Menu

Three dairy farm safety risks

When it comes to dairy farm safety, training farm workers on the risks is one of the most important steps to minimizing and preventing accidents.

interior view of a cow farm, where livestock are feeding on silage

Dairy farming can be a dangerous job due to caring for large animals, handling hazardous chemicals, and operating heavy machinery. When it comes to dairy farm safety, training farm workers on the risks is one of the most important steps to minimizing and preventing accidents.

Chemical handling

Dairy farmers are exposed to many chemicals, including cleaning agents, disinfectants, and medications. Improper handling could lead to chemical burns, respiratory issues, or skin irritations.

Precautions farm workers should take when handling chemicals:

  • Wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Ensure proper ventilation in areas where you use chemicals
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions printed on the label for all chemicals and medications
  • Store chemicals and medications as instructed by the manufacturer, and store in a secure location

Animal handling

Proper animal handling is crucial for dairy farm safety. Working around livestock can lead to injuries from kicks or being trampled.

Tips for safe animal handling:

  • Avoid working alone when working closely with animals
  • Prevent needlestick injuries by practicing safe needle handling
    • Make sure cattle is restrained before giving injections
    • Never carry needles or syringes in your mouth or pocket, and don’t use your mouth to remove the cap on the syringe
    • Take your time when giving the injection
  • Approach livestock quietly, move slowly, and make sure they are aware of your presence
    • Remember, cows and heifers are more likely to charge when they have their young calf near them
    • Understand a cow’s flight zone and use their response to you to move them where you want them to go
    • Cows are more comfortable and more easily moved when they are in a group rather than alone
    • Loud noises can hurt cattle’s sensitive ears, so keep noise to a minimum
  • Kick injuries can be avoided or minimized by working outside of the animal’s kicking range or right up against the animal
    • It is also important to follow regular routines to not alarm cows
  • Minimize stressors to help keep cows calm and prevent unpredictable kicking and charging
    • Educate workers about stressors for cows and how to recognize signs of stress. Stressors can include moving to a new pen/group changes, transportation, calving, and poor cow comfort.

Dairy farm machinery

Heavy equipment, such as skid steers, tractors, and feed mixers can pose a safety risk on diary farms.

Farm workers should take care when working around heavy equipment, including:

  • Maintain three points of contact (two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot) when getting on and off the machinery
  • When driving a tractor, fasten the seat belt, adjust the mirrors, and check for anything blocking the path before starting
  • Double check that the tractor is out of gear before starting or shutting down equipment
  • To reduce the risk of skid steer or tractor rollovers, don’t overload the bucket and keep it low
  • Train farm workers on mechanical hazards and safety procedures, such as lockout/tagout, power take-off (PTO) safety, and how to safely start and stop machinery

Promote dairy farm safety

All workers are responsible for dairy farm safety. Make safety education a priority for your farm workers. Train them on the risks of dairy farming and steps they can take to stay safe and help reduce injuries . To learn more about how you can protect your dairy farm, talk to your SECURA risk management consultant.

Find an agent

Our independent agency partners will help you compare coverages and share industry insights as you shop for the right insurance policy for your needs.

Related articles

Farm fire safety: 7 ways to mitigate fire risk

Rural response takes time. Learn how to protect your farm with fire safety best practices. Reduce the risk of equipment damage, animal loss, and more.

Prevent roof collapses due to accumulated snow

Flat and low-slope roofs are far more susceptible to damage because snow can’t easily slide off. This makes commercial properties especially prone to collapse.

Farm emergency and disaster planning

Disaster preparedness begins with awareness, but requires vigilance and planning. Plan for emergencies to be better prepared for those unexpected moments.

Coverages may not be available in all states. Coverages described are subject to all the terms and conditions of the policy, including deductibles, exclusions, and limits of liability. Not all agents are authorized to write all types of insurance. Policies may be underwritten by SECURA Insurance Company or SECURA Supreme Insurance Company, affiliated companies referred to collectively as SECURA Insurance Companies. Please read the policy carefully. Any claim example is for educational and informational purposes only. The information in this document will not be used to determine the coverage of an actual claim presented. All claims are adjusted based on the relevant facts, conditions and coverages at the time of loss. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to your coverage form. Coverage is also subject to applicable deductibles and limits of coverage.

The information provided by SECURA on its Website (the Site) is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however SECURA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information on the Site. The information contained on the Website is to the best of our knowledge true and accurate at the time of publication, however it is generally to be used solely for informational purposes. The materials on this website are not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. You should not act or rely only on information on this website.

The Site may contain (or you may be sent through the Site links to other websites or content belonging to or originating from third parties or links to websites and features in banners or other advertising. Such external links are not investigated, monitored, or checked for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness by SECURA. SECURA DOES NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBISTE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY BANNER OR OTHER ADVERTISING. SECURA WILL NOT BE A PARTY TO OR IN ANY WAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MONITORING ANY TRANSACTION BETWEEN YOU AND THIRD-PARTY PROVIDERS OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHALL SECURA HAVE ANY LIAIBLITY TO YOU FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF THE SITE OR RELIANCE ON ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE SITE. YOUR USE OF THE SITE AND YOUR RELIANCE ON ANY INFORMATION ON THE SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

SECURA would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate.

SECURA and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss of damage as a result of your reliance on the information contained within this website.