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Getting a Head Start on the Season

Agriculture season start

While it sometimes feels like the entire world is in a holding pattern as we deal with the consequences of COVID 19, it does not mean we can't be proactive about getting a head start on the 2021 season.

In fact, if there ever was a year in which we should be getting a jump on prepping our equipment for action, this is it. Not only will we be faced with the usual wide range of tasks leading up to springtime start up, we will also have to take care of COVID related details. Here are a few things to think about.

Fix broken or damaged equipment. While this sounds totally obvious, did you retire equipment last season that required repair? Now is the time to make sure all equipment is in good operating order and, if not, do the necessary repairs. Putting it off closer to the season can stop you cold when you need to be up and running. 

COVID has caused international and domestic supply chain issues that have resulted in manufacturing, shipping and warehousing delays. You want to be sure you can get your hands on replacement parts in a timely manner. Now is the time to plan to fix damaged or broken pumps, bearings and pulleys so your equipment will be ready to go.

Consider stocking up on parts that you routinely replace during the year - blades, belts, etc. They may not be as readily available as usual.

Do circle checks on all your equipment. While it might look good from a distance, all may not be well. Thoroughly checking the operation of all equipment may turn up repair needs such as lubricant leak, faulty lightbulbs or missing or damaged parts.

Change the oil on all your motors - tractors, combines, lawn mowers and other small engines. Well maintained equipment is safer, will perform better and last longer.

Make sure your repairs and replacements are to standard. When you're purchasing that new SMV sign, look for that CSA stamped logo. The standards ensure the sign will be seen by others from distances to ensure safer sharing of the roads. It could be as simple as the fact that the draw bar pin and safety chains that connect tractor and a towed implement need to meet the manufacturer's recommendations.

The same goes for personal safety equipment, safety glasses, respirators and footwear. You'd be surprised how many available are not CSA approved and may not offer the anticipated protection in our Canadian working environment.

And when you're doing repairs, the same applies. Make sure you're using original manufacturer equipment or equivalent.  Substitution of parts may work in the short term. However, modern equipment is engineered and manufactured to work as a system. Using substandard parts may result in catastrophic failure which could result in serious worker injury and work delays.

Striving for a COVID free workplace. Unlike last year, we now have a better idea of what it takes to create a safer environment. You don't want to be running low or having workers operate unsafely because you have run out of PPE. Remember shortages last spring? Consider stocking up on masks, face shields, gloves and other PPE your operation demands.

View our Stop Think Act Equipment Maintenance video as part of your preparation. https://wsps.news/3tCqpah

FINAL PRINT ISSUE

This is the final issue of the Farm Safety Gazette in print format. Future issues will be available in digital format only. If you wish to continue to receive the Gazette, subscribe to the digital edition at http://wsps.news/Gazette