Rural Health

Farm Stress

Managing Stress

Signs of Stress

  • Panic attacks, including heart palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, difficulty swallowing, nausea or abdominal distress, lightheadedness, derealization or depersonalization, fear of losing control, fear of dying, loss of sensation in extremities, chills or hot flashes.
  • Restlessness, with inability to relax.
  • Feeling easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension and occasional residual pain.
  • Sleep disturbance with difficulty falling asleep and awakening with a start.
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of dread.

Signs of Depression

  • Feelings of sadness.
  • Loss of interest in activities.
  • Significant weight loss, not due to dieting or illness, or weight gain of more than 5% of body weight per month.
  • Excessive sleep and/or late night insomnia.
  • Feelings of lethargy, but also feelings of agitation.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness.
  • Diminished ability to concentrate, preoccupation with negatives.
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

Control Stress

Steps To Control Stress

  • Take a good look at yourself. How do you feel–both physically and mentally?
  • Make a list of things that cause stress in your life.
  • Think about how serious a problem stress is for you. Do you feel under constant stress, or does it come and go? Think about how stress hurts you. How has it affected your health and work? How has it changed the way you treat other people?
  • Finally, try to decide if you are under more stress now than you were a year or two ago. If stress has increased, have the pressures changed or your attitude toward them?

Learn How to Manage Stress

Talking about problems is a good way to relieve stress. Choose someone you can be honest with, and then share your problems and discuss solutions with them.

Learn how to recognize stressors. These might be a tightening of the neck and shoulders, stomach problems, or changes in behavior or relationships. The body is equipped with a complex system that give warning signs when the stress level is too high.

Look at the list of things that cause you stress and think about how serious each of them really is. Pick out things that no one can control, such as prices and the weather. Then, when feeling stressed, evaluate the cause. Is it something minor or something you have no ability to control?

When dealing with a major problem, try to break it down into smaller parts. If the barn needs repair, pick out one job and concentrate on getting it done. Once that task is completed, go on to the next one.

Schedule the time realistically. Don’t try and squeeze more work into a day than can be completed.

Take occasional short breaks from work. A few minutes will provide a refreshing start at the job.

Learn how to relax. Sit back in a chair and concentrate on relaxing tense muscles.

Develop other interests that will help you forget about your problems for a while. Go to a movie or get involved in sports, hobbies, or crafts.

Consider outside help, such as counseling or group clinics. Visit the web links in the resources section of this web page or call your county Health Department or Mental Health Association.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Fight stress by taking care of yourself. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association:


  • Exercise. Regular physical activity makes a person feel better and eases tension at the same time.
  • Eat well. A balanced diet is good for physical and mental health. Food is fuel for the body. The better the input, the better the output.
  • Sleep and rest. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest to refresh the mind and body.
  • Balance work and play. Besides being just plain fun, recreation can help a person enjoy work more.
  • Learn to accept the things you cannot change. Look for the best in people and situations. Remember, no one is perfect. Realize that fiscal and time pressure challenges due to weather, crop prices, and market demand are beyond your control.

Farm Safety Association, Unit 22, 340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario, Phone: 519-823-5600
Mona Lee Brock, Crisis Line Coordinator, Ag-Link, Farmers Union Foundation, P.O. 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124, Phone: 800-AG8-LINK (800-248-5465)
American Heart Association

Health Tips: Food Safety

Food Safety

The Best Defense is Common Sense

While the U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world, food safety remains a serious public health concern. American consumers want variety, quality, nutritional value, and safe food at a reasonable cost. But most are unaware that they possess the most important tool in the prevention of food-related illnesses or injuries – common sense. Quite simply, proper handling in the home will help keep food safe from contaminants, and remember:

  • Wash hands often especially after handling raw meats and poultry (see below).
  • Wash all produce even bagged salads.
  • Don’t cross contaminate keep fruits and veggies away from meats.
  • Cook meat thoroughly at a temperature of 160º F.
  • Stay healthy don’t take chances with food improperly packaged or if expiration date has passed.

Scrub Up

  • When searching for ways to prevent foodborne illnesses in the home, we can take some important cues from the food service industry, which requires its employees to wash hands at the following times:


  • Immediately, before preparation of the meal begins.
  • After coughing or sneezing into hands or using a tissue to wipe or blow your nose.
  • After touching or scratching any part of the skin, hair, eyes or mouth.
  • After eating, drinking, or smoking.
  • After using the restroom for any reason.
  • After picking an item up off the floor or handling items such as brooms, garbage, etc.
  • Before and after handling raw meats, poultry, or other raw foods.

Keep it Clean

  • For those who work in the production of food, it’s important to keep work areas clean throughout the day to maintain sanitary conditions. Follow these simple housekeeping tasks:


  • Keep floors clean by removing garbage and product waste promptly,
  • Clean up spills immediately,
  • Keep packaging and boxes in designated storage areas to decrease the chance of contamination,
  • Put items such as hoses, brooms, and carts away after each use, and
  • Keep the work area as dry as possible to prevent bacterial growth.
Health Tips: Fitness


Aim for a healthy weight and be physically active every day

A healthy weight is key to a long, healthy life. Over time, even a small decrease in calories eaten and a small increase in physical activity can keep you from gaining weight or help you lose weight. Engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Make physical activity a regular part of your routine. Moderate physical activity is any activity that requires about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes.

Build a healthy base

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to guide you so that you get the vitamins, minerals, energy, and other healthful substances from foods your body needs each day. Make grains, especially whole grains, fruits, and vegetables the foundation of your meals. This forms a base for good nutrition and health.

  • There are many healthful eating patterns. Different people like different foods and like to prepare the same foods in different ways.
  • Since foods within the same food group differ in their array of nutrients and other healthful substances, choosing a variety helps you get all the nutrients and fiber you need. It can also keep your meals interesting from day to day.
  • Also choose some low-fat dairy products and low-fat foods from the meat and beans group each day. It’s fine to enjoy fats and sweets occasionally.
  • Wash hands often; keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate; cook to proper temperatures; and refrigerate promptly to below 40º.

Choose sensibly

  • Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Choose beverages and foods that limit your intake of sugars. Choose and prepare foods with less salt.


  • Choose low-fat dairy products, cooked dried beans and peas, fish, and lean meats and poultry.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts Label to help you choose foods lower in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Read the Label to compare and help identify foods lower in sodium.
  • Take care not to let foods high in sugar crowd out other foods you need to maintain health, such as low-fat milk or other good sources of calcium.
  • Choose herbs or spices on foods like grilled or roasted entrees, baked potatoes, and salads to help you limit sodium intake.
Health Tips: Be Heart Smart

Be Heart Smart

Heart disease is America’s number one killer and is caused by a buildup of cholesterol, plaque and other fatty deposits in the heart’s arteries. When they become clogged so blood flow gets blocked, a heart attack can occur. Half of all Americans have cholesterol levels that are too high. You can reduce cholesterol by eating healthful foods, losing weight if you need to and exercising. Your doctor and nurses can help you set up a plan for reducing cholesterol.

You can reduce your risk of heart attack. Start by becoming aware of your risk factors – the personal characteristics and habits that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Some you can’t change or control; some you can, by making a few changes in your daily habits.

What should I eat?

Low-fat, low-cholesterol foods including:

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice, pasta, beans and peas.
  • Lean red meats and poultry without skin (choose up to 6 total ounces per day).
  • Low-fat or skim milk dairy products.
  • Lean fish and shellfish.
  • Nuts and seeds in limited amounts.
  • Unsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, safflower and sunflower oils.

What should I limit?

  • Whole milk, cream, ice cream, butter, egg yolks and cheese.
  • Saturated oils like coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
  • High-fat processed meats and fatty red meats that aren’t trimmed.
  • Solid fats like shortening, soft margarine, lard and, of course, fried foods.

Cooking tips

  • Use a rack to drain off fat when you broil, roast or bake. Broil instead of pan-frying.
  • Don’t baste with drippings; use wine, fruit juice or marinade.
  • Cut all the fat you can and take all the skin off chicken and turkey.
  • Use a vegetable oil spray to brown or sauté foods.
  • Serve bigger portions of pasta, rice, beans and vegetables.
  • Use low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim milk mozzarella and other low-fat/nonfat cheeses.
  • About 61 million American adults are now 20 percent or more over their ideal weight. People who are more than 20 percent over their ideal body weight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have no other risk factors Excess weight puts more strain on the heart. It can raise blood pressure and blood cholesterol and lead to diabetes.

If you’re not in the habit of being physically active, the time to start is now. You can reduce high blood pressure, lose weight and reduce your cholesterol level when you’re physically active.

Warning signals of a heart attack

Have you ever had a burning sensation in your chest and wondered if you were having a heart attack or heartburn? About a fourth of all heart attack victims die within one hour of their symptoms, because most of them don’t get to the hospital in time. If you guess your chest pain is a bad case of indigestion, you could be gambling with your life. It’s best to be safe and see your doctor.

