In Canada each year, nearly 100 people are killed, and 1,499 others are seriously injured in farm-related incidents. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) says now more than ever, there’s a greater need to ensure safer working conditions and better protection for agricultural and farm workers.
One of the most common causes of injury and death amongst farmers is the unsafe use of equipment. These injuries can be prevented by taking necessary safety precautions. Farm owners are responsible for the safety of their workers and maintenance of their equipment. They must ensure that employees and family workers are trained on the proper and safe ways to do their jobs.
“According to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program, 70% of all farm fatalities involve agricultural machines,” says Gerry Culina, General Health and Safety Manager at CCOHS. “Workers in the agriculture industry work with large, heavy and complicated machinery. It’s really important that these workers understand how to operate the equipment with proper training, or they could find themselves (or someone else) severely injured.”
The risk of injury and illness can be reduced by taking preventive steps such as conducting routine safety inspections on equipment, buildings and grounds - and correcting problems immediately.
CCOHS recently released a free e-course, Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers, just in time for National Farm Safety Week. The course provides guidance on hazards that are common to agricultural operations: working alone, violence, working with chemicals, slips and falls, lifting by hand, machinery and equipment, confined spaces, electricity, and handling animals.