PEACE-REGION FARMERS LEARN ABOUT ON-FARM HAZARDS AND RISK MITIGATION
BY TREVOR BACQUE
About 20 farmers attended a FarmSafe workshop in Grand Prairie on March 9, part of a series of learning days hosted by Alberta’s four crop commissions in conjunction with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
Facilitator Larry Lindquist had participants read through a binder that taught the farmers in attendance about hazards, the degree of risk and ways to mitigate risk on-farm.
“When you have a program implemented and set up, it’s not that difficult,” Lindquist said. “The bottom line is we want to keep people safe.”
Lindquist said there have been 447 on-farm deaths in Alberta between 1985 and 2010 and that less than 10 per cent of farmers have a FarmSafe plan.
The key to a successful plan is to build it up gradually and not expect everything to happen immediately.
Later in the day, participants gave real life examples of farm tasks that have a risk factor and Lindquist had them create and present appropriate controls to reduce risk.
“Have processes that fit into what you do,” Lindquist said. “Once a FarmSafe plan is fully implemented, I don’t think it’s going to be a lot more work.”
Lindquist also speculated that there would be “a lot of tolerance in the phasing-in period,” as farms adapt to yet-to-be-determined safety measures through Bill 6.
One of the chief takeaways from Lindquist was that many safety changes from the construction industry could be carried over to the farm. Even if specific policies are amended, the time is now to start thinking about farm safety plans and changes to farming practices.
“The principles of all these activities, I can’t imagine for the life of me that they are going to be any different,” he said.
Currently, FarmSafe Alberta users can log in to its SharePoint portal and access a host of resources, templates and farm safety planning ideas.