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Ohio State University Extension


Preventing Machine Hazards for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Prevent hazards involving machinery.

Trainer’s Note

Machinery is very helpful but potentially dangerous. For this module:

  • Review the safety guidelines below on reducing hazards and preventing incidents.
  • Have experienced workers assist in this session, using machinery in your own workplace:
    • Demonstrate the proper steps for checking a piece of machinery before operating it.
    • Demonstrate maintenance procedures.
    • Operate equipment to show the hazard areas.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


There are thousands of machine-related injuries each year. Proper training can prevent these injuries. Workers should know how to operate a piece of machinery and inspect for problem areas before turning on the power. Keeping air hoses and extension cords out of the way reduces tripping hazards.

Check 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 setup a proper setup?
  • Is the area around the machines orderly?
  • Is the equipment jack in working order?

Personal Protection

  • Wear Personal Protection Equipment, such as goggles, safety shoes, and leather gloves. For more information, see all the Tailgate Safety Training modules on personal protection.
  • Long hair should be tied back or tucked under to avoid getting caught in machinery.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry.

Machine Maintenance Safety Checklist

  • Keep machines repaired, lubricated, and adjusted.
  • 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.

During Operation

  • Turn power off and remove the key before working around or performing maintenance on the machine.
  • Use appropriate lockout and tagout procedures to prevent equipment from being re-energized while work is being performed on or around it. For more details, see the Tailgate Safety Training module Lockout and Tagout.
  • Stay away from moving parts.

Review These Important 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 author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3-HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

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.     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 Jun 7, 2018.