It’s looking like harvest season will start a bit earlier this year, and Lacombe County wants to remind area producers, residents and visitors of their roles and responsibilities for safety during fall harvest operations.
Road safety is a big concern during harvest season. With an earlier harvest anticipated, roads will be busier than normal because harvest operations will coincide with the end of the summer holiday season.
"Lacombe County is an agricultural community, and producers have a short window to complete the annual harvest," emphasized Dion Burlock, Lacombe County Ag Fieldman. "Since starting this campaign in 2014, we have heard stories from both producers and drivers alike of unsafe driving during harvest season."
The fact is large slow moving equipment utilize County roads in the fall season. Drivers need to plan ahead and schedule extra time into their travel plans to compensate for delays which may be caused by harvest operations.
"We don’t apologize for being a rural County. During harvest season we ask both agricultural producers and drivers utilizing County roads to stay alert, stay patient and stay safe," stated Burlock.
Another aspect of harvest safety that Lacombe County wants to highlight this year is the importance of fatigue management. Creating health, wellness and safety measures into a harvest plan will go a long way in injury and accident prevention.
"It's ok to take a break, to rest, and to unwind during harvest season," explained Lacombe County Reeve, Paula Law. "Fatigue is a very serious risk and is a form of impairment for people. We want everyone to get home safely – so take the time to plan ahead, check your equipment, prepare healthy meals, and take care of your body."
Harvest Safety Tips (from Alberta Agriculture & Forestry)
- Ensure safe transport of equipment on public roadways.
- Be aware of motorists.
- Follow all rules of the road.
- Ensure all lights and reflectors are in place and good working order. A slow-moving vehicle emblem should be in place and visible from the rear.
- Return equipment to transport mode. This makes it as narrow as possible.
- Check your route before transport to ensure equipment fits safely under power lines and over bridges or culverts that need to be crossed.
Harvest season is busy and can be stressful. Pay close attention to fatigue, drowsiness and illness. Do not rely on stimulants to keep workers going or depressants to calm nerves, and never operate equipment while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can find more tips at: https://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/aet14537.
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