There are ways to distinguish the two conditions:


  • Heartburn Symptoms – Burning pain up and down the center of the chest, as if your chest was on fire. Often accompanied by a bitter taste in your mouth. The pain will likely worsen when you lie down. If the pain subsides after taking an antacid, it’s probably heartburn.
  • Heart Attack Symptoms – Pressure, squeezing or pain through the center of the chest, but may radiate to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or upper back. May be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating dizziness, nausea or vomiting. The pain may be brought on by exertion, but doesn’t subside when you stop.
  • If you suspect that you are having a heart attack, call an ambulance immediately. Doctors suggest chewing and then swallowing two aspiring immediately. Recent research has shown this simple approach increases blood flow and cuts the risk of death in half.


Excessive, stress can cause serious strain on the heart. Below are some ways to reduce stress:

  • Lower your blood pressure by eating right. Click here for more.
  • Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breath deeply.
  • Try to learn to accept things you can’t change. You don’t have to solve all of life’s problems.
  • Exercise regularly. Walk, swim, ride a bike or jog to get your big muscles going.
  • Limit caffeine (coffee, tea and soft drinks). Also limit alcohol and don’t smoke.

If you think you are having a heart attack, don’t wait! Call 911 or your emergency medical system immediately and get to a hospital.

How can I learn more?

Talk to your doctor, nurse or health care professional. Or call your local American Heart Association at (800) 242-8721. If you have high cholesterol, members of your family may also be at high risk for it. It’s very important for them to make changes now.

Information provided by the American Heart Association More information is available on their Web site located at

Safety: Farm Safety Tips

Fire Prevention

When the strong winds and hot dry days of summer lead to wildfires, don’t assume that a fire engine will be able to save your home, family, business and possessions from damage or loss. 1999 was the fifth worst fire season in California. Thousands of acres of wildland and hundreds of homes and buildings were destroyed, much of which could have been saved with proper fire prevention. (Information provided by the California Fire Safe Council)

Prevention on the outside

Be sure to carry out certain fire protection measures before a fire starts:

  • Create “Defensible Space” – Remove flammable vegetation from around your home or structures and replace with fire-resistant plants. This safety zone for firefighters should be at least 100 feet. Also, clear away dead leaves and debris from your roof and gutters.
  • Mark road signs and buildings clearly – Fire-fighting personnel must be able to immediately locate and safely travel to your home or business in order to protect it.
  • Establish an emergency water supply – Keep a minimum of 2,500 gallons of water (roughly the size of an above-ground pool, 10 feet in diameter) available to firefighters.
  • Make your home and buildings fire safe – Modify your structures to resist fire damage. Siding materials such as brick and stucco resist fire much better than wood. Also, build or re-roof with fire resistive or noncombustible materials (Class A offer the best protection).

Prevention on the inside

  • Fires are caused by a combination of fuel, air and heat. Therefore, removing one of the three elements is key in preventing devastating fires (see Fire Classes). Beware of fire ignition sources such as:


  • Electrical – Many fires result from defects in, or misuse of, the electrical system. Wiring may fail due to faulty installation, overloading, physical damage, aging or deterioration. Inspect all exposed wiring regularly. Make sure heating units are working properly.
  • Farm machinery – Equipment fires may be the result of defective fuel or ignition systems, smoking, overheated engines, sparks from exhaust or grinding equipment, or improper refueling. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool before refueling. Repair leaks in fuel lines, pumps and filters. Use and store fuels properly. Keep them in well-ventilated areas.
    Help make your home or business safe

The first few minutes of a fire are the most critical for saving your home or business.

  • Install smoke detectors – at strategic points inside your house and within other buildings. Keep detectors working by replacing batteries yearly.
  • Design a fire plan – Draw a floor plan of your home and other buildings. Mark all possible escape routes. Practice! Conduct drills regularly, to prepare for different fire situations.
  • Portable fire extinguishers save lives – Mount extinguishers in easy-to-find places. Be sure units are listed and approved by an independent testing laboratory and the state fire marshall.

Hay fires: causes & prevention

    • Hay fires can cost farmers thousands of dollars in terms of building replacement, feed replacement and lost revenue. Proper storage practices can reduce hay fires significantly.


  • What causes hay fires?
    The most common cause is excessive moisture. Forage crops are always contaminated with countless microorganisms. After baling, a small supply of air and a favorable moisture level cause the microorganisms to begin to feed and multiply, generating heat in the process.
    There are, of course, causes of hay fires other than spontaneous ignition. Some of these causes are lightning striking nearby trees or fences, arson, contact with electric fences and sparks from cigarettes, welding or nearby fires.
  • Preventing hay fires
    Ideal hay curing weather has less than 50 percent relative humidity and some wind. Be aware that the moisture content of hay will increase overnight when the air is humid, especially if there is dew or fog. New hay should be checked frequently for possible heating. If the temperature reaches 130°F, move the hay to allow increased air circulation and cooling.
  • Proper hay storage
    Hay which is to be stored uncovered outdoors should be formed into the tightest packages possible to resist penetration by rain. Place bales where air can circulate freely. Protect them from ground moisture and runoff by placing them on a bed of gravel, old tires, poles or pallets.
    If storing hay inside, be sure the barn roof and any plumbing do not leak. Likewise, provide adequate drainage so water will not enter the barn during storms. Wetting from a leak can allow bacterial activity to increase and result in a fire.

Farm & ranch safety rules

  • This could be the driest fire season we’ve seen in a long time. Now is a good time to check around the farm or ranch for fire fuels and potential spark ignition sources. Remember:


  • Never permit smoking in barns or near any flammable materials.
  • Never refuel engines inside a building or while the engine is hot or running.
  • Fuel should never be stored inside a building.
  • Equip farm buildings with a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher.
  • Make sure that all hay is properly dried before putting it in the barn. (see article below)
  • All electrical installations, wiring, etc. should be inspected and approved.
  • Crop dryers should be equipped with controls that will automatically shut off blowers.
  • Pesticides should be stored in a separate building and clearly identified.
  • Maintain heating systems.
  • Have your local fire department check your operation regularly.

California fire safe council

Utilizing the combined expertise, resources and distribution channels of its members, the Fire Safe Council fulfills its mission to preserve California’s natural and manmade resources by mobilizing all Californians to make their homes, neighborhoods and communities fire safe.

Since its formation in April 1993, the Council has united its diverse membership to speak with one voice about fire safety. The Council has distributed fire prevention education materials to industry leaders and their constituents, evaluated legislation pertaining to fire safety and empowered grassroots organizations to spearhead fire safety programs.

California Farm Bureau along with 50 public and private organizations comprise the membership of the California Fire Safe Council.

Fire classes: easy as A-B-C and D

Fires are categorized into four main classes as follows:

  • Class A fires – involve wood, cloth, paper, straw and hay. Because these materials burn deeply and can rekindle from internal heat, water is the best extinguishing agent.
  • Class B fires – involve petroleum products, alcohol, turpentine and chemical solvents. They burn at the surface of the material as it is vaporized by the fire’s heat. Therefore, cutting off the air is the only way of putting out Class B fires. Dry chemical powder and carbon dioxide block the fire’s oxygen supply. Ordinary household bicarbonate of soda will also work on grease fires.
  • Class C fires – involve electrical equipment and can present a special problem if water is used around live wires. Therefore, recommended extinguishing agents are dry chemical and carbon dioxide (the same as for Class B fires).
  • Class D fires – involve burning metal such as magnesium or sodium-potassium alloys, and metal grinding dust (such as 4th of July sparklers).
  • Class D fires – require a special agent, but dry earth or sand can be used in an emergency

Five fatal fire facts

  • Half of the nation’s fire deaths occur in rural communities.
  • Rural residents are nearly four times more likely to die from fire than those in large cities.
  • Households in rural areas have fewer smoke detectors than do urban households.
  • Although careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in urban
    America, careless use or maintenance of space heaters cause many of the fire deaths in rural communities.
  • Fires kill more Americans annually than all other natural emergencies, including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.


Slips, Trips & Falls


  • Wet Surfaces – When work surfaces are constantly wet, avoid taking long steps quickly or turning corners sharply. Take short steps, with your feet pointed outward slightly for a stable base. Slow down and pay attention. Wear slip-resistant shoes appropriate for your job.
  • Spills – Leaving a spill behind can cause you or a coworker to slip and fall. Walking with your hands in your pockets and hurrying can increase the chance of a slip injury. Whenever you see a water, oil or other substance spill, clean it up right away. Or mark it and report it to your supervisor. Keep your hands free for balance while walking and slow down.
  • Weather – Ice, snow, rain and mud can cause surfaces to be quite slippery. Wear slip-resistant shoes with adequate friction for the particular weather hazard. Keep a hand free for balance if you have to move across slippery areas.


