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With potato harvesting underway, employers and workers need to be aware of the hazards that can be associated with harvesting equipment and take steps to prevent injuries. Since August 2011, WorkSafeBC has received three reports of serious injuries or fatalities involving potato harvesting equipment.
September 2012: A worker suddenly stepped off the picker platform of a potato harvester and onto the ground. The worker was immediately run over by the harvester as it backed up. He died from his injuries. WorkSafeBC found that the workers who were using mobile equipment to harvest potatoes did not use clear procedures for communicating with one another. The employer was ordered to immediately develop these safe work procedures and train all its workers to use them. WorkSafeBC continues to investigate the causes of this incident.
October 2011: A worker was retrieving a potato from the moving conveyor of a potato harvester when the worker’s arm became entangled between a sprocket and the conveyor. The incident resulted in the amputation of the worker’s lower arm. WorkSafeBC investigated and concluded that the causes of the incident included a lack of safeguarding and inadequate training and supervision.
August 2011: An untrained worker who was doing maintenance on a potato harvester slipped and had his leg pulled into the machine’s energized, unguarded rollers. The worker suffered multiple serious injuries. WorkSafeBC investigated and concluded that the causes of the incident included a lack of de-energization and lockout procedures, a lack of safeguarding, and inadequate training and supervision.
Here are some of the health and safety requirements that agricultural employers need to comply with.
Employers need to ensure that
Lockout protects farm workers
Safeguarding Machinery and Equipment: General Requirements
Staying Safe at Work - Agricultural Workers (Spanish)
Agricultural Equipment Safety
Agriculture Safety Checklist
Health and Safety for Agriculture