By Mark Reusser
OFA board member
Every year, more than 100 people die in farm accidents across Canada. Most of these accidents are predictable and preventable. With the spring rush on now, we know you are busy planning crop inputs and field activities, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) urges you to plan for safety too.
As farmers, we invest time and money each year planning crop decisions, ordering inputs and making animal health plans. And the OFA encourages you to take this same approach with farm safety. The premise is fairly simple – and we all know it – plan ahead, take precautions and don’t work alone. Developing a farm safety plan helps you identify on-farm hazards and create safety procedures to protect your family, workers and farm operation from unnecessary injury and loss. The Canadian Farm Safety Association has developed some easy-to-use resources to help you build a safety plan – available at no charge at www.planfarmsafety.ca.
The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting organization recently released data on agricultural fatalities in Canada from 1990-2008. During that period, nearly 2,000 deaths in Canada occurred on farms. Of those fatalities, 92 per cent were male, 47 per cent were farmers or farm owners, and an alarming 14 per cent were children. Farm safety is serious business.
The OFA urges you to pause and consider the potentially devastating impact that farm injuries can have on the emotional and economic wellbeing of your family and farm businesses. Make a commitment to farm safety with a plan that makes safety part of every action on the farm. Safety can be as simple as picking up personal protective equipment when you are out buying other farm supplies.
Nobody plans to get hurt. But we often forget the little details that can prevent an injury, especially when we are in a rush. And if you already have a safety plan written down, take a moment to review it before you head out into the field.
As tractors and equipment begin rolling onto the land, start with safety this spring. Time is at a premium with shifting spring weather, limited hours of daylight and machinery breakdowns. Take the time to plan every aspect of your farm operation, including farm safety. Prosperous and sustainable farms are built on careful planning and risk management. Take the time to work smart and work safe, every single day.