  • Short Cuts – It may be tempting to take short cuts in order to get a job done faster. However, the more short cuts you take and the more you hurry, the greater the chance for a trip injury. Whether it is a sidewalk or a marked walkway, the path provided is apt to be the most free of trip hazards.
  • Lighting – Adequate lighting is needed to maintain proper balance and identify possible hazards ahead. Keep all work areas well lit; replace used light bulbs and repair fixtures and cords immediately if they malfunction.
  • Clutter – Clutter, such as tools, broken boards, wood or cardboard boxes, hoses, toolboxes, pipes, rope or other materials if left lying loose in your work area, can cause a trip injury. Keep work areas clean and free of clutter, especially in storage rooms and walkways.


  • Makeshift Ladders- It may be tempting to use whatever is handy to reach elevated objects. But standing or elevating a short ladder on a table, blocks or even a trash can is asking for trouble. Use an extension ladder or even a special industrial device if the ladder you are using is inadequate.
  • Incorrect Use of Ladders – Don’t set the ladder too close or too far from the building it supports. Follow the “1-to-4 rule” when using a ladder. Set the base out from its support one foot for every four feet of working ladder height. Have someone hold the base or tie off the ladder securely. Set the ladder on firm, stable ground. Extend an extension ladder three feet beyond its contact with the building.

Springtime “fall” quiz

    • How many people died from falls in 1997?
      a. 129
      b. 1,333
      c. 10,216
      d. 15,447Answer: d. Types of falls – in descending order – include falls from stairs or steps and falls from buildings and ladders.
    • True or false?
      More elderly people die from falls than any other mishaps.Answer: True. According to the AARP, older adults fall for many reasons, such as lack of physical activity, osteoporosis, psychoactive medications, environmental hazards and impaired vision.
    • Which types of exercise helps reduce the risk of falls?
      a. Bungy jumping
      b. Surfing
      c. Strength Training
      d. AerobicsAnswer: c. Weight lifting twice a week improves strength, gait and balance.
    • How do most fatal falls occur at work?
      a. Fall on the same level
      b. Fall to a lower level
      c. Slips, trips?
      d. OtherAnswer: b. Most fatal falls occur on stairs, steps, ladders or from buildings.
    • Most ladder falls occur when:
      a. People try to carry too much equipment up a ladder
      b. Termites eat away at the wood of the ladder
      c. People don’t set up ladders correctly
      d. People close their eyes and pretend they are an airplaneAnswer: c. More than 90 percent of reported ladder injuries each year result from misuse. Set ladders on level, firm ground with the base out from its support one foot for every four feet of ladder height.
    • Which type of shoe is least likely to cause trips, slips and falls?
      a. Athletic shoes
      b. Open-toed sandals
      c. Ballet shoes
      d. Thin-soled leather solesAnswer: d. Athletic shoes actually provide too much traction and can cause short stops.

(Information provided by the National Safety Council.)

Implements of Husbandry

Taking the mystery out of implements of husbandry (And Other Agricultural Vehicular Equipment)

“Taking the Mystery out of Implements of Husbandry” Download PDF (57KB)

This summary is designed to identify different types of agricultural vehicular equipment as defined by the California Vehicle Code (VC). The VC distinguishes between implements of husbandry, farm vehicles, farm trailers and certain other trailers.

These are just some of the laws that may apply to you. For more information, consult the state Vehicle Code or contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Implements of Husbandry

Exemptions: An implement of husbandry is exempt from registration, brakes, lights, size limitations (within specific guidelines and with the exception of weight) and identification plates when incidentally operated or moved over a highway.

Definition: An implement of husbandry is a vehicle used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations. An implement of husbandry does not include a vehicle whose existing design is primarily for the transportation of persons or property on a highway, unless specifically designated as such by some other VC provision. [VC § 36000]

Examples: The term implement of husbandry includes, but is not limited to:

  • A lift-carrier or other vehicle designed and used exclusively for the lifting and carrying of implements of husbandry or tools used exclusively for the production or harvesting of agricultural products, when operated or moved upon a highway. [VC § 36005(a)]
  • A trailer of the tip-bed type when used exclusively in the transportation of other implements of husbandry or tools used exclusively for the production or harvesting of agricultural products. [VC § 36005(b)]
  • A trailer or semitrailer having no bed, and designed and used solely for transporting a hay loader or swather. [VC § 36005(c)]
  • A spray or fertilizer applicator rig designed and used exclusively for spraying or fertilizing in the conduct of agricultural operations (but not an anhydrous ammonia fertilizer applicator rig with a transportation capacity in excess of 500 gallons). [VC § 36005(d)]
  • A trailer or semitrailer with a maximum transportation capacity between 500 and 1,000 gallons, used exclusively for the transportation and application of anhydrous ammonia, if the vehicle is either equipped with operating brakes or is towed upon a highway by a motor truck that is assigned a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of ¾ ton or more. These vehicles are subject to VC § 24603 (stoplamp requirements) if the stoplamps of the towing vehicle are not clearly visible. Under this provision, a combination of vehicles is limited to two vehicles in tandem. [VC § 36005(e)]
  • A nurse rig or equipment auxiliary to the use of and designed or modified for the fueling, repairing, or loading of an applicator rig or an airplane used for the dusting, spraying, fertilizing, or seeding of crops. [VC § 36005(f)]
  • A row duster. [VC § 36005(g)]
  • A wagon or van used exclusively for carrying products of farming from one part to another part of a farm, or from one farm to another farm, and used solely for agricultural purposes, including any van used in harvesting alfalfa or cotton, that is only incidentally operated or moved on a highway as a trailer. [VC § 36005(h)]
  • A wagon or portable house on wheels used solely by shepherds as a permanent residence in connection with sheep-raising operations and moved from one part to another part of a ranch or from one ranch to another ranch, that is only incidentally operated or moved on a highway as trailer. [VC § 36005(i)]
  • A trap wagon moved from one part to another part of a ranch or from one ranch to another, that is only operated or moved on a highway incidental to agricultural operations. The fuel tank or tanks of the trap wagon may not exceed 1,000 gallons total capacity. [VC § 36005(j)] A trap wagon is a trailer or semitrailer used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations to fuel, service, or repair implements of husbandry. A trap wagon may be equipped with tools, spare parts, lubricating supplies, or fuel tanks. [VC § 36016]
  • Any vehicle operated upon a highway only for the purpose of transporting agricultural products and never operated along a highway for a total distance greater than one mile from the trip’s point of origin. [VC § 36005(k)]
  • A portable honey-extracting trailer or semitrailer. [VC § 36005(l)]
  • A fertilizer nurse tank or trailer that is not self-propelled and that is moved unladen on the highway and auxiliary to use of a spray or fertilize applicator rig. [VC § 36005(m)]
    Any cotton trailer when used on the highways exclusively to transport cotton from a farm to a cotton gin, and returned empty to such farm. [VC § 36005(n)] ( Note: Cotton trailers are the only implement of husbandry on which identification plates are required.)
  • A truck tractor or truck tractor and semitrailer combination owned by a farmer and operated on the highways, (1) only incidental to a farming operation, (2) not for compensation, and (3) for a distance of not more than two miles (on the highway) each way. This provision applies only to (1) truck tractors with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds that are equipped with all-wheel drive and off-highway traction tires on all wheels and (2) semitrailers used in combination with such a truck tractor and exclusively in production or harvesting of tomatoes. These vehicles may not be operated in excess of 25 miles per hour on the highways. [VC § 36005(o)]

Other Farm Vehicles

Exemption from Registration: These farm vehicles are exempt from registration only and are subject to all equipment and device requirements as if registered. Except as noted, they are not deemed to be implements of husbandry. Identification plates are mandatory.

