Safety during the harvest is the focal point of this workshop put on by the Maine Potato Board in conjunction with local potato growers. These students got an education on some of the dos and don’ts to make them more aware of their surroundings as they work.
Kevin Marquis: “Students today don’t get to work in a field situation until they’re probably 15, 16 years old, whereas when people my age were younger, we started at 6.”
Georrge McLaughlin: “The role that the employee has is very similar to years ago, but if managed properly and educated properly, they’re actually in a safer environment, but it takes education.”
Marquis feels the workshop is a good training ground for those either working the harvest for the first time or a refresher course for those who may have a few seasons under their belt. He adds the dangers today have increased over what they were years ago.
Marquis: “Equipment was smaller. The things you did were different, but you learned quickly the dangers that faced you. Now, you’re in with bigger equipment, a lot faster paced environment, so it really gives them a heads up as to what they’re looking at.”
Even with the bigger equipment, the Maine Potato Board’s McLaughlin thinks it’s safer for the workers of today.
McLaughlin:” Today’s safety environment actually is better for the employee in that more of today’s equipment is built with proper guards and restrictions to a hazardous work environment.”
Following the instructional video and questions, the students headed to Brent Flewelling’s machine shop to look at some of the equipment and actually climbed aboard a truck and harvester to get a feel for them and pinpoint any possible areas of danger. Here’s to a safe harvest.
And just a reminder, Potato Pickers Special gets underway again on Monday, September 23rd starting at 5:00 a.m.so tune in.