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A New Way To Plan For Safety

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association is developing a program it hopes will help farmers start creating safer, healthier farm workplaces.

Unveiled at CASA’s national conference last week, SécuriFerme Canada FarmSafe, or the “FarmSafe plan” as it will be called in English-speaking Canada, is essentially a “base plan” for voluntary uptake by farmers to use toward more deliberate planning for safety and health within their overall business plan.

Such approaches have been used in industrial workplaces for years, said CASA agricultural and safety specialist Glen Blahey.

“What we’re attempting to do is to repackage this as a concept, and in a more practical, functional way, that’s reflective of agriculture,” he said.

The FarmSafe plan takes into account the occupational health and safety requirements of other workplaces in jurisdictions right across the country, in an effort to bring farm work places up to speed with other sectors.

NOT MORE PAPERWORK

The FarmSafe plan will be neither a checklist nor a program requiring significant paperwork. Rather it will be a way of documenting your own strategy for creating a safer workplace for yourself, and all who work on your farm, he said.

“You might call it a ‘recipe book,’” Blahey said. “It will consist of a whole series of ingredients that you bring together. And it will take a period of time for you to ‘bake’ this plan.”

Components to the FarmSafe plan include committing to creating a safer workplace, developing processes for identifying and reducing risks in the farm workplace, and communicating safer work procedures.

TRAINING AND WELLNESS

It will flag for farmers new, perhaps never-before-considered strategies, such as deliberately setting aside times of the work year to ensure workers get training upgrades.

A “wellness component” urges farmers to become more mindful of their own physical and mental health needs and those of their families and staff.

The FarmSafe plan is now under review by provincial representatives within CASA.

They hope to have the FarmSafe plan available online and in hard copy format, and in farmers’ hands as early as summer 2011.

Dean Anderson, chair of CASA said what it is hoped this gives farmers is a tool for starting to create a “culture of safety” on their farms. They hope this helps farmers start to integrate planning for safety into their overall plan for keeping their farms viable and self-sustaining. (See

related story on next page.)

Many farmers still think of safety as an “add on” or something to worry about separately from the rest of the farm business, Anderson said.

“What we’re trying to do is get farmers to understand that planning for safety is nothing different than what you’d do in a normal business plan.”

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About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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