  • An oversized motor vehicle owned and operated by a farmer, designed and used exclusively for carrying, or returning empty from carrying, feed and seed products of farming, and used on a highway between parts of a farm or between farms. [VC § 36101(a)]
  • A vehicle with a water tank owned by a farmer and used exclusively to service the farmer’s own implements of husbandry. [VC § 36101(b)]
  • A water tank truck that is owned by a farmer, not operated for compensation, and used extensively in the conduct of agricultural operations, when used exclusively for sprinkling water on dirt roads providing access to agricultural fields or for transporting water for irrigation of crops or trees. [VC § 36101(c)]
  • A cotton module mover. [VC § 36101(d)] (Note: See statute for detailed provisions.)
  • A trailer with a plenum chamber for drying agricultural commodities. [VC § 36101(e)]
  • A trap wagon (see definition under Implements of Husbandry, Example 10 ) equipped with a fuel tank or tanks not exceeding 3,000 gallons total capacity. [VC § 36101(f)] (Note: The operating parameters for such a trap wagon are not limited to movements between fields or between farms, as specified in Item 10 of “Implements of Husbandry,” if it is equipped with brakes, lights and identification plates.)
  • A forklift truck (including a hay-squeeze) operated by a farmer without compensation. [VC § 36101(g)]
  • A truck tractor or truck tractor and semitrailer combination specified in this subdivision that is owned by a farmer and operated on the highways only incidental to a farming operation and not for compensation. This provision applies only to a truck tractor with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds and with all-wheel drive and off-highway tractor tires on all wheels, and only to semitrailers used in combination with such a truck tractor and exclusively in the production or harvesting of melons. These vehicles may not be operated in excess of 25 miles per hour on the highways. The Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol may, by regulation, prohibit these vehicles from operating on specific routes. These vehicles may not be operated laden on the highway for more than two miles from the point of origin and may not be operated for more than 30 miles unladen on the highway from the point of origin. These vehicles may not be operated for more than 15 miles unladen on the highway from the point of origin, unless accompanied by an escort vehicle to the front and an escort vehicle to the rear. [VC § 36101(h)]
  • A motor vehicle designed for, and used exclusively in, an agricultural operation to carry, or to return empty from carrying, silage that is operated by a farmer, or employee or contracted employee of a farmer, between parts of a farm or between farms, on a highway for a distance not to exceed 20 miles from the trip’s point of origin. This provision does not include a vehicle used to transport silage for retail sales. [VC § 36101(i)]
  • An automatic bale wagon operated unladen on a highway. [VC § 36102(a)]
  • An automatic bale wagon when transporting baled hay or straw for a distance of not more than five continuous road miles on a highway between parcels of property owned, leased, or controlled by the same farmer. [VC § 36102(b)]
  • A motor vehicle that is designed and used exclusively to haul feed for livestock and owned and operated exclusively for no compensation by a farmer or a farmer’s employee. Such a vehicle may be operated only on highways maintained by local authorities for a distance of not more that five continuous road miles between parcels of property owned, leased, or controlled by the same farmer. [VC § 36102(c)] (Note: Items 9,10 and 11 may be considered implements of husbandry if operated in accordance with Implements of Husbandry, Example 11.)

Farm Trailers

Exemptions: These farm trailers (if they have a gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds or less) are exempt from registration, brakes and lights. Identification plates are mandatory.

  • A trailer that is owned and operated by a farmer in the conduct of agricultural operations and used exclusively to transport agricultural products upon the highway to the point of first handling and return. [VC § 36010(a)]
  • A trailer or semitrailer with rollers on the bed, a frame not taller than 10 inches, and a gross vehicle weight rating of 6,000 pounds or less, and that is owned, rented, or leased by a farmer and operated by that farmer in the conduct of agricultural operations, used exclusively to transport fruit and vegetables upon the highway to the point of first handling and return, and was manufactured and in use before 1997. These vehicles may also be operated on the highways without a load for the purposes of delivering a rented or leased vehicle to the renting or leasing farmer’s farm, or returning empty to the owner’s premises. [VC § 36010(b)]

(Note: Empty bins, pallets, and tiedown straps are not considered a load when transported within the parameters of agricultural operations. The total outside width of any of these items may not exceed 102 inches. [VC § 36017])

Other Trailers

Exemptions: These trailers are exempt from registration, brakes, lights and identification plates. Size limitations apply.

A trailer or semitrailer owned and used exclusively by a farmer to haul his own implements of husbandry, a portable sanitary facility, or tools used exclusively for the production or harvesting of agricultural products. [VC § 36105]

This brochure was produced by the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Health and Safety Committee as a service to Farm Bureau members in California. To order, contact CFBF Rural Health and Safty Progranm (916) 561-5590.

Forklift Safety

Rules of the road

  • Follow safe speed limits – Drive only as fast as you can comfortably walk – no speeding!
  • Keep load low – While moving, keep forks low with mast tilted slightly back.
  • Keep safe visibility – If a load blocks forward vision, drive backwards.
  • Watch the slop – Back down slopes that have a greater than 10% incline.
  • Never carry hitchhikers – They can easily fall off and be injured.
  • Leave aisle room – Allow room for pedestrian and other traffic. Be alert for forklifts at intersections.
  • Park safely – On a hill, always block wheels, lower forks and set parking brake.

Avoid tipping over

  • Don’t drive with tall loads – Too tall or top-heavy loads can change your forklift’s center of gravity and cause you to tip over.
  • Make sharp turns slowly – If you turn too fast, you’re likely to shift your load. Any sudden movement can cause you to tip over.
  • Keep load upgrade – To avoid tipping, always carry your load upgrade. Also, back down ramps and never turn on grades.
  • Avoid fast speeds – Forklifts can’t travel safely at high speeds. Without loads, they aren’t weighted and are especially unstable.
  • Watch for chuck holes – Chuck holes and other uneven ground can cause you to tip. Watch the road and cross railroads diagonally.

Load and unload safely

  • Enter the pallet – Keep forks high enough to enter the pallet and as wide apart as possible.
  • Capture the load – Lift and tilt load back so it’s secure, and never load over your forklift’s weight limits.
  • Keep forks low – Forks should clear the road by 6″-8″. Raise them higher for ramps and grades.
  • Plan your route – Be aware of surface conditions, visibility, pedestrian traffic, up ramps and intersections.
  • Turn into position – Turn slowly. Raise the forks if necessary. Be alert so you don’t damage property.
  • Stack on a rack – Raise the load to the right height. Position load. Tilt the load forward and lower the pallet onto the rack. Withdraw the forks slowly. Back out, looking over your shoulder. OR
  • Stack on a truck – First, make sure the dock place and truck can’t move. Position the load, tilt it forward and release. Back out carefully, looking over your shoulder as you drive.


Safe Pruning

Safe pruning is no accident

By Rural Health and Safety Program

As farmers prepare their trees and vines for the season, safety officials remind them that safe pruning requires proper perspective as well as preparation.

More than 60,000 people were injured by pruning, trimming or chainsaw equipment in 1997. In the year prior, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 150,000 workdays were lost due to injuries from cuts or punctures. About a fourth of those could have been prevented by the use of protective gloves to shield arms, wrist, hands and fingers. Proper clothing should also be worn to protect the rest of the body.

Though reports of deaths from agricultural machinery have decreased in the last decade, deaths from falls have remained virtually unchanged. More than 10,000 Americans in 1998 were killed by falls. About 4 percent of those were ag-related. Ladder safety plays a vital role in the prevention of deaths as a result of pruning activities.

There are many ways farmers and their employees can be safe while performing various pruning tasks. The following safety checklist addresses some, but certainly not all hazards associated with this dangerous activity:

Protect the head, limbs, eyes, ears and lungs

      • Well-lined hard hats or protective helmets are needed to resist blows to the head.
      • Wear protective gloves appropriate for the task “at hand.”
      • Wear well-fitting, steel-toed boots.
      • Protect the eyes with adequate goggles.
      • Use adequate masks to filter out dust particles.
      • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants to prevent cuts and scrapes.
      • Use adequate earplugs when working with loud equipment. Plain cotton does not effectively protect from most occupational noise.

Tool safety

      • Keep pruning equipment sharp. Dull saws or blades can cause accidents.
      • Adjust shears if needed. If it doesn’t “feel right” don’t use it.
      • Make sure blades are locked in place.
      • Always carry pruning shears with the point down while walking or standing.
      • Be aware that winter conditions can make tools slippery.
      • Know where your other hand is.
      • Follow manufacturers directions.

Ladder safety

      • Always use a ladder with the correct type of safety feet.
      • Check for weakened or damaged rails.
      • Do not use a makeshift ladder.
      • Metal ladders should never be used near electrical equipment.
      • Don’t climb a ladder on stormy days.
      • Set the ladder on firm footing before climbing.
      • Face ladder when climbing.
      • Do not work or stand on top two rungs.

Look out for

      • Haze or fog conditions, which can reduce visibility.
      • Electrical wires, branches or debris.
      • Windy conditions which can blow dust or debris.
      • Other people around you, especially when pulling canes or branches.


Prevent exhaustion or dehydration

      • Drink plenty of water before, during and after each task.
      • Take regular breaks.
      • Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.


Protect the skin

    • Use sun block when working outside. The sun can still damage skin in cool weather.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect face, head and neck from sun exposure.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to keep sun off arms and legs.

(Safe pruning and other safety materials are available from the FELS Ag Training Series in either English or Spanish. For more information contact George Daniels at 800-753-9073 or e-mail

Farm Shop Safety

Farm shop safety

By CFBF Rural Health and Safety Program

Maintenance and repair shops are critical for farm operations, but are potentially dangerous places to work. Horseplay and practical jokes can not be tolerated. Don’t use any tool or piece of equipment unless you have been adequately trained. Inspect tools before using them. Accidents can be prevented by adhering to warning signs and practicing good housekeeping which include:

Prevent Falls

Make sure work areas are swept and spills cleaned up after each job. Slippery floors caused by spilled grease, gasoline and water are among the most common causes of accidents. Wear shoes or boots with a heavy tread to prevent slipping. Also, use the proper step ladders or stepping stools to reach tools or supplies on upper shelves. Never climb on lower shelves, boxes or chairs.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques (See also below)

Keep your back aligned while you lift, maintaining your center of balance, and letting the muscles in your legs do the actual lifting.

