Ag Safety Week urges farmers to “be the difference”

Acting to improve a farm’s safety systems before a problem appears is the focus of this year’s Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, beginning Sunday.

The week, running March to 21 in a co-promotion between the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) and the Federation of Agriculture (CFA) with sponsorship from Farm Credit Canada, is themed “Be the Difference.”

“The impact of a farm injury can be devastating both emotionally and economically to producers and their families,” event organizers said on their website. “Yet most injuries are predictable, and thus preventable, if producers, farm managers, and farm workers know what to look for and how to control the hazards on their farms.”

The CASW website includes resources for farmers such as Toolbox and Farm Talks, tips and handouts for discussions on everyday tasks around the farm to remind workers about the importance of safe work habits and procedures, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture noted in a separate statement.

Topics such as how to talk to kids about farm safety, tips for operating self-propelled equipment on roadways, lifting safely or towing large loads are included on the CASW site, OFA board member Brent Royce said.

“Whether a farmer uses the talking tools or takes the time to chat about any farm safety reminder, it can make a difference.”

New Brunswick Ag Minister Rick Doucet, in a separate statement Friday, urged farmers to “take the time to assess and improve their safety systems, participate in training, and get their formal written safety plans in place. It will ‘be the difference.'”

Farmers can also visit the CASW website for more information on farm safety events across the country during the week.

Quebec last Monday announced its own Farm Health and Safety Week, which runs from March 11 to 18 and focuses specifically on reducing the risk to farmers and farm families from moving parts on farm equipment.

From 2009 to 2013, the provincial government noted, moving equipment parts were involved in 250 accidents across the province.

“Farmers are used to doing the same thing day after day and they don’t see the danger, but it’s always there,” Jocelyne Handfield Rheaume, whose farmer husband died on the job, said in the province’s release.

The province urged farmers to ensure the “danger zones” on machines, such as PTO shafts, gears and drive chains, aren’t exposed while the machines are running. — Network


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