Farm Safety in Canada

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

farm can be peaceful and a great place to visit.  However, a farm is still a work setting that is not free of hazards.  There are fatalities and injuries every year in Canada due to farming accidents. 

Many farm workers are exposed to several hazards including:

  • Weather (cold, heat, sun exposure)

  • Chemicals/Pesticides (including various toxic gases as those produced by manure piles)

  • Machinery

  • Major farm tools and equipment

  • Electricity

  • Livestock and animal handling

In order to mitigate the chances of injury, it is important to know important risk factors which may increase the risk of injury.  Protective equipment can be as simple as sunscreen or as complex as harnessing systems for elevated work.  Systems should be set in place for operation of machinery such as clothing and accessories needed (such as facemasks) or security systems on tractors and other farm tools (for example weight restrictions to drive certain pieces of equipment).  Those involved with maintenance of equipment and machinery should refer to manufacturer’s instructions and operational guidelines.  It is important to note age of workers.  Most injuries happen to those that are under fifteen years old and older than sixty-five.

Once aware of hazards and risk factors on farms those working on farms and owning farms should prepare for emergency situations (including equipment malfunctions, accidents, fires, shocks and chemical exposures).  Once an emergency plan is set into place, all those involved with the farm should know what to do if an emergency arises and the appropriate people to contact.

Following safe farming practices reduces injuries, fatalities and illnesses.  It is everyone’s responsibility to understand and follow safety standards, and to ensure that those only appropriately trained work on or around specific equipment, chemicals, animals or machinery.