From FCC Express, by Owen Roberts
The anticipated late harvest in many parts of Canada this year has some farm safety officials on edge.
Problems with farm safety normally peak in the fall, during harvest, when farmers spend long hours getting their crop off.
But this year the situation is further heightened — the harvest is expected to be delayed by two weeks or more in some crops. Planting was late, and then the growing season weather was generally cool.
So when harvest time finally arrives, the window to take in crops will be even smaller than normal. That means more and longer hours spent in the field, says Dean Anderson, agricultural program manager for Ontario Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.
“We’re potentially looking at late nights, stacks of equipment everywhere, many bushels going through combines and all kinds of machinery on the road,” he says. “Farm safety problems get worse in the fall, when the weather is wet and farmers are in a hurry to harvest.”
Anderson has had a busy pre-harvest season speaking to various groups about farm safety, from high school students to volunteer firefighters.
Have a farm safety plan, he says, refer to it and stick to it. That includes knowing basic first aid and making sure first aid items are available to everyone on the farm.
Anderson’s organization helps farmers develop farm plans, and offers resources such as the upcoming “Safe Farms – Strong Families” workshop at Bingeman’s in Kitchener on Oct. 27. Topics include FarmSafe 101, tractor safety awareness, electrical safety around the farm, working at heights, and vulnerable, young and seasonal workers.
“People, equipment, materials and the environment are the four common elements of farm safety, for both losses and control,” he says.
Farm Credit Canada also offers online farm safety advice, aimed at making farms safer for producers, their employees and their families. A farm safety quiz and many other farm safety resources can be found on FCC’s website.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, which holds its annual conference and annual general meeting in Ottawa October 7 to 9.