The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has released a free online course aimed at helping agricultural and farm workers stay safe on the job.
The e-course entitled, Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers, was released in time for National Farm Safety Week. It provides guidance on hazards that are common to agricultural operations: working alone, violence, working with chemicals, slips and falls, lifting by hand, machinery and equipment, confined spaces, electricity and handling animals.
In Canada each year, nearly 100 people are killed, and 1,499 are seriously injured in farm-related incidents. The CCOHS says now more than ever, there’s a greater need to ensure safer working conditions and better protection for agricultural and farm workers.
One of the most common causes of injury and death among agricultural workers is the unsafe use of equipment. These injuries can be prevented by taking necessary safety precautions. Farm owners are responsible for the safety of their workers and maintenance of their equipment. They must ensure that employees and family workers are trained on the proper and safe ways to do their jobs, the CCOHS said.
“According to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program, 70 per cent of all farm fatalities involve agricultural machines,” says Gerry Culina, general health and safety manager at CCOHS. “Workers in the agriculture industry work with large, heavy and complicated machinery. It’s really important that these workers understand how to operate the equipment with proper training, or they could find themselves (or someone else) severely injured.”
The risk of injury and illness can be reduced by taking preventive steps such as conducting routine safety inspections on equipment, buildings and grounds — and correcting problems immediately, the CCOHS said.
For more resources to help agricultural workers reduce injuries and improve the health and safety of their farmers and workers, visit the CCOHS website.
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