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Farm Safety

Safety on the Farm

According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the nation. Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds more die in farming accidents.

What can I do to improve safety on my farm?

You can start by increasing your awareness of farming hazards and making a conscious effort to prepare for emergency situations including fires, vehicle accidents, electrical shocks from equipment and wires, and chemical exposures. Be especially alert to hazards that may affect children and the elderly. Minimize hazards by carefully selecting products you buy to ensure that you provide good tools and equipment. Always use seat belts when operating tractors, and establish and maintain good housekeeping practices.

There are many other steps you can take to reduce illnesses and injuries on your farm. Better safety and health practices reduce worker fatalities, injuries, and illnesses as well as associated costs such as workers' compensation insurance premiums, lost production, and medical expenses. A safer and more healthful workplace improves morale and productivity.  For more resources visit the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety at: 

Covered Farm Vehicle

Effective July 11, 2016 Federal regulations and New York State law are amended to change the term ”farm vehicle” to “covered farm vehicle”, to define covered farm vehicles, and to include a new “Covered Farm Vehicle designation” requirement. Click Here to learn more.

PERC Offers WPS Training Resources Online

The Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) has several announcements including a web-based inventory of WPS training resources, now online. The inventory includes the first video approved by EPA for training workers under the new regulation (2015), in English and Spanish. Visit the PERC website:

The John May Farm Safety Fund

The John May Farm Safety Fund has been established by NYCAMH for New York farmers needing financial help to improve safety on their farms. This cost sharing program will allow farmers to make lifesaving safety upgrades. The John May Farm Safety Fund honors Dr. May’s dedication to the agricultural community by providing financial assistance to make necessary safety improvements on small and medium-sized farms. Applications can be found at

OSHA Record Keeping Rules

OSHA’s revised record keeping rule includes two key changes:

First, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries that all covered employers must report to OSHA. The revised rule retains the current requirement to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and adds the requirement to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours to OSHA

You can report to OSHA by:

  • Calling OSHA’s free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
  • Calling your closest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
  • Using the new online form that will soon be available.

Second, the rule updates the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates. There are two important elements for producers to understand:

1. The new rule retains the exemption for any employer with ten or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records. So smaller operations are not required to keep these records, just like they are not subject to other OSHA enforcement.

2. Agriculture/dairy is not considered a low hazard industry and so the new rules above apply to dairy.

The final rule will allow OSHA to focus its efforts more effectively to prevent fatalities and serious work-related injuries and illnesses. The final rule will also improve access by employers, employees, researchers and the public to information about workplace safety and health and increase their ability to identify and abate serious hazards.

For more information, view the OSHA Website.

Last updated February 25, 2021