This weather has been unseasonably normal for this year. I still hope we get some moisture in some form or another. Many of us might be thinking of camping or summer holidays already but there are those that are preparing for the upcoming seeding season.
This is about the time of year that we would of be going over our farm implements to ensure that they are in proper running order and also to prevent any costly major breakdowns once we get into the fields.
Farming is a very rewarding, important and invaluable industry in Canada. It is also one of the most dangerous industries, and the reality of the profession is that children are often the ones to get hurt. This means exposure to hazards including toxic chemicals, unpredictable livestock and potentially dangerous machinery. To this day, I don’t know how I survived my childhood on the farm back home in Broadview. Despite having a reckless nature I was exposed to many dangerous events and an environment that posed a lot of dangers, but I lived to tell the tale. This exposure makes it absolutely crucial that children be taught about the potential dangers around them and how to avoid putting themselves at risk.
Digging around on the Saskatchewan Farm Safety site I found out that, on average, 13 people are killed on Saskatchewan farms each year. Of these fatal injuries, 75 % involve machines like grain trucks, semis, tractors and combines. Most accidents occur in the farmyard and of all the serious injuries that happen, 14% involve youth. The most common causes of death among children are machine runovers (41.9 per cent,) followed by drownings (15.2 per cent,) machine rollovers (11.1 per cent,) animal-related injuries (6.5 per cent) and being crushed by or under an object (5.1 per cent.)
March 14 – 20 is National Farm Safety Week and this year, the Canada Safety Council is reminding Canadian families to take precautions while on the farm, ensuring the safety of children by understanding the concerns and paying attention to detail.
It’s not enough to tell children how to do things safely. Especially when it comes to work-related tasks, children are driven to follow examples set by their parents and other adults. Farmers and workers have to make sure that they’re following safety protocols and being careful, or the message will ring hollow to children and they will not see it as important.
Take the following precautions to ensure that your farm is safe for children:
• Inspect your farm with your children for any areas that contain hazards. Make sure to not only identify the hazards, but also to explain why they’re dangerous to the children and, if possible, take steps to mitigate the danger.
• Before setting children to work on age-appropriate tasks, check local laws to ensure that they are of legal age to operate farm machinery.
• Train older children before setting them to work on anything. Ensure they understand the proper operation of machinery they’re being asked to use, and that they know what to do at all times.
• Never allow extra riders on any equipment. Extra rider runovers are a very common cause of injury.
• Drownings on the farm occur, especially among children six years old or less. Fence farm ponds, manure pits, and any other source of water that could pose a drowning risk.
• Designate a specific fenced-off area that is solely for playing. Ensure that it is kept far from animals, as even calm and normally docile animals can become dangerous if they feel that either they or their offspring are threatened.
• Keep all farm chemicals out of the reach of children and locked away in a cabinet, room or building.
• Keep grain bins off-limits for children — it takes only a few seconds for a person to become helplessly trapped under flowing grain, where they could suffocate.
Here is a pretty cool activity book for the kids (and parents) should look at. Safe Farming!