Best practices for on-farm sanitation

COVID-19: Farm safety program has issued guidelines for farmers

Practising good hygiene will help slow the spread of disease.

The Keystone Agricultural Producers and the Manitoba Farm Safety Program have issued a list of ‘best practices’ for Manitoba farmers to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19-affected spring season.

The recommendations include familiarizing yourself with the current recommendations from the province regarding safe social distancing and limiting your and your family’s social interaction with others.

Handwashing is the most important part of protecting your own health and should occur after:

  • Interaction with other people;
  • Coughing and sneezing;
  • Getting in and out of vehicles;
  • Bathroom breaks;
  • Before and after meals;
  • At regular intervals throughout the day.

Make sure everyone is following best practice and covers mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or by sneezing into the bend in your arm. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash hands.

Be a support for one another and recognize everyone is experiencing stress, fear and anxiety in different ways.

Prohibit all non-essential visitors to your farm and continue to follow all existing biosecurity and food safety standards that you have in place on your farm.

If you have hired workers, make them aware of expectations for them to stay home from work if they are feeling ill or believe they may have been exposed to risk of COVID-19 and to practise self-isolation. Share new information about the COVID-19 situation with workers each morning, or at the start of each shift, and ensure that they are following best practices.

The following are sanitation best practices:

  • Clean and sanitize bathrooms daily;
  • Put hand sanitizer and paper towels in all vehicles and equipment;
  • Where possible limit the number of operators for individual vehicles and equipment;
  • Establish protocols to sanitize equipment (e.g. wipe door handles, steering wheels, gear shifters, controls, monitors, etc.) and a process to ensure that everyone sanitizes equipment when getting into and out of vehicles and equipment;
  • Print a handwashing poster and display it in washrooms and workshop to act as a reminder for everyone to practise frequent handwashing (see link below);
  • Implement a protocol on your farm outlining how often handwashing (for at least 20 seconds) must take place and a process to ensure everyone follows it;
  • Ensure that you and your workers distance themselves by six feet where possible (understanding that this may not always be possible depending upon the tasks taking place);
  • When travelling off farm, remain in the cab if possible and do not allow other people to enter the vehicle.

Click here for a handwashing poster courtesy of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PDF).

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