New Safety Legislation for Alberta’s Agriculture Sector

Safety System

A new legislation will soon require Alberta farmers to ensure their farms are equipped with proper safety plans. Emergency response, fall protection, and hazard assessments are just some of the plans that will be implemented to ensure worker safety on Alberta farms. The Alberta agriculture sector will now begin using checklists to help maintain these safety programs.

Alberta farms and ranches with paid employees will soon be required to follow a slate of new safety rules, some of which address using seatbelts, operating older equipment and conducting inspections.

The province announced the incoming changes in an effort to strike a balance between keeping farm workers safe while ensuring operators can practically abide by

Agriculture

them. They don’t apply to family members or neighbours helping on the farm.

Starting Dec. 1, seatbelts will be required wherever possible for all equipment that is over 700 kilograms. If it’s not possible to install them, the rules state farmers must use reasonably practical methods, like driving slow.

As well, farmers will still be able to use or sell existing equipment even if it’s not up to the latest manufacturer code. This means farmers won’t need engineers to come onto their farm to write up safety manuals for old equipment.

As well, these legacy equipment rules won’t affect dealers because all new equipment is considered up to code.

The rules regarding seatbelts and old equipment were some of the main sticking points among producers last fall, which is when the technical farm working groups put forward recommendations for review.

“It didn’t make sense for us to bend on legacy equipment,” said Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier.

In fact, the contentious rules were years in the making. Following massive protests in 2015, the government did extensive consultations with groups like the AgCoalition, which was established to provide advice on farm safety, to come up with changes that it hoped would ease concerns.

As well, AgSafe Alberta, a producer-led group, was developed to help farms get up to date on the incoming changes.

Other rules state that farmers will be able to raise or lower workers in loader buckets in the rare case that it’s not reasonable or practical to use a machine for that purpose.

As well, producers using equipment weighing over 700 kg will need to complete a rollover hazard assessment and either use a rollover protective structure or do other safe working procedures.

The rules said fall-protection equipment might not be practical or possible, so safe work procedures can be grain-elevatorimplemented in place of this.

Workers can also be transported on loads under controlled conditions. Their access to work areas must be safe, and structures must be strong enough to support them.

The province is providing $6 million over the course of three years for the purpose of helping producers with waged employees adopt the new rules. It will provide up to $10,000 per person. More details on the program will be announced later in the year.In terms of hazard inspections, farmers can conduct inspections whenever they feel necessary. Visual inspections before using equipment are good enough.

Farms that have 20 or more workers who are employed for 90 days or longer must establish a health and safety committee. The committee must keep records of safety meetings and make recommendations to the employer on how they can improve safety.

Farms with fewer than 20 workers who are employed for 90 days or longer will be required to have someone designated as a health and safety representative. The representative will be responsible for addressing complaints and doing regular inspections to mitigate potential hazards.

OHS officers can be called to investigate a farm if a complaint is filed or if the farm reported a serious injury or death.

In the long run, OHS visits will be focused on farms with higher incidences of injuries and incidents. They will focus on compliance assistance and promote AgSafe Alberta resources.

Keep you workers safe, especially when it comes to working at heights. Hercules SLR stocks a wide range of Fall Protection systems from leading manufacturers – from Roofing kits to ladders systems, harness and lanyards. We can also provide you with customized training and solutions to suit your every need. If you would like more information please contact us toll free at (877) 461 4876.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Aerial Work Platform an Overview of Safety Practices

aerial-work-platform

Aerial Work Platforms (AWP’s) are generally used for temporary, flexible access purposes such as maintenance and construction work or by firefighters for emergency access, which distinguishes them from permanent access equipment such as elevators. They are designed to lift limited weights — usually less than a ton, although some have a higher safe working load (SWL)) – distinguishing them from most types of cranes. They are usually capable of being set up and operated by a single person.

Aerial devices were once exclusively operated by hydraulic pistons, powered by diesel or gasoline motors on the base unit. Lightweight electrically powered units are gaining popularity for window-cleaning or other maintenance operations, especially indoors and in isolated courtyards, where heavier hydraulic equipment cannot be used. Aerial devices are the closest in appearance to a crane- consisting of a number of jointed sections, which can be controlled to extend the lift in a number of different directions, which can often include “up and over” applications.800px-Hebebuehne_Scissorlift

The majority of manufacturers and operators have strict safety criteria for the operation of Aerial Work Platforms. In some countries, a licence and/or insurance is required to operate some types of Aerial Work Platforms. Most protocols advocate training every operator, whether mandated or not. Most operators also prescribe a range of pre-usage checks of the unit, and manufacturers recommend regular maintenance schedules.

Work platforms are fitted with safety or guard rails around the platform itself to contain operators and passengers. This is supplemented in most models by a restraining point, designed to secure a harness or fall arrester. Some work platforms also have a lip around the floor of the platform itself to avoid tools or supplies being accidentally kicked off the platform. Some protocols require all equipment to be attached to the structure by individual lanyards.

Extreme caution must be taken when using AWPs in the vicinity of overhead power lines, as electrocution may result if the lift comes in contact with energized wiring. Non-conductive materials, such as fiberglass, may be used to reduce this hazard.

AWPs often come equipped with a variety of tilt sensors. The most commonly activated sensor (especially with two people on a lift), will cause the machine to refuse to raise the platform beyond a certain height. Sensors within the machine detect that weight on the platform is off balance to such a point as to risk a possible tip-over if the platform is raised further. Another sensor will refuse to extend the platform if the machine is on a significant incline. Some models of Aerial Work Platforms additionally feature counterweights, which extend in order to offset the danger of tipping the machine inherent in extending items like booms or bridges. Some lifts are also fitted with sensors which will prevent operation if the weight on the platform exceeds the safe working load.

As with most dangerous mechanical devices, all AWPs are fitted with an emergency stop button or buttons for use in the event of a malfunction or danger. Best practice dictates fitting of emergency stop buttons on the platform and at the base as a minimum. Other safety features include automatic self-checking of the AWP’s working parts, including a voltmeter that detects if the lift has insufficient power to complete its tasks and preventing operation if supply voltage is insufficient. Some AWPs provide manual lowering levers at the base of the machine, allowing operators to lower the platform to the ground in the event of a power or control failure or deliberate use of the machine, e.g., by unauthorized persons.

Read more about Aerial Work Platforms here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.