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Farm Safety

Farming can be a very satisfying way of life. As a part of this, a broad cross section of skills are required, skills that in other industries would be done by a variety of skilled trades people such as mechanic, carpenter, problem solver, etc. It also involves work that could be dangerous, such as working with tools, machinery, heavy equipment or chemicals. As a result of this a farmer is subjected to many situations where safety is important. They must be aware of aware of any danger or hazards, and practice safe working procedures.

Everyone plays a role in farm safety. Everyone on the farm should participate in managing health and safety issues. A safe farm is an efficient farm. Injuries and accidents cause downtime, are costly and are stressful to all those involved.

Make the Farm a Safe Workplace
• spot hazards - use sense of sight, smell, touch, and hearing along with common sense, knowledge, and experience
• carefully read manuals and safety sheets to identify hazards and precautions
• pay special attention to areas and activities that may expose children and visitors to hazardous situations
• stay up-to-date with safety information and procedures
• become familiar with the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act and General Safety Regulations

The following are some tips with respect to particular aspects of farm safety:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• appropriate protective equipment must be worn by farm workers based on hazards that they are exposed to - e.g. safety footwear, skin and body protection from sun or chemicals, hearing protection, lung protection, etc.
• employers must ensure that employees are trained in the proper use and care of PPE and that employees wear them properly
• wearing the appropriate PPE is required under Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act

First Aid
• workers trained in first aid are less likely to have accidents and suffer injuries
• knowledge of basic first aid and rescue procedures important to rural residents in part due to distance to emergency services
• employers are required by Occupational Health and Safety Act First Aid Regulations to ensure that such things as first aid certification and first aid supplies are available at every work site

Machinery Guarding
• ensure dangerous parts of machinery and equipment are safely guarded from human contact
• use shield, cover, or casing to prevent contact between hazardous machine part and any part of a person or clothing
• Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that all moving parts of machinery be guarded

Working Around Machinery
• farm injures occur most frequently in workshops or while repairing and maintaining machinery
• training for safe procedures of workshop tasks is important for inexperienced workers
• ensure adequate working space, sufficient lighting and ventilation
• store tools safely and use correct tools for the job
• have immediate access to fire fighting and first aid equipment
• keep bystanders and children at safe distance

Tractor Operation and Maintenance
• read and follow all manuals, safety procedures and warning decals
• beware of moving mechanical parts, raised hydraulic cylinders, climatic conditions, uneven terrain, bystanders
• use seat belt in conjunction with approved cab or roll-over protection
• regular maintenance helps prevent accidents in field
• be aware of dangers when repairing and maintaining tractors
• ensure brakes, clutches, drives, steering, exhaust system in top condition
• stop motor before refueling, servicing, greasing
• never remove belts while pulleys under power
• keep children away

Farm Chemicals
• includes pesticides, sanitation products, workshop solvents
• store in locked, well lit, well ventilated area, with warning signs and emergency phone numbers posted
• read label for directions on use, storage, and disposal
• separate chemicals that may react dangerously
• ensure all chemicals clearly labeled
• WHMIS training for workers
• pesticide applicators must be certified with Nova Scotia regulations
• utilize empty pesticide container recycling program
• triple rinse containers when emptying

• this is a busy time, but take time to follow safe procedures
• ensuring that equipment is in good order prior will reduce potentially hazardous situations

Fall Prevention
• before climbing ladder, check tree for stability, safest path of ascent, and safest position of ladder
• climb down and reposition ladder instead of leaning for fruit that is not easily in reach
Fire Prevention
• don't overload electrical circuits, beware of faulty electrical wiring
• store flammable materials properly
• do not smoke around flammable materials or vapours
• watch for and repair leaks in fuel lines, carburetors, pumps, filters
• use flammable materials in well ventilated area and away from sparks
• do not use flammable liquids as cleaning agents
• keep machinery properly lubricated and tuned to minimize friction and prevent overheating

5 Principles to Remember for Farm Safety
• farm safety is everyone's responsibility
• risk is part of life, simply because people and technology are not perfect
• risk can be reduced by paying attention to the cause of accidents and changing work habits
• there is usually more than one way to prevent an accident
• an individual's perception of risk is not always accurate

The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act identifies processes and procedures that must be put in place on farm to create a safe workplace. More information on farm safety can be found by visiting this link: http://www.gov.ns.ca/agri/farmsafety/

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