The average farm is full of machinery and devices that can grab, cut, smash, and entangle fingers, hands, toes, and feet—causing injury to the extremities and even death.
The sad truth is that most of these injuries can be avoided.
When it comes to farm safety, entanglements and being pinned or struck by machinery are the third-most frequent cause of death on Canadian farms and ranches, accounting for 14 percent of all agricultural fatalities.
This type of injury also accounts for more than a quarter (28 percent) of farm-related hospitalizations—often resulting in severe injury and amputation.
“Protect your moving parts!” is the theme for this year’s Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign, with a focus on pinch points, crushes, entanglements, and the importance of guarding.
The year-long campaign was launched in conjunction with Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (March 14-20), when farmers across Canada were encouraged to check and repair all the guards and shields on their machinery.
The CASW campaign is delivered by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, in partnership with Farm Credit Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
On average, 115 people are killed and another 1,500 are seriously injured by farm-related incidents in Canada each year—and many more minor injuries are never even reported.
Farms and ranches will never be totally risk- or hazard-free work environments, but steps can be taken to reduce many of the hazards that exist.
The CASW campaign message “Protect your moving parts!” is two-fold. The first part is to encourage farmers to protect their fingers and appendages.
To do this, operators need to fully understand how each piece of machinery works, implement proper user practices, and ensure they are dressed properly and have the correct personal protective equipment to do the job safely.
For example, when working around a power take-off (PTO), clothing should fit snugly so it doesn’t flap into the PTO and become entangled.
Likewise, it only takes a few moments to block a wheel or hoisted piece of equipment—and that could save your life if the machine rolls or the hydraulics fail.
The second part of the theme encourages farmers and ranchers to take a careful look for hazards on their machinery and to ensure all preventative maintenance measures have been taken to secure guards and shields in place, replace worn-out parts, and reduce the likelihood of costly breakdowns.
Protecting the moving parts of your machinery not only will keep your business in a profitable workflow, but also will protect your machinery investment and demonstrate due diligence toward the safety of your workers.
A poster highlighting the operational symbols for entanglements, pinch points, crushes, and the importance of guarding was sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd. and is being distributed in support of the CASW campaign.
Dates to remember
•April 2—Crop insurance information meeting (forage program), 7 p.m., Stratton municipal building.