Crop delivery protocols changing due to COVID-19

Elevator operators are creating new ways to increase safety during the pandemic

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Harvest season is in full swing with wheat coming off across the province. Elevator operators are implementing new protocols to ensure safety of drivers and office staff.

Why it matters: COVID-19 is adding a lot of stress to numerous workplaces in trying to manage around the extra safety precautions and elevators are no different.

Richard Smibert, president of London Agriculture Commodities, says all elevators are doing their best to limit contact.

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“Most elevators have laid out a plan and sent a document out to their customers telling them what their requirements are and what they expect when a truck or tractor or wagon comes on site. The details exactly of where they can and can’t go, and outlining that they are trying to practice social distancing and keeping hands clean.”

Smibert said one elevator in Tupperville has a hand wash station before the drivers enter the office and there is plexiglass around the grading area.

As well, when wheat samples are brought in to be tested, it is requested the wheat be dumped into their pail before the sample is to be touched.

Mike Haley of Haley’s Elevator Inc. in Burford, Ont. says having drivers come in from United States is one of their biggest challenges but they are doing their best to keep a distance.

Doors at Haley’s Elevator are locked, and tickets are being passed through the windows if drivers are not receiving them through the new LAC app which provides farmers with real-time scale tickets and contracts.

“It will show every ticket. (The drivers) can see their ticket a couple of hours after they visit the elevator,” says Haley.

Haley says COVID-19 has added stress to the everyday work.

“Our biggest concern is that we have a lot of truck drivers from all over the United States come in here. We are trying to limit paperwork, have it all done pre – such as the customs paperwork so we don’t have to have contact with the driver.”

The Haleys are also speaking with the drivers through radio as much as possible.

Another big hurdle is some farmers who don’t understand the limitations and reasoning behind the extra precautions, says Haley.

Haley Elevator has signs posted at every door to reinforce the rules to visitors.

The signs outline no visitors are permitted to enter the facility, it’s best if customers notify them of their arrival, prior to necessary entry of the building visitors must complete a screening assessment and tickets are no longer available to be picked up in the office.

On July 14, Brant County passed a bylaw requiring face coverings in all indoor public spaces and on public transit.

“That’s another hurdle we are have to look at. It will be drivers as well as employees,” says Haley.

“Everybody needs to stay safe and practice their social distancing, keep their hands clean and do the right thing,” says Smibert.

About the author

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Jennifer Glenney

Jennifer is a farm reporter who lives in Cayuga, Ontario.

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