Producers wanted for second pilot of Alberta FarmSafe Plan

Free, two-day workshops will be held in Edmonton, Red Deer, and Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, and Olds

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Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is looking for interested farm owners and managers to participate in a second pilot of the Alberta FarmSafe Plan, a safety management resource for farmers.

The first pilot program to test the plan took place in 2013-14 with nine participants The program has been revised based on the feedback received. Alberta Agriculture is currently seeking 50 to 75 participants for a second, larger pilot to run during the 2014-15 extension season.

“We hope to get farmers involved representing a wide variety of farming types and sizes,” said Laurel Aitken, farm safety co-ordinator with Alberta Agriculture.

“It’s the best way to get the feedback we need to ensure the FarmSafe Plan resources are useful across the industry.

“The plan offers a step-by-step process to develop a health and safety plan.

“Farmers will learn how to identify the hazards specific to their farm and how to take steps to eliminate or control them,” said Aitken. “They will come out of the program understanding the importance of having a safety plan and following through with training and communication to all workers, visitors and contractors. The Alberta FarmSafe Plan manual and two-day workshop takes farmers through eight important elements to achieve the goal of an individualized safety plan.”

The plan has been developed to comply with the Alberta Government Certificate of Recognition (COR).

“A completed FarmSafe plan will provide all the necessary building blocks to obtain a voluntary COR,” said Aitken. “Becoming COR certified signifies that a business has an effective health and safety management system in place with the added benefit of discounts on Workers Compensation Board premiums.”

The workshop and all resource material is free, and once a participant has completed the workshop, the work continues on farm in co-operation with partners and employees to ensure implementation of the plan.

“The farm owner needs to go back to the farm and work with the employees who are doing these tasks every day in order to get a really good picture of the hazards and how to control them,” said Aiken.

Farmers interested in funding for on-farm business management coaching or skills training related to health and safety training can go to Growing Forward (www.growingforward.alberta.ca) to learn about the Business Opportunity Program and the Business Skills Management Program.

The province will review the program after the second pilot.

“The feedback from those involved in the pilots is vital in developing a resource that will be effective for farmers who want to ensure the safety and health of their families and workers.”

Five sessions are planned for this winter, including Edmonton (Jan. 7 and 21), Red Deer (Jan. 29 and Feb. 5), and Lethbridge (Jan. 9 and 15). Dates for Grande Prairie and Olds are to be decided. To register for the workshops, call Lindsay at 780-427-4187 or email.

For more information on the Alberta FarmSafe Plan, contact Laurel Aitken at 780-980-4230 or by email.

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