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County Road Safety, House Bill 3213

20 Apr

Next Wednesday (4/24/19) at 5pm there will be a hearing at the capitol on House Bill 3213.  I’m asking for support…here’s why:

As a farmer you can imagine that I live in a fairly rural area.  That said, I’m also only 30 minutes south of Portland, and 30 miles north of Salem.  We are faced with an urban and rural collision, literally and figuratively on our country roadways from folks going through our area to get to and from work.  The problem comes from those who drive freeway speeds on country roads, people who don’t know the turns in the road, or folks who don’t understand how to drive around farm equipment that is going super slow on a 55mph road.

As a volunteer EMT and firefighter I have seen my fair share of accidents on these roads.  Some where folks walked away, many where they didn’t.  Some were due to high speeds, some were due to passing in no passing zones, some were where people were trying to pass a tractor and misjudged the whole scenario.  All of these I don’t take lightly, so the discussion around road safety from a farming perspective is always high on my list, from a rural community member it’s also right up there.

For example, a road just north of where I grew up, which is in our fire district, has seen 10 fatal crashes since last summer.  Let  that sink in.  More than a person a month has died on that road, now coined, “Death Road”.  So what can we do?  The discussion brought a few of us rural community members to the idea of allowing for this roadway to be considered in the program of “Safety Corridors”.  Unfortunately the idea was brought to a halt when it was realized that only state run highways could fall under that program.

So here’s the fix….or at least the step in the right direction….Many thanks to Representative Shelly Boshart Davis who introduced House Bill 3213, which would allow for counties to also handle and maintain safety corridors within the same program that ODOT currently uses.  It’s a process in which a community can lobby to get their road designated.  Once the designation comes, you get signage that goes along with safety corridors and also all traffic tickets automatically double in this corridor.

My hope is that this will enable us out here on the county roads to give other folks who are just driving through a second thought to their speed.  It will help folks realize that this is not the place to pass on a double yellow line, this is not the place to drive 91 mph, this is not the place to go on auto pilot and not pay attention.  And if they don’t realize that, then I hope they are caught red handed and hit in the pocket book.

If you’re interested in supporting this bill I urge you write to your legislator or email support testimony to jct.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.  And of course if you have any questions please let me know!

Farm Shop Safety: Improving Your Odds

27 May

I realize that a video might be a stretch for “Photo Friday” so this week it’s “Film Friday”….I know I know, bear with me here!

A few months back we spent the day with a very talented video team to shoot a shop safety video to be used in Oregon as part of safety training on the farm.  Well the finished product is here, and it’s about the best 10 minute safety video I have ever seen!  While it doesn’t cover ALL the hazards (because that would be a 2 day video) it does cover what some of the most common mistakes can be while working in the shop on a farm.  Take a look and let me know what you think!!

Big thank you to SAIF and Oregon AgLink for their work on this great project! 

Safety Training on the Farm

11 Mar

The amount of training that farmers need to do seems to be ever increasing.  Pesticide training, tractor safety training, forklift training, these are just a few that we do on a yearly basis here at the farm for our employees.  Last week we had a training day, where we got it all taken care of.

img_5900Here is a photo of our field workers learning about pesticides.  One interesting thing that we learned is that on a farm gasoline is one of the most dangerous chemicals we can come into contact with.  Puts a little perspective on what chemicals we have on the farm.

img_5904-1And here’s another photo of Matt doing his practical forklift portion of the training.

While training for safety can at times feel like a huge burden, as an employer I want my employees to always feel safe and have the tools to be safe in the field.  Did you know that every day 2 farmers in this country die from a farm related accident?!  It is a scary thought, one that has hit too close to home already and something I hope to not see again for a long time.  So stay safe out there farmers, get that training done now, because you’re just going to get more busy as the sun comes out!

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