Last week the federal and provincial levels of governments announced a $1.5 million investment to the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) for the FarmSafe Manitoba program, to promote safe and healthy farm operations in Manitoba.
The FarmSafe Manitoba program provides resources that cover various aspects of farm safety including machinery operation, livestock handling, chemical handling, and emergency preparedness. FarmSafe Manitoba aims to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities and promote a culture of safety in the agricultural community. The project also seeks to raise awareness about the importance of workplace safety in the Manitoba agri-food sector and improve the overall well-being of farmers and farm workers.
KAP Manager of Communications & Stakeholder Relations, Colin Hornby, says KAP administers the FarmSafe Manitoba program but also partners with commodity groups, advisory councils and secondary education institutions as well.
"Essentially what we do is provide farm-specific resources, safety assessments, hazard identification, and other types of training sessions free of charge to Manitoba producers," explains Hornby. "So, our goal is essentially to make sure that we have as many producers who are engaged with farm safety working as safe as possible in the province on the farm for themselves and for all of their employees."
"This is for physical safety as well as for their mental health," he adds.
When it comes to working with, as well as in and around heavy machinery, things can go wrong very fast. We have all heard a multitude of horror stories of limbs lost, lives lost, and serious injuries taking place because of situations we may or may not have control over.
Hornby says one of the big things about FarmSafe is getting people to just think about safety; What can go wrong? Is there a better and safer way?
"We want people to think about having a 'culture' of safety, and what does that mean?"
"The On Farm engagement piece is what I think is the most valuable part of this, I mean we do have the education and the awareness components, but we provide that actual 'on farm' safety component," explains Hornby. "So, we have a safety consultant who is a farmer herself, and she is certified in numerous safety certification fields. She will come out to your farm, take a look at everything. Do a full assessment and identify where you're lacking and where things are good and provide recommendations."
"But if people just want to ask a question or two or do a zoom call, we can do that too," he adds. "We try to tailor it to everybody's operation."
"Another thing I want to highlight is that sometimes people are hesitant when it comes to safety," adds Hornby. "They don't want to talk about it because they're afraid that if we come to their farm and we find there's something they might be doing that's not meeting the standards and we're going to tell the government. And that's absolutely not what we're here to do. We're here to help people. It's all confidential and we're here to help you be safe. That's all that we care about, making sure that farmers have the tools and resources to make their farm as safe as they can."
Please listen to more with Colin Hornsby below!
KAP and FarmSafe Manitoba will be hosting 2 First Aid courses through St. John's Ambulance, one of those in the Westman Region: Virden, March 14th. This is free for producers to attend and is in partnership with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.
For more information on FarmSafe Manitoba click HERE!