You’ve planned your cropping schedule, your inputs are booked and some are already stored on farm. You’re well into planning for the coming season. But what’s your plan for working safely on the farm this year?
There are all sorts of safety checklists and sensible cost-effective suggestions for controlling hazards available online at www.planfarmsafety.ca, but even before you do that, take stock. Look back at the bad — and the brilliant — safety moves you made in the past year, then resolve to improve or repeat.
First, let’s tackle the bad safety moves. For instance, remember when you were moving the auger last spring? Your neighbour stopped his truck to chat. When he drove off, you looked back at the auger that had stopped about a foot from the power line.
How often did you hop off and on the combine this fall without shutting it off? How long did you spend behind the wheel, determined to finish that field even if you fall asleep doing it? Can you count on one hand the short breaks you took every couple of days? Think back to all the near misses and the problems you had with your new help last summer. Could it be you really didn’t give that new employee enough training to do the job well and safely?
Now, let’s focus on the positive. Last spring, you replaced the missing intake guards on your augers. You retrofitted the utility tractor with ROPS. You made a point of walking around every machine before you got on it to make sure nobody was nearby. You built a secure playground area for your grandkids where they could be supervised and protected from sneaking into your work area. You took them to the lake for a swim instead of for a ride on the old tractor. Before heading out to check the pastures, you always told someone where you’d be and for how long. To top it off, you took your two-way radio or cellphone with you. When you had to replace the shingles on the barn after the windstorms this fall, you knew deep down you needed another person and safety equipment — and you waited for both before you climbed up. You found a respirator, safety goggles and chemical-resistant gloves in the shop, and now you’re using them.
Now, take those positive safety pieces and place them on the new farm game board for this year. Make the safe moves — for yourself, your family and your employees. And next year, add up the score. Chances are you’ll be safely ahead!