Improving farm safety
Did you know that agriculture ranks as one of the most dangerous industries in America? Each year, hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries occur on the country’s farms. However, the vast majority of these incidents could be avoided through better awareness of the hazards and safety practices specific to agricultural occupations. This is why the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety is committed to hosting National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year, the event will take place from September 17 to 23 under the theme Putting Farm Safety into Practice.
The first step to creating safer agricultural work environments is to accurately identify all potential hazards. Hazards can be obvious, hidden or developing. Some of the most common ones involve:
• Confined spaces, particularly silos, manure pits and water tanks, where suffocation and poisoning are possible.
• Chemicals. This includes pesticides, herbicides and other toxins.
• Electricity. Switches, cords and machinery may prove to be faulty.
• Vehicles. Use of ATVs, tractors, forklifts and other vehicles can lead to falls or crashes.
• Machinery with unguarded parts such as chainsaws, augers, fans, conveyors and others.
Once specific hazards are recognized, ways to minimize the risks involved should be designed. The resulting farm safety plan might include strategies such as utilizing personal protective equipment, implementing administrative or engineering controls, altering work practices, or eliminating the hazard altogether. Farmers are responsible for keeping their farms safe by reviewing protocols and providing thorough training for new workers. As farm environments evolve over time, it’s important to regularly adapt the safety measures in place.
Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced a renewed $200,000 partnership with Canadian Western Agribition that will provide $50,000 in funding for each of the next four shows.
Stewart made the announcement at Canadian Western Agribition’s annual Burning of the Brand.
“Canadian Western Agribition is a testament to our agriculture industry and a signature event that the Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to invest in,” Stewart said. “It brings together thousands of producers, consumers, agribusinesses and international buyers, building our economy, trade relationships and tourism.”
As the largest livestock show in the country, Canadian Western Agribition attracts producers from across western Canada.
In addition to livestock shows and sales, the event hosts international visitors, an indoor trade show, entertainment and educational displays.
“Since 1971, Canadian Western Agribition has worked at promoting and advocating for Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry and our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture is an important part of that work,” Canadian Western Agribition CEO Chris Lane said.
“We’re proud to share those goals with the government and we’re looking forward to four more years of building the industry together.”
Approximately 125,000 people visited Canadian Western Agribition in 2016, including 1,200 international visitors from more than 75 different countries.
It also featured a diverse collection of 2,500 animals, including cattle, horses, bison and sheep.
The tradeshow and educational displays provided a learning opportunity for the more than 8,000 students who attended from across the province.
The government’s current four year, $200,000 sponsorship agreement with Canadian Western Agribition ends this year.
For more information about Canadian Western Agribition, visit www. agribition.com.