Ag Days makes it easy to build a safer farm workplace

Manitoba Hydro will feature two of its recent farm-safety programs. The Agricultural Move Permit is designed to help farmers safely move large equipment under power lines while “Go Underground” offers farmers a financial incentive to bury the primary hydro line in their farmyard.

This year’s Farm Safety Zone offers short safety awareness presentations, incentive programs and even a new app for improving workplace safety

Take Time to Farm Safely is the theme of this year’s Farm Safety Zone at Manitoba Ag Days.

SAFE Farms, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services, Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities, and Prairie Mountain Health are among the Farm Safety Zone partners.

Manitoba Hydro will feature two of its recent farm safety programs. The Agricultural Move Permit is designed to help farmers safely move large equipment under power lines while “Go Underground” offers farmers a financial incentive to bury the primary hydro line in their farmyard.

“Safety can be a bit of a hard sell generally,” says Linda Carter, public safety and education co-ordinator for Manitoba Hydro. “A lot of people say it’s just common sense, which it is to a great degree, but everybody needs a reminder now and then. Ag Days is a perfect event because we benefit from the huge traffic flow and it’s a nice subtle way to remind them that they need to keep safety in mind.”

Manitoba Hydro will also run a short farm safety video at its booth and producers who can answer a question related to the video can enter to win a prize.

Ag Days attendees will get the chance to try out a new online tool that allows users to input their safe work procedures and access them from anywhere by downloading a free app from the safefarms.ca website to their mobile device.

“If a farmer is training somebody he can use the mobile device to bring up the safe work procedure and show them how to do a certain job on the farm properly,” says Mirja Cole of the Centre for Education & Work, which developed the online tool and app with funding from the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba.

The SAFE Farms booth will have lots of free safety resources, including a new Safety and Health Guide for Manitoba Farms.

“Ag Days provides SAFE Farms with a great opportunity to talk to farmers about how to make their farms safer for themselves, family members, workers and visitors,” says Jeff Shaw, provincial farm safety co-ordinator.

In association with Hepson Equipment and Prairie Mountain Health, SAFE Farms will also be running 15-minute tractor safety sessions (10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on both Jan. 21 and 22) to promote safety around tractors. Forty-five per cent of all farm fatalities that occurred between 1990 and 2000 involved tractors, and the sessions will focus on preventing tractor runovers and rollovers. They will include topics such as blind spots, the dangers of extra riders, the importance of performing a walk-around (which alerts anyone close by that the machinery is about to move), and how to perform an operational check. The session will also show children how to safely approach tractors and other equipment, and will suggest ways to offer safety training for all operators on the farm. Those attending can enter a draw for a new ATV helmet and other prizes.

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