With harvest well underway across most of Western Canada, provincial authorities are urging caution on public roads and highways.
“Harvest is a busy and important time for the agriculture community,” said Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit.
“We want to keep Saskatchewan’s roadways safe for everyone, and remind motorists to watch for slower moving agricultural equipment, especially during harvest.”
To reduce the likelihood of accidents involving farm machinery, the Saskatchewan government is offering advice to motorists and equipment operators.
Producers and motorists can call 306-787-5307 or visit bit.ly/ 2y0ljry.
Extra care should always be taken when travelling through areas where roadway construction crews are at work.
Drivers in Saskatchewan can check the Highway Hotline, which provides up-to-date information on construction, emergency road closures, the status of ferries, barges and other road activities.
Information is also available by calling 511.
Things to keep in mind this harvest season
- Most harvest injuries and fatalities involve machinery and equipment.
- Be extra vigilant when re-familiarizing yourself with equipment such as swathers, mowers, combines and augers.
- Ensure that all implements are attached or hitched properly and in good working order.
- Make sure all guards and shields are in place and secure and watch for changes in terrain such as holes, ruts or debris that may cause upsets or roll-overs.
- Remember, cutting corners to save a few minutes during the busy harvest season can cause a lifetime of regret.
- Harvest season can be very stressful. Remind yourself and your workers every day that no harvest is worth an injury or a life.
- Pay close attention to fatigue, drowsiness and illness and don’t ever rely on stimulants to keep workers going or depressants to calm nerves.
- Never operate equipment while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Farm statistics show that the rate of fatal farm injuries is highest among new or inexperienced farm workers, elderly helpers or part-time, seasonal employees that have limited knowledge of machines or processes.
- Regardless of the situation, all employees should receive adequate training and a general review of how machines work, the processes that will be used and the potential dangers that could result in injury or death.
- Training, planning and preparedness are keys to reducing the risk of injury.
- Always take the time to properly prepare farm machines for safe transport and be aware of other motorists.
- Ensure that all lights and reflectors are in place and in good working order.
- A slow-moving vehicle sign should be in place and visible from the rear.
- When travelling unfamiliar routes, take the time to check for potential obstacles or danger spots. Always ensure that machines being moved will fit safely under power lines, over bridges or across narrow culverts, roadways and field approaches.
- Do not allow children to play on or around machinery.
- Tragedies can occur when children are in the path of equipment and operators have a restricted view, or when kids are playing in a worksite with hazards such as grain, augers and power take-offs.
- Always ensure that children are supervised when harvest machinery is being used and try to foresee potential dangers before they arise.
- When your children are involved, there is no such thing as being too safe.