Agriculture has been cited as one of the more hazardous industries in which to work. The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) reports on their website that in an average year, around 100 farm-related deaths occur nation-wide. Marion Popkin, Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA) Director, thinks that number is too high.
“Agriculture is an industry with unique safety challenges because the farm family is so closely tied to the business,” she says. “When you live where you work, the risks can be magnified.”
As a passionate agricultural safety advocate who represents AFA at a variety of industry safety meetings, Popkin says farm producers care deeply about safety, but there are always improvements that can be made.
To that end, Popkin applauds the efforts of one annual farm safety initiative: the Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (CASW) that strives to make safety on Canadian farms a priority through their yearly public awareness campaign.
This year’s CASW theme is: ‘Be an AgSafe Family’ by ‘Keeping Kids Safe’. The campaign focuses on empowering farm families with the information they need to help keep kids safe while preserving the farming lifestyle.
In Popkin’s view, although the Canadian Agricultural Safety Week campaign brings an important focus to the issue of agricultural safety each year, farm managers need to make farm safety a year-round goal.
“A good on-farm safety plan evolves as the farm business evolves,” she says. “It’s not something that you do once and put aside. It needs to take into account how the people living and working in the environment grow and change, too.”
Popkin says there are many valuable resources available to farm families to help them manage the issue of farm safety. She notes the CASW website is a great place to find guidelines for safe play areas, a safety contract and many other resources to ensure the family farm remains a safe place to work and live.
Popkin also points to the Alberta Government website for those looking for safety workshops available in 2016. This government website offers links to on-going initiatives like online safety resources for children of different ages, plus funding options available for education or training support.
Farm safety is an area that AFA has been actively involved in for years. Visit the AFA YouTube Channel for a video featuring AFA Vice President Humphrey Banack speaking about the importance of farm safety.
For more information on the many activities taking place during Canadian Agricultural Safety Week from March 13 through 19, 2016, visit these websites.
- Canadian Agricultural Safety Week agsafetyweek.ca
- Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) is a national, non-profit organization that promotes farm safety in the agricultural sector: http://casa-acsa.ca/
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Farm Safety Home Page