Seeding and the spring work frenzy puts you at greater risk of serious injury due to fatigue.
“Too many farmers push themselves, especially during the really busy times,” said Kenda Lubeck, farm safety co-ordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “Too often, it is a case of wanting to finish a field even though fatigue threatens.”
Fatigue can creep up on you. Here are some warning signs:
- Headaches, dizziness, blurry vision;
- Slow reflexes and reactions, poor concentration;
- Feeling irritable, moody and short tempered;
- Aching, weak muscles.
“The most important safety tool a person can have is their attitude and subsequent decisions,” said Lubeck. “That could mean taking a 20-minute snooze when you are exhausted or having another person lined up to spell you off.”
- More on the Alberta Farmer: Tips on dealing with the long days (and nights) during seeding
In addition to getting a good night’s rest, eat nourishing food, and stay hydrated. Also incorporate some physical activity — if you’re in the cab of a tractor for hours, stop periodically and go for a walk to stretch out your muscles.
Lubeck recommends making a promise to yourself to take a break after a set amount of time and not making critical decisions while you are weary.
“Your safety is about the choices you make,” adds Lubeck. “It just takes a moment to make a decision that could literally be the difference between life and death.”
More information on farm safety best practices is available at agric.gov.ab.ca.