September is just around the corner, meaning harvest season will be in full swing soon. Lacombe County wants to remind those travelling on local roads keep safety at the forefront during fall harvest operations.
Road safety is a big concern during harvest season. With the start of the school year, roads will be busy with harvest operations coinciding with increased numbers of busses and commuters who are returning to regular schedules as summer holidays end. Since starting this campaign in 2014, we have heard stories from both producers and drivers alike of unsafe driving during harvest season.
“Lacombe County is an agricultural community, and producers have a short window to complete the annual harvest, even more so this year with the challenging growing season and threat of an early winter,” emphasized Mark Sproule, Manager of Community Peace Officer Services. “That said, road courtesy is important, no matter where you are driving, and we ask everyone to practice patience on our local roads.”
The fact is large slow moving equipment utilize County roads in the fall season. Drivers need to plan ahead and plan extra time into their schedules to compensate for delays which may be caused by harvest operations.
“We are a rural county, and during harvest season we ask both agricultural producers and drivers utilizing County roads to stay alert, stay patient and stay safe,” stated Sproule.
Harvest Safety Tips (from Alberta Agriculture & Forestry)
- Ensure safe transport of equipment on public roadways.
- Be aware of motorists.
- Follow all rules of the road.
- Ensure all lights and reflectors are in place and good working order. A slow-moving vehicle emblem should be in place and visible from the rear.
- Return equipment to transport mode. This makes it as narrow as possible.
- Check your route before transport to ensure equipment fits safely under power lines and over bridges or culverts that need to be crossed.
Lacombe County also highlights the importance of fatigue management for local producers. By building health, wellness and safety measures into a harvest plan, producers will go a long way in injury and accident prevention.
“It’s ok to take a break, to rest, and to unwind during harvest season,” emphasizes Lacombe County Reeve, Paula Law. “Fatigue is a very serious risk and is a form of impairment for people. We want everyone to get home safely – so take the time to plan ahead, check your equipment, and take care of yourself.”
-Submitted by Lacombe County