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Secondary Injury Prevention: Caught-in, Caught-between, or Struck by Objects

Ohio AgrAbility Fact Sheet Series
Agriculture and Natural Resources
S. Dee Jepsen, Assistant Professor, State Safety Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University
Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility Program Coordinator, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University
Danielle Poland, Student Intern, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University

Agriculture is a labor-intensive occupation that involves a hands-on approach to every work day. Safety precautions need to be considered when working around farm equipment or livestock. If precautions are not taken seriously, it is easy to be caught-in, caught-between, or struck by objects, leading to serious injuries. People with limited mobility, lack of range of motion, or diminished reaction time are at higher risk.

Caught-in or Between Accidents

OSHA lists "caught-in and between" accidents as one of the big four workplace hazards. The most common caught-in and between accidents are workers being caught in machinery. Others include buried in a trench and pinned between equipment and another solid object.

Caught-in or Between Incidents Occur for Some of the Following Reasons:

  • Working on or around moving equipment.
  • Working on equipment with stored energy. (example: hydraulic cylinder)
  • Inadequate guarding on equipment or guards have been removed.
  • Incorrect hitching practices.
  • Not being visible to the equipment operator.
  • Being unaware of approaching danger in the work environment.
  • Uneven lighting with bright spots and shadows causing livestock to balk.
  • Approaching an animal in its blind spot.

Some Guidelines to Prevent Caught-in or Caught-between Incidents Should Include:

  • Being familiar with the equipment to know where the pinch, shear, wrap, and crush points are located, as well as the pull-in areas.
  • Always shutting down equipment before doing repairs or inspecting of equipment.
  • Chocking the wheels on equipment that could move or roll.
  • Never working under equipment supported only by a jack. Use a secondary support device.
  • Using the cylinder safety locks on equipment that support hydraulic cylinders, to prevent the releasing of stored energy in the cylinder.
  • Making sure all guards are in place and properly secured after servicing equipment.
  • When hitching or unhitching equipment, standing to the side, and being clearly visible to the tractor driver.
  • Leaving an escape route to prevent being pinned between two objects.
  • Taking extra caution when working around equipment that uses belts/pulleys, chains/sprockets, or PTO shafts.
  • Utilizing Roll Over Protective Structures and wearing a safety belt.

Struck-By Accidents

"Struck-by" accidents are related to material handling and housekeeping and occur when work tools, materials, vehicle/machinery, flying debris, or any other type of object hits someone.

Potential Struck-by Accident Hazards Include:

  • Tools or loose parts left on window ledges, shelves, or working platforms.
  • Objects leaning against walls, racks, posts, or equipment.
  • Unmarked low beams or pipes.
  • Weak overhead supports or poor stacking of materials. 
  • Slivers from machine tools, breaking glass, or someone swinging a tool without looking.
  • Agricultural processes that involve spreading materials or waste.

Guidelines for Eliminating Hazards:

  • Do not leave tools or loose parts on window ledges, shelves, or working platforms.
  • Leave guards or screens in place on equipment as it was manufactured.
  • Mark low beams, pipes, and ceilings with proper Low Clearance—Caution signs.
  • Stack and store objects properly.
  • Use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for the task at hand.
  • Use falling object protective structures (FOPS) on equipment.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings or work environment.
  • Do not get distracted by conversations.
  • Watch for people carrying objects that block their view of you or their destination.
  • Do not daydream or lose focus of what you and the people around you are doing.
  • Eliminate all horseplay around the work area.


This fact sheet was reviewed by Karen Mancl, PhD, Professor, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University; Pat Luchkowsky, Director of Public Affairs, Easter Seals of Ohio.


Division of Occupational Safety and Health. (n.d.). Injury Fact Sheet–Agriculture, Dairy Farm Workers. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Division of Occupational Safety and Health. (n.d.). Injury Fact Sheet–Agriculture, Orchard Workers. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

McGuire, K. (2016). Caught in or Caught Between Objects. Agricultural Safety and Health Program, The Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio State University Extension. (2007). Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services. College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science, The Ohio State University.

Stromme, M. (2007). OSHA's Big Four. Occupational Health and Safety.

Vi Hon, P. (2008). Young Workers and Struck By Injuries. Construction Safety Magazine.

About AgrAbility Based Fact Sheets
These fact sheets were developed to promote success in agriculture for Ohio's farmers and farm families coping with a disability or long-term health condition. AgrAbility offers information and referral materials such as this fact sheet, along with on-site assessment, technical assistance, and awareness in preventing secondary injuries. Fact sheets were developed with funding from NIFA, project number OHON0006.

Originally posted Mar 21, 2011.