety & Health Apps

  • CSP Quiz Game Plus: These quiz games are designed to help industrial hygienists prepare for the Board of Certified Safety Professionals comprehensive exam.
  • Decibel 10th: This app turns an Apple mobile device into a sound meter.
  • FallClear LITE – Fall Arrest Clearance Calculators: This app provides fall arrest clearance calculators, tools for supervisors and workers trained in fall protection.
  • FarmPAD Mobile App: This app can be used to store farm records, equipment service logs, and spray records or to take notes and pictures.
  • Heat Safety Tool: The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released this app to enable workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksites and learn about protective measures to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.
  • Ladder Safety: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released this app to improve extension-ladder safety.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Database for material safety data sheets; enter a product name to find related MSD. (Android devices)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards for iPad: This app provides a source for general information about industrial hygiene.
  • Sound Meter: Easy to use sound meter that measures SPL (sound pressure level) in decibels (db). (Android devices)

Ag Education Apps

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 –
Serap Gorucu, Pennsylvania State University –
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.





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 –

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

Kithil, R. (n.d.) Decision tree for personal lightning safety. National Lightning Safety Institute. Retrieved from

Thunderstorm safety. (n.d.) American Red Cross. Retrieved from

Thunderstorm safety checklist. (2009) American Red Cross. Retrieved from….

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 –

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 –

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 –
Dennis J. Murphy, Penn State University –
Sam Steel, Penn State University (Has since retired)


Overhead Power-Line Safety

Photo of electrical lines at the farm

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


Use the following format to cite this article:

Overhead power-line safety. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from

Overhead power lines on a farm or ranch can pose a significant electrocution hazard. Because power lines may have been installed without insulation or the insulation may have worn off due to exposure to weather, you should assume that all power lines are bare. Death from electrocution can occur when a person touches a power line while he or she is also in contact with the ground. When electricity enters something or someone, it takes the easiest and shortest path to electrical ground, the point at which the electricity is absorbed (as in the earth).

There are numerous pieces of equipment on a farm or ranch that, due to their height, can come in contact with overhead power lines:

  • loader tractors 
  • portable grain augers and elevators 
  • dump trucks 
  • cultivators in transport mode
  • irrigation pipes 
  • equipment with antennas 

Specific Risks

  • Dump trucks: When raised, the bed of a dump truck or trailer can contact overhead power lines. The person operating the dump truck should note the location of power lines before raising the bed and should not move the dump truck or trailer while the bed is in the raised position.

    • Typically, if a raised bed contacts a power line, the operator will not be at risk of electrocution if he or she remains inside the vehicle because the truck’s tires provide insulation. If, however, a person standing on the ground touches the dump truck or trailer while it is in contact with an overhead line, he or she could be electrocuted.
  • Hay: A loader tractor or telescopic loader may be used during hay handling. Because the booms of such vehicles may reach as high as overhead power lines, putting the vehicle at risk of contact, hay should not be stored under power lines.  
  • Grain bin: Electrocution incidents associated with grain bins occur when augers and/or elevator equipment is used in the vicinity of overhead power lines. The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requires that, where a portable auger or filling equipment is used, power lines be at least 18 ft. above the highest point on any grain bin constructed after 1992.

    • Consult a licensed electrician or your local power company for guidance when planning changes to your grain bin operations.
    • Click here for information from the U.S. Department of Labor concerning power line safety and equipment operation.

As a farmer or rancher, you can reduce your risk of electrocution by following these recommendations:

  • Be aware of the location of overhead power lines on your farm, and avoid the risk of electrocution by choosing a route for your equipment that avoids potential contact.
  • Never touch a power line.
  • Contact your local power company if an incident occurs.
  • Never use ladders around power lines.
  • Remember that some equipment may have a higher profile during transport.
  • Maintain a 10 ft. clearance space between the power lines and your equipment. Contact your power company to determine the height of power lines on your farm.
  • If you are in a tractor and come in contact with power lines, remain in the tractor and have someone contact the power company to shut off the power.
    • If you are in a tractor that contacts power lines and you must exit because of an emergency such as a fire, jump out and away from the tractor as far as possible. Never allow any part of your body to touch both the equipment and the ground at the same time. Plan to fall away from the tractor to avoid tripping back into contact with the tractor.
  • Review safety measures with all individuals working on your farm, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, or voluntary.
  • Remember that even nonmetallic objects such as tree limbs, ropes, and straw can conduct electricity.
Click HERE to view recommendations from regarding electrical safety on agricultural operations.

Use the following format to cite this article:

Overhead power-line safety. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from



Maintain proper clearance around grain bins. (2010) Power Plus: A Monthly Publication of Midland Power Cooperative. Retrieved from


Murphy, D. and Harshman, W. (2005) Farm dump truck and trailer safety. Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from

Schwab, C. and Miller, L. (2004) Electrocution hazards on the farm. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Retrieved from

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

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


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



Kelly, M. (2002) Job instruction training: A checklist. Retrieved from


Reviewers, Contributors, and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University–
Willard Downs, University of Missouri–
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center–

Cultivate Safety

Cultivate Safety Logo

(Photo Source: National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety)

Family farms and farm workers from multiple generations are common in production agriculture. Involving children in work activities teaches them valuable skills and makes them feel included in the family business. However, work activities can also expose children to hazards and risks if they are completing tasks that are not appropriate for their age. In the United States, about 38 children are injured in farm-related incidents each day, and every three days a child dies as a result of a farm accident.

The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) developed a website to help parents remember that they are a “Parent First, Farmer Second.” The website provides user-friendly information about child development and age-appropriate work guidelines for farm tasks.

Click here to be directed to the Cultivate Safety website. In addition to information about child development and work guidelines, the website provides information on preventing injuries and real-life injury incidents. Interactive features provide users with opportunities to upload stories, videos, and photos about child injuries to encourage families to learn from one another.

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Penn State University –
Dennis J. Murphy, Penn State University –
Marsha A. Salzwedel, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety –
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center –