Youth in Agriculture » Other Machinery

Grain Combine
Case Study Fatality:
A 13-year old boy died when he was run over by a grass seeder being towed by a tractor on sloped land.

If you are under 16, Child Labor Laws forbid you from handling certain classes and types of chemicals or pesticides; state laws may be even more stringent.

Do You Know... that most farm accidents and fatalities involve machinery? Getting hit by, run over, or entangled in machinery can lead to death or severe injury. Proper machine guarding and maintaining equipment according to manufacturer's recommendations can help prevent accidents. Other machinery hazards include hearing loss from exposure to loud farm machinery such as tractors, grain dryers, combines, chain saws, and grain grinders.

  • Be properly trained in equipment use before operating any machinery.

  • Perform a pre-operational service check before operating machinery and correct any problems before starting.

  • Read and follow all instructions in operator's manuals.

  • Use any provided machine guarding.

  • Use hearing protection such as ear plugs or muffs to prevent hearing loss around noisy machinery.

  • Wear any provided personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, aprons, and helmets.

  • Wear appropriate clothing for the task such as long pants, work boots, gloves, and long sleeves.

  • Do not wear items that could become entangled in moving machine parts such as jewelry, drawstrings, ties, or loose clothing.

  • Tie back or otherwise secure loose hair, but be aware that even short or tied-back hair may become entangled in moving equipment.

  • Wear non-skid sturdy shoes to prevent slips and falls.

  • Do not operate any machinery if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Do not attempt to unjam any machinery while it is running.

  • Never insert any part of your body into machinery to unjam equipment.

    Grain Auger
  • Never step over a rotating shaft, lean over a conveyer, or hand-feed materials into machines with moving parts or blades.

  • Never use augers or ladders near power lines.

  • Stay safely away from unshielded moving parts

Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for following the safe work practices of their employers.

Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) including:

  • Some agricultural jobs are too dangerous for anyone under 16 to perform. No youth under 16 years of age may be employed at any time in any of these Hazardous Occupations in Agriculture (HO/A); including operating or helping to operate, starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding or any other activity involving physical contact with the following machines:

    • HO/A #1, Operating a tractor of over 20 PTO (power-take-off) horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting implements or parts to such a tractor.

    • HO/A #2, Operating any of the following: corn picker, cotton picker, grain combine, hay mover, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, power post-hole digger, power post driver, nonwalking type rotary tiller, or the unloading mechanism of a non-gravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer.

    • HO/A #7, Driving a bus, truck, or automobile when transporting passengers, or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper.

    • Some exemptions will apply.

Follow OSHA Standards including:

  • Provide guarding of farm field equipment [1928.57]:

    • Keep all guards in place when the machine is in operation. [1928.57(a)(6)(i)]

    • Make sure everyone is clear of machinery before starting the engine, engaging power, or operating the machine. [1928.57(a)(6)(iv)]

    • Lock out electrical power before performing maintenance or service on equipment. [1928.57(a)(6)(v)]

    • Use approved methods of guarding. [1928.57(a)(7)]

    • Equip all tractors with an agricultural tractor master shield on the rear power take-off. [1928.57(b)(1)(ii)]

      Tractor with roll-over protective structuring
    • Guard power take-off equipment to protect employees from contact with positively driven rotating members of the power drive system. [1928.57(b)(1)(iii)]

  • Follow accident prevention signs and tags [1910.145]:
    Provide and post reflective "Slow Moving Vehicle" emblem on all slow moving vehicles (tractors, combines, etc.), (25 m.p.h. or less) that travel on public roads [1910.145(d)(10)] see 1928.21(a).

Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:

  • Make sure employees who operate equipment are appropriately trained and physically able to operate it safely.

  • Develop a "safety first" attitude. Follow safe work practices all the time and set a good example for others.

  • Make sure workers are physically and mentally fit to operate machinery. Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol, and drugs can prevent workers from safely operating equipment.

  • Allow workers to take frequent breaks. Fatigue, stress, and worry can distract them from safely operating equipment.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions whenever maintenance or adjustments are performed on any farm machinery.

  • Warn anyone who might come near an operating PTO about the entanglement hazard.

  • Warn employees not to wear loose-fitting clothing or jewelry near operating farm machinery.

  • Ensure machinery has proper machine guarding and shielding.

  • Remember to replace machine guarding after servicing equipment.

  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, dust masks, and ear protection for employees.

  • Properly maintain equipment to help reduce machinery noise.

  • Ensure employees wear hearing protection during exposures to high-intensity noise.

Additional Information: