Originally published August 12, 2019 on AgriNews
These harvest safety tips can help keep young workers and children living on the farm safe this fall
During harvest, a lot of work needs to be done in a short amount of time. It is often during this busy time that priorities shift and safety can be compromised. Harvest is the peak season for agricultural-related injuries and fatalities according to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting.
Information from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety shows that new and young workers have a higher rate of injury on the job.
“If you manage a workforce that involves youth, whether the workers are your children or not, it is up to you to ensure that everyone has the knowledge and skills to prevent injuries on the job,” says Raelyn Peterson, farm safety coordinator at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Always take the time to first go through the activity of training the youth, even if it feels repetitive or redundant. This will ensure they learn and practice the safest way to do the job.”
Peterson offers some tips to help train young workers effectively:
For farms where very young children live, Peterson recommends building a safe play area so children can play outside without the risk of being injured by harvest activities. “A safe play area is a carefully planned, designated location for children with limited exposure to hazards such as traffic, agricultural production equipment and environmental concerns. By designating a “hazard-free” play area, you remove children from the busy fast-paced work environment while allowing them to develop a sense of their own place of belonging on the farm.”
The safe play area should:
Peterson urges parents to plan ahead for child care. “If you know you are going to be ramping up for another hectic week of harvest, find someone – a baby-sitter, a relative, a rural day care service – to care for your children. This will ensure they are properly supervised and are not involved in the fast-paced work environment.”
Harvest is full of excitement and activity, and when you are in a rush it is tempting to bypass simple safety procedures that might slow you down. Taking the extra time to properly train young workers and to create safe play areas for young children can be a lifesaver.
For more information about harvest safety tips please visit the Alberta Farm Safety Program.