Wear Protective Equipment

  • Protect the eyes: Goggles with side shields prevent injuries from chemical splashes, dust, fumes and debris from bench grinders. Always wear eye protection when working with solvent liquids, aerosol containers and especially freon.
  • Protect the ears: Loud noises in shops can lead to permanent damage to your hearing. Use adequate ear muffs or ear plugs that are properly fitted.
  • Protect the nose: Use adequate masks to filter out dust particles. Wear appropriate respiratory equipment when spray painting or using toxic materials to protect yourself from gases, fumes or other potentially hazardous materials. Make sure your workplace has proper ventilation.
  • Protect the hands and feet: Wear protective gloves and well-fitting, steel-toed boots.
  • Protect the rest of the body: Well-lined hard hats or protective helmets are needed to resist blows to the head. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants to prevent cuts and scrapes.

Electrical Injury Prevention

Don’t stand on a wet floor while using an electrical appliance. Even using an electrical drill with sweaty hands increases the potential for electrical shock. Ensure electrical equipment is properly grounded. If the plug is not double insulated, there must be a third prong for grounding.

Fire Prevention

Store flammable and combustible materials away from sources of heat. When not in use, flammable liquids must be stored in covered containers. Never throw water on a grease or electrical fire. This will cause the fire to spread.

Fire Extinguishers

Learn the different types of extinguishers and how to use them. Also, take the time to learn where all the fire extinguishers and exits are located.

Techniques for safe lifting

Back injuries are the most common types of injury in the workplace, causing approximately 900,000 disabling injuries in 1995. Over half of these injuries are from lifting. Back injuries may be difficult to treat and may have lengthy and expensive rehabilitation times.

The National Safety Council recommends a number of ways to prevent unintentional back injuries:

  • Power Warm-ups – Start each day with slow stretches to help avoid injuries. (see below)
  • Before You Lift Anything – Ask yourself: “Do I need help?”
  • Clear Pathway – Look for hazards. What’s needed to safely perform the task?
  • Use Proper Tools – Wear back braces to support back and abdomen.
  • Tighten, Tuck, Straighten and Heads Up – Tighten stomach muscles to help your back stay in balance while you lift. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Avoid twisting which can overload your spine and lead to serious injury.
  • Bend at the Knees – This keeps you balanced and lets your leg muscles do the lifting.
  • “Hug The Load” – Hold the object you’re lifting as close to your body as possible, as you gradually straighten your legs to a standing position.
  • Remember: Be sure to use the same safe techniques when you set your load down.

Stay flexible: it’s an easy stretch

Muscles that are tight and stiff are a chronic problem for farmers and their employees. Physicians recommend regularly flexing muscles and moving joints through the full range of motion to prevent tightening. Stretching can also help a person limber up, feel younger and reduce the risk of injury on the job.

You’re never too old to stretch. Flexibility can be regained and maintained through daily stretching exercises. Older people who stretch regularly can be just as flexible as younger people.

Basic stretches should focus on the body’s major muscle groups, which include: calf muscles, thigh muscles, hamstring muscles, hip muscles, low-back muscles, neck and shoulders. Don’t “stretch the muscle until it hurts,” only to the point of mild discomfort – not pain – and hold the position for 30 seconds. Relax and breathe deeply while you’re stretching.

You shouldn’t stretch “cold” – that is without some type of warm-up. Unlike what you may have been taught in school, stretching shouldn’t come first. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms or do a low intensity exercise for a few minutes. Also, don’t stretch strained muscles – you could cause further harm. Ask your doctor or a fitness professional to help you design a stretching program that’s right for you.

(Shop safety and other safety resource materials are available from FELS in English or Spanish. For more contact: George Daniels at 800-753-9073 or

Tractor / ATV Safety

Slow 2 B safe

Slow-moving vehicle emblems must be in place.
Light your farm equipment properly.
Obey all traffic laws.
Watch out and slow down for turns and curves.

20 mph is the maximum speed for towed equipment without brakes.
Be sure tractor is properly counterweighted and attachments are secure.

Sunrise to sunset is the safest time to move farm equipment on public roads.
Always be sure brake pedals are locked together and brakes are properly adjusted.
Fit tractors with rollover protective structures and always wear a seat belt.
Each time you hitch, make sure the tractor matches its load.

Tractor safety — a crucial part of the job

Farm tractors provide the primary source of power on many farms, and are also involved in a high proportion of fatalities and severe injuries. It’s important to apply common sense when operating all farm equipment and vehicles, but implementing a basic tractor safety program on your farm operation is critical in preventing work-related injuries.

Start by developing a “safety first” attitude. Follow safe work practices at all times and set a good example for others. Remember that safe tractor use is a function of operator knowledge and skill.

  • Be physically and mentally fit before operating a tractor. Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol and drugs can cause you to lose focus on safe tractor operation. Take breaks.
  • Read operator’s manual and warning decals. Pay attention to safety information.
  • Equip tractor with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) and wear seat belts.
  • Inspect the tractor for any hazards and correct them before operating.
  • Make sure everyone who operates a tractor has received proper training and is able to operate it safety.
  • Shut down equipment, turn off engine, remove key and wait for moving parts to stop before approaching equipment. Before refueling, let tractor cool off.
  • Keep bystanders and others away from tractor operation area. Do not allow “extra riders,” especially children.
  • Reduce speed when turning, crossing slopes and on rough, slick or muddy surfaces.
  • When the tractor is stopped, set brakes securely and use the park lock if available.


Safety Inspection

  • Are ROPS in place and seat belts used?
  • Is the PTO master shield in place?
  • Is the operator’s platform clear of debris?
  • Is the reflective “Slow Moving Vehicle” emblem posted?
  • Are lights and flashers operational?
  • Are tires properly inflated?
  • Are the hydraulics free from leaks?
  • Can the brakes be locked together?
  • Do you have a 20-lb. “ABC” fire extinguisher in place?
  • Is there a fully supplied first aid kit on the tractor?


ATV safety tips

All-Terrain Vehicles have become popular for work and recreation on many farms and ranches. Along with their rise in popularity there has been a reported increase in serious injuries and deaths, which are primarily from improper use. Make ATV safety a priority on your farm or ranch. Below are ways to prevent injuries or death as a result of improper ATV use. For training or more information, call 1-800-887-2887.

  • Children should not be permitted to operate ATV’s without specialized training. After training they should be allowed to operate an ATV of appropriate size.
  • Wear appropriate gear, which include helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt and long pants.
  • Read owner’s manual carefully.
  • Never carry another rider on an ATV.
  • Added attachments may affect ATV stability, operation or braking. Choose cautiously.
  • Do not operate on streets, highways or paved roads.

Safety Inspection

  • Are tires and wheels in good condition?
  • Are controls and cables operational?
  • Does the chain have proper slack and is lubricated?
  • Is riding gear being worn?


Cal/OSHA Consultation

What is an on-site CAL/OSHA consultation?

Employers in California who want help in identifying and correcting safety and/or health hazards in their workplace can obtain the free, on-site technical assistance of consultants from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service. Although enforcement and consultation are both functions of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), the Consultation Service is separate and distinct from the enforcement branch.

Cal/OSHA Consultation Service’s voluntary assistance program helps employers solve safety and health problems in the workplace through cooperative efforts instead of enforcement. A consultation visit is never automatic or unexpected—an employer must request it.

During an on-site consultation, consultants do not issue citations or assess penalties for work practices or conditions noted that violate state occupational safety and health standards. However, an employer does have a legal obligation to eliminate any hazard of which he/she becomes aware.

There is also protection for employers who use the Consultation Service. Neither the employer’s identity, nor reports or correspondence resulting from on-site consultations, are available to DOSH enforcement offices for use in scheduling routine compliance inspections.

Another important feature of the consultation program is that employers with fixed facilities who have 250 or fewer employees can now exempt themselves from routine DOSH compliance inspection for one year—if they have had a full Cal/OSHA Consultation Service survey and are actively participating in a voluntary compliance program.

Although assistance from the Consultation Service is available to all California employers, when scheduling consultations priority is given to requests from smaller businesses, and from companies in high-hazard industries.

The Cal/OSHA Consultation Service is staffed with experienced professional safety engineers and industrial hygienists, who can survey a workplace with a critical eye and apply their expertise in identifying and eliminating occupational hazards, taking into consideration the special problems or unique operations of a firm.

A consultation is not necessarily limited to a physical survey of a workplace to uncover violations of the Cal/OSHA standards. The consultant can also analyze work practices and point out those that are likely to result in employee illness or injury.

