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Ohio State University Extension


Safe Use of Jacks

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

Objective: To know how to correctly use jacks for equipment repairs.

Trainer’s Note

Serious crushing injuries can result from the improper use of jacks. Demonstrate the correct way to use a jack when working on equipment. Let teams of workers practice the correct method for using a jack with various pieces of equipment. Review the true or false quiz.


The following recommendations are important for the safe use of jacks. Compare the rated capacity of the jack to the weight of the load to be lifted to ensure that the jack can safely do the job. Keep jacks lubricated as recommended. Do not use a jack that is leaking fluid.

Handle jacks carefully. Dropping or throwing them may distort or crack the metal, and the jack may fail under the load. Position the jack properly at a point that can carry the lifted weight.

The lift point should be flat, level with the floor or the ground, and able to support the base of the jack. Lift should be straight up and down. If working on the ground, place a long wide block under the base of the jack to keep it from sinking, shifting, or tipping when weight is applied. If the jack will not lift high enough, place additional blocking under the jack. Never put ex- tenders for height between the jack saddle and the load.

Stabilize the equipment. If the machine is self-propelled, place the transmission in gear or in the park position, and set the brakes. Block at least one of the wheels remaining on the ground. When lifting pull-type equipment, hitch it to a tractor drawbar to keep it in place. Always check the position of the jack after it has started to lift. If it leans, lower the jack and reset. Lift no higher than is necessary.

Beware of the jack handle. Some mechanically operated jacks can pop up and kick when the load is lifted or lowered. Stand to one side while jacking equipment to avoid being struck by the handle. Never straddle a jack handle and always remove the handle when it is not being used.

Illustration of a tractor with a jack improperly blocked underneath, and the jack is falling over

Support the load that is being jacked with blocks or stands. Never allow raised equipment to remain supported by jacks alone. Jacks can fail and tip, causing the equipment to fall unexpectedly. Place solid blocks or stands under the equipment immediately. Do not use cement or cinder blocks because they may shatter under the load.

When Using Jacks

  • Stabilize equipment, then set brakes and/or block wheels.
  • Do not overload the jack.
  • Lubricate with recommended oil as directed.
  • Do not drop the jack.
  • Discard damaged jacks.
  • Position the jack properly and discontinue lifting if the load shifts.
  • If working on the ground in the outdoors, place a heavy block under the base of the jack.
  • Recheck the jack before completing the lift.
  • Remove jack handle when lift is completed.
  • Lift only as high as necessary.
  • Support the lifted load with blocks or a stand.

Review the Following Points

  • Check jack before use to ensure that it can carry the load.
  • Do not use leaking jacks.
  • Stand to the side while jacking to avoid being struck by the handle.
  • Support load with blocks or stands.
  • Cement or cinder blocks should not be used because they may shatter under the load.

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. F

Quiz: Safe Use of Jacks



True or False?    

1. Dropping and throwing jacks may distort or crack the metals, causing the jack to fail under the load. T F
2. Always place the vehicle in park and set the brakes before jacking. T F
3. Do not check or adjust the jack position once it has started to lift the weight. T F
4. Support the load that is being jacked with blocks or stands. T F
5. A cement or cinder block should be used to block and support the machinery during the lift. T F






Originally posted Sep 3, 2019.