Spring on the farm is often a time of renewal and optimism. The weather warms, the grass slowly turns to green, seeds start to sprout and hope for the new season abound.

Yet, there can be a dark side to spring.

Spring also means long work hours, fatigue, and stress coupled with the risk of animal, chemical or equipment related injuries.

There are simple steps that every farmer can take to help make sure everyone makes it home safely at the end of the day.

Avoid fatigue

Several things occur as a person becomes fatigued. First, their level of alertness drops, and they may start acting impulsively or become unmotivated. Next, their ability to focus and concentrate on their tasks may be diminished, and as fatigue fully sets in, their reaction time drops, and they may experience blurred vision and start to take micro-sleeps.

Workplace signs to be aware of:

  • Inattentive or ‘zoning out’
  • Difficulty remembering/thinking clearly
  • Struggle to make decisions
  • Clumsy, dropping things, tripping
  • Increased errors in judgement

There are steps to take to avoid fatigue on the farm, even during busy seasons.

  • Prioritize sleep
  • Take breaks when possible
  • Pay extra attention during early morning or late-night tasks
  • Rotate tasks to reduce monotony
  • If someone is working alone, check in on them; if you are working alone, ensure someone – a friend, neighbour, family member – checks in on you

Share the road

For many farmers, moving equipment between fields is a simple fact of life during the growing season. However, it is important to take precautions and remember that public roads are shared by all users.

It is critical that farmers, their families, and any employees follow the rules of the road and adhere to Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act.

Keep safe on the road:

  • Ensure equipment is marked with proper lights, flagging and slow-moving vehicle signage
  • Watch out for overhead powerlines and other potential dangers and obstructions

Make wellness a priority

Support for mental health and stress management is increasing in agriculture. While there is opportunity for further progress, there has been an increased focus on producers’ mental health, amazing advocacy from our communities, along with new and added resources for producers in recent years.

Here are a few specifically geared towards producers.

There are also general resource options such as:

The information and resources provided are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are in crisis, please visit your local emergency department or call 911.