The consultant may also recommend preventive measures to improve a firm’s occupational injury and illness record—such as labor-management safety and health committees, poster displays, training programs to alert employees to hazards, ongoing employee safety and health meetings.

Usually a consultation invloves

  • an opening conference with management to explain the employer’s rights and obligations
  • a walkthrough survey to evaluate the mechanical, physical and environmental hazards of the workplace and work practices, and the present job safety and health program
  • a closing conference with management to discuss the conditions noted during the survey and to make recommendations
  • a written report outlining the conditions found and any recommendations or agreements made a follow-up visit, if appropriate, to assure that any necessary corrections have been made. The only obligation an employer must accept in order to receive free on-site consultation assistance is to agree to correct, in a timely manner, any serious job safety and health hazards found during the course of the consultation visit. The employer must agree to this before a consultant can begin the actual on-site consultation.

Emplyer request for consultation

An employer may request assistance from any of the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service offices throughout the state by telephone, letter, or in person.

The request may be for a complete review of the firm’s safety and health conditions, for assistance or information concerning a specific problem, or both. The assigned consultant will contact the employer, usually by telephone, to listen to the employer’s needs and to set up a time and date for the on-site consultation.

Opening conference

When the consultant arrives at the worksite for the scheduled visit, he/she reviews with the employer the role of the Consultation Service in providing the requested assistance. The consultant explains the relationship between the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and federal OSHA. The employer is advised of his/her obligation to protect employees if serious hazard conditions are identified by the consultant during the survey.

The consultant also suggests that an employee representative participate in the walkthrough of the workplace. Informed and alert employees can more easily work with the employer in an ongoing job safety and health program to identify and correct potential injury and illness hazards.

The employer is expected to allow the consultant to confer with employees as needed during the course of the walkthrough, because a worker’s description of a particular job or operation may reveal a potential hazard associated with a process or work practice that might otherwise be overlooked.


Together the employer or his/her representative, an employee representative if provided, and the consultant examine conditions in the workplace. In particular, the consultant studies specific conditions or operations indicated by the employer.

Where appropriate, the consultant also points out safety or health risks that might not be covered by the Cal/OSHA standards, yet nevertheless pose safety or health risks to employees.

In a complete review of a company’s operations, the consultant looks for mechanical and physical hazards by examining the condition of the buildings and grounds, building floors, stairs, exits, and fire protection. The consultant reviews the facility’s layout and checks for: adequate space in aisles and between machines, storage conditions, equipment such as forklifts, control of electrical hazards and proper application of machine guards.

The consultant evaluates the measures being used to limit employee exposure to environmental hazards such as toxic substances, corrosives, and especially airborne contaminants. The consultant also examines the use of personal protective equipment and notes any problems that employees may face from exposure to noise, vibration, extreme temperatures, unusual lighting and other working conditions.

Where appropriate, the consultant takes samples for laboratory analysis to determine airborne or surface contaminants, or toxic components of materials used in the workplace.

Work practices, including use, care and maintenance of hand tools and portable power tools, and general housekeeping are also reviewed.

The consultant will want to discuss ongoing programs for employee training, safety and health orientation and procedures, and maintenance and repair of equipment.

Management and employee attitude toward safety and health are evaluated, as well as current injury and illness data. The consultant may also review records or minutes of safety and health committees, safety and health meetings, and any in-plant safety and health inspection programs.

In rare instances, the consultant may find during the walkthrough a situation that poses an imminent danger to employees. In such cases, the consultant advises the employer of the need to take immediate action to protect affected employees.

Closing conference

Following the walkthrough, the consultant and employer meet in a closing conference, during which the consultant reviews with the employer any new practices that need to be established and those currently being used that are not effective. The employer and consultant discuss problems, possible solutions, and correction methods or means to control any hazards that may have been identified during the walkthrough.

If hazards judged to be serious violations under Cal/OSHA criteria are found, the consultant works with the employer to develop a mutually acceptable plan and schedule to eliminate or control those hazards.

Consultants can offer general approaches and options, and when appropriate, suggest sources for additional technical assistance. Cal/OSHA consultants are not allowed to provide any in-depth engineering or design services themselves. The consultant may offer suggestions for establishing or strengthening the company’s safety and health program – including such aspects as employee training, supervision, safety and health committees, and a variety of ways to promote safety and health.

Follow-through & correction

Following the closing conference, the consultant will send the employer a written report that explains the findings and confirms the correction periods agreed upon, when applicable.

The consultant may also contact the employer from time to time to check on the progress being made in correcting any unsafe condition found. The employer, of course, is free to contact the consultant for additional assistance at any time.

Ultimately, the law does require the employer to correct any safety or health hazard. The purpose of the consultation visit is to achieve the objective of the Cal/OSHA law “employers furnishing employment and a place of employment which is safe and healthful for the employees therein. If an employer fails or refuses to eliminate or control a serious hazard or any imminent danger identified by the consultant according to the plan and within the limits agreed upon that situation would have to be referred by the Consultation Service to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health enforcement unit for review and action as appropriate. This has occurred only rarely in the past.”

Benefits to employers & employees

The more an employer learns about the potential hazards in his/her company’s operations and ways to eliminate them, the better the employer will be able to meet the legal obligations of ensuring employee on-the-job safety and health. The resulting benefit to employees is a safer and more healthful place in which to work. The Cal/OSHA Consultation Service program enables the employer to obtain free professional advice and assistance for establishing or strengthening the entire workplace safety and health program, thereby making safety and health a routine consideration instead of a crisis-oriented response.

Accidents are expensive

Occupational injuries and illnesses are costly to both the company and its employees. It is the goal of the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service to provide assistance for keeping these unnecessary costs at a minimum.

Costs to employers include

  • increased compensation insurance premiums
  • medical expenses
  • legal expenses
  • wages paid to injured employees who are not producing
  • wages paid to non-injured employees who stop production to assist after the accident or stop to watch/talk about it, or who need the output normally provided by the injured worker
  • damaged or spoiled materials
  • replacement of damaged tools or equipment
  • overtime work necessary to make up for lost production
  • supervisory and administrative personnel time away from their normal activities, as a result of the accident
  • time required of administrative and clerical personnel while investigating the accident, processing forms, settling claims
  • recruiting and training new employees to replace the injured worker, either temporarily or permanently
  • reduced production of new or substitute employees
  • reduced production of the injured employee when first returning to work
  • public liability claims
  • loss of contracts or cancellation of orders effects of the accident on the company’s image and public relations
  • effect on employee morale, or the need to increase wage rates to retain workers for the particular operation legal costs for a contested case—preparing the case, providing witness workers and supervisors, judgments, settlements, appeals


Costs to employees include

  • permanent effects of the accident on the health or well-being of the injured worker
  • reduction of earnings while recuperating from an accident
  • reduction of earnings if the injury or illness affects the worker’s ability to perform at the pre-accident level reduction of worker’s productive work years
  • destruction of morale if the accident results in a long term handicap
  • hardship to the worker’s family

On-site, consultants will

  • Help employers identify hazards in the workplace.
  • Suggest general approaches or options for solving a safety or health problem.
  • Identify kinds of help available to employers if further technical assistance is needed.
  • Provide employers with a written report summarizing the findings of a consultation.
  • Assist employers in establishing or improving their workplace injury and illness prevention programs.
  • Work with the employer in developing and conducting safety and health training of his/her employees.

On-site, consultants will not

  • Issue citations or propose penalties for violations of Cal/OSHA standards.
  • Report violations found to the DOSH enforcement unit, unless the employer fails to cooperate in eliminating them.
  • Guarantee that any workplace will pass a DOSH inspection.
  • Develop specific engineering designs or recommend a specific private firm to solve problems.
  • Reveal trade secrets or release information on specialized processes or operations.

(For more, contact Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Service)

Electrical Safety

Power lines

Most overhead power lines have no protective insulation. Any contact with them can be extremely dangerous . Look around your farm and take note of the location of all overhead power lines. Watch out for overhead power wires whenever you operate. Also make sure you know where underground power lines are buried. Always remember:

  • Electricity seeks every available path to the ground. When a person or other objects get too close or touch a power line, it creates an instant flow of electricity.
  • Non-metallic materials – lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes and hay – can conduct electricity.
  • Look around for locations of all power lines. Watch out for overhead wires whenever you operate equipment or move irrigation pipe. Use a “spotter” to help.
  • If you approach downed lines, keep a safe distance away. The area around them, including the soil, equipment and other objects, could be energized. Call your local utility.
  • Don’t clear storm-damaged trees, limbs or other debris that are touching power lines.
  • Don’t cut down trees or prune limbs that may fall into power lines.

Electrical repairs

  • It is recommended that only qualified electricians complete all electrical work, and correct the following hazardous conditions:


  • Bakelite fixtures.
  • Black cloth covered nonmetallic wiring.
  • Conduit passing into ceilings and walls that is not surface mounted.
  • Rusty, metal boxes (replace with nonmetallic, watertight and corrosion-resistant products).
  • Defective circuit breakers.

