Alberta Agriculture is developing a farm safety checklist to make farms a little safer as they become larger and hire employees who aren’t always familiar with farm equipment and livestock handling.
The need for a simple farm safety checklist spurred Theresa Payne of Gatez Farms Ltd. of Crossfield, Alta., to sign up for the Alberta FarmSafe Plan workshop.
Organizers of the Alberta FarmSafe Plan hope to use farmer input to refine an safety checklist that can be easily modified for each farm.
“It will provide an outline for farm owners and managers to help put a farm safety plan in place,” said Laurel Aitken, Alberta Agriculture’s farm safety co-ordinator.
“It’s a step by step approach to get people on the farm trained.”
Producers will work through the farm safety template at two upcoming sessions to see if it is a simple, easy to use and effective tool to help new and existing employees identify hazards on the farm.
Payne is one of six full-time employees who work for Gatez Farms Ltd.’s operations in Crossfield and Spirit River, Alta. The combination of moving large equipment between the two farms and hiring temporary help for the busy seeding and harvest season means not all employees have the same farm safety skill level.
“We want to look for a straight forward program to help new employees through a farm safety program,” said Payne, who has been designated the “farm safety girl” on the farm.
She said they want a checklist that helps new employees identify the hazards around welding, machinery and moving farm equipment.
The younger employees already seem to come with a better awareness of farm safety, she added. They automatically wear safety glasses and other safety equipment.
“In the past I was mocked for wearing ear protection,” she said.
Aitken said seven farmers from a wide range of industries have signed up for the workshops in January and February. Participants will provide feedback on how the various industries can use the plans.
“It will provide an outline for farm owners and managers to help put a farm safety plan in place. We want to make sure it is not overwhelming.”