According to statistics from WorkSafeBC, animals are to blame for one-third (33 per cent) of injuries sustained by workers on dairy farms in the province.
The other top sources of injuries are working surfaces (19 per cent); machines and vehicles (12 per cent); and buildings and structures (nine per cent).
“Dairy farms are one of the most diverse working environments and workplace hazards are not always animal related,” said Tadhg O’Leary, AgSafe agricultural safety advisor. “It’s a farmer’s responsibility to eliminate those hazards by developing a comprehensive workplace safety plan.”
To help farmers create such a plan, WorkSafeBC, AgSafe and the BC Dairy Association have teamed up to create new dairy farming safety resources that aims to strengthen occupational safety within the industry. The new publication Health and Safety for Dairy Farms describes basic health and safety requirements for dairy farm owners and employers. It is accompanied by a related Forms and Checklists document that owners and employers can use as part of their overall health and safety program.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of work-related deaths and serious injuries in the dairy industry over the last 10 years,” said Doug Pasco, WorkSafeBC agriculture industry specialist. “We hope the new safety resources will help raise awareness about workplace health and safety and help prevent future deaths and serious injuries.”
While the number of time-loss claims in the dairy industry remains stable, during the 10-year period from 2006-15, there were six work-related deaths and 126 serious injuries recorded, according to WorkSafeBC.
This guide was developed using feedback from dairy farmers members about the safety challenges they face.
“Occupational safety is an ongoing concern for B.C. dairy farmers,” said Trevor Hargreaves, BC Dairy Association director of producer relations and communications. “The new guide assists with improving safety awareness and practices, thereby reducing the incidents of serious work-related injury.”