Agricultural Safety for Farmers and Workers

Agriculture in North Carolina continues to play a major role in the lives of citizens in both the rural and urban areas. Many residents are still dependent upon the seasonal jobs that are associated with the many varied crops grown and harvested. Modern agriculture has become increasingly mechanized to reduce labor and improve efficiency, but this has also increased exposure for both operators and bystanders to machinery hazards. Agriculture continues to rank as one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and farmers are at a very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Additionally, farming is one of the few occupations in which family members and bystanders are also at risk. For families and communities involved in a farming accident, the toll is huge. Even though manufacturers try to ensure that machinery is as safe as possible, the nature of the work creates inherent hazards that cannot be completely removed. Knowledge of some general safety procedures and learning specific safety information about each piece of machinery is critical to minimizing equipment related accidents.

Harvest season is a busy time for farm operations, and time means money when it comes to yields, production schedules, and operating costs. Unfortunately this is also a very dangerous season. Accidents can occur as a result of taking shortcuts to perform routine tasks, operator physical or mental condition, or failing to follow safety practices. The typical operating environment can have extreme temperatures, excessive noise and vibration, slippery conditions, etc. that are all accident factors. Accidents are preventable, but all farm employees and family members should learn to recognize machine hazards and take precautions to avoid injury.

NC Extension Safety Information


North Carolina Health and Safety


Farm Safety Resources


Grant Ellington
Grant Ellington

Grant Ellington, Extension Assistant Professor

Phone: (919) 515-6793
Fax:  (919) 515-6772
Email: ghelling@eos.ncsu.edu