Harvest is always a challenging time for farmers, especially in a year like this.
We got some farm safety tips from Morag Marjerison, a farm safety consultant with Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).
"It's an uncertain time. We've got weather conditions, crops not always good to go. People get in a rush, people get stressed and people get tired. They're working longer hours than other times of the year and really with the farm safety piece, I always think at harvest the main thing is just be conscious of those things. Take your time, particularly if things start going wrong. It's stressful and farmers know best practice. They know it inside out but just a human trait that when things start going wrong, sometimes we forget those things and people do actions that they wouldn't normally do."
Marjerison says harvest is often the time of year when temporary workers are around who are not as familiar with the procedures or equipment on those farms
"They may not be standing where you think they might be standing. They might be touching things they shouldn't be doing and we don't always take the time to do good training with those people and educate them and in the middle of a harvest, that's a difficult ask. The main piece I think is if things start going wrong, just stop a minute, everybody talk about the plan, think it through before you take an action on it. Just be very conscious that there's people around who are not normally there and they're not going to be as familiar with the farm, with the land, and with the equipment."
She highlighted some of the top dangers on the farm.
"Often it can be entanglement with equipment arises because maybe a guard or a shield has been taken off for a quick repair and it didn't get put back on and then people who may be conscious of that unsafe piece forget because they're in a rush. We get too close to things, people put hands in places they shouldn't put hands in. The other one that I've seen occur many times over the years is people and equipment impacts. People getting run over, either knocked down because they were standing in a place where they couldn't be seen very well or actually run over by a piece of equipment because they've gone under something to do some repair work. Somebody else didn't realize they were there and jumped on the machine and drove forwards."
Marjerison notes communication is key in helping to keep everyone on the farm safe.
"It's really, really important to get everybody talking about it. A quick conversation brings it back to the forefront of people's minds. It's a legal requirement for employees that that farm safety orientation is done before they begin work but just as important for family members. Talk about it, make it something that's thought about at every stage of what people are going to do. Just a quick chat, a quick reminder is always really good practice."
Another important tip for farm workers is to always carry a cell phone if you're working alone and remember to take it with you when you leave the vehicle.
For more farm safety tools and resources go to farmsafemanitoba.ca