Im­prov­ing farm safety

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - FARM & RANCH TODAY -

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.

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