IN THIS ISSUE
IT’S SAFE TO SAY
A message from our leader
Jody Wacowich, Executive Director of AgSafe Alberta
I love this time of year as the fields are all turning green. I can see calves out on pasture and it seems to be daylight forever. These things can also be dangerous, so this month we are looking at working remotely and working alone. Do you have a plan in place if something goes wrong? If that cow puts the run on you and hurts you while trying to treat the calf, will you be able to call for help, and who will you call? These long daylight hours lead to us trying to get more done in a day, which makes it even more important to schedule time for breaks as you find that optimal window for spraying.
I also wanted to provide you with some information on COVID-19 vaccinations today. There are many resources available from the government to help you encourage your employees to get vaccinated. The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) recently hosted a Vaccine information for farmers and rural Canadians webinar, which you can access here, to provide information and answer questions.
As an employer you can provide this information to your staff, but be aware that there are some legal concerns if you want to make vaccination mandatory. It is recommended that you reach out to legal counsel prior to doing this. Also keep in mind that you cannot ask your employees if they have had the vaccination. Feel free to reach out to AgSafe Alberta if you have questions.
Lastly, the kids will soon be home for summer, so we encourage you to review the youth farm work resources below as you look for jobs for them to do on the farm.
Questions or concerns? We are always here to help you out. Contact our team anytime:
– General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org | 403-219-7901
– Hotline for incidence assistance: 1-833-9AGSAFE
AgSafe Executive Director
Reminders about working alone and kids’ safety on the farm
These are busy months on farms and ranches in Alberta, and to get everything done you may often find yourself fixing a fence line or working in a field alone. We can become so focused on our plan to get the job done that we may overlook the risk involved with what we are about to do.
Have you ever thought about what would happen if you became caught in or trapped under a piece of equipment you had to stop and repair in the middle of a field? What if the long hours of hard work and hot temperatures set off a heart attack? How would you get help and how long would it take for help to arrive? Would anyone know where you were at? If you were not able to call for help, how long would it be before someone went looking for you?
While it is a scary and overwhelming thought, there are easy steps you can take to manage the risk of these types of situations. Before you head out:
- Make sure that you can do the work safely, this means being knowledgeable and experienced as well as physically and mentally able (i.e., not overly fatigued or stressed)
- Have a tested, reliable means of communication with you (i.e., make sure there is cell service and that the cell phone battery is fully charged)
- Have more than enough water, food and fuel to get the job done and return home safely
- Check that first aid kits, fire extinguishers, reflective triangles and other seasonal roadside emergency kits are ready for use and with you
- Know how to get emergency services to where you are working (such as the rural address, legal land description and/or GPS coordinates of the location) in case something happens
Have a contact person who:
- Knows where you are working and who you will update when and if you move to another location
- You have set check-in times with and who will go to where you are working if you miss one
- Knows how to get emergency services to where you are working (such as the rural address, legal land description and/or GPS coordinates of the location) if they are needed
- If what you are going to do is (or could become) a high risk task, wait for someone or find someone to help you
- Don’t take short cuts or any unnecessary risks, especially if you are working alone
Keeping Our Kids Safe This Summer
Many kids find summer jobs on their parent’s farm, and while growing up on a farm offers incredible experiences and opportunities, it also presents many hazards. We need to ensure that the work our children perform matches their level of development and abilities.
A report published by the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program (CAISP) in 2007, entitled Fatal and hospitalized agricultural injuries among children and youth in Canada found that:
- Almost 20% of agricultural fatalities are children and youth
- Almost 70% of the fatalities involved agricultural work (the remaining 30% were from hazards present on the farm)
- Just over 66% of the fatalities involved agricultural machines and these occurred most frequently from April to October, peaking in August
- Non-machine related fatalities are highest in June, July and August
For more information relating to youth working on farms, visit this link.
Another great resource aimed at youth is the 4-H Working Safely Around Tractors video developed by AgSafe BC, WorkSafe BC and the BC Ministry of Agriculture. View it here.
SAFETY FIRST, LAST THOUGHTS
Take care out there
It’s getting hot! While we know you are already checking weather forecasts to help you plan and manage your work, below are some additional tips to help you and others stay safe while working in the heat this summer.
Prevent heat-related illnesses
- Wear lightweight, light colored clothing; long sleeves and pants will help prevent sunburn and wear a wide-brimmed hat if appropriate
- Take more frequent breaks, and when you do, take them in a cool and/or shaded area
- After performing an outdoor job, do some work indoors give your body a chance to cool down
- Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine
- Save physically demanding jobs for the cooler times of day, such as early in the morning or late afternoon and evening
- Heat places additional stress on your body; if you have a condition that may increase your risk of heat stress, talk to your doctor and if possible, have someone else on the farm take over some of your tasks
Symptoms of Heat Related Illness
- Heat Cramps
- Watch out for: Heavy sweating, muscle pain and muscle spasms
- What to do: Stop work, go someplace cool, drink water wait for the cramps to go way before going back to work
- Get medical help if cramps do not go away after an hour, you have heart issues or are on a low sodium diet
- Heat Exhaustion
- Watch out for: Cold/pale/clammy skin, fast or weak pulse, heavy sweating or no sweating, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting
- What to do: Stop work, go someplace cool, sip water, loosen clothing, place cool wet cloths on body (or have a cool bath)
- Get medical help if: You are vomiting, symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour
- Heat Stroke
- Watch out for: High body temperature (103F or higher), hot/red/dry/damp skin, fast or slow pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, losing consciousness (passing out)
- What to do: call 9-1-1 right away for further instruction, move the person to a cooler place, use cool cloths or a cool bath to help lower the persons body temperature, do not give someone who is losing consciousness or unconscious anything to drink.