Working alone is a fact of life in farming with many tasks requiring that farmers work unsupervised, often for hours at a time. “One quick and easy way to stay safe is to follow a Stop Think Act approach,” says Sandy Miller, Account Manager Agriculture at WSPS. For over 15 years Sandy has worked with partners and volunteers to champion agriculture safety in Ontario and beyond.
“It’s especially important to be mindful of potential hazards and risks when working alone,” according to Miller. “It only takes a moment to pause and consider how to do the task safely. That moment is nothing compared to the agony of waiting for help to arrive if nobody knows you need help or where to find you.”
Changing your approach and how you prepare to work alone using Stop Think Act can help you stay safe out there on your own.
Before you begin, STOP and consider what could go wrong. Ask yourself, what kind of hazards could I face?
Then THINK. Am I physically and mentally ready and do I have the right tools and equipment? Can I reasonably do this task on my own?
And finally ACT. Wear the right safety gear. Have a first aid kit with you and know how to use it. Keep your cell phone handy and fully charged. Make sure others know where you are, when to expect you back and check in throughout the day. Keep emergency numbers and location addresses handy in case you do need help.
“Print and post the Stop Think Act Checklist for Working Alone somewhere for all to see,” recommends Miller. “It has tips and suggestions to help recognize hazards and reduce risks. We suggest you hang it where it will remind everyone to take a moment each day to Stop Think Act before heading out to work alone.”
The poster is free and available to download at http://wsps.news/STAPoster. It even has a QR code that will take you directly to the WSPS Farm Safety page to learn more about Stop Think Act and other farm safety resources.