Routine maintenance

  • Maintenance of electrical equipment and devices can reduce the possibility of an accident and costly downtime. Loose connections, switches lacking cover plates, accumulated dust, cobwebs or moisture should receive immediate attention. Keep electrical equipment and service areas clean. Disconnect power before cleaning, or contact your electrician. Also, it’s important to regularly check for the following:


  • Wires not properly supported or protected from mechanical damage.
  • Improper or inadequate grounding.
  • Improper use of extension cords.
  • Circuits not protected by properly sized fuses or circuit breakers.
  • Fuses or circuit breakers not of an approved type.
  • Switches not enclosed in approved boxes.
  • Fixtures not properly secured.
  • Lights too close to combustibles.

(For a brochure on this information contact the Midwest Rural Energy Council at 608-262-5062 or

Bites & Stings

Dont’s let snake-bite fears rattle the nerves

With the return of warmer weather, rattlesnake sightings become more frequent. While working in the field or orchard, you may come in contact with one of the venomous reptiles. If so, it’s important to stay calm and back away slowly. If you’re unsure if it is venomous, treat it as if it is. Some ways to avoid snake bites include:

    • Wearing enclosed shoes, thick socks and long trousers;
    • Avoiding walking in long grass;
    • Avoiding stepping over logs without knowing what is on the other side;
    • Avoiding lifting debris, such as rocks and corrugated iron with the ‘open’ side toward you, and;
    • Avoiding putting your hands in cracks, under or in logs.

Most rattlesnake bites are not fatal, if medical attention is sought promptly. If you or someone you know have been bitten, try to remain calm and still as possible to limit the spread of venom. Call 911 and get medical attention as quickly as possible. In the meantime, try to remember what the snake looks like to identify it from pictures later. Also:

  • Remove items that restrict circulation in affected areas, such as gloves, watches, rings and shoes.
  • Keep the bite at or slightly below the level of the head.
  • Don’t bleed the wound. This may lead to further complications such as blood poisoning or severe bleeding. Don’t suck the venom out, as you might ingest it.
  • If swelling occurs quickly, place a 1-inch-wide constricting band about 2 inches above the bite. Set it so it would not fit so tightly that a finger cannot easily be slipped under it. Do not use a tourniquet, or constrictive bandage. The idea is to stop the spread of venom, not the blood flow.
  • Attempt to keep the victim from moving rapidly about while transporting him or her to the nearest emergency medical facility as quickly as possible.
  • Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink (particularly alcohol). Do not place the affected area in ice, and do not make any cuts or apply suction to the area. Do not attempt to give medications.

Bee/wasp stings

Reduce the risk of being stung:

  • Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing.
  • Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, deodorants, colognes or perfumes.
  • Wear clean clothing and bathe daily. Sweat angers bees.
  • Cover the body as much as possible with clothing.
  • Check for new nests during the warmer hours of the day.
  • Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in places where humans discard food.
  • If a single stinging insect is flying around, remain still or lie face down on the ground. The face is the most likely place for a bee or wasp to sting.
  • Swatting an insect may provoke it.
  • If several stinging insects attack you at the same time, run to get away from them. Bees release a chemical when they sting. This alerts other bees to the intruder.

First aid for stings

  • The stinger can be removed with a credit card or fingernail by scraping over the area. Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers. It will cause more venom to go into the skin.
  • Have someone stay with the victim to be sure that they do not have an allergic reaction.
  • Wash the site with soap and water. Apply ice or cool compress to reduce the swelling.
  • Don’t scratch. This will cause the site to swell and itch more, and could lead to infection.


Allergic reactions

    • Allergic reactions to bee stings can be deadly. People with known allergies to insect stings should always carry an insect sting allergy kit and wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace stating that they are allergic.

There are several signs of an allergic reaction to bee stings. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction usually happen immediately following the sting. Get the person immediate medical care if any of the following signs are present:

  • Swelling that moves to other parts of the body, especially the face or neck.
  • Difficulty in breathing, wheezing, swollen throat, dizziness or a drop in blood pressure.


Sun exposure

Quick SPFs (Sun Protection Facts)

This year 1 in 90 people in the United States will get malignant melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer. The good news is that, if caught early, most skin cancers are easily treated. People most at risk include those with a high number of moles, with red or fair hair, blue eyes, fair skin and freckles, who tan with difficulty and burn in the sun, and with a history of the disease in two or more family members.

To help prevent against the sun’s harmful rays it’s important to:

  • Cover as much skin as possible – wear clothes made from tightly woven fabric, and a wide-brimmed hat, which shades the face, neck and ears.
  • Make sure you use sunscreen – with a Sun Protection Factor of at least15. Don’t be fooled! SPF30 does not give you double the protection of SPF15; only about 3% more. And throw away last year’s sunscreen, as its properties can change with time and extreme heat.
  • Don’t forget to protect the eyes and lips – wear protective sunglasses, as UV rays can cause cataracts and retina damage. Protect vulnerable lips with a balm of at least SPF15.
  • Monitor medications – antibiotics, for example, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about drugs you are taking and take extra precautions.
Safety: Safety Programs

Agricultural Hazardous Materials Transportation Endorsement (AHMTE) Program

A new program, known as the Agricultural Hazardous Materials Transportation Endorsement (AHMTE) Program, is being offered to farmers and farm employees through local Farm Bureau offices. The training is provided by the California Safety Training Corporation (CSTC). Those who finish this program and pass the test at the end will receive a special training verification document DL 267. DL 267 holders are exempted from the hazardous materials provisions of the California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program, including but not limited to Drug and Alcohol Testing (DOT).
Details: Agricultural Hazardous Materials Transportation Endorsement (PDF, 12 KB)
Last update: July 2005

60/60 Training Program

These 60 minute tapes are designed to help meet the Department of Transportation guidelines for alcohol and drug awareness training for supervisors. The program includes sample materials and forms. Farm Bureau members can contact their county Farm Bureau office for more info.

55 Alive/Mature Driving

This is a drivers refresher course conducted by AARP volunteers for people over the age of 50. Course participants sharpen their driving skills, develop strategies for adjusting to age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time, and learn the effects of medications on driving performance.

Rural Driving Safety Video

This is a new safety video, available in English and Spanish, which highlights the dangers drivers face while traveling on rural roads.

(For information on these programs call your county Farm Bureau office or California Farm Bureau at (800) 698-3276.)

Safety: Fire Safety

Planning is key when it comes to evacuation, particularly when large animals are involved. Experts recommend that farm and ranch owners make emergency and evacuation plans a part of the strategic plan for their businesses.

Tips for evacuating families and farm animals (PDF, 620 KB)

Other online resources


Farm Employer’s Labor Service

The Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS®) is a subscriber member organization affiliated with the California Farm Bureau Federation. FELS has assisted members in complying with labor laws and avoiding labor relations problems since 1970. The goal of FELS is to assist subscribers in avoiding costly labor management mistakes.

Farm Employers Labor Service is a subsidiary of California Farm Bureau Federation. Subscriptions to FELS are available only to those with agricultural, horticultural, or other business operations in California or Oregon, or who reside in either state.

Preferred Alliance

Preferred Alliance was created specifically to conduct on-site pre-employment drug tests for companies like Tri Valley Growers, Del Monte USA and S&W Food and Wine Company. With the passing of the DOT Regulations, Preferred Alliance immediately expanded its scope of service to become a leading third party administratior for DOT testing programs.

Be sure to mention your Farm Bureau membership. California Farm Bureau members receive a discount on their inital set up fee up. Preferred Alliance has a turn key program that includes: a sample policy (attorney fee’s can be costly), materials to educate your employee’s, testing supplies, a large network of collection sites, certified labs, MRO services. If you have questions please call (800) 272-5227 ext. 314.

Heat Illness Prevention

The well-being of employees is a priority for all California farmers. Heat illness is a health and safety issue that farmers and ranchers have been concerned about for many years. Farmers recognize the potential risks of heat exposure, just as employers do in construction, manufacturing and other industries that work in high-heat environments. Farmers take the necessary steps to protect employees not only from heat illness, but from other potential health and safety hazards.

The current California Heat Illness Prevention Standard became effective May 1, 2015, and can be found here.

Basic tips for heat illness prevention include:

  • Drink small amounts of water frequently.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Take advantage of shade and rest breaks.
  • Start work earlier in the day, to avoid the afternoon heat.
  • Know how to recognize the symptoms of heat illness, such as poor concentration, cramping, fatigue, blurry vision, headache, dizziness, nausea, etc.
  • If you notice heat illness symptoms in yourself or a co-worker, have the victim stop working, find shade, loosen clothing, get fluids, and fan the body with any item available.
  • Serious fluid loss can lead to heat stroke, which is an emergency. If this happens, seek medical help right away.

