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Farmers short on plans, time for safety: FCC

Only about 15 per cent of farmers have a formal safety plan in place for their operations, according to a Farm Credit Canada panel survey showing “a gap between intention and action.”

The federal ag and agri-food lending agency on Wednesday released the latest survey data from its Vision Panel, a national online research panel with over 9,000 members including farmers and others involved in farming or agribusiness.

The same panel turned up 83 per cent of participating farmers who believe farm safety is important, FCC said.

Precautions for children are the general safety measure most frequently practised, at 93 per cent, FCC reported Wednesday. Over eight out of 10 respondents state they practise safe equipment handling (89 per cent), safe livestock handling (85 per cent) and training family members (83 per cent) on a regular basis.

On the other hand, FCC reported, just half the respondents (51 per cent) said that they order additional safety options, such as ladders and monitors. Two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) report that they regularly work when tired, and only one-third manage stress (32 per cent). “Working tired and working under stress increase the chance of injury,” FCC said.

“It makes sense that producers say they make the safety of their children their top priority,” said Marcel Hacault, a southeastern Manitoba hog farmer and executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, which partnered with FCC on the study.

“But we have work ahead of us to convince producers to include their own safety as a priority. We definitely see a gap between intention and action.”

The Vision Panel members reported that their “key barriers” to practising safety measures were old habits (35 per cent) and time constraints (31 per cent). “In short, producers take shortcuts to get the job done,” FCC wrote.

Farmers surveyed said they considered on-farm safety a priority for three key reasons: safekeeping of family members; potential for financial loss in accidents due to lost productivity; and the impact of first-hand exposure to farm accidents.

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