Preventing noise-induced hearing loss on farms

Why WCB of PEI is offering free noise assessments for potato farmers

Preventing noise-induced hearing loss on farms

In a proactive move to address occupational health concerns within the potato farming industry, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island (PEI) has announced a pioneering initiative.

The WCB's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Division is extending a helping hand to Island potato farmers by offering free noise level assessments. These assessments aim to identify potential risks of noise-induced hearing loss among workers and contribute to the creation of educational materials tailored to the potato industry.

"Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to any work-related injury or illness, which includes noise-induced hearing loss," says Danny Miller, the WCB's director of occupational health and safety. "Potato farmers are employers, and they know how important it is to keep their workers and themselves safe."

Farms can be high-risk workplaces. They can also be noisy, especially when it comes to heavy machinery used to cultivate crops. While the WCB of PEI is focusing on potato farmers, the learnings that will come from the initiative could likely be more broadly applied to farmers right across Canada

Acknowledging the importance of collaboration, Miller highlighted the role of education and resource development. "We can use that information to determine what kind of resources we should develop with respect to educational resources to distribute within the potato industry and other farming operations and other workplaces for that matter.”

Despite the potential benefits of such initiatives, Miller acknowledged challenges in securing volunteers. "It's really hard to say [if we'll get many volunteers]," Miller notes. "We have limited resources with the ability to go into the farms to do it. So we're hoping to end up with six as a starting point."

When asked about existing measures for hearing protection, Miller acknowledged the efforts made by employers but stressed the need for continuous improvement. "My understanding is farm employers now are pretty good at providing hearing protection. But that doesn't say there can't be improvement," he says. "At the same time, it's very preventable."

The WCB's initiative underscores a commitment to proactive measures in safeguarding the health and well-being of potato farmers and their workers. With the collaboration of volunteers, the WCB aims to pave the way for safer work environments and heightened awareness of occupational health hazards.

As the potato farming community joins hands in this endeavor, the resonance of safety echoes across the fields of Prince Edward Island, promising a future where the sound of progress is not overshadowed by the silence of preventable injuries.