IN THIS ISSUE
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.
Lastly, if you have questions or concerns we are always here to help. You can contact our team anytime.
– For general inquiries: email@example.com /403-219-7901
– For our hotline for incidence assistance: 1-833-9AGSAFE
AgSafe Alberta Executive Director
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- The term contractor has been replaced by contracting employer and the definition of an employer now includes a person who is self-employed.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 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 Milliamp||May not be noticed.|
|1 Milliamp||Slight tingle.|
|5 Milliamps||Slight 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 Milliamps||Painful shock; loss of muscle control.|
|9 to 30 Milliamps||Person 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 Milliamps||Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscle reactions. May be fatal.|
|1.0 to 4.3 Amps||Heart stops. Muscular contraction and nerve damage may occur. Likely to be fatal.|
|10 Amps||Cardiac arrest, severe burns and death is expected.|
Would You Know What to Do?
- Don’t exit your vehicle or equipment unless it is on fire.
- Call 9-1-1 first and then your service provider.
- Do not exit your vehicle and keep others away.
- Make sure there are no wires in your way and leave your personal items behind.
- Open the door, step on the metal frame, and find the flattest spot on the ground to jump onto.
- Stand on the frame, cross your arms and put your feet together.
- Jump and land on the spot, crouching slightly to help keep your balance.
- Slowly shuffle, keeping both feet on the ground at all times until you are at least 10 meters away.
- If you must move quickly, and if it is safe to do so, hop with both of your feet together.
SAFETY FIRST, LAST THOUGHTS
Even if You Only Have One Casual Employee, You are an Employer
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.