Greenhouse Canada

Features Business Labour

January 28, 2008  By Ken Linington

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) now applies to agriculture throughout Ontario via the Farming Operations Regulation 414/05. The “internal responsibility system” and the four supporting principles that define the Act will change the culture of farm workplaces.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) now applies to agriculture through the Farming Operations Regulation 414/05. The “internal responsibility system” and the four supporting principles that define the Act will change the culture of farm workplaces. In many ways, the application of the Act is more about worker rights than safety practices. Agricultural workers will have the right to:

•    Know … about work hazards.


•    Participate … in identifying and resolving health and safety concerns.

•    Refuse work … they believe is dangerous.

•    Stop work … under certain circumstances.

The Farm Safety Association has been an active part of farming since 1975. The wide range of safety practices they have recommended continue to be a valid method of doing business.

Flowers Canada Ontario (FCO) continues to support the efforts of the Human Resource Committee by providing some manpower.

Like many committees, members volunteer their time with the support of their employers. The committee’s real strength is in identifying concerns, solving problems, and recommending plans of action. The challenge is having someone to implement those actions across a range of businesses. That is where voluntary organizations, like FCO, can provide key benefits to its members.

Through a joint venture with the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee (LICC), I will be working with FCO to assist growers in adapting to the new Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and other human resource issues. The Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) provides the funding for this position and related programs. AMI is part of the renewal chapter of the Agricultural Policy Framework program, which is designed to position Canada’s agri-food sector as a world leader.

In order to help producers adapt to the changes inspired by OHSA, a number |of learning opportunities will be presented.

•     Greenhouse Canada is to be applauded for publishing this article on human resource management. This is the first in a series of six articles designed to create greater awareness of OHSA, and show how growers can better prepare their businesses.

•     The Human Resource Quarterly is a printed newsletter offering a special monthly series (six) on how to adapt your farm to OHSA requirements.

•     Industry websites will have a section devoted to human resource management that will cover a wide range of topics.

•     Hazard awareness training.

•     Certified member training (October).

•     OHSA workshop (January).

The Farm Safety Association has done a great job in creating a package that covers the legislation in the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (WSIA). The key items in the package include:

1. Required postings:

a)    OHSA Act and Farming Operations Regulation 414/05.

b)     ESA.

c)     WSIA’s 1, 2, 3 and 4 in case of injury; first aid kits; and employees trained in first aid.

2. Non-required posters:

a)    Employment Standards Agricultural Industry Exemptions.

b)     Emergency procedures and phone numbers.

c)    Personal Protective Equipment Checklist.

3. A Guide to the OHSA and Farming Operations – plain language version of the Act and regulations.

4. OHSA Information for Farming Operations – Pocket extract of the Act; Policy and Procedures; reporting an incident; and protection from reprisals.

5. OHSA Guidelines for Farming Operations – A series of recommended practices to use when dealing with tractors, farm equipment, large animals, personal protective equipment, falls, lockout procedures, hazardous atmospheres, and occupational illness.

6. A Guide for Health & Safety Representatives and Joint Health and Safety Committees on Farming Operations.

7. Templates that can be customized to your operation to aid in implementing procedures, recording training, inspections, hazard management, policy, etc.

8. Developing a Basic Health and Safety Program for Your Farming Operation.

9. Agricultural Safety Audit Program – A hazard identification checklist and action plan.

10. Compact Disk – Developing a Basic Health and Safety Program How To  List, along with a series of templates.

Flowers Canada Ontario, through The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (TOGA), is hosting a number of learning opportunities for greenhouse growers. FCO members that participate in sponsored hazard training, certification training, and OHSA workshops will receive a free copy of the Ontario Farm Safety Association’s Employer Package. Non-members can purchase a copy of the package from Farm Safety for $21.50.

In future months, this magazine will carry articles that will provide awareness of grower obligations, the industry’s perspective behind OHSA requirements, and suggestions for adapting to OHSA and other labour legislation. Questions or comments are welcome and can be forwarded to me through the FCO.

Ken Linington is the human resources director with Flowers Canada Ontario. He can be contacted at their offices at 45 Speedvale Avenue East, Unit 7, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 1J2, or at 800-698-0113, ext. 227.

Print this page


Stories continue below