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Ohio State University Extension


Preventing Machine Hazards

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To reduce hazards and prevent accidents involving machinery.

Trainer’s Note

Have experienced workers assist in the training for this session. Use a common piece of equipment to briefly review the proper steps for checking a piece of machinery before operating it. Demonstrate maintenance procedures and operate equipment to show the hazard areas. Review the true or false quiz.


There are about 9,000 machine-related injuries in Ohio each year. Proper training can prevent these injuries. Know how to operate a piece of machinery and inspect for problem areas before turning on the power. Avoid tripping hazards by keeping air hoses and extension cords out of the way.

Basic Types of Machine Hazards 

Green farm equipment with chain on rollers
Closeup of chain on rollers on a green machine
Closeup of Danger sign in English and Spanish, warning user to not put hands or feet into mower when engine is running
  • Cut or shear points
  • Pinch points
  • Wrap points
  • Crush points
  • Burn points
  • Thrown objects
  • Stored energy
  • Free-wheeling parts

Check the Following Before Operating

  • Have you reviewed the owner’s manual? It will provide operating, repairing, lubricating, and fuel information.
  • Are the warning decals in place?
  • Are the machine guards properly placed and in good condition?
  • Are electrical lines damage free?
  • Are air and hydraulic lines in good condition and not leaking?
  • Is the machine properly set up?
  • Is the area around the machines orderly?
  • Is the equipment jack in working order?

During Operation

  • Turn power off and remove key before working around or performing maintenance on the machine.
  • Stay away from moving parts.

Personal Protection

  • Wear PPE, such as safety glasses, hard toe shoes or steel toe boots, and leather gloves.
  • Long hair should be tied back or tucked under to avoid getting caught in machinery.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry and loose belts.

Machine Maintenance Checklist for Safety

  • Keep machines repaired, lubricated, and adjusted. Operating manuals provide this information.
  • Clean up excess lubricants.
  • Clearly mark control switches and valves that control machines.
  • Check machines for emergency stop switches; they should be located on or near the machine so the machine can be turned off quickly if a malfunction occurs.
    Closeup of a Danger sign on a piece of machinery, fingers getting pulled into a shear point on a chain Drive shaft with warning sign Closeup of drive shaft danger sign, warning that contact can cause death. Drive shafts need guards when operating


Review the Following Points

  • Always wear PPE on the job.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry, hair styles, or loose clothing that might get caught on machinery.
  • Keep work space clutter free.
  • Know how to use the machine safely before operating.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. T
  2. T
  3. F
  4. T
  5. T

Quiz: Preventing Machine Hazards



True or False? 

1. Before using a piece of machinery, know how to operate it safely.  T F
2. Avoid wearing jewelry when working with machines on the farm or in the shop. T F
3. Wear tennis shoes when working on heavy machinery. T F
4. Knowing the location of the emergency stop switches could save a life.   T F
5. Keep machines well maintained to guard against hazards.   T F






Originally posted Jul 23, 2019.