Take time to identify hazards during busy harvest season

Farming is a vital and important industry to Saskatchewan. Many farmers will be working longer hours to get the crop off the field. Today farmers tend to large areas of crop using bigger more efficient equipment to get the job done. Getting home safely at the end of the day is important to all farm families.

Safety around the farm can include these good practices:

• Watch for people and pets when moving large pieces of equipment around the yard. It is very difficult to see a small child who might be playing nearby.

• Watch for overhead power lines when moving equipment such as augers or other tall pieces of equipment.

• Make sure all equipment is well maintained and in proper working order. Ensure that all protective guards are securely in place. Don’t remove them for the sake of convenience.

• Turn off the engine – ensure the equipment is not in operation – the power has been disconnected, before beginning any repairs or unclogging an area that is plugged.

• Be seen while moving equipment between fields especially on primary and secondary roadways. Ensure that slow moving vehicle signs are appropriately affixed – warning lights and other maker lights are working – never move equipment when visibility is poor like a night. Consider having someone ahead and behind large pieces of equipment to alert others of the approaching danger.

• Motorists need to slow down when approaching and passing farm equipment on Saskatchewan highways. On secondary roads, slow down on sharp curves and crests of hills to avoid dangerous collisions. Give yourself extra time and plenty of room to get around the equipment.

• If moving large pieces of equipment through busy cities, farmers should consult municipalities for bylaws such as a pilot vehicle or possible specific routes. The shortest route sometimes may not be the safest.

• Remove all loose clothing like coveralls; sleeves from shirts and jewelry when working around any equipment especially power take off apparatus.

• Wear hearing protection.

• Wear your seat belt always. Ensure proper roll cage protection on tractors.

• Wear proper personal protective equipment – eye, hearing, breathing and protective clothing including foot wear as required.

Harvest is surely one of the busiest times of year. Taking time to identify the hazards and prevent injuries is your best plan of attack. Knowing that hazards exist is but one part of the safety puzzle. If an emergency were to occur do you know what to do? Do you have an emergency plan where telephone numbers, emergency contact information and proper directions are clearly posted beside each telephone? Working in the field directions to send help might be difficult. What3Words can help you tell our communications team where you are. This free and easy to app will give 3 random words which tell us where you are. You repeat the random words to our communications team and we’re able more accurately locate you with greater accuracy.

Everyone needs a first aid kit not just hanging up on the shop wall or under the kitchen sink, but with you out in field. But more importantly a simple white board saying where you are and when to expect you back can communicate your location if an emergency were to occur. Harvest is well underway. Be safe – Farm safe. Don’t let a moment of inattention or carelessness change your life forever.