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Be SAFE – Plan Ahead

Mar 14, 2010 | Campaigns, National Farm Safety Week, Workplace Safety

Farming is one of the most dangerous industries in Canada. Pre-planning can prevent potential accidents and fatalities from happening. Safety is sometimes compromised in the farming industry because of repetition of tasks performed each day. Safety should never be taken for granted. Even with familiar tasks vigilance in spotting, assessing and rectifying all potential risk must come first.

March 14th – 20th is National Farm Safety Week. Canada Safety Council encourages all Canadians in the farming industry to be safe and plan ahead. Planning ahead and having measures in place to ensure safety and prevent injury is vital to the success of your business.

According to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program, there are an average of 115 fatalities and at least 1,500 are hospitalized from farm related incidents each year in Canada. In 2006 a total of 13,801 Canadian farms reported one or more medically treated or lost time injuries, reports Statistics Canada. The most frequent cause of farm-related injuries includes the unsafe use of equipment or material-handling practices. Make sure that you and all your employees are trained to use all equipment safely and properly. Go over safe farming practices a few times a year to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.

Safety must be your top priority. The best measure you can take to ensure your farm is safe and remains cost-effective is to eliminate the risk before it happens. Predict problems and then take necessary actions to eliminate or minimize the problem. Use the SAFE module to help you plan for safety.

Spot Hazards
Both employers and employees need to regularly check for hazards. Procedures should be put in place to have this done on a regular basis. By involving your workers in the process of identifying hazards and developing safety solutions, they will be more committed to making the solution work. Have your workers inspect and identify hazards in the workplace along with you.

Asses Risk
Risk concerns the expected value of results of a situation or event. The value of those results may be positive or negative. In the farming industry, the measure of risk can be rated as high, medium or low. Once the risk has been assessed, through your regular safety checks, employers can determine whether to take immediate action of a hazard or identify those that can be monitored and fixed at a later time. Regular assessment can help with budgeting time and resources for immediate or future repairs.

Find Safer Ways
Once the hazard has been spotted and the risk assessed, you can now implement ways or develop controls to reduce the risk. If you are able to control a hazard at its source, do so. This will ensure you eliminate the risk from the workplace and ensure your workers safety. Controlling a hazard at its source could require substitution of a material with non-hazardous ones, isolation of hazards, addition of safety features to existing equipment, redesign of the work processes, or purchase of new equipment. If the hazard cannot be removed or controlled, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used as the last line of defence. Often times, the safer way may be a combination of controls.

Perform regular safety checks on a daily basis. Once appropriate measures have been taken to rectify a safety hazard, monitor the situation and inspect it regularly. Make sure that the solutions used are working and not creating any further risk.

Safety must be everyone’s top priority in the farming industry. Make changes now for better outcomes tomorrow. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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For more information, please contact:
Valerie Powell
Communications and Media Program Coordinator
613) 739-1535 (ext. 228)