Starting in 2017 the grace period will be up for farms to have their safety programs in place. If you've lived on a farm your entire life this can seem very overwhelming and you may not even be sure where to start.
May I suggest that you first turn off any preconceived notions? Consider the following: Safety requirements have been designed to prevent injuries and save lives. I don’t think anyone would disagree that’s a good thing. I also don’t think anyone starts their day not caring if a family member or employee gets injured or dies. Let’s keep that as the focus. Now, look around your farm. Consider your regular duties. Would there be a safer way to do them? Essentially, that’s what a safety program is.
As we’re leading into the winter months, make a commitment to yourself that you will spend this time ensuring you have a comprehensive safety program. You would start by identifying the hazards. The first time you do this it will be a big list, but once you have it in place it's easy enough to maintain. You simply complete a hazard assessment whenever the circumstances change (ie. a new piece of equipment is added). After you've identified the hazards you need to prioritize which ones are super risky. You then need to figure out ways to make those super risky tasks less risky. One example would be installing a fall protection system on top of your granaries so that if someone should fall the fall protection system would catch them, instead of the ground. At MI Safety we can help you figure out what is the best system for your set-up, we can get the equipment for you and we can even install it and train you and your employees on it. Contact us, we'd be happy to get you on your way.
Implementing farm safety on your farm does not have to include the feeling that the whole thing is a government cash grab. There are safety training courses available from a variety of sources. Some are sponsored by the government, but others are small businesses, just like yours, who have made safety their priority. At MI Safety we have a variety of farm specific courses that you can conveniently take online. And you won't necessarily have to take courses for every little task. Keep in mind that the farm owners, or an experienced lead hand can provide on-site training to new workers. Just remember, the documentation of that orientation and training is the key! You may want to consider taking some training yourself, to better grasp the concepts of considering safety before getting to work. You can then share that knowledge with your family and other employees. Examples of other safety courses offered by MI Safety includes: