Farmers and ranchers in Rocky View County who are hoping to improve workplace safety are encouraged to check out AgSafe Alberta’s FARMERS CARE program as an easy way to get the tools and resources needed to protect their property.
According to the AgSafe Alberta website, the organization has developed two programs to help farmers cultivate a culture of safety on their farm.
The first includes four levels of safety education as part of FARMERS CARE – a solutions-based program focused on agricultural health and safety.
The second program includes additional tools and resources which are featured on the organization’s website, including webinars, courses and workshops, as well as FarmSafe Plan – a step-by-step action plan for farmers seeking improve the security of their property.
When farmers are ready, they can choose to complete an agricultural safety audit and have their farm or ranch certified by AgSafe Alberta.
“The FARMERS CARE program is a simple and convenient way to protect what matters most on your farm or ranch – your people,” states an introductory video for the course. “This program is an easy-to-use tool that will get you thinking and taking reasonable and achievable steps to prevent damage to your farm.
According to AgSafe Alberta, an average of 18 people die each year on Alberta farms and ranches, and 90% of those deaths are family members.
According to the video, farm injuries ranging from minor to disabling are common, but not well tracked across the province, especially when it comes to family farms.
“Things can happen to even the most experienced farmers,” the video reads. “We know that farmers and ranchers care deeply about the safety of their family members, friends, neighbours, employees and themselves.
“We also know that farmers and herders have limited time and resources. That’s why AgSafe Alberta created the FARMERS CARE program.
According to AgSafe Alberta, training course participants do not need any prior safety knowledge or experience to complete the program. It takes little time to complete the course, and at no cost to the participant.
“Most of us know someone who died on a farm, and even more will know someone who was injured or became permanently disabled,” read a statement on the website. ‘AgSafe Alberta.
According to the website, the program is intended to be a simple and effective tool for focusing on agricultural health and safety risks in a realistic way to improve farm safety.
The program is also a practical way to prevent injuries and save lives on farms and ranches.
“All it takes is a few hours, a computer, tablet or mobile device, and an internet connection,” the statement continued.
Aside from a summary report and certificate of completion, there is no paper trail and the course does not require a “perfect score” or “pass” to complete the program.
“It’s not about being perfect,” the video said. “It’s about starting where you are and finding realistic ways to make your farm or ranch a safer place.”
The course begins with an introductory module to educate farmers on the different risks on their farm and the hierarchy of risk controls.
The following modules highlight various hazards in greater depth, including slips, trips and falls; air quality; rollovers/crushing; machinery/motor vehicle hazards; energy insulation; working remotely/working alone; securing loads; exposure to chemicals; animal handling; restricted/confined spaces; and electrocution.
Finally, the course concludes with an opportunity for the participant to provide a date by which they will commit to addressing the aforementioned hazards, while providing the farmer/rancher with next steps to make their farm safer.
“These farming incidents don’t have to happen and can be avoided,” the video concludes. “By completing the FARMERS CARE program, you’re taking care of everyone on your farm and making sure they stay safe, healthy and doing things they love, like farming, to coming years.”