Mechanical Hazards: Crush Points

Ag Safety and Health June 04, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

(Photo Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension)

A crush-point hazard exists when two objects move toward each other or when a moving object approaches a stationary object. The most common crush point agricultural producers encounter is the attachment of an implement to a tractor’s drawbar (shown above). The space between the tractor's drawbar and the implement's hitch decreases as the tractor moves toward the implement.

Additional crush-point hazards exist when equipment is raised or lowered with a three-point hitch and when components are moved by hydraulic cylinders. The area between a tractor loader bucket and a concrete wall is also a potential crush point. A crush-point incident can occur when a piece of equipment is not properly secured with blocks, allowing the equipment to roll.

Potential Injuries

Examples of nonfatal injuries associated with crush-point incidents include crushed tissue, cuts, and broken bones, typically in the extremities. Depending on the part of the body that is crushed, fatalities can also result from crush-point incidents.

Safety Precautions

The list below outlines ways of reducing the risk of a crush-point incident.

  • Identify machines that may have crush points.
  • Do not allow anyone to stand or place any body parts in the space between two objects that form a crush point.
  • When hitching an implement, wait until the tractor has completely stopped before approaching the hitch point.
  • If possible, hitch a tractor and implement by backing the tractor into position without having a person positioned between the tractor and the implement.
  • As a backup in case of a mechanical failure such as a jack slipping or an overhead support breaking, use blocks to secure any equipment before working under it.
  • Block the wheels of an implement to prevent the implement from rolling.


Click here to view a video about crush-point hazards from Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program. (Note: When a piece of equipment comes into contact with a person or body part, that is also considered a crush point).

Click here to order a copy of the booklet Safe Implement Hitching: A Guide for Safe Connection of Agricultural Tractors to Implements from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
S. Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University
Jimmy Maass, Virginia Farm Bureau
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University –
Charles V. Schwab, Iowa State University
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center -

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Crush points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from



Bean, T. (2008) Preventing farm machine hazards. The Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved from

Harshman, W., Yoder, A., Hilton, J., & Murphy, D. (2011) Mechanical hazards. HOSTA Task Sheet 3.1. Pennsylvania State University Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. Retrieved from

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