Gearing Up for Safety

Ag Safety and Health December 07, 2018 Print Friendly and PDF

Gearing Up Image

(Source: Purdue University)

Gearing Up for Safety is an outcomes-based instructional program developed to provide training for youth seeking employment in agricultural production. It was designed both for youth living on family farms and for 14- and 15-year-olds who want to be certified under the provisions of the Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Order (AgHOs) to perform certain work activities on a farm operation. AgHOs is a set of federal safety and health standards that classify certain tasks as hazardous for youth under the age of 16. By participating in Gearing Up for Safety, youth are able to meet the AgHOs training requirements for operating a tractor of more than 20 horsepower, connecting and disconnecting implements, and operating certain farm machines.

Gearing Up for Safety is intended for national use through the Cooperative Extension Service and agricultural education programs, both of which are specifically identified by AgHOs as authorized to conduct AgHOs certification training.


The Gearing Up for Safety program includes a Program Leaders’s Guide (CD-ROM) that provides instructors with tools for organizing and conducting an agricultural safety training program that meets the requirements of AgHOs and addresses the most frequent causes of injuries and fatalities to youth in agriculture. The program also includes a student CD-ROM consisting of 11 units that allows students to execute certain aspects of the training independently. The curriculum is also supported by an extensive website. (Click here to be directed to the Gearing Up for Safety website.)

The Program Leader's Guide includes the following components:

  • Suggested teaching aids
  • Core competencies that each student should master
  • Graphics for presenting key points
  • Lesson outlines with supplemental background information
  • Activity worksheets
  • Review test questions
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Examples of farm injuries for classroom discussion
  • Evaluation tools
    • These evaluation tools assess students' knowledge of material, ability to perform preoperational safety inspections, and ability to safely maneuver a tractor through a standardized obstacle course.

Program materials are available online and for purchase as CD-ROMs:


Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
William E. Field, Purdue University –
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center -


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.