According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR), machinery runovers account for the majority of agricultural related deaths among children and youth.

“Unless a child or youth has sat in the driver’s seat, they may not fully understand blind spots,” explains Raelyn Peterson, farm safety coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “An observant operator knows there are still many areas around farm machinery that they cannot easily see even with adjusted mirrors.”

This display was developed to illuminate these blind spot areas to help those on the ground understand the best places to stand and be seen. It includes three educational activities, including a scenario-based blind spot demonstration, a peripheral vision activity, and a discussion on safety precautions and potential hazards.

Safety strategies

“Whether you are working around a small lawn tractor or a something larger like a combine, safety around agricultural machinery must remain a top priority,” says Peterson. “Consider implementing the following safety strategies on your farming operation to keep your kids safe this summer.”

  • Always walk around your machinery or vehicle before starting the equipment. Children may be hiding in your blind spots.
  • Never allow kids to climb and play on or near farm equipment even if it is not in use.
  • Always lock vehicles and machinery when finished using them. Remove the keys and keep them out of reach of children.
  • Equipment that may fall, such as buckets, should always be left in the down position.
  • Do not carry more passengers on machines or vehicles than recommended.
  • Use machinery and vehicles for their intended purpose only.
  • Designate a “safe play area” with protected boundaries - like a fence - that is far away from where machinery is operated or stored.
  • Apply “No Play Area” decals to all farm equipment as a visual reminder. These decals are available free of charge through the Alberta Farm Safety Program by calling the Alberta Ag-Info line at 310-FARM (3276).

“As kids are on the farm for summer holidays, it is important to make safety a priority on your farming operation,” says Peterson. “Educate them about potential dangers, be diligent about your own safe farming practices, and lead by example. Not only will you benefit from these safe choices, but so will your family.”

The Blind Spot Display is one of many educational resources, displays and publications available free of charge from the Alberta Farm Safety Program.

Contact

To connect with the Farm Safety Program:

Email: farm.safety@gov.ab.ca