It’s time for all hands on deck for the 2011 harvest, but before you leave the shed, make sure everyone on your team knows and agrees on basic safety hand signals. You need them around noisy farm machinery and unpredictable livestock or to signal your plan from far off. Handy signals come in, well, handy when you just can’t make yourself heard or you’ve left your walkie-talkie in the truck.
Don’t add a communication breakdown to the list of equipment breakdowns this harvest. Hand signals are an ideal communication tool to prevent hazardous situations on the farm. They provide a way to communicate necessary information effectively and safely.
Check out these standard farm safety signals (see Figure 1) and train your family and employees, plus farm visitors such as feed truck drivers, chemical salespeople and farm store delivery drivers. Post the hand signals in an area where they will be seen on a daily basis. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) has adopted these hand signals for agricultural safety. They are proven to help everyone communicate in the same “language” to decrease the risk of injury.
The signals are included in the Toolbox Talks section of Canada FarmSafe from the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. Canada FarmSafe is a new business risk management tool for Canadian producers. It is a blueprint to help agricultural producers across Canada build a system to manage health and safety risks on their operation. Canada FarmSafe reflects current best practices recommendations for health and safety practices and addresses basic regulatory requirements. The system is designed to be adapted to apply to a wide range of agricultural operations.
Check out the basic manual now at www.planfarmsafety.ca. Look in the “News” bar for the link.