The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program (CAIR) reported that an average of 104 people died every year from agricultural incidents between 1990 and 2008. Recently, several Canadian farms have come under public scrutiny for questionable safety practices. An eastern Saskatchewan chicken ranch was ordered to stop hiring underage workers last month, following multiple child labour complaints. In Ontario, police are investigating the death of a North Walsingham tobacco farmer who drove his fertilizer spreader off a 75-foot embankment into a pond.
Agriculture is considered one of Canada’s most hazardous industries, so farm owner/operators have considerable challenges to face in keeping workers and visitors safe. Ensuring the safety of not only workers, but other adults and children who may visit or live on the farm is critical. Prominently displaying safety and first aid signs will communicate a safety-first attitude, in addition to offering guidance. Proper PPE and lockout/tagout protocol is also critical in avoiding machine-related injuries. Be careful in selecting workers who are competent, confident, responsible, and capable to operate machinery. If you need assistance establishing safe practices on your farm, check out The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)’s comprehensive FarmSafe Plan.
Farms can be fun, exciting, and lucrative – but only if safety is the #1 priority. The Ministry of Labour offers extensive information on farm equipment and general agricultural compliance and safety. The Canada Safety Council offers the following safety training courses that may be of interest to farm operators and employees.
- ARGO Operator Course
- ATV Rider Course
- Confined Spaces Training Course
- Ladder Safety Training Course
- Snowmobile Operators Course
- Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Side by Side Course
- WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Training Course
Be sure and stay on top of industry and equipment-related updates, ask questions, and empower the experts in your facility so that your farm can get the most out of the remainder of the season.