Fall is officially upon us and the annual harvest season is in full swing on the Prairies! From mid-August to the end of October farmers are waking up early, working extremely hard for long hours and getting crops ready to feed people around the world. Farming can be a dangerous job with heavy machinery and hazardous tools – so it’s important to always keep safety in mind. We’ve put together a few safety tips to keep everyone safe during the important harvest season.

Make A Farm Safety Plan
Before getting down to work, make sure to have a safety plan in place. Whether it’s a physical checklist or something created on an app, staying organized will make sure everyone remains safe. Try to get the whole family involved. It can help everyone stay accountable and ensure support throughout the harvest. Not to mention, having more people involved will make sure nothing gets overlooked or missed.

Have A First Aid Kit
We hope it never happens, but if there’s an accident while working, having a first aid kit can save lives. Your kit should include:

  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Adhesive dressings
  • Gauze pads and bandages
  • Compress dressings
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Adhesive tape
  • Tension bandage
  • Disposable gloves

It’s also important to know where your kit is at all times and don’t forget to double-check that everything is stocked up before heading out!

Get Some Sleep
Sleep is important year-round but during harvest it’s essential. Working incredibly long and physical days requires solid sleep to stay safe and alert. Sleep is so important that if we don’t get enough, it can affect our brains as much as being intoxicated. Lack of sleep can also have an impact on short and long-term memory, decision making and other cognitive functions.

Stay Hydrated
When working long hours, it can be tempting to keep reaching for that coffee or pop to keep you going, but make sure you don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Getting dehydrated can really drag you down and cause you to feel sleepy, weak and experience headaches. Make sure to take time to drink water throughout the day and if you need some extra hydration and electrolytes, try a sports drink.

Don’t Skip Snacks or Meals
It can be easy to forget to eat when you’re busy working – but don’t do it! Skipping meals can mess with your blood sugar, which can cause sweating, nervousness, weakness and trouble concentrating. You don’t want any of those things happening while operating heavy machinery. When you do eat, make sure it’s something healthy like nuts, fruits, veggies, and protein. Things that will keep you fueled and won’t slow you down.

Take Breaks
While you might be laser-focused on getting the job done as quickly as possible, always make sure to give yourself time to reset and refresh with breaks throughout the day. Sitting for too long can do a number on your body, not to mention your mind, so stretch it out and move around. This will help you concentrate better once you get back to work. Break time is also the perfect time to grab a snack!

Take Time to Do Some Self Care
Working those long hours on the farm can take a toll on the mind and body, so it’s important to make sure to practice self-care. Make sure to spend some time with friends and family. It can help take the mind off of work and help to relax. Do some stretches, get a massage, have a bath – whatever helps you reset and feel mentally and physically ready for the next day.

No matter what’s being harvested this season, we hope some of these tips will help get the job done as safely and successfully as possible!