Published on Wed, 10/26/2011 by Canadian Federation of Agriculture

Write safety policies for every job on your farm

by Theresa Whalen
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Farm Safety Consultant (418 words)

A farm safety plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if it doesn’t include Standard Operating Polices or SOPs to support strategies for managing safety and health. SOPs are a basic building block of the new Canada FarmSafe Plan from the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA).

“The new Plan is a comprehensive management tool to guide farmers and ranchers through the process of developing, implementing and establishing a customized effective farm and ranch safety plan,” explains CASA’s agricultural health and safety specialist, Glen Blahey. Download the basic Canada FarmSafe at www.planfarmsafety.ca .

The Canada FarmSafe Plan initiative supports the theme Plan • Farm • Safety, a three-year focus for the Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign. In 2010 the campaign promoted "Plan" with safety walkabouts and planning for safety. This year, the focus is on "Farm" including implementation, documentation and training. And in 2012, emphasis will be on "Safety" including assessment, improvement and further development of safety systems.

The Canada FarmSafe Plan outlines two types of polices needed to create an effective safety plan – a general health and safety policy and operational policies that specify work processes and operational practices. In other words – SOPs.

The general safety and health policy lists overall guidelines that govern health and safety on your farm. It should include statements on: 1) the safety and health philosophy of your operation; 2) that substandard health and safety performance will not be accepted; 3) your commitment to preventing occupational injuries and illnesses; 4) the objectives of your safety and health program; 5) a list of those responsible and accountable for all parts of the program; and, 6) a list of responsibilities for farm workers to protect the health and safety of themselves and their co-workers.

The SOPs then drill down to the basics to include: safe work practices; training requirements and records; emergency plans; first aid records; working alone procedures; incident investigation processes and follow-ups; responsibilities of all persons working on the operation including contractors; and, all other safety and health matters related to the operation of your farm.

“To be effective, the policy must be kept current and available. It should influence all work activities,” summarizes Blahey. “A good time to make new employees aware of the policies is during orientation. For other contractors and suppliers, make your policies known upon their arrival as you are discussing the work that needs to be done. Let them know that your safety policy is more than words – it’s the way work is done on your farm. ”

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For more information contact:
Theresa Whalen, Canadian Federation of Agriculture Farm Safety Consultant
T: (613) 822-0016 E: farmsafety@cfafca.ca
** Check out the basic Canada FarmSafety Plan at www.planfarmsafety.ca .