While many of Alberta’s farm fields are still resting under a blanket of snow, producers across the province are getting plans into place for this coming year’s crops. During the busy spring season, farmers often travel long distances between fields, which requires transporting equipment on public roads throughout rural Alberta.
“Along with the rest of the preparation for spring seeding comes tasks like equipment maintenance and inspection,” says Nicole Hornett, farm safety specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Equipment owners and operators are responsible for maintaining the safety of their equipment, which also includes adequate lighting and markings to increase visibility.”
Recently, staff in the Alberta Farm Safety Program, in collaboration with transportation safety specialists, revamped the Safe Transportation of Farm Equipment in Alberta publication. “The booklet still contains information on the road and transportation safety regulations for tractors, self-propelled implements and towed implements,” explains Hornett. “A new section was added for power line safety and high load moves.”
The publication is written to reflect the Traffic Safety Act but does not supersede it. Inside, readers will find illustrations on how to adequately mark farm equipment for both daytime and nighttime travel. “Diagrams in the book show how and where to display a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign on the tractor or self-propelled implement that will be travelling at speeds less than 40 km/h,” says Hornett.
Any towed implements, like air seeders, must also have their own clearly visible SMV sign when travelling at speeds slower than 40 km/h. “Alerting other drivers of your machinery’s size, width and slower speeds with headlamps, tail lamps, marker lights, SMV signage, reflective tape and warning flags helps to reduce collisions,” observes Hornett.
Preventing collisions focuses on three main areas: making equipment safe and visible, following safe driving tips, and driving defensively. “This publication is an excellent refresher or reference guide for an experienced operator and could be used as part of a training program for a new operator,” says Hornett. “The first section in the booklet outlines known types of collisions and how to prevent them.”
In section one, operators are reminded of the factors at play for both single and multiple-vehicle collisions. Prevention information immediately follows, complete with photos and safety tips.
Source : Alberta Ag and Forestry