The anticipated late harvest in Ontario this year has some farm safety officials worried. Farm safety problems peak during harvest in the fall, when farmers spend long hours getting their crop off the fields in a short amount of time. Powerful and potentially dangerous equipment and 18-hour days can be a dangerous combination. The late harvest this year has created a smaller window, resulting in longer hours for farmers.
Dean Anderson, Guelph-based agricultural program manager for Ontario Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, says farm safety problems get worse when farmers are in a hurry to harvest. To prepare, he has spoken to groups about farm safety, emphasizing the importance of the farm safety plan. But lately, equipment has been getting attention. Machinery manufacturers are starting to affix maximum speed, which can range from 55-100 km/h, signs on equipment that travels on public roads to inform other drivers. The trouble is these machines also display a slow-moving vehicle sign, marking them as vehicles travelling 40 km/h or less. It’s difficult for passenger vehicles to know what’s right, and shows that farm safety problems aren’t always confined to the farm.
Anderson and other farm safety experts will be discussing these problems and others at a workshop in Bingemans in Kitchener on Oct. 27. Among the agenda items are tractor safety, electrical safety around the farm, working at heights and vulnerable seasonal and foreign workers. Farmers work long, hard hours feeding us, and they need our support and understanding to be safe. And this year, they need it more than ever.
For more information on the workshop, click here.