New website offers farm safety and health information, resources

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is part of a consortium of 74 land-grant universities offering answers to hundreds of agriculture-related safety and health questions for the new farm-safety section of a national website.

The website,, offers easy-to-navigate advice on farm safety and health issues for everyone from beginning farmers to veteran producers.

The issues covered range from grain-bin entrapments to safe beef-cattle handling, said Dennis Murphy, Penn State Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health.

"This online resource will serve many groups, including educators, injury outreach specialists and farm workers, with valuable information that can be accessed anytime," he said. "And in an agricultural community where business is done all day, every day, there is never a down time for safety and health information."

eXtension (which is pronounced E-extension) is a national, online educational network and partnership of 74 universities that provides access to objective, research-based information and education, Murphy explained.

"Agriculture is a dangerous industry," Murphy said. "This online resource is now available to serve hard-working men, women and families with up-to-date safety and health materials to protect the most valuable assets: the farm workers.

"Besides providing answers to frequently asked farm-safety questions, this site contains articles on a variety of safety and health topics and a calendar of farm safety events."

Following are examples of articles that appear on the site:

--Safety recommendations when baling and handling big round bales.
--Confined-space hazards and gas monitoring of manure-pit gases.
--Beef cattle handling safety.
--ATV safety.
--Hearing loss and protection for agricultural producers.
--Grain-bin entrapments from flowing grains.

"We are now in our peak season for the frequency and severity of farm-related injuries," Murphy said."This is great timing for eXtension to offer an ounce of prevention early in the summer."

Another resource offered through the site is the online AgSafety4u certificate program taught by Dr. Aaron Yoder, instructor in agricultural and biological engineering at Penn State. The course provides an overview of identification and control hazards common to farms and agriculture-related rural businesses, focusing on hazards associated with machinery, structures, equipment, animals, chemicals and outdoor environments. To register for the course, visit the "Safety and Health" section at

Support for the farm safety and health content on the website comes from a team of educators, including Yoder, Murphy and Linda Fetzer, extension associate in agricultural and biological engineering.

Funding for the initiative was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture and CHS Inc.


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Last Updated July 23, 2012