Na­tional Farm Safety Week is March 14 – 20, 2016

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN -

Mes­sage from the Canada

Safety Coun­cil

Farm­ing is a very re­ward­ing, im­por­tant and in­valu­able in­dus­try in Canada. But for all of its ben­e­fits, it is also one of the most dan­ger­ous in­dus­tries, and the re­al­ity of the pro­fes­sion is that chil­dren are of­ten around the work­place. This means ex­po­sure to haz­ards in­clud­ing toxic chem­i­cals, un­pre­dictable live­stock and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ma­chin­ery. This ex­po­sure makes it ab­so­lutely cru­cial that chil­dren be taught about the po­ten­tial dan­gers around them and how to avoid putting them­selves at risk.

March 14 – 20 is Na­tional Farm Safety Week and this year, the Canada Safety Coun­cil is re­mind­ing Cana­dian fam­i­lies to take pre­cau­tions while on the farm, en­sur­ing the safety of chil­dren by un­der­stand­ing the con­cerns and pay­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Ac­cord­ing to a study by Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural In­jury Re­port­ing (CAIR), 272 Cana­di­ans un­der the age of 14 died be­tween 1992 and 2012 in agri­cul­tural-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties, with ap­prox­i­mately 45 per cent of those be­ing four years of age or younger.

The most com­mon causes of death among chil­dren are ma­chine runovers (41.9 per cent,) fol­lowed by drown­ings (15.2 per cent,) ma­chine rollovers (11.1 per cent,) an­i­mal­re­lated in­juries (6.5 per cent) and be­ing crushed by or un­der an ob­ject (5.1 per cent.)

Of­ten, by­stander runovers oc­cur when chil­dren are play­ing on the farm or near a work­site. The farm ve­hi­cle is usu­ally in re­verse, and the adult is not ex­pect­ing the child to be there. This fact alone makes it cru­cially im­por­tant to set aside an area re­served for play­ing in the yard. A fenced-in area with self-lock­ing gate clo­sures will en­sure that the child’s ex­po­sure to runover-re­lated dan­ger is greatly re­duced.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that what may seem to be an ob­vi­ous safety mea­sure isn’t al­ways so ob­vi­ous, es­pe­cially with younger chil­dren. Teach them which ar­eas are of­flim­its or dan­ger­ous. As they get older and start help­ing out around the farm, take the time to teach them the proper way of do­ing things, ex­plain­ing and en­forc­ing safety as the pri­mary goal. Keep in mind their lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence and strength when as­sign­ing tasks, giv­ing them age- and size-ap­pro­pri­ate re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

That be­ing said, it’s not enough to tell chil­dren how to do things safely. Es­pe­cially when it comes to work-re­lated tasks, chil­dren are driven to fol­low ex­am­ples set by their par­ents and other adults. Farm­ers and work­ers have to make sure that they’re fol­low­ing safety pro­to­cols and be­ing care­ful, or the mes­sage will ring hol­low to chil­dren and they will not see it as im­por­tant.

Take the fol­low­ing pre­cau­tions to en­sure that your farm is safe for chil­dren: · In­spect your farm with your chil­dren for any ar­eas that con­tain haz­ards. Make sure to not only iden­tify the haz­ards, but also to ex­plain why they’re dan­ger­ous to the chil­dren and, if pos­si­ble, take steps to mit­i­gate the dan­ger. · Be­fore set­ting chil­dren to work on age-ap­pro­pri­ate tasks, check lo­cal laws to en­sure that they are of le­gal age to op­er­ate farm ma­chin­ery. · Train older chil­dren be­fore set­ting them to work on any- thing. En­sure they un­der­stand the proper op­er­a­tion of ma­chin­ery they’re be­ing asked to use, and that they know what to do at all times. · Never al­low ex­tra rid­ers on any equip­ment. Ex­tra rider runovers are a very com­mon cause of in­jury. · Drown­ings on the farm oc­cur, es­pe­cially among chil­dren six years old or less. Fence farm ponds, ma­nure pits, and any other source of wa­ter that could pose a drown­ing risk. · Des­ig­nate a spe­cific fenced­off area that is solely for play­ing. En­sure that it is kept far from an­i­mals, as even calm and nor­mally docile an­i­mals can be­come dan­ger­ous if they feel that ei­ther they or their off­spring are threat­ened. · Keep all farm chem­i­cals out of the reach of chil­dren and locked away in a cab­i­net, room or build­ing. · Keep grain bins off-lim­its for chil­dren — it takes only a few sec­onds for a per­son to be­come help­lessly trapped un­der flow­ing grain, where they could suf­fo­cate.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact: Lewis Smith, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor. 613-739-1535 x228

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