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Operating Equipment Safely when Pets are Onsite

Operating Equipment Safely when Pets are Onsite

Pets are a big part of our lives and have even become workplace partners for some laborers, joining them onsite during the work week. Having a pet nearby can boost workplace morale, however jobsites with heavy equipment can be dangerous even without the presence of four-legged visitors. Safety becomes an even greater concern when pets are in a work zone, so Equipment Trader has outlined some key points for operating equipment safely when pets are onsite.

Before You Bring Your Pet to the Worksite

Before bringing your pet to a worksite for the first time, you should seriously consider if it’s a good idea in the first place. To help you think through this, we’ve previously described eight questions to ask yourself about bringing your pet to work. If you do decide to bring your pet to the jobsite, you should give advance notice to any and all colleagues that will also be onsite when your pet will be there. Here are a few more things you need to do before bringing your pet to the worksite.

On the Worksite:

  • Establish a clear space where your pet will be kept during working hours, whether it’s a fenced-in area, an area where they can be chained (with plenty of slack for free movement), an onsite office trailer, or a travel crate if they are small enough to stay in there without discomfort.
  • Inspect fencing and other enclosures for any holes or ditches where your pet could escape. 
  • Establish clear work zones for equipment operation, and ensure you can keep your pet far away from that area.
  • Be sure that you’ll be able to provide your pet with food, exercise, bathroom breaks, and—perhaps most importantly—water.
  • Identify all potential workplace hazards for your pet, including holes, large equipment, toxic chemicals, flammable material, falling objects, and dangerous debris such as nails or glass. 
  • Remove any chewing, choking, or poison hazards.

With Your Pet:

  • Make sure your pet has both a collar with updated tags, as well as a microchip. A majority of stray pets that are returned were identified due to having microchips.
  • Have the necessary supplies, including a leash and bags for pet waste. 
  • Establish an area where your pet may relieve itself and engage in exercise.
  • Use breakaway collars for pets so if they are caught on any equipment they can break away freely.
  • Consider using reflector harnesses made for pets in order to improve their visibility. These bright-colored harnesses are often used for nighttime walks, but could be used on the worksite to make them easier to spot.
  • Have training commands in place with your pet, especially commands for them to stay or return to you.
  • Have a plan in place if your pet escapes and resist the urge to chase them. A chased pet will either think it’s a game or will get scared, leading to them running further away. A pet running around a jobsite is a risk to you, the animal, and anyone else working. Lower yourself to your pet’s level in a calm manner, which can draw them towards you. Initiate your return command and have food or another incentive nearby to encourage their return.
  • Have a first-aid kit and a phone number for a veterinarian or emergency pet clinic on hand.

While Your Pet is at the Worksite:

At the start of the workday and as the day progresses, communicate and remind your colleagues that your pet is present so they are aware and cautious. This will become routine the more often you bring your pet to work. You will likely feel more comfortable with your pet once both parties have become acquainted and your animal has become familiar with the surroundings.

When Operating Equipment:

  • Especially for agricultural equipment, check for sleeping animals before operating. Check underneath the machine, in between wheels or engine parts, and everywhere around the equipment. Smaller animals will cozy up in warm spaces and can be more difficult to spot, so use a flashlight and be vocal to grab an animal’s attention.
  • Operate equipment with constant awareness of the possibility that your pet may dart out in front of heavy machinery. The consequences of your pet coming into contact with the equipment could be serious, so drive or operate machinery with extra caution.
  • When you’re using equipment such as a forklift or tractor, check your blind spots and watch where you’re turning or reversing.

With Your Pet Secure at the Worksite, Continue Responsible Pet Ownership:

  • Consider having a space for them in a pin or a crate with water, food, bedding, and toys.
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day to check on your pet to make sure that they are safe and comfortable. 
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and body language for signs of stress.
  • If you can, drown out potential stressful noises with white noise, music, or TV.


While there are many safety precautions and protocols to follow, having your pet tag along at the worksite is beneficial for wellness, productivity, and enjoying yourself. By remaining attentive and cautious with your equipment use, your pet can be a great companion during the workday. With your pet situated at the workplace, make sure you have the right equipment to get your job done with a full marketplace of new and used machinery for sale on

Important Disclaimer: Before bringing a pet onto a jobsite, consult your manager, your legal counsel, and your insurance company to determine the best course of action. Having animals on jobsites involves numerous and significant risks to persons and property, including personal injury, property damage, and potentially death. Equipment Trader is not an expert on animal workplace safety, and our content constitutes general suggestions and should not be considered professional advice for you or your business.


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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

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