Communicating Safety Responsibilities To Farm Visitors

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As a farm owner/operator, you are responsible for the health and safety of everyone who sets foot on your farm whether they are workers, suppliers, contractors, your children s friends or a stranger asking for directions. Fulfil that responsibility with a written farm safety plan that everyone understands and follows.

To walk the talk, check out a new farm management tool called the Canada FarmSafe Plan developed by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA).

The Canada FarmSafe Plan supports the theme Plan” Farm” Safety, a three-year focus for the Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign. In 2010 the campaign promoted Plan with safety walkabouts and planning for safety. This year, the focus is on Farm including implementation, documentation and training. And in 2012, emphasis will be on Safety including assessment, improvement and further development of safety systems. A download of Canada FarmSafe is available at www.planfarmsafety.ca.

Producers have many responsibilities that require many skill sets, and not everyone is comfortable with writing up a farm safety plan, said Marcel Hacault, CASA s executive director. We wanted to make developing a written farm safety plan as easy as possible, so we developed the Canada FarmSafe Plan in a way that can be easily adapted to each unique operation. Writing the plan however, is just part of the equation you also have to put that plan into practice every day.

It is particularly important to make sure non-farming visitors are aware of the safety rules and practices in place on your farm, Hacault said. Here are a few things you can do:

” Establish clear visitation rules and post the rules in writing in a visible location.

” Upon arrival, explain to visitors the boundaries as to where they can and can t go and any hazards they need to watch out for, particularly with regard to children and pets.

” Ensure children are supervised at all times.

” Clearly establish safe on-farm attire such as shoes instead of sandals, long pants (depending on activity), no loose strings, frays, sleeves, etc. Provide water, insect repellent and sunscreen, if necessary.

” Show visitors where you keep the fire extinguishers, first aid kit, eye wash station, and other emergency supplies.

” Show visitors where the telephones are and post your farm s address and directions near each phone along with important emergency phone numbers.

” Inform guests of the location of all rest-rooms and hand-washing stations on the farm.

” Place signs with short safety messages in and around areas where hazards are present.

” Post the names of any gases stored on the farm and signs prohibiting smoking in any storage area for portable compressed gas cylinders.

” Set up a safety bulletin board in a central area with seasonal safety reminders.

A little thoughtful planning can prevent big mishaps, Hacault says. By following these simple steps, you can make your farm a safer place to work, live and play.

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