Farmers fail to act on safety

Farmers don’t necessarily change their behaviour when they experience close calls or are injured while working, according to a new survey from Farm Credit Canada.

The survey, conducted from Feb. 10-21, found that roughly seven in 10 producers (72 percent) have had an incident resulting in an injury, or they experienced a close call at some point in their lifetime.

As well, it found that about a quarter of producers (24 percent) reported experiencing an injury or close call within the last year.

The data also indicates farmers aren’t likely to access safety information or develop a plan even though they experienced an incident, FCC said in the news release.

Farmers, however, do acknowledge that their work is not done safely all the time, it added.

Marcel Hacault, executive director of the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association, said in the news release that it’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes an incident to motivate producers to change.

“It’s even more unfortunate if they don’t take action to prevent incidents from happening again,” he said.

Hacault said awareness is the first step in implementing prevention measures.

“It’s not only obvious dangers that pose risk,” he said. “There are often hidden hazards that can harm you, an employee or a family member.”

The survey showed that 14 percent indicated they have a written safety plan for their farm. Seventy percent of farmers with plans felt they help in preventing injuries, FCC said.

Hacault said safety plans pinpoint the various hazards on a farm. They also outline practices and procedures to prevent close calls or injuries.

He said it only takes one moment of distraction, fatigue or complacency to change someone’s life forever.

With seeding being a busy time, he said it’s important for producers to think about the people who work on the farm.

“Producers have to remember that the most valuable asset on any farm are the people who do the work,” Hacault said. “By taking care of ourselves and those around us, we are contributing to our long-term success in both business and life.”

FCC said producers can access safety information or training from a variety of organizations, including industry and provincial agriculture safety associations, agriculture suppliers, and government and non-profit agencies.

There were a total of 1,239 FCC panelists across Canada who participated in the safety study. With a 78 percent response rate, FCC said the margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percent at a standard 95 percent confidence level.

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