Stay Safe and Have Fun During a Hayride!

A fun, fall tradition for all ages is going on a hayride, and a number of churches offer hayrides as part of their seasonal activities. Family and friends, children and adults, can hop onto an open wagon lined with hay and take a short pleasure ride, being pulled along by a truck or tractor. While this is typically a fun event, it does have the potential for risk, including cuts, falls or other severe situations. To help ensure that all participants have a good time and return safely, the following safeguards should be considered:

  •  Inspect tractors, wagons or racks, and the hook-ups between them, to make sure they’re in good condition. Check that the wagon or rack is equipped with a safety chain as a back-up connection with the tractor. The vehicle being hauled should meet all state and local safety requirements and display proper identification. It should have protective sides and rear fencing or gates, and working rear lights.
  • Before use, inspect the wagon for hazards, such as protruding nails, missing guardrails and wet straw. Use hay bales rather than loose hay and make sure the bales are secure. Ensure that vehicle weight limitations and seating capacities are not exceeded.
  • Select drivers with clean driving records and experience with the equipment. Drivers should be at least 21 years of age.
  • Never pull more than one wagon at a time.
  • Inspect the ride route for hazards ahead of time and either fix or avoid them. There should be no debris or obstructions that could cause a jolt or jarring ride for participants. Have drivers do a practice run before they transport passengers.
  • Do not travel on roadways, if they can be avoided. Drivers should remain on the designated route.
  • Restrict operation of the vehicles to a low speed, similar to that of someone walking.
  • Provide adult supervision, using volunteers or staff who have been screened.
  • Instruct passengers to remain seated while the ride is in motion, keeping arms and legs inside the wagon. Riders should refrain from throwing items, including hay, off the wagon.
  • Provide adequate lighting and assistance for loading and unloading passengers. Vehicles should be stopped, with appropriate brakes applied.
  • Prepare for emergencies. Have a First Aid kit available, as well as a trained volunteer who has current certificates in First Aid, including adult and child CPR/AED, on-site in case of an emergency situation.
  • On the day of the hayride, check weather sources to confirm that conditions are appropriate. The ground should be free of ice. If inclement weather strikes, postponing or canceling the event will be easier if a backup plan or activity has already been considered.

The fall season is one of the most enjoyable, and activities like hayrides contribute to the festive atmosphere. However, certain safety precautions should be followed to ensure the safety of all participants. By following appropriate safety measures listed above, your church can help ensure that neither accident nor injury dampens this tradition.

Information provided by GuideOne Insurance