October 1, 2020

Harvest Hazards

The end of harvest is in sight as farmers across the province start wrapping up #harvest20. These last few weeks can be tough as there's a push to get crops in before the weather turns.

With longer days and the added stress to finish combining, there are more risk factors to be aware of and to take into account this month.

Fatigue: In our industry, there are some times of the year when we’re tired, run down or fatigued. This is a by-product of working with living systems – livestock, crops, and yes, the weather. When we are tired, maintaining safety becomes more difficult. In fact, the level of risk for the fatigued worker is very high and is more likely to contribute to an incident.

This is why it’s critical to have a plan to manage your fatigue before the busy season hits. Discuss your strategies with family and your workers to help them get ready. When things get busy, pause and review your strategies to make certain you and your farm workers are in the best condition possible.

Make a plan

Driving in the dark: As our days get shorter and farmers are staying out later in the fields, there are more risks factors to be aware of and take into consideration. To ensure your own safety, as well as that of your family, staff and visitors, take an extra minute to assess your situation before moving at night. A few considerations:

- Perform a visual inspection prior to operating the tractor
- Never mount or dismount a tractor while it is moving
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Never allow extra riders unless the tractor is designed for them
- Travel at a slow, safe speed, especially while turning, backing or driving on a grade
- If you can’t see, get a spotter
- Sound the horn before backing up
- Designate areas as ‘off-limits’ to visitors or children

Working alone: Be sure to assess and control the hazards and make sure you can complete the work that you're doing safely. Use the best tools and procedures possible and make sure you can get help quickly if needed. Remember, if you are miles away from help, there is delayed response time. Make sure that you have a charged cell phone or radio and check in frequently.
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