Be the Dif­fer­ence As A Farm Em­ployer

Glen Bla­hey, Cana­dian Agri­cul­tural Safety As­so­ci­a­tion

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

Farm

own­ers run a busi­ness. A farm re­quires the same com­mit­ment to suc­ceed, the same ded­i­ca­tion to hard work, good prod­ucts and of course, a com­mit­ment to safety just like other busi­nesses. One hall­mark of a suc­cess­ful busi­ness is an en­gaged and well-trained work­force.

Train­ing em­ploy­ees is good busi­ness and an im­por­tant area of risk man­age­ment on any farm. Well trained, safe and healthy em­ploy­ees are es­sen­tial for the smooth func­tion­ing of any farm­ing op­er­a­tion. The loss of an em­ployee due to an ac­ci­dent can have a se­vere rip­ple ef­fect and cre­ate many more hid­den costs than the farm owner may re­al­ize. As well as the usual com­pen­sa­tion and med­i­cal costs, there is down time in pro­duc­tion, train­ing time for re­place­ment em­ploy­ees, re­pairs to dam­aged equip­ment plus the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect an ac­ci­dent has on other em­ploy­ees and fam­i­lies.

The ben­e­fits of in­cor­po­rat­ing ori­en­ta­tion and train­ing, in­clud­ing health and safety in­for­ma­tion, in­clude a more con­fi­dent and com­pe­tent em­ployee. This means that the worker is more en­gaged in the work place and in turn will take per­sonal own­er­ship in their work. Not only does train­ing help pre­vent po­ten­tial ac­ci­dents but also em­pow­ers em­ploy­ees to do their best work.

A very im­por­tant step to­wards man­ag­ing risk on the farm, is train­ing farm work­ers in oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety prin­ci­ples. A train­ing pro­gram for health and safety ori­en­ta­tion of sea­sonal agri­cul­tural work­ers will en­able farm own­ers and man­agers to train their sea­sonal staff on ba­sic safety prin­ci­ples, rec­og­niz­ing and as­sess­ing haz­ards, and ap­ply- ing haz­ard preven­tion and con­trol mea­sures to pro­tect them as they per­form their du­ties.

The worker needs to be well trained and to un­der­stand their job tasks and the im­por­tance of their job to the larger pic­ture. Never as­sume that some­one has the “com­mon sense” to work safely. Mak­ing an as­sump­tion like that can be dan­ger­ous, es­pe­cially where a young or new worker is con­cerned. Ori­en­ta­tion to a new work­place is very im­por­tant for safety. Work­ers need to be ori­ented when they ar­rive at the work­place. They need to know the fa­cil­i­ties, the equip­ment, emer­gency pro­ce­dures, the do’s and don’ts and they need to be trained prop­erly. Proper ori­en­ta­tion and train­ing of new em­ploy­ees should be a part of the re­source man­age­ment strat­egy for any farm­ing op­er­a­tion. Train­ing will pro­vide farm­work­ers with the fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion:

• They will know the rea­son for the job they are do­ing

• Staff will know more about the process than they did be­fore

• They might un­der­stand some­thing not pre­vi­ously un­der­stood

• Em­ploy­ees will de­velop new skills

• In­for­ma­tion will be shared to let staff

know where to go for as­sis­tance if re­quired

• Man­age­ment can pass along know how to

get the job done safely and cor­rectly

The Agri­cul­ture in­dus­try has nu­mer­ous oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ards in­clud­ing phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal, er­gonomic and psy­choso­cial. The com­plex­ity and range of haz­ards re­quire that farm work­ers re­ceive safety and health train­ing.

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