Agri-retailers play an important role in Canadian Agricultural Safety Week.
Agriculture is one of the most dangerous workplaces in Canada, claiming the lives of over 80 Canadian adults and children in an average year, according to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). Promoting safety is the responsibility of everyone in the industry, but