IN THIS ISSUE
IT’S SAFE TO SAY
A message from our leader
Jody Wacowich, Executive Director of AgSafe Alberta
Summer is here and I hope that you all get a chance to have some sort of break away from the farm for you and your family’s mental health. We know there are many stressors in farming and now is a great time to plan some activities to help reduce that stress before the busy Fall season.
It is also a time where we may see more visitors to the farm and it is good to remember that these visitors may not be familiar with farm hazards. Even if it seems obvious make sure to point them out to keep everyone safe. If you are hosting a larger group on your farm for a tour, feel free to reach out to us for some resources to help make your farm a safe place to visit.
This month we focus on the letter S for Secure Loads in FARMERS CARE, which is rather timely as we will start to see hay moving from the fields in the coming weeks. See the articles below for more information on how to properly secure your loads.
Lastly, we know harvest will come quickly and it is a great time to start planning the orientation for your harvest team. Early planning will help make this activity go smoothly and ensure you cover all the information you want to share as common knowledge on your farm.
Questions or concerns? We are always here to help you out. Contact our team anytime:
– General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org | 403-219-7901
– Hotline for incidence assistance: 1-833-9AGSAFE
AgSafe Executive Director
That’s when everything went wrong
“That’s when everything went wrong. A cotter pin snapped, and the clevis shot through the back windshield of the 8345. It struck the driver in the arm and bounced off the two most expensive computer parts in the cab before it shot through the front windshield. It went about another 80 feet past the other tractor.”
“The driver had to be taken to the hospital…The damage was extensive and his doctors are still determining whether he will permanently lose any range of motion in his arm. After the driver was hit, he could not move his arm, so the 8345 shot into the back of the 8295, and now we have an 8345 in the shop with a lot of damage. The driver’s injury and equipment damage was all caused by the tremendous tension placed on a single cotter pin pulled by equipment with lots of power…. The safety of the drivers should have been the most important thing here.”
Source: Purdue Extension, Extracting Stuck Equipment Safely
Extracting stuck equipment safely
Trucks and tractors get stuck so often in Alberta that Corb Lund even wrote a song about it. Depending on where you farm in the province and the amount of rain you have received this season, stuck equipment may be a common occurrence. Purdue Extension has developed an Extracting Stuck Equipment Safely resource to address such critical points as understanding the zones of extraction and forces of resistance, selecting the right equipment, and inspecting and caring for recovery devices. It also provides a detailed tips list for recovering vehicles and equipment.
While you might be more familiar with extracting equipment than you care to be, it is still important to remember:
- Every situation is different and needs to be assessed first and foremost
- You should always expect the unexpected
- Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should
- Know when to call a professional; many towing companies have specialized equipment that can pull the some of the largest equipment out of serious mud safely
While there are some exemptions for farms under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, keep in mind that farm vehicles are not exempt from safety. Regardless of if you are hauling something on your own property or on a public road, ensure that the load cannot leak, spill, blow off, fall from, fall through, or shift in away that may affect the stability or travel of the vehicle.
When hauling loads on public roads, it is important to follow all applicable traffic safety and load securement laws and regulations. Many counties in Alberta are recognizing and trying to address the confusion surrounding the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, load securement and how it applies to farmers. Your county office may be able to offer guidance on the subject or put you in contact with a Community Peace Officer who enforces the Traffic Safety Act.
Some helpful tips include:
- Using the right type and amount of securement equipment
- Only using tiedowns that are marked with the Working Load Limit
- Pre-inspecting tie downs for damage or defects and removing any faulty straps
Do any of these tips raise questions for you or others on your farm, such as what is the right type of securement equipment or how much equipment do I need to secure this load? If so, it is recommended that you take a load securement training course from a reputable trainer in your area.
You may also find more information on this subject in the Safe Transportation of Farm Equipment in Alberta publication.
SAFETY FIRST, LAST THOUGHTS
Go indoors when the thunder roars
Severe storms can develop quicky in Alberta, bringing with them high winds, hail and the subject of this talk, lightning! Lightning is unpredictable and can travel several miles away from the storm cloud itself. Victims get caught outdoors either because they did not take shelter in a safe place soon enough or went back outside too soon after the storm.
Did you know…
- Lighting can deliver up to 100 million volts of electricity
- Lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians each year and injures even more
- Lightning causes more fatalities in Canada annually than hail, rain, flooding, wind, tornados and hurricanes combined
- If you can hear thunder, lightning is a threat to your safety
- Rubber footwear and tires offer no significant protection from lightning
Source: Government of Alberta, Thunderstorms, lightning and hail
If possible, take shelter in a building. If you are caught out in a field and have a truck or tractor with a cab near, close the windows and wait in there. It is recommended that you remain sheltered for at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.
If you find yourself outdoors and without a building, vehicle, or tractor, there may be little that you can do to protect yourself from a lightning strike; this is why it is so important to go to a safe place at the first signs of an approaching thunderstorm. To reduce your risk of being struck by lightning in this situation, consider the following:
- Lightning is likely to strike the tallest objects in an area — make sure you are not one of them!
- Do not lie flat on the ground if outdoors in a storm
- Avoid things such as isolated tall trees, hilltops, power poles, etc.
- Avoid open areas, such as a field
- Avoid wire fencing, as lighting can travel long distances through it
- Get away from bodies of water (water does not attract lightning but it does conduct electricity)
- Find dense areas of smaller trees surrounded by larger trees
- Find low lying areas, such as a ditch or valley, but watch for flooding
- Sheds and tents do not provide adequate protection from lightning