As summer gradually draws to a close, farmers across the province are gearing up for one of their busiest seasons, fall harvest. Minimizing the risk for error is critical, as it directly impacts profitability and next year’s planting season.

We always tend to see safety as being all about protecting ourselves from dangerous equipment and being aware when doing a job. But, one of the most important safety tools a person can have is knowing and listening to their body.

Farmers are at increased risk from the effects of fatigue because they work with machinery and animals which require them to be 100% alert all day, every day. Farmers, as essential workers, might be some of the most tired workers out there.

Among your own strategies for self-care, we want to share some tips on how to sleep better, feel better, and work safer:

Recognize the symptoms of fatigue: feeling sleepy or tired, headaches or dizziness, blurry vision, poor concentration, slow reflexes, feeling irritable and aching or weak muscles. Monitor yourself and others for signs of fatigue and know when it’s time for a break. Even a few minutes can help.

Make healthy choices for meals and snacks: limiting high-fat, high-sugar options like candy bars and potato chips. Choose water, juice, or soft drinks low in caffeine and sugar over excessive amounts of coffee.

Exercise. Any exercise is better than none. Make a brief walk part of the morning routine, possibly while checking cattle or equipment. Walk around and stretch a few times throughout the day.

Cultivating a safe and healthy work culture is worth the effort, resulting in less down time due to illness and injury. Stay safe and healthy this harvest season!