Make a Com­mit­ment to Your Farm

The Drumheller Mail - - AGSAFE FAMILY -

This March, the Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural Safety As­so­ci­a­tion, with the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture is cel­e­brat­ing Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural Safety Week (CASW). This is the sec­ond year of the “Be an AgSafe Fam­ily” theme. In 2017, CASW is “Ap­peal­ing to Adults”.

What does that mean? Ap­peal­ing to Adults? Well, statis­tics tell us that each year ap­prox­i­mately 85 Cana­di­ans are killed in an agri­cul­ture-re­lated in­ci­dent. These statis­tics, made avail­able through the Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural In­jury Re­port­ing, give us a snap­shot of what’s killing our farm­ers. Runovers, rollovers and be­ing pinned or struck are the top way Cana­di­ans are dy­ing on farms.

What does a death of a farmer mean? How does this im­pact the farm? The fam­ily? The com­mu­nity? The na­tion? First of all, the death of a fam­ily mem­ber is hor­rific. The world stops. Grief, anger, and sad­ness all set in. Hearts are bro­ken and re­la­tion­ships are ended in an in­stant. This is the real emo­tional im­pact of the loss. For your fam­ily, your death means los­ing a lit­tle of them­selves. It means miss­ing those big mo­ments. Wed­dings, births and grad­u­a­tions. It also means miss­ing those lit­tle mo­ments. Morn­ing cof­fee around the kitchen ta­ble, truck rides to check the crops, and laugh­ter around a bon­fire. The emo­tional im­pact of a death due to a farm-re­lated in­ci­dent has real con­se­quences for the peo­ple left be­hind.

Sec­ond, to your farm, your death could mean the end of your op­er­a­tion. Dol­lar-wise, the es­ti­mated eco­nomic im­pact to the farm is around $275,000. Can your farm ab­sorb that kind of eco­nomic im­pact? Do you have al­most $300k in the bank, in cash, to cover the cost of your death? Then what? Do you have a plan in place in case the un­think­able hap­pens? Who takes your crop off? Who fixes your ma­chines? Who plans the fu­ture of your farm? The cost of a death due to an agri­cul­tur­ere­lated in­ci­dent doesn’t stop there at the gates of the farm. Canada also suf­fers when a farmer is lost due to an agri­cul­ture-re­lated in­jury. Agri­cul­ture is a ma­jor driver in the Cana­dian econ­omy. Ac­cord­ing to Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Canada, in 2013 the Cana­dian agri­cul­ture and agri-food sys­tem gen­er­ated $106.9 bil­lion. Thriv­ing, safe and healthy Cana­dian farms are a vi­tal part of these ex­ports.

So what can we do? There is great news! Un­in­ten­tional agri­cul­ture-re­lated farm fa­tal­i­ties are pre­ventable. This CASW, make a com­mit­ment to your farm, your fam­ily and your­self. Start by de­vel­op­ing a gen­eral pol­icy for safety and health on your farm. De­cide what your health and safety phi­los­o­phy is. Talk about what the ob­jec­tives are for keep- ing your farm safe. Share your com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing in­jury and ill­ness. This is this first step in de­vel­op­ing an over­all farm safety and health plan for your op­er­a­tion.

Visit agsafe­ty­week.ca and check out the re­sources. You’ll find a tem­plate to de­velop your very own gen­eral pol­icy state­ment, tool­box talks and more. This Cana­dian Ag Safety Week, make a com­mit­ment to keep your farm a safe place to live, work and visit. About Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural Safety Week:

Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural Safety Week (CASW) is a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of farm safety. CASW takes place ev­ery year dur­ing the third week of March. In 2017, CASW takes place March 12 to 18. CASW 2017 is pre­sented by Farm Credit Canada. For more in­for­ma­tion visit agsafe­ty­week.ca.

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