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Farm safety a concern this time of year

Posted on August 4, 2016 by Westwind Weekly

By Jonathan Guignard

It’s a busy time of year for farmers and farm safety is something that remains very important.

The summer months are extremely busy around the farm and there are a lot of things to keep farmers busy.

The first cut of hay is usually done during late July and up to three more cuts of hay has to be taken off the field leading into the fall.

A lot of crops can be harvested off of the field during the summer months and there’s also a lot of weeding in the garden to do along with cutting large amounts of grass.

With all these things going on, farm safety is something Lauren Nelson, Executive Director of the Farm Safety Centre in Raymond, says needs to be taken very seriously.

“The reality of farming is that summer is a busy time, meaning harvest is starting, and the concept of planning and what you are going to do and what steps you may need to think through and prepare for are important so everybody is safe at the end of the day,” said Nelson.

Farming is unlike any other job and can get extremely hectic.

“There’s just so much going on at any one time. On a big operation you can have people involved with silaging and hauling the silage or working with big animals whether it’s a  feedlot situation or someone on another crop that needs to be sprayed,” said Nelson.

According to Nelson, tractors are often involved in fatalities and livestock are most often involved in injuries. That has been true for a very long time.

Standing water or moving water, chemical sheds and moving machinery are also things that can be dangerous on a farm and it’s unlike any other kind of workspace.

“You’re sharing space on the farm; you may have babies, a two year old, a 10 year old or even a 90 year old and that’s not including everyone who may be working and still living on the workplace. There are those unique situations where extra cautions are needed,” said Nelson.

Prevention isn’t always black and white, but there are signs that can help with avoiding injury.

“Whether it’s someone who could have received more training, someone who is feeling hurried or someone who is feeling tired, those are some of the things you want to control as much as possible. It doesn’t matter whether those people are 15 or 85, those things can still impact them,” said Nelson.

That’s why it’s important for farmers to be aware and ready for action at all times.

“It’s about making a commitment on the operation that will provide and use personal protective equipment. It’s there for people who are expected to do those certain jobs that require those things,” said Nelson.

Nelson adds, the culture of farming has changed from years ago and the younger generation is more willing to take extra measures to stay safe.

“We talk to younger farmers and they don’t want to be hard of hearing, they don’t want to be missing a digit just because they’re a farmer,” said Nelson.

The Farm Safety Centre is governed by farmers and ranchers and the intent is to make sure everything goes right for them and their families.

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