By Dave Harrison
Does your farm have a written workplace safety plan?
Does your farm have a written workplace safety plan? If it doesn’t, you’re in the majority. While most Canadian farmers would say safety is a top priority with their business, only one in 10 actually has such a documented plan.
However, the good news is that more farmers are looking into it. According to a recent Farm Credit Canada survey, nine out of 10 farmers want to know more about making their businesses even safer. According to the FCC’s Farm Safety Report Card, discussed at the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association’s (CASA) annual conference last fall, some 34 per cent of Canadian producers want training in the basics of preparing a safety plan for their operations.
Help for them is now just a mouse click away.
The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) has developed its Canada FarmSafe plan. It can be downloaded from the CASA website, and it’s free. It’s an easy-to-read primer on how to get started.
It’s flexible and can be customized to regional interests. For example, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Prevention Services will fine-tune the plan before introducing it later this year.
“For many of our clients,” says CASA chairperson Dean Anderson, “it’s not a question of whether or not they want to work safely, it’s a matter of accessing the information they need and receiving it in a manner that makes sense for their business.”
Young workers need special attention. Employees are four times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than at any other time.
FarmSafe says employers should ask applicants about previous safety training and work experience. “Check their references to see if they have a positive safety record.”
Growers should budget accordingly when setting up safety programs. There are costs in time for training, meetings, record-keeping and routine inspections. There are also costs for repairs and facility upgrades.
“Although the costs will be immediately measurable,” says CASA, “you will also realize savings in efficiency and reductions in lost time resulting from preventable incidents.”
Ensure all employees know how to respond to an emergency. Have adequate first aid supplies on hand, and restock them periodically in all work locations.
Have more than one worker trained in CPR and basic first aid, and let everyone know who it is that has that training.
And don’t ignore workplace stress, the so-called silent killer. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a new e-course that provides the necessary tools to prevent or reduce workplace stress.
Health and safety initiatives are essential investments in any successful business. Having one in writing ensures everyone is on the same page.