Safety: Dangerous wind-chill and frostbite

Wind chill is the temperature it “feels like” outside based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the effects of wind and cold. As wind speed increases, the body is cooled at a faster rate, causing the skin temperature to drop.

The wind chill, “feels like,” temperature can freeze body tissue. The most susceptible parts are the extremities such as fingers, toes, earlobes, or the tip of the nose. Frostbite symptoms include the loss of feeling of an extremity and a white or pale skin appearance.

Frostbite may be prevented by:

• Wearing layers of loose fitting, light weight, warm clothing.

• Wearing outer garments that are tightly woven, water repellant, and hooded.

• Wearing a hat (40% of body heat is lost from the head).

• Covering the mouth to protect the lungs from extreme cold.

• Staying dry and staying out of the wind.

Working in an environment with twenty-mile-per-hour winds (32kph) and an air temperature of zero degrees (-18C) may cause frostbite to exposed skin within thirty minutes. Wind chill advisories are issued when the wind chill temperatures are potentially hazardous. A wind chill warning is issued when wind chill temperatures are life threatening.

Spotter safety image

Safety: Importance of having a spotter

While spotting for moving trucks and equipment, it may not seem like a dangerous task, but it certainly is. Every year in Canada and the U.S., back-over incidents between equipment and spotters result in fatalities.

Spotting for equipment has been proven to be an effective safeguard for preventing incidents between pedestrians and the equipment as well as preventing property damage incidents, but safe work practices need to be established to protect spotters as well.

Basic safe work practices for spotting

  • Never walk behind the equipment and spot at the same time.
  • Agree on hand signals prior to any spotting activities with equipment operators.
  • As the operator, stop anytime you lose sight of the spotter.
  • Review the work area for any additional hazards such as trip hazards or fixed objects that the equipment can strike. Remove any people, objects, or equipment prior to needing to back into an area to eliminate the possibility of a strike.

Other tips

  • When planning work, look at the task and determine if there is a way to eliminate backing up or minimize it.
  • Often times, personnel who are spotting for equipment may not have ever operated that specific piece or model of equipment. Work with operators to discuss and review the blind spots of the equipment onsite.
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Girls to farmers - by D.Stobbe

Turning girls into farmers

Should you raise daughters differently to succeed at farming? This mother, daughter and granddaughter know their answer

By

No matter how progressive we think agriculture is becoming for ourselves, for our wives and for our daughters, there’s still a prevalent attitude that farming is “men’s work.”

Now a new ethos is gaining ground, and anyone who subscribes to the men’s-work way of thinking is being asked — well, ordered really — to get over themselves.

Farming excellence, we’re told, is no longer predicated on the farmer’s muscle strength. Instead, success takes multi-tasking, management, problem solving — areas where women excel at least as often as men.

With the demands ahead, our industry’s priority should be attracting the best and brightest of the next generation, regardless of gender. How can we do that? To find out, Country Guide sent me to talk to the experts: three generations of women from one farm family, all of whom identify solidly as “farmer.” Here is what I learned. — M.B.


Bev Shewchuk can pinpoint the exact moment she realized she’d had enough of not being taken seriously as a farmer. She and husband, Brad, had gone into the local bank to talk financing. Even though she carried the majority of the farm management including all of the day-to-day operating of the farm while he worked away, she waited until he was home from the oil field to make the trip into town since they always did the major farm decision-making together.

When the financing officer handed the couple their completed paperwork, Brad’s occupation was described as “farmer.”

Shewchuk, despite the fact that the couple had clearly described the partnership of their operation, was listed as “housewife.”

“Even though I was 100 per cent engrossed in the farm,” she says, “and even though I made all the decisions with the cattle and sheep, and even though I did every bit of the work when Brad was away, I was still a farmer’s wife even in my own mind until that moment.

“That was my turning point, the moment when I really changed my attitude about my own role on the farm.” Read more

Climbing a ladder image

Safety: Climbing ladders safely

Not maintaining three points of contact when climbing ladders can lead to injuries. Three points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands, or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.

While maintaining three points of contact is important, maintaining three points of control is critical. Three points of control involves a worker using three of their four limbs for reliable, stable support while climbing a ladder.

Climbing a ladder with a tool in your hands can maintain contact with the ladder but not a firm grip (control) on the ladder rung. Communicate and practice three-point control. It provides for a greater level of safety when climbing ladders.

Other ladder-related best practices include:

  • Inspecting the ladder prior to climbing.
  • Facing the ladder at all times.
  • Hoisting tools rather than carrying them.
  • Keeping the belt buckle between the rails of the ladder.

Safety first in everything you do – on and off the farm.

REMEMBER TO ALWAYS:
Get proper rest. Look after yourself. Slow down. Never take shortcuts.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

Exposed electrical box

Safety: Common electrical hazards

Take a moment today to think about electrical hazards and how you can make your operation safe for you, your family, workers and visitors.

There are several things you can do at home, in the barn, and workshops to help eliminate the chances of shocks, electrocution and fires.

Missing covers

Missing covers on junction boxes, switches and outlets expose energized circuits, creating arc flash, shock, and electrocution hazards. In addition, missing covers provide a path of entry into the interior of the enclosure, allowing dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate. Missing covers could allow metallic objects to fall into the circuits that could arc or lodge in a way that presents a hazard when the enclosure is opened.

Broken/unsupported light fixtures

Light fixtures should be permanently mounted to the base and show no signs of damage. Light fixtures that are hanging unsupported by wiring, puts undue stress on the electrical connections. These two conditions present the potential for an electrical short, which can produce sparks that can ignite combustibles leading to a fire.

Circuit breakers

All electrical breaker panels should be equipped with an appropriate cover and remain closed. Missing covers expose the circuits to dust and physical damage. If an arc or short circuit would occur, the cover will contain the sparks from igniting surrounding combustibles.

There should not be any missing breakers or other openings between breakers. These openings allow for the potential for electrocution, physical damage, and dust and dirt to accumulate in the circuits. Spare clips should be installed in any openings in the breaker panel.

Breakers must never be taped or physically secured in the “ON” position. If the breaker is not allowed to trip, or cannot be manually tripped, the wiring could overheat, increasing the chances of a fire.

The electrical panel should be indexed, identifying each individual circuit breaker.

Housekeeping

Electrical equipment can and does fail, often catastrophically, with arcing that produces large amounts of heat. Any combustible material in the vicinity of the arc flash can be ignited.

Access to electrical rooms should be limited to authorized maintenance or operations personnel that understand the importance of maintaining a clean, well-ventilated electrical area.

Electrical equipment areas should be kept dry and equipment needs to be protected from moisture. When evidence of moisture contamination is noted, equipment should be examined for damage and necessary repairs made. The source of the moisture needs to be identified and eliminated.

Electrical equipment areas should be clean and protected from dust and dirt. Placing storage items too close to electrical panels or near electrical equipment will restrict air circulation and impede proper cooling. Excessive heat buildup will result in premature failure and shortened service life.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.

™ is a trademark of Thompsons Limited.