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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Cattle Squeeze Chute Safety

There are three main reasons for using handiling equipment like squeeze chutes; safety for the animal, safety for the people, and to make management practices easier. However, squeeze chutes can pose a risk of injury for handlers. You can avoid handling injuries by applying low-stress cattle-handling techniques, focusing on safety features of the equipment, and using common sense when working cattle.

Squeeze chutes can have a variety of of recognized equipment hazards including: pinch points, crush points, blunt trauma, stored energy hazards, and even potential for thrown objects. Please reveiw the Agricultural Equipment & Machine Hazards page for more information.

Understanding proper livestock handling techniques is also very important when utilizing handling equipment. When the animal is isolated or separated from the herd, their fight or flight response can be stimulated. Unacclimated cattle have higher chances of exhibiting resistant or aggressive behavior. This can include resitaince to enter equipment, pulling back against the head gate, moving or kicking side to side, or even going down. Releasing an animal from the handling equipment can be equally dangerous due to elevated flight instinct upon release.

CFAES Safety Training Program
Facility managers, faculty, or supervisors of areas where livestock handling and handling equipment are used, need to ensure that employees and students are provided safety training. This includes reveiwing specific processes and safety features for the specific equipment and materials being used. Any employee or student who participates in livestock handling activities as a part of employment or as a course requirement is subject to safety training related handling equipment.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has established a training program that emphasizes safety compliance and minimizes risk of an injury while using handling equipment.

The training is designed to be a three step process:

  1. Watch the following video: Cattle Handling Facilities Basic Components

  2. Review the Squeeze Chute Safety graphic to identify the equipment hazards. If a site has a hyrdrualic squeeze chute, also review the Safe Operation of Hydraulic Squeeze Chute safety sheet.

  3. Review with site manager the processes and safety requirements for the specific equipment being used. The CFAES Cattle Facility Safety Checklist should be used as a guide and to document the training.

CFAES Cattle Facilty Safety Checklist
Cattle Care: Handling & Facilties
Squeeze Chute Safety (Progressive Cattleman)
Safe Operation of Hydraulic Squeeze Chute (Univ of California)
Cattle Handling and Working Facilites (OSU Extension)
Handling Facilites for Beef Cattle (Univ. Tennessee Extension)
Proper Operation of Cattle Squeeze Chutes (Temple Grandin)


If you have any questions, please contact Kent McGuire at or 292-0588. You may also contact the OSU Environmental Health and Safety Office online at or by phone at (614) 292-1284.

Reviewed / Updated: 10/30/21 K. McGuire