Stay Safe This Planting Season

March 22, 2019 Ohio Soybean Council

With planting season right around the corner, Ohio soybean farmers are eager to get back out in the fields. But as planting season approaches, it’s important to reevaluate farm safety measures. Even equipment as common as a tractor can pose significant health and safety risks — tractors are the number one cause of farm fatalities in Ohio. Lisa Pfeifer, educational program manager for The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health program, shared what farmers can do before, during and after planting to stay safe.


  • Think ahead — Pfeifer recommends thinking about farm safety ahead of time, rather than when you’re already stressed out by planting.
  • Deal with any machinery or equipment failures that haven’t already been fixed. This means walking and inspecting your equipment, rereading the owner’s manual if necessary and double checking hazard labels.
  • Establish a culture of safety on the farm, which includes teaching children and new employees safety procedures and making sure everyone has a safety-first mentality.
  • Ease back into demanding physical work after a winter with reduced activity.
  • Create an emergency plan, including a first aid kit with a phone charger or portable charger and a call tree plan.
  • Make sure your Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) signage is clean and visible. SMVs fade over time and should be replaced periodically.

During Planting

  • Don’t neglect your physical health. Sleeping, eating complete meals and staying hydrated are just as important during planting as they are at other times of the year.
  • Make sure you know the protocol for handling hazardous materials with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and training, if necessary.
  • Use defensive driving when driving on roads. Make using turn signals or hand signals to alert other drivers a habit. Watch for upcoming roadside complications and use roads at off-peak hours if possible.
  • Know whereabouts of children at all times and teach them safety precautions early
  • Make sure someone always knows where you’re working.


  • Take note of things that can be improved. This will make it easier to make changes next year.
  • Store stuff in good condition — take care of problems now rather than later when you might have forgotten what needs fixing.
  • Store fuel properly, not in your machine shed. Keep fuel storage tanks away from buildings and other farm structures.

Pfeifer also recommends getting in contact with your local extension office if you have any questions.