California Heat Illness Prevention Standard

The specifics of the standard include:

  • Water: Provide “fresh, pure, and suitably cool” water and ensure that it is located as close as practicable to where employees are working.
  • Shade: Shade must be present at 80 degrees and must accommodate all employees on recovery or rest periods, plus those onsite who are taking meal breaks.
  • Rest: Employees taking a “preventive cool-down rest” must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness, encouraged to remain in the shade and not ordered back to work until symptoms are gone. Employees with symptoms must be provided appropriate first-aid or emergency response.
  • High heat: High-heat procedures are triggered at 95 degrees. Employers must ensure “effective” observation and monitoring, including a mandatory buddy system and regular communication with employees working by themselves. In a provision exclusive to agriculture, employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool-down period every two hours during high-heat periods.
  • Emergency response: Emergency response procedures must include effective communication, response to signs and symptoms of heat illness, and procedures for contacting emergency responders to help stricken workers.
  • Acclimatization: To ensure that employees adjust to hot temperatures, acclimatization procedures must include close observation of all employees during a heat wave, which is defined as at least 80 degrees. New employees must be closely observed for their first two weeks on the job.

Heat Safety Resources

Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS) subscribers have access to heat illness information and other safety sheets online. For more information, or to become a FELS subscriber, go to or call 800-753-9073.

Crisis Hotline

California Crisis Management Centers

Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
(510) 420-2460 business line
(800) 309-2131 crisis line
P.O. Box 3120
Oakland, CA 94609

Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prev. Center
Crisis Center of Youth & Family Assistance
(650) 692-6662
(650) 726-6655 Coastside [crisis line]
(650) 692-6655 North County
(650) 573-3950 Alchol & Drug
(650) 368-6655 South County
1860 El Camino Real Suite 400
Burlingame, CA 94010

SPS of the Central Coast
(831) 458-5300 [crisis line]
(877) 663-5433 Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey County
P.O. Box 1222
Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Suicide Prevention & Crisis
(510) 889-1333
Castro Valley, CA 94546

Suicide Prevention Center of Los Angeles
DIDI Hirsch Community Mental Health Center
(310) 390-6612
(310) 390-8896
(310) 391-1253 Suicide Prevention
4760 South Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230-4888

Suicide Prevention Center
(916) 372-0709
211 E St,
Davis CA 95616

Suicide Prevention Yolo County
(916) 756-7542
(510) 889-1104 Grief Counseling
(510) 449-5566 Livermore Valley
(510) 889-1333 Hayward-Castro Val.
(510) 794-5211 Fremont
(510) 849-2212 Berkeley-Oakland
PO Box 622,
Davis, CA 95617-0622

Crisis House
(619) 444-9926
(619) 444-1194 [crisis line] 1034 N. Magnolia
El Cajon, CA 92020

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Intervention Service Of Alameda
(510) 794-5211
Fremont, CA 94536

New Hope Telephone Counseling Center
(714) 971-4123
(714) 639-4673 [crisis line]
12141 Lewis St.
Garden Grove, CA 92640

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Center
(408) 636-8787
FRM San Benito County,
Hollister CA 95023

CONTACT Care Center
(925) 284-2207
(925) 284-2273 [crisis line]
Central County
(925) 945-8336

Teen-To-Teen Hotline
(925) 235-5244
West County
(925) 284-2274
Kid-Phone Warmline
(925) 754-8111
East County
PO Box 901
Lafayette, CA 94549

Lake County Mental Health Emergency Service
(707) 263-2258
(800) 222-8220 [crisis line]
922 Bevins Court
Lakeport, CA 95453

Suicide Prevention-Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
(510) 449-5566
Livermore, CA 94550

Hotline of Southern California
(213) 594-0960
(562) 596-5548 [crisis line]
(714) 894-4242 8am-12midnight
PO Box 32
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Teen Line
(310) 855-3401
(800) 852-8336 [crisis line]
Statewide Toll Free
(310) 855-4673
P.O. Box 48750
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Psychological Trauma Center
(310) 855-3506
(310) 855-3506 [crisis line]

Intervention for schools
8730 Alden Drive, Room #C-106A
Los Angeles, CA 90048

CrossRoads Psych. Health Center Memorial Hospital Assoc.
(209) 572-7238
(209) 572-7211 [crisis lines]
1700 Coffee Road
Modesto, CA 95355

Suicide Prevention/Crisis Line of Volunteer Center of Napa County, INC.
(707) 422-2555
(707) 422-2555 Fairfield
(707) 255-2555 Napa
(707) 643-2555 Vallejo
(707) 963-2555 St. Helena
1820 Jefferson St.
Napa, CA 94559

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Intervention
(510) 794-5211
Newark, CA 94560

Second Chance, Inc.
(510) 792-4357
(510) 792-4357 [crisis lines]
PO Box 643
Newark, CA 94560

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Center
(831) 375-6966
(831) 458-5300 [crisis lines]
(831) 649-8008
(877) 633-5433
P.O. Box 52078
Pacific Grove, CA 93950-7078

Southern California Permanente Medical Group Behavioral Health Care Help Line
(626) 405-3682
(800) 900-3277 [crisis line]
393 E. Walnut St.
CCC 3rd Floor
Pasadena, CA 91188

Anacupa Hospital
(805) 488-4900
(800) 487-8377 [crisis line]
307 East Clara
Port Huenema, CA 93041

Help, Inc.
(530) 225-5255
(530) 225-5252 [crisis line]
PO Box 992498
Redding, CA 96099-2498

Suicide Prevention/Crisis Services
(916) 368-3118
(916) 885-2300 Auburn [crisis line]
(916) 368-3111 Sacramento
(916) 645-8866 Lincoln
(916) 773-3111 Roseville 8912 Volunteer Ln., Ste. 100
Sacramento, CA 95621

Suicide Prevention and Crisis
(408) 649-8008
371 Main St,
Salinas CA 93901

Family Service Agency Crisis/Volunteer Services
(909) 886-6737
(909) 886-4889 [crisis line]
1669 North E Street
San Bernardino, CA 92405

United Behavioral Health – Access and Crisis Line
1-800-479-3339 [crisis line]

San Diego Access and Crisis Line
(619) 557-0500 [crisis line]
(619) 294-9980 TDD
(800) 479-3339

Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and Grief Goldman Institute on Aging
(415) 750-5355
(415) 752-3778 [crisis line]
Friendship line for Elderly
(415) 752-2314

Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Service
(408) 885-6250
(415)494-8420 No. Cnty [crisis line]
(408) 683-2482 South County
(408) 279-3312
2220 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
Contact Santa Clara County
(408) 275-6176
(408) 279-8228 [crisis line]
(408) 279-0303

Warm Line for children
(888) 247-7717 Teenline
PO Box 8021
San Jose, CA 95155

Hotline of San Luis Obispo
(805) 540-6594
(805) 549-4499 [crisis line]
P.O. Box 15408
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406

Suicide Prev. & Comm. Couns. Svc. of Marin
(415) 499-1193 x255
(415) 499-1100 [crisis line]
P.O. Box 4369
San Rafael, CA 94913-4369

Crisis Intervention Service Santa Cruz Mental Health Serv
(831) 454-4170
(831) 454-4022 [crisis line]
(831) 462-7719
1060 Emeline Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Suicide Prevention Inc, The Institute For Suicide Prevention
(310) 582-8262,
(213) 386-2622
3130 Wilshire Blvd,
Santa Monica CA 90403

Suicide Prevention and Crisis
(707) 000-1111
3322 Chanate Rd
Santa Rosa CA 95404

San Joaquin Co. Mental Health
(209) 468-8700
(209) 468-8686 [crisis line]
1212 N. California
Stockton, CA 95202

The Behavioral Health Crisis Team
(805) 652-6565
(805) 652-6727 [crisis line]
Mobile Crisis Team – 24 hrs.
(805) 371-8375 12 noon-11:30pm.
200 No. Hillmont Ave.
Ventura, CA 93003

Mobile Crisis Team
(805) 652-6565
(805) 652-6727 [crisis line]

Mobile Crisis Team
(805) 371-8375 12 noon – 12 p.m.
200 No. Hillmont Ave.
Ventura, CA 93003

First Call for Help — Victor Valley Community Service Council
(760) 245-8592
(760) 240-8255 [crisis line]
15476 Sixth Street
Victorville, CA 92392

Contra Costa Crisis Center
(925) 939-1916
(800) 832-2900 [crisis line]
(800) 800 837-1818 Grief Line
(800) 808-6444 Homeless Line
P.O. Box 3364
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Suicide Prevention Service
(408) 458-5300
Watsonville, CA 95076

Sutter-Yuba MH Crisis Clinic
(530) 822-7200
(530) 673-8255 [crisis line]
1965 Live Oak Blvd.
Yuba City, CA 95991