REGINA — The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) is reminding farmers about the need to emphasize safety during the annual Agricultural Safety Week from March 12-18.
Robin Anderson, the communications co-ordinator with CASA, said this year’s tagline is Safety is our Promise, which is part of the broader three-year theme of Your Farm, Your Family, Your Success. This is the second year for that theme.
“Through that tagline, what we’re doing is building resources and information and things like that to inspire farm families and farmers to really start talking and implementing and thinking about farm safety and health every day,” said Anderson.
Safety affects everyone in the agricultural industry, and CASA wants people to make the promise to do what they can to stay safe.
This year they want to focus on different themes so they can talk about things that can become problematic due to injuries suffered on farms.
“It’s trying to be inclusive and ask folks to just come on board and use the hashtag and talk with families and each other about farm safety,” she said.
She believes people are getting the message about safety on the farm.
“Farmers and farm families and farm workers, they are the stewards of the land. They grow safe and amazing food across the country. With this information, it’s not supposed to be about not doing things right. It’s about what you’re doing right and you can keep doing those things right and how you can keep staying safe and growing your farm,” said Anderson.
If people farm safely, then they can be successful from generation to generation, she said.
Farmers are more aware of the risks associated with their chosen profession, she said. They have all heard terrible things about what has happened to people they know or even loved ones due to farming accidents.
“There are some things that are emerging. There are risks like full-body vibration that can absolutely affect your health long term. Grain entrapment is another risk that sometimes people tend to forget a little bit. But for the most part, the risks are pretty well known.”
Producers also get used to those risks that are associated with the farm, so they might not think about the power takeoff without a guard or the power line that might be nearby.
“It’s one of those things that you always have to evaluate and watch, just to make sure that you’re always understanding and recognizing those hazards that exist on your farm, and making those decisions to be safer around those things, or mitigating those hazards by eliminating them or engineering controls around them, those types of activities,” said Anderson.
It’s also important for farmers to get adequate sleep and good nutrition, and have good mental and physical health.
“If you’re not looking after yourself, how can you look after your farm?” Anderson said.
It’s not just about one hazard, it’s about a multitude of issues that could lead to someone getting seriously injured, she said. This year’s tagline is meant to inspire people, and have them believe it.
“It’s positive messaging about how awesome farms and farm families and farm workers are, and they can absolutely achieve a safe and successful farm.”
Anderson said CASA depends on people coming together and working towards the safety message. She’s not aware of any in-person events for Agricultural Safety Week, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.
And it’s through the meetings with stakeholders across the country that they come up with their tagline.
“Through that feedback of doing that theme of Your Farm, Your Family, Your Success, the theme actually came from that. It was just one of those things where the collaboration really worked, and then from that, we worked with them to come up with the taglines for each year and the calls for action.”
CASA is offering free online training throughout the month, and they can check out the Ag Safety Week website, agsafetyweek.ca, to see online information. There is also a mental health hub on their website with thoughts from mental health experts.