AgSafe Alberta Proudly Presents


Level 1 Program

Unexpected things can happen to even the most experienced farmer.  Most of us know of someone who has died on a farm, been left injured, or even permanently disabled.  Maybe something almost happened to you once.

The    program is an online tool designed to be a simple, practical, and free way to improve safety on your farm.  In less than a couple of hours and with nothing more than your phone, tablet, or laptop, you will be able to identify the critical hazards specific to your operation and come up with achievable ways to reduce the risk.  AgSafe Alberta recognizes that your time is limited, so we made sure that your progress is continually saved as you work through the program… no need to rush or wait until you have lots of spare time (we know that is not likely to happen).

Farms and ranches who complete the program will get a personalized certificate of completion, email signature badge, and a report containing your responses. You will also be able to order a    sign that you can post to show your farm’s commitment to health and safety.

 Visit Take11.ca and get started on    Level 1 today!

Lastly, if you have questions or concerns we are always here to help. You can contact our team anytime.

– For general inquiries: info@agasafeab.ca /403-219-7901

– For our hotline for incidence assistance: 1-833-9AGSAFE

Jody Wacowich
AgSafe Alberta Executive Director

Jody Wacowich


Alberta Farmers and Ranchers No Longer Exempt From the Code

Effective December 1, 2021 the Farming and Ranching Exemption Repeal Regulation will come into effect, making the part of the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code relating to Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committees and Health and Safety Representatives applicable to farming and ranching operations.  For help understanding how this and any of the other changes below might impact you and your operation, please email us at info@agsafeab.ca.

Other change highlights relating to the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act that come into effect on December 1, 2021, include:

  • The term contractor has been replaced by contracting employer and the definition of an employer now includes a person who is self-employed. 
  • The right to refuse unsafe work has not changed, however, the term undue hazard has been added to help clarify where work refusals are appropriate; as well, how work refusals are handled has been simplified.  Details can be viewed here.
  • Disciplinary action complaints must now be filed within 180 days of the action and complaints found to be “without merit” do not have to be investigated by an OHS Officer.  Details can be viewed here
  • Changes to the wording of the Act relating to reportable injuries, illnesses and incidents.  An injury, illness or incident where there is “reason to believe the worker has been or will be admitted to a hospital beyond treatment in an emergency room or urgent care facility” must now be reported to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.

The full Occupational Health and Safety Act (which is currently awaiting proclamation) can be viewed here.  Other key areas of interest may include the following:

  • Changes relating to multi-employer sites and prime contractor provisions can be found here.
  • Changes to the potentially serious incident reporting requirements can be read in further detail here.
  • What the roles and duties of an OHS Officer are can be found here.

Changes to Alberta One Call and Where’s the Line

You may have noticed something a little different if you visited wherestheline.ca or albertaonecall.com recently.  Alberta One-Call Corporation joined with the Alberta Common Ground Alliance to form Utility Safety Partners.  This merger included absorbing the Where’s the Line campaign which focused on bringing overhead powerline safety to Albertans.

Visit utilitysafety.ca for more information.


Effects of Electrical Current on the Body

When the conditions are right, electric shocks can be fatal even at low voltages.  Since our bodies are approximately 70% water, it is easy for electricity to pass through us in just seconds.  A mild electric shock can cause headache, muscle fatigue or spasms, temporary loss of consciousness and temporary difficulty breathing.  Serious and potentially fatal side effects of electrocution can result in severe burns, vision loss, hearing loss, brain damage, respiratory arrest or failure, cardiac arrest and death. 

Consider the chart below:

Less than 1 MilliampMay not be noticed.
1 MilliampSlight tingle.
5 MilliampsSlight shock; the average person will be able to let to. Strong involuntary actions can result in other injuries (i.e., falling off a ladder).
6 to 25 MilliampsPainful shock; loss of muscle control.
9 to 30 MilliampsPerson may be thrown away from the power source or may not be able to let go.  Again, strong involuntary actions can result in other injuries.
50 to 150 MilliampsExtreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscle reactions.  May be fatal.
1.0 to 4.3 AmpsHeart stops.  Muscular contraction and nerve damage may occur.  Likely to be fatal.
10 AmpsCardiac arrest, severe burns and death is expected.

Would You Know What to Do?

Where on your farm could large equipment, objects being moved on trailer decks, or raised parts (i.e., truck boxes, booms, arms, or augers) ever come into contact with an overhead powerline?   If you did make contact, would you know what to do?
  1. Don’t exit your vehicle or equipment unless it is on fire.
  2. Call 9-1-1 first and then your service provider.
  3. Do not exit your vehicle and keep others away.
If you must exit your vehicle or equipment:
  1. Make sure there are no wires in your way and leave your personal items behind.
  2. Open the door, step on the metal frame, and find the flattest spot on the ground to jump onto.
  3. Stand on the frame, cross your arms and put your feet together.
  4. Jump and land on the spot, crouching slightly to help keep your balance.
  5. Slowly shuffle, keeping both feet on the ground at all times until you are at least 10 meters away.
  6. If you must move quickly, and if it is safe to do so, hop with both of your feet together.


Reacquaint yourself with the fundamentals of farm safety!

Visit Take11.ca for quick, helpful tips on electrocution for your farm!


Even if You Only Have One Casual Employee, You are an Employer

Like the title says, even if you only have one casual worker on your farm, you are an employer and occupational health and safety legislation applies to you.  In addition, you need to be extra alert to overused and somewhat misleading terms that can set you up for failure (i.e., “basic safety standards”).

The OHS Act allows the Alberta Government to regulate Occupational Health and Safety within the province. The Act assigns obligations, responsibilities and duties to individuals and/or organizations. The OHS Act is also what outlines the offences, penalties and authority of occupational health and safety officers.   If you are curious about what charges can be laid under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, take a moment to view some of the Alberta OHS Charges.

While farming and ranching operations are exempt from most of the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code, the expectation for you to take every reasonable measure to protect the health and safety of your workers (or worker) remains the same.  It is also important to know that the Alberta OHS Code specifies detailed minimum technical requirements for health and safety in Alberta’s workplaces, and these requirements may not be enough to protect workers from injury, or an employer from charges, should an incident occur.  If you were unable to join AgSafe Alberta’s 2021 Webinar Series, we highly recommending watching Christopher Spasoff of F2 Legal Counsel’s presentation, OH&S Law: J.D. Edition for some great insight from a legal perspective. 

We also strongly encourage you to start a health and safety program for your farm if you have not already or take some time to evaluate your existing health and safety program. For more information on how to do either of these, visit our website at agsafeab.ca or email us at info@agsafeab.ca.

Why Safety Needs to be Made Real and Lived

Sometimes health and safety programs become little more than words on paper.  This often happens when they are created to achieve legislative compliance, rather than out of a real understanding of health and safety and a genuine desire to protect the people doing the work.

When you lose site of your goals, or worse, cannot remember them because your entire health and safety policy was a template document you just downloaded and wrote your farm name on, the program will likely be ineffective, incidents will happen, and people will get hurt.  Sometimes severely.

Take the time to review your health and safety policy today.  Are you achieving your goals? Do your family members and employees believe your commitment to their safety?  Is everyone living safety through their actions and behaviours while they are working? Is everyone going home safe and sound to their loved ones everyday? 

Take a moment to watch Safety Is Personal: An Employer’s Story from WorkSafe BC, which fits well with this month’s focus on electrocution.  The industry may be different, but the message and difficult lesson learned can apply to all of us. 

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