Greenhouse Canada

Safety assessment tool for BC agriculture

May 22, 2018  By Greenhouse Canada

For BC greenhouse operators looking to take their health and safety programs one step further, AgSafe has recently launched an online safety self-assessment tool for agricultural operations.

Known as the Safety Ready Certificate of Recognition (COR) Self-Assessment, the web tool helps employers determine whether they’re ready for a COR program audit – a voluntary WorkSafeBC program that recognizes employers who go above and beyond regulatory requirements to promote workplace health and safety and reduce risks. As an added benefit, the online tool will also provide an estimate of the employer’s potential WorkSafeBC incentive.

“Being COR-certified helps employers gain an edge in attracting and retaining skilled labour,” states AgSafe. “An employer that is COR-certified with a robust Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program is an employer that makes the safety of their workers a priority. In British Columbia, COR certification also helps an employer’s eligibility to receive a WorkSafeBC incentive payment of up to 10% of the assessment premiums paid in the prior year.”

A certifying partner of the COR program, AgSafe is a non-profit health and safety association that works with agricultural operations to reduce workplace death and injuries.

For greenhouse operations, AgSafe highlights two key areas that should be given particular attention: picking carts and end-of-season cleaning.

When operating picking carts, AgSafe stresses the importance of equipment training and awareness of safety hazards when working at higher elevations. “
The picking carts should be lowered prior to moving to ensure stability as the centre of gravity shifts considerably with height and added weight,” states AgSafe. “While this may slow down the picking process, it will help to prevent the inadvertent tip-over possibility, sending workers and the cart into the crop.”

When it comes to end-of-season cleaning, the safety hazard lies with equipment that uses fuel, such as pressure washers. “These machines create carbon monoxide through the process of internal combustion,” states AgSafe. “If adequate ventilation is not available, this carbon monoxide can seriously effect workers, leading to unconsciousness and even death.”

If greenhouse equipment does emit carbon monoxide, AgSafe recommends that all doors and windows are left open, fans are turned on and blowing away from workers, and employees made aware of the signs of carbon monoxide exposure.

“Headache is typically the first noticeable symptom, followed by nausea, dizziness then breathlessness before collapse and loss of consciousness,” states AgSafe. “Get to fresh air, and inform the supervisor immediately if signs or symptoms appear.”

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