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Give It The “Best Friend” Test

OK, so that last snowfall really did do some serious damage to the implement shed roof. And there are a couple of absolutely necessary fixes that require ladder work inside the barn. What are you going to do? If you’re like most producers, you’ll get on the jobs yourself with whatever equipment and materials you have on hand.

So think of why you’re really doing the work and build safety into your work plan. First of all, if that roof’s fragile, stay inside to do the work. If you must work outside, be sure to use a roof ladder or a crawling board and make sure there’s edge protection. Better yet, wear a safety harness.

Assess the risks, and if necessary, take the time to put up a mobile elevated work platform or scaffolding. Building safe scaffolding takes skill so get somebody to help if you’re not the expert.

Don’t even think about using a loader with a bucket to stand in for a proper work platform. You know that’s not safe. Give it the best friend test. If you wouldn’t ask your B. F. to use whatever you just rigged up, then you shouldn’t use it either!

If you need to use a ladder, check that it’s in tip-top shape and place it on a firm surface — not on a pile of packed snow. And check the angle. Most experienced builders recommend you have the ladder base one foot out from the building for every four feet of height.

Then take it easy. Don’t rush. Lift and carry only what you can handle with ease. Look out for dangers around you. If it’s snowing or sleeting, put the job off for another day.

Check the Canadian Farm Builders Association’s website www.cfba.cafor links to sources for agricultural building specs and tips or tap into the “National Farm Building Code of Canada 1995” at www.nrc-cnrc.gc.cato check on minimum requirements on matters affecting human health, fire safety and structural sufficiency.

And remember to build safety into your work plan — every day.

Thanks to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association for providing this farm safety tip.

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