A Quickstart Guide for Farms, Ranches and New Safety Programs

As a result of new regulations introduced by the Province of Alberta over the past couple of years, many farmers have now found themselves wearing a new hat: safety manager.

Even small family farms with waged, non-family farm and ranch workers now fall under provincial occupational health and safety regulations, and with those changes come the need for farmers and ranchers to incorporate some new safety plans and practices into their work.

Even if you’ve always been safety-conscious, being asked to do things differently can be overwhelming to manage – we know it’s a lot of forms, reports and planning to deal with. Here are a few tips for managing safety on small agricultural operations.

Have a support system

Bureaucracy is no fun, but it’s a little easier when you have someone to answer your questions, give advice, provide resources and listen. Try getting in touch with a farmers’ association or organization, like AgSafe Alberta (who we spoke to recently). It’s a perfect way to get the tools and the personal touch needed to navigate safety legislation and craft an effective and manageable safety program.

Go paperless

Stricter safety guidelines means more paperwork, and no one becomes a farmer or rancher because they love paperwork. But the good news is the technology to help you wit those administrative processes has never been better. Get an app like Field Relay and go digital right from the start of your new safety program. It’s just as easy as paper, and neater to organize. Plus you don’t have to worry about finding administrative space just to store everything.

Get the whole team involved

Whether you’re a small farm with a few family members running the whole operation, or have a larger team of staff, get everyone involved in – and even excited about – safety. Get every member of your team to contribute ideas and suggestions, give people their own safety-related responsibilities, and do your best to provide professional development through certification programs, e-learning courses and seminars. When everybody buys in, success comes faster and more easily.

Track your progress

Seeing incidents and near misses shrinking as a result of your efforts is a great feeling. As your safety program grows, take time with your team on a regular basis to track your results and find areas of success. Celebrating those success together is a great way to build morale and motivate your team to keep up the good work.

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