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Safety Basics Can’t be Overlooked on the Farm

Mar 14, 2021

Amid COVID-19 anxiety that continues to impact workers across Canada, the agricultural industry continues to face shifting priorities, juggling mitigation efforts and workforce impacts with a litany of daily chores, maintenance and upkeep.

National Farm Safety Week is March 13-20 and the Canada Safety Council and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) are reminding Canadians that farming continues to be one of the most hazardous industries in the country, and that safety needs to be prioritized in the workflow.

“It’s been a challenging year for many of us and the agricultural industry is no exception,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “Maintaining a high standard of safety should be ever present and continually reinforced in farm environments. In an industry of constantly shifting priorities, it’s important to remember to brush up on the basics, too.”


By the numbers…

The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting estimates an average of 85 fatalities every year on the farm. The most common cause, overwhelmingly, is machinery — to the tune of 70 per cent of all deaths on the farm.

These can include machine rollovers, where a vehicle is improperly balanced on a hill and rolls on its side, striking either the operator or anyone who is nearby. They can also include machine runovers, where either a machine is left unmanned and rolls over its operator or the machine’s operator runs over someone in the vicinity.

“As a health and safety association dedicated to supporting the agricultural industry, we can’t highlight the importance of machine safety awareness on the farm enough,” says Lynn Brownell, President and CEO of Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). “Among the leading causes of Ontario farm-related fatalities, run-overs and equipment rollovers continue to be tragic occurrences. WSPS is proud to partner with Canada Safety Council during National Farm Safety Week to bring awareness to this critical issue.”


Safety starts with you!

  • Read the manufacturer’s manual, ensuring your machines are well-maintained and operating them according to the printed guidelines. This is not the time or place to take shortcuts — losing a few minutes of daylight by taking the long way around a steep hill is preferable to losing time to injury… or worse.
  • Make sure you’re giving any machinery a wide berth while it’s being used, keeping the area around the machine clear of animals, children and adults alike.
  • Children, especially, should have a clearly designated area safely away from the heavy equipment in which they can play or do chores.
  • Give your workspace a thorough visual inspection before starting, ensuring there are no broken parts or unsafe work habits going on that may lead to injury. Consult this Farm Safety Audit from our friends at the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture for a useful guide.
  • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services has an extensive selection of resources and factsheets for the agricultural industry, including a Farm Safety Checklist, COVID-19 resources, and a series of Farm Safety Instructional Videos.


About the Canada Safety Council:

The Canada Safety Council is an independent, knowledge-based, charitable organization dedicated to the cause of safety. We provide national leadership in safety through information, education and collaboration. Throughout the year we run eight safety awareness campaigns, including National Farm Safety Week. We are Canada’s voice and resource for safety.


About Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services™ is the largest health and safety association in Ontario, responsible for more than 171,000 member firms across the agricultural, industrial/manufacturing and service sectors.

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For more information, please contact:

Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council


Jessica Bowes
External Communications Lead, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services