Manual Labour Shouldn’t Mean Manual Trauma

Mar 13, 2020

Farmers and agricultural workers of all stripes are unsung heroes in our daily lives. Their efforts to provide the nation with crops, livestock and sustainable sources of food require hard work that often includes specific safety risks in. As a result, specific safety precautions must be taken.

National Farm Safety Week is March 14 – 20, and the Canada Safety Council is highlighting the need to keep appendages clear of moving parts in machinery.  The heightened exposure that farmers have to heavy machines makes this an area in which safety has to be a high priority.

“The agricultural industry relies heavily on machinery to make jobs easier and to stay on schedule,” said Gareth Jones, president of the Canada Safety Council. “When there’s a jam, a blockage or a malfunction, there can also be a temptation to reach in and fix it without thinking. But this is where preventable injuries happen and where we need to ensure that safe operating practices remain front of mind.”

Never perform maintenance of any kind on machinery that is in operation – ensure the machine is fully powered off before working on it. This eliminates the concern of unexpected movement, whether from the machine operating incorrectly or from a jam being removed and the machine suddenly being back in motion.

Here are a few more tips to apply to prevent injuries before they happen:

  • Identify pinch points, where two objects or more move together in circular motion, and keep appendages away.
  • Never wear rings while operating or repairing machinery. A machine can pull a ring off your finger at very high speeds, which can lead to the skin being torn off your finger.
  • Never test the temperature of gases, liquids or solids with your hands.
  • Sharp tools and blades, especially, should be handled with an abundance of caution.
  • Wear gloves when exposed to anything that could cause chemical burns or injuries, as well as when working around anything that can cut or scrape – but steer clear of gloves around reciprocating or rotating machinery parts.

Everyone feels safe up until the point of an incident, which makes it critically important to get ahead of injuries waiting to happen.  Safety must be incorporated into the farm lifestyle, early and often. Don’t let complacency or familiarity with the day-to-day operations of the farm affect your vigilance or awareness of your surroundings!

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For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council
613-739-1535 x228