12 Safety Tips for Planting Season


Apr 17, 2024

As you prepare your fields, sow your seeds, and watch your crops grow, it is essential to keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Farm accidents can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll on everyone involved. 

Accidents can also impact the economic success of a farm. Safety and profitability go hand in hand on a farm. 

Farm accidents can:

  • Delay planting

  • Damage or ruin equipment

  • Lead to lawsuits

  • Increase insurance costs

Here are 12 safety tips that can help you navigate the planting season safely for a successful harvest.

1. Properly Store Seeds and Grains

Proper storage of seeds is essential for the success of your crops. Ensuring correct moisture content can prevent spoiling and clumping.

Seed storage with proper temperature, humidity, and aeration can:

  • Maximize seed integrity

  • Reduce pests

  • Decrease mold

Moisture in grain can also cause hazards such as clogged equipment, grain bridging, and grain avalanches. 

2. Safely Store Fertilizers

Store fertilizers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place away from heat, fire, and moisture sources. Keep toxic organic or compound fertilizers far away from incompatible products such as:

  • Grain

  • Seed

  • Fuels

  • Oils

  • Pesticides 

Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when checking these fertilizers. Make sure to keep these materials out of reach of children and animals.

Shop for all your crop nutrition in one place 24/7 through FBN®. Pricing is transparent, and you can schedule delivery directly to your farm. Shop now.

3. Follow Protocols When Handling Chemicals

Safe chemical handling refers to the proper and responsible management of chemicals to minimize the risk of accidents, injuries, and environmental harm. 

Training and Education

Ensure that all individuals handling chemicals receive proper training on safe handling practices, emergency procedures, and the potential hazards associated with the chemicals they work with.

Handling and Mixing

Always read and understand the labels, safety data sheets (SDS), and instructions provided by the chemical manufacturer. Use proper equipment and techniques when handling and mixing chemicals. Follow recommended dilution ratios and never mix chemicals unless instructed to do so. Be sure to also follow proper application methods. 

Avoid direct contact with skin or eyes, and ensure adequate ventilation in the working area. Wear appropriate PPE as described in the next section below. 

Spill Response

Be prepared for chemical spills by having spill kits and absorbent materials readily available. Know the appropriate procedures for containing and cleaning up spills, and report any significant spills to the appropriate authorities.


Be cautious when transporting chemicals around the farm. Here are some guidelines for the safe transportation of chemicals on farms:

  • Use the original containers or containers specifically designed for those chemicals

  • Secure containers during transport

  • Label and inventory

  • Use suitable vehicles

  • Segregate chemicals 

  • Be prepared for spills

  • Follow regulations

Proper Storage

As mentioned in the previous tip about storing fertilizers, safe storage of chem is critical. Store chemicals in designated areas that are well-ventilated, secure, and away from incompatible substances. Follow guidelines for temperature control, segregation, and labeling to prevent accidental mixing or spills.


Dispose of chemicals properly according to local regulations. Follow guidelines for recycling, reusing, or disposing of chemicals safely to prevent environmental contamination.

4. Wear PPE 

Investing in appropriate personal protective equipment is crucial for farm safety whether working with chemicals or equipment. The specific type of PPE needed can vary depending on the tasks being performed. 

Protective Clothing and Shoes

Make sure to wear sturdy, close-toed shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to protect your skin from potential hazards.

Eye Protection

By wearing appropriate eye protection, farm workers can help safeguard against chemical exposure, flying debris, dust and particles, and UV radiation. It's important to choose eye protection that meets safety standards and provides adequate coverage for the specific tasks being performed on the farm. Eye protection can include: 

  • Safety glasses

  • Goggles

  • Face shields designed to protect the eyes from flying debris, chemicals, or harmful light

Hearing Protection

It's important to choose hearing protection that is suitable for the noise levels encountered on the farm and to use them consistently when exposed to loud noises. Hearing protection can include:  

  • Earplugs

  • Earmuffs 

Regular hearing checks and monitoring noise levels can also help ensure the long-term hearing health of farmers and farm workers. 


A good pair of gloves can protect your hands from blisters and injury. Keep in mind that a pair of gloves to prevent hand injuries is different from a pair of gloves to prevent chemical exposure. Butyl rubber gloves are typically a good solution when working with chemicals, though you should always follow the label and SDS guidance.

Respiratory Protection

The appropriate type of respiratory protection should be selected based on the specific hazards and exposure levels. This can include disposable respirators, half-face or full-face respirators, or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). 

5. Perform Equipment Maintenance

Before you head out into the field, ensure your equipment is in good working order. Regularly inspect your tractors, planters, and other machinery for wear and tear.

Replace any damaged parts and perform routine maintenance su ch as changing fluids, greasing joints, and tightening belts. A well-maintained machine is not only more efficient but also significantly safer to operate.

Before using your equipment this planting and spraying season, follow the seven steps in our free guide Spring Equipment Maintenance Checklist.

6. Use Proper Lighting and Ensure Visibility

Good lighting and visibility are crucial for safety, especially when working early in the morning or late in the evening. Make sure your machinery has working headlights, taillights, and hazard lights.

Adding reflective tape or markings to your equipment can also improve visibility for other drivers and workers.

7. Take Precaution When Transporting Equipment on Public Roads

When moving machinery and equipment between fields or locations, always follow proper safety guidelines. Ensure all equipment is securely hitched and double-check all connections before hitting the road.

Follow appropriate speed limits, use hazard lights, and display “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs to alert other drivers of your presence.

Additionally, avoid transporting equipment during peak traffic times, if possible.  Never travel left of the centerline in the dark.

8. Avoid Fatigue 

Planting season can be a stressful and busy time. Fatigue can impair your judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate machinery safely.

Make sure you get adequate sleep and avoid driving or operating equipment when you’re feeling drowsy. Encourage your workers to do the same. Consider implementing flexible schedules to allow for breaks, when needed.  

Get five tips on creating a strong safety culture on a farm in our blog Saving Lives and Reducing Cost.

9. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Whether you’re operating a tractor or walking through your fields, always be aware of your surroundings. Look out for uneven terrain, holes, or other obstacles that could cause injury.

When operating machinery, be especially cautious near ditches, embankments, water, and power lines.

Additionally, be mindful of other workers in the area and communicate your intentions to ensure everyone’s safety.

10. Use Proper Lifting Techniques

Farmers often lift and carry heavy items like seed bags, fertilizers, and machinery parts. To avoid strain and injury, always lift with your legs, not your back.

Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and avoid twisting your body when lifting. If an object is too heavy for one person to lift, don’t hesitate to ask for help or use equipment like a dolly or a forklift.

11. Take Care of Your Body

During long hours in the field, it’s essential to stay hydrated and take breaks, as needed. Carry a water bottle with you, and drink frequently to avoid dehydration. Remember to take short breaks before you start to feel fatigued.

Overexertion can lead to injury, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and rest when necessary. Taking care of your body through sleep, nutrition, and hydration will decrease the chance of injury and ensure crops are planted in a timely fashion.

12. Follow Routine Safety Protocols

Here are several more tips to get you through planting season safely this year:

  • Review tractor safety tips with workers like the ones in this article, Ten Tips for Tractor Safety

  • Do general safety checks of anhydrous ammonia tanks before using them in the field.

  • Plan your planting routes according to your workers and property.

  • Keep fire extinguishers in accessible locations, and ensure your workers know how to use them.

  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand.

  • Ensure you have all the respirators ready that you and your workers will be wearing.

  • Provide basic first aid training for workers. Consider taking a course in first aid and CPR. 

  • Check the weather and plan your work accordingly. 

  • Watch for wildlife in your area.

  • Have a safety plan, communicate it, and stick with it.

Related Resources

Written by Heather Stone, assisted by Norm℠.

This content was generated with the assistance of Norm℠, FBN’s artificial intelligence (AI) Ag Advisor, based on a dataset of information containing general industry best practices and research. The AI model did not use specific external sources to generate this content. Our process involves using AI to aid human subject matter experts with the initial drafting and/or refinement of content. 

The information and content provided is believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. The content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific agronomic, business, or professional advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Neither Farmer's Business Network Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed. If you have any questions or feedback about the content, please feel free to contact us or visit our FAQ (https://www.fbn.com/community/blog/norm-faq).

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state and local laws.  We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must have a valid applicator license to use restricted use pesticides.  Please consult your state department of agriculture for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted use pesticides, as some products require specific record-keeping requirements.


Apr 17, 2024

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