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November Alert

Safely Working With and Around Farm/Ranch Animals

Working in the agriculture industry presents many unique hazards. While most of the hazards can be easily controlled to limit the exposure (e.g., machine guarding, storing chemicals, ROPS, etc.), there are some that we have little to no control over. Animal agriculture is the largest sector of agriculture, and, unlike working with plants, they have a mind of their own.

The University of Minnesota completed a summary of farm-related accidents and showed that animals were a factor in 1 of every 8 injuries reported, ranking second to farm machinery in total number of cases. According to their data, there are a few observations worth noting:

A closer look at animal-related injuries from farm accident survey data indicate that most of the victims were males when it came to cattle and hogs, but females approached males in the number of injuries involving horses and pets.

As to age of victim, youngsters (5- 14) were most often bitten by dogs, but cow-related accidents found more victims among the 45-64 age group. Horse-related injuries were suffered most often by youngsters (5-14) and young adults (15-24) while the mature folks (25-44, 45-64) were the target of most mishaps involving hogs.

Most of the cattle and hog-related injuries were suffered in farm buildings or adjacent lots. Most with horses happened outside in barnyards, fields, lanes, woods, and along public roads. Dogs more often than not bit people in home yards.

Common things cows did to hurt people were to kick or step on them and catch people or their limbs between themselves and hard objects or surfaces. Many falls also occurred while tending cows. Hogs bit, stepped on and knocked people down. Dog bites were a common source of injury. Accidents involving horses and bulls were more likely to result in serious injury than mishaps with other animals. (University of Minnesota)

No two animals are the same, and how each will react to different stimuli can vary. While animals can be dangerous, with proper handling techniques the risk can be lowered. The following article from AgSafe shares some of the safe techniques and what you can do to stay safe.

“Safely Working With and Around Farm/Ranch Animals.” NASD, AgSafe,

“Safety With Animals.” NASD, University of Minnesota,