By Ken Evans, DipAASC, Agriculture Program Specialist, Regional Services Branch
Agriculture operations of all kinds have been expanding in the past decades. As part of this expansion, more farm operators are becoming employers of full-time or seasonal employees. With this comes the responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for both the owners and their employees.
Establishing and implementing a Farm Health and Safety Plan can help you improve farm safety and become more profitable.
An effective health and safety plan is typically developed in consultation with employees and is designed to:
- Identify hazards and assess risks associated with these hazards;
- Implement measures to eliminate or minimize those risks, which involves establishing safe work procedures and/or training;
- Communicate with employees by posting emergency procedures and contacts;
- Conduct safety meetings or orientation for new employees;
- Ensure compliance by documenting and recording your due diligence activities as an employer; and
- Establish plans to continually monitor each part of the plan to ensure it is adequate and effective.
Farm Health and Safety Plans should also include strategies to support mental health.
As a business person and producer, you understand that people, including family members who work on the farm, are your number one resource. Creating and following a written Farm Health and Safety Plan is a key step in improving operational and business efficiencies, mitigating and managing risk and improving the attraction and retention of employees.
There are a number of organizations that can help with increasing farm safety. These include the Agriculture Health and Safety Network, the Saskatchewan Safety Council and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.
You can also visit the Farm Safety web page to learn more about farm safety and view an example of a Farm Health and Safety Plan.
With the busy planting season upon us, please make safety a priority.