“Too many farmers push themselves, especially during the really busy times,” says Kenda Lubeck, farm safety awareness co-ordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Too often, it is a case of ‘I am going to finish that field tonight no matter what.’ Health and safety is a worker’s most valuable asset - nothing should come before.”
Many times, fatigue creeps up on a person, which makes it difficult to recognize. In addition to feeling sleepy and tired, some common symptoms of fatigue include:
- Headaches, dizziness, blurry vision.
- Slow reflexes and reactions, poor concentration.
- Feeling irritable, moody and short-tempered.
- Aching, weak muscles.
Lubeck offers the following suggestions to ward off fatigue:
- Get adequate sleep. Park your worries at the bedroom door and get a good night’s rest on a regular basis.
- Eat nourishing food to keep your mind and body sharp.
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water.
- Incorporate some healthy activity in your day’s work. Many times fall work equals long hours, operating the same equipment. If you find yourself in the cab of a tractor for hours on end, be sure to stop periodically and go for a walk to stretch out your muscles.
- Plan for physical and mental demands. It may mean adding workers to your team to alleviate the demands of harvest work. Keep a promise to yourself that you will take a well-deserved break after a set amount of time and not make critical decisions while you are weary.
For more information on farm safety best practices, visit Alberta’s Farm Safety online resources.