“This will be quite different than anything we’ve done before because we’ll actually be hiring a couple of people to go to the farms and to work with the farmer and their employees and go through the safety issues right there on the farm.”
– KAP PRESIDENT IAN WISHART
Farmers who employ workers now have access to a new safety service – trained farm safety specialists who can come to their individual farms and work with the farmer and staff to improve workplace safety.
The new service was announced last week at a kick-off event in Winnipeg launching Canadian Agricultural Safety Week in Manitoba.
Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) is partnering with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) to deliver the service, and has been awarded a $188,000 grant from the WCB to develop it over two years as a pilot project.
KAP welcomes this as a way to improve Manitoba’s farm safety record, said president Ian Wishart. The program will
compliment other government initiatives such as the Manitoba Safe Farms Check program.
“We consider farm safety one of the more important issues that we have to deal with and we know our safety record is not among the best by any stretch so we have to
put more emphasis on it,” said Wishart.
KAP will hire the safety specialists, then begin directly contacting farms in Manitoba to offer their services, Wishart said. The project aims to provide occupational health and safety services to individual farmers and farm workers including one-to-one safety and health education and health tests. The specialists will also conduct on-site farm reviews of potential site hazards and propose measures to mitigate the identified risks.
“This will be quite different than anything we’ve done before because we’ll actually be hiring a couple of people to go to the farms and to work with the farmer and their employees and go through the safety issues right there on the farm,” Wishart said. All visits will be pre-arranged with farmers.
This project’s focus will be on larger farmers who employ staff but is open to any individual farm family who wants to participate as well, Wishart said.
KAP will be directly contacting farms later this year to inform them of the new project and encourage their participation.
The grant has been awarded to KAP through the WCB’s Research and Workplace Innovation Program (RWIP) which annually funds research and programs that help implement practical, shop-floor solutions for improving workplace health and safety.
Safety Week runs through March 14 to 20 across Canada.