FARM SAFETY: National Farm Safety Week is March 11-17 and Canada Safety Council is providing safety tips focusing on machinery. File Photo

National Farm Safety Week coming soon

Safety tips around machinery

Throughout the past century, much has evolved in the agricultural industry – and this is most obvious when we look at the machinery that farmers count on to make their day-to-day tasks easier. From power steering in tractors to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) becoming an industry staple, every new or improved bit of machinery has come with its own special set of preventative safety measures and guidelines.

Considering the fact that farms often double as a workplace and a home, it’s not uncommon for farming to become a family business – a side effect that can make the job more effective, but can also prove to be that much more devastating in the event of fatality.

To mark National Farm Safety Week, March 11-17, the Canada Safety Council is offering safety tips around machinery, including best practices, preventative measures and, with these, a reminder that shortcuts should never be taken when discussing safety.

“The agricultural sector is an important one whose role in Canada can’t be overstated,” said Jack Smith, president of the Canada Safety Council. “The job often entails the use of sharp, blunt and heavy machinery. It’s only through proper training, education and preventative maintenance that these tools can be used safely, and it’s the farmer’s responsibility to ensure their proper use at all times.”

Agricultural fatalities are on the decline, relatively speaking. According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting, the average of fatalities between 2002-2012 (the most recent year where data is available) was approximately 30 fatalities less than the running average from 1990-2001. Although the overall trend is encouraging, 2012 still saw 60 agriculture-related fatalities – an unacceptable figure.

Unsurprisingly, machinery dominated as the major cause of fatalities between 2003-2012, with 70 per cent of fatalities being attributed to machine rollovers, run overs, entanglement in moving machinery parts or other machinery-related causes.

What can farmers do to keep themselves and their families away from harm?

The best tool for any farmer hoping to run machinery is the owner’s manual. Machines are typically designed with safety in mind and are perfectly safe to use, assuming correct maintenance and operation.

An inspection of the machine prior to operation can sometimes reveal otherwise unnoticed safety concerns including leaking air or hydraulic lines, removed machine guards or obstructed emergency stop switches. Make it a regular habit to do a walk-around of all machines prior to use. A walk-around can also help if you have any small children, as they may be playing behind a vehicle you intend to back up.

Other tips include:Wear personal protective equipment, when required, on the job. Goggles, safety shoes and leather gloves are all potentially lifesaving in some circumstances.

Avoid wearing any loose-fitting clothing, jewelry, hairstyles or anything that could get caught on moving parts.

To that end, stay away from moving parts at all times. If there’s something caught in a moving part, make sure to turn off the machine and remove the keys from the ignition before performing maintenance.

If you’re parking a machine on a slope, make sure to block it. Fifty per cent of all run over fatalities between 2002-2012 were individuals who were struck by an unmanned machine.

Exercise caution and judgment when operating a machine close to the edge of a ditch, slope or field. This is the most frequent cause of machine rollovers.

Perform preventative maintenance on a regular basis, making sure your machine is properly lubricated, adjusted and has no parts in need of adjustment or repair.

Farming can be a dangerous industry, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prioritize safety and training for your family and workers. Consider signing them up for the Canada Safety Council’s ATV rider training course to give them a leg up on proper use of these machines: https://canadasafetycouncil.org/product/atv-rider-course/

Just Posted

RCMP find jewellery with sentimental value at four-way stop

Rimbey RCMP respond to 78 calls for service

Boyes wins coach of the year

Local volleyball coach to be recognized by Volleyball Alberta

Court full as schools, parents dispute Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Justice Centre argues keeping parents out of the loop violates freedom of religion and expression

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

Clearview and Wolf Creek school boards sign historic agreement

Partnership will help 2,000 high school students

Trudeau says he can’t imagine Trump damaging U.S. by imposing auto tariffs

New tariffs on Canadian autos entering the U.S. would amount to a self-inflicted wound on the U.S. economy

B.C. inmate gets 2 years in prison for assault on guard

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

Temperature records broken across B.C., again

The first heat wave of the season went out with a bang across the province

Canada’s first national accessibility law tabled in Ottawa

The introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion

Police chief calls for mass casualty plan in Saskatchewan after Broncos crash

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists

Most Read