Farm Safety Check: Towing

Farm Safety Check: Towing

February 2022

Winter and spring can be tough seasons for towing, with conditions including snow, ice and mud. Towing can be dangerous in a number of ways, some of which include using the wrong rope or chain, insufficient towing vehicle, and possible bystanders who can distract and may be injured in the process.



  • Is the vehicle capable of towing the weight of the trailer plus the weight of the load? Check the vehicle’s operator’s manual. Include the weight of fuel, passengers, and cargo when calculating the load.
  • Do you have the appropriate braking ability? Check the breakaway cable or brake system. A trailer with more than 1,000 pounds should have its own brake system. States may have additional regulations.
  • Are the tires inflated, sturdy, and the right type for the job?
  • Do you have the proper towing device for the load? The material(s), length, and condition of the device all affect the appropriate breaking strength.
  • Is the tow chain, rope or cable the right length and in good condition? Select a tow chain with a length allowing adequate stopping distance between the towed object and the towing vehicle to avoid collision and rear rollover.
  • Are you using more than one vehicle for towing? Hitch each vehicle independently, not in a single file line.
  • Have you attached the towing device to the drawbar? Avoid attaching to truck bumpers, as the pulling forces may damage or take off the bumper.
  • Before loading and unloading, is the vehicle parked on a flat surface with the parking brake set?
  • Is there a slow-moving vehicle sign on the rearmost vehicle? For vehicles going less than 24 mph, the sign must be centered 2-6 feet above the road.
  • Is the area clear of bystanders, workers and other objects?
  • Is the operator familiar or trained in towing? Ensure that the tractor operator is familiar with safe use of the equipment.

You and/or your employee(s) can use this form to complete safety checks on your farm. Use the form below to list additional safety checks you think are important when inspecting your farm. Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections. Additional copies of this form can be downloaded at: https://umash.umn.edu/umash-farm-safety-check/


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