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Safety week’s over. Now get with the Plan!

Canadian Agricultural Safety Week wrapped up on the weekend but there are 51 more weeks to practise what Safety Week preached — PLAN.FARM.SAFETY.

As a farm owner, operator or manager, you are responsible for the safety and health of everyone who lives, works or visits your farm or ranch. Everyone. Every day. That’s why you really need to get with the plan. The Canada FarmSafe Plan.

Developed by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, this comprehensive, straightforward plan will work for you — no matter what sort of farm you run or where.

The Canada FarmSafe Plan is a business risk management tool. The Plan’s best practices recommendations provide you with guidance on developing an effective health and safety program for your operation.

But let’s be honest here. It takes commitment. It delivers security. It could save lives.

Remember — safety on the farm isn’t some kind of charitable donation for family and employees. It’s an investment that directly contributes to positive financial performance. Safety must be part of farm risk management.

Investing up front in safety training, equipment, repairs and anything related to keeping safe on the farm is always less expensive than recovering from injuries, illness or damage. Good farm safety practices makes good business sense.

Successful business people know that a dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned. Think of farm safety risk management the same way. A loss prevented is worth more than increased production.

Risk management encompasses four areas of health and safety risks to a farm business: prosecution, economic loss, commodity loss and human resource loss.

Prosecution is legal action that can occur at three levels — regulatory, civil and criminal. Regulatory action refers to provincial occupational health and safety regulations that, in the case of an incident, puts the onus on the business owner-operator to prove all possible preventative measures were taken. Civil action could be taken by the injured party if it is believed that the employer failed to provide a safe work environment. Criminal liability sets out legal duties for workplace health and safety and can assign penalties for violations that result in injuries or death.

Economic loss is the second business risk. Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) has determined the average costs of workplace injuries are $275,000 for a fatality, $143,000 for a permanent disability, $10,000 for hospitalization and $700 for non-hospitalized injuries. An incident could also cause thousands of dollars of damage to machinery and property.

Commodity loss is the third business risk. Depending on the type of incident, this may include loss of livestock, crops or buildings, lost productivity, and loss of optimal opportunity such as for planting or harvesting.

And finally, human resource loss is a significant risk to any agricultural business. In addition to the pain and suffering of the affected person, there can be a significant impact on the well-being of employees with added work pressures, finding and training a replacement worker, and administrative and possible legal paperwork related to the incident.

Risk management planning can go a long way toward ensuring a successful farm operation. And the template for that planning is a couple of clicks away. Download the core Canada FarmSafe Plan at www.planfarmsafety.ca . Get with the Plan! †

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