Governments invest in new safety program to protect Manitoba farmers

The Canada and Manitoba governments are investing more than $432,000 over two years to help Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) establish a new program to provide practical, on-farm expertise, resources and training to enhance on-farm safety, Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Ralph Eichler announced Wednesday.

"The Government of Canada supports workplace safety and encourages farmers and farm workers to adopt best practices," said MacAulay. "This investment will provide the tools and training needed to reduce the risk of injury and ensure everyone at the farming operation remains safe."

The farm safety program will offer access to agriculture industry-specific information to ensure agriculture employers understand the regulations, rights and responsibilities around safe workplaces and to identify safety risks on their farms.

"Many people in agriculture work outdoors with heavy equipment or livestock in locations that can be a far distance from emergency services, which can increase the risk of injury," said Eichler. "This program will give producers the information they need to comply with safety and health regulations and ensure safe work environments for themselves and their employees."

Services will include:
• information and resources on health and safety regulations, risk-specific tip sheets and signage and basic safety orientation for farm workers, supervisors and owners;?
• on-site safety advisors who will work directly with farm businesses to identify and address farm risks;
• commodity-specific farm safety workshops; and
• safety awareness training for farm workers and supervisors, as well as hazard-specific training.

The program will be administered by KAP, with leadership and guidance provided by a Manitoba farm safety council. It will include representatives from a number of agriculture stakeholders, as well as organizations focused on workplace safety and health.

"Our goal is to provide resources for farmers that are practical," said Dan Mazier, KAP president. "Rather than just telling them to read through safety regulations, we are making someone available to show them what they can do to reduce accidents on their farms and comply with provincial regulations."

SAFE Work Manitoba is a project partner and will provide funding, expertise and other resources to support the initiative.

"SAFE Work Manitoba commends KAP for taking this important step in establishing a farm safety program," said Jamie Hall, chief operating officer, SAFE Work Manitoba. "This program will help make Manitoba’s farms safer for farmers, their families and for workers. We look forward to a continued partnership by working with KAP to bring safety information and resources to Manitoba farms."

Work to establish the program will begin immediately. Funding will be provided through the Growing Forward 2 – Growing Actions program, which supports industry-led initiatives to increase competitiveness and develop innovative solutions for agricultural organizations. The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.