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Farmers help set Canada’s safety standards for ag equipment

It’s important to have high standards, right? So it’s good to know there’s a group of dedicated engineers, regulators, equipment manufacturers, researchers and farmers from across Canada and the U.S. whose safety standards are impeccable.

They are members of the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA) Agricultural Machinery Technical Committee. Every year, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) provides funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward initiative to bring this team of standard setters together.

The Committee usually chooses three or four agricultural equipment areas they feel could use some guidelines to improve operator safety. It often takes a couple of years before producers see the results on the market.

For instance, keep an eye out for design changes to portable augers. CSA has just announced a new standard for portable agricultural augers, and equipment manufacturers are getting set now to work the new standard into their equipment designs.

The new CSA standard for portable agricultural augers was developed over several years by the Technical Committee. The group considered research results, member experience and similar standards in the U.S. and Australia.

Jim Wassermann, an engineer with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) in Saskatchewan, is a member of the team that came up with the new CSA standard. He says most of the upgrades in the auger standards relate to the design of the intake guard and the auger driveline.

“Those are the areas where most injuries take place,” he says. “The standards team has now come up with practical options to prevent a hand or foot from contacting the rotating flighting without restricting product flow.”

“For example,” Wassermann adds, “a retractable intake guard is now an option in the new standard. It can stay in place for most operations but in unique situations, it can be retracted and alternative safety precautions put in place.” The new standard also references all recent standards that relate to guarding auger drivelines and PTOs.

The new CSA standard for portable agricultural augers is available for purchase in English and French from the CSA online store at www.shop.csa.ca (type “auger” into the search box).

The same team took a close look this past year at lighting standards in place for marking agricultural equipment operating or travelling on a highway in Canada. They decided an upgrade was in order. The CSA has just published the new standard — M660 Standard on Lighting and Marking of Agricultural Machinery on Highways and Roadways. It’s also available at www.shop.csa.ca.

Standards make safety sense. Some of us remember the days when every ag equipment manufacturer produced hitches specific to its equipment and directional movement of controls was all over the map. If you have a concern the team might consider, get in touch with CASA at [email protected]

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