Spring Into Safety: Part 1

By Lindsay Humphrey

03 /25 /24

Finding good farm help can be daunting, especially when you’re limited by your location while also concerned about employee safety. We’re here to provide some tips for keeping safety top of mind, particularly if your employees are under the age of 18. 

There is no better place to create a well-rounded, hard-working future member of society than on the farm. In most rural settings, surrounding farms are the perfect summer environment for earning an income and learning new skills. The only thing that can truly take away from this meaningful experience is an accident.

Farm safety takes time, but it’s ultimately an investment in both your operation and your employees. There’s no need to list all the reasons why farm safety should be a top priority. Instead, here are some of our best tips for keeping your younger and newer employees safe on the farm this summer.

  1. Make sure all farm safety training is part of the regular workday. This could include everything from safety videos and briefings to simply verbally going over safe practices for certain tasks. Keeping safety information within the confines of the workday ensure they’re completed and taken just a little bit more seriously.
  2. Assess what your young employee knows and doesn’t know. Getting an accurate feel for their knowledge can help you better understand where they might excel in your operation and some places where you can teach them new things. It will also inform you about places where safety maybe wasn’t taught previously. You can do this by asking them to either demonstrate what you just asked them to do or explain it back to you before diving in.
  3. Stress the importance and significance of farm safety to your employees through your own example. Don’t be a do as I say not as I do type of employee. Agriculture is responsible for more youth deaths than any other industry combined in the last 10 years. A lot can go wrong very quickly.
  4. Make sure there’s an open line of communication with your employees so they feel like they can ask you questions about a task. No matter their experience level, there are no dumb questions when it comes to completing a task correctly and safely. It’s important that newer employees feel this is true about you and how you manage them.
  5. Eliminate distractions. Cell phones are a necessary evil. There’s no way to eliminate them on the farm, but there should be incentives in place for lowering their usage during the workday, especially while completing important tasks like operating large, albeit very expensive, equipment.
  6. Remove all assumptions from both parties involved in the employment. Don’t assume your new employee doesn’t know how to do something but also don’t assume that they do. Employees of any age crave respect, so find a way to approach each situation with that in mind without compromising on safety. This could mean approaching every situation in the exact same way: first by explaining the task, then by demonstrating it, then asking your employee to explain it back to you and then finally watching them complete the task on their own. Yes, this will take time but it will pay off in the long run when tasks are completed correctly, safely and to your exact standard later on without your supervision.


These are just some training tips to work toward to make your farm a safe place to work. Don’t let an accident be the reason safety becomes important on your operation, be proactive now. For free resources on safety training and strategies, visit these links:

National Farmers Union: https://nfu.org/farmsafety/
National Education Center for Agricultural Safety: https://www.necasag.org/safetytraining/
Penn State Extension: https://extension.psu.edu/business-and-operations/farm-safety
Wisconsin Extension Safety Tips: https://farms.extension.wisc.edu/articles/top-10-farm-safety-tips/
Indiana Extension Programs: https://www.in.gov/isda/programs-and-initiatives/