Keep your farm a safe space to live, work, and play with a safety plan.
By Haley Bilokraly
Last week was Canadian Agricultural Safety Week. You likely read countless stories cautioning you to be safe on the farm and encouraging you to create a farm safety plan. But will you? and why should you?
What is a Farm Safety Plan?
A farm safety plan is a document with a variety of policies, rules, procedures, maps, and information that aid in creating a safe working environment on a farm. Often these are hard copy documents that are well-known and readily accessible to anyone it affects.
You know how dangerous a farm can be, you see it every day. It is almost a guarantee that if you haven’t experienced a serious incident or close call on the farm, you know someone who has. Most producers agree that farm safety is important, yet only 15% of Canadian farmers have a safety plan.
Are Farm Safety Plans Necessary?
So, why should you write a farm safety plan? After all, isn’t safety just common sense? This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Farm safety plans include deliberate and personalized information that differs with each farm, such as emergency response plans or inspection history. Even if you know this information, it could be lifesaving to have written down in the case that you may not be available to help.
Creating a farm safety plan is also a financially smart decision. Whether it is fixing broken equipment or losing valuable work time, safety incidents on the farm are expensive. You can avoid these costly incidents with a farm safety plan and keep your hard-earned money.
Additionally, your farm is a workplace. For this reason, you have a responsibility to keep the people who work and visit your farm safe. Creating a farm safety plan is a reasonable precaution to take to prevent injuries and demonstrates steps of due diligence.
Creating a Farm Safety Plan
Although safety plans will look different from farm to farm, there are a few elements that every plan should incorporate.
According to Jody Wacowich, the executive director of AgSafe Alberta, every safety plan should include hazard assessment and control, emergency response planning, inspections, training procedures, a commitment from leadership, health and safety representatives, incident investigations, and a plan to administer the plan. From there you can add information that is relevant specifically to your operation.
The requirements of a safety plan may sound complicated, but it is much simpler than you think! Many organizations have farm safety plan templates available for free online so that you don’t have to start from scratch.
A great option to start with is the FarmSafe Plan by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.
Creating a plan is just the first step in ensuring your farm is a safe place to live and work. Take the next step by putting the plan into action, start safety conversations with family members and workers, and continually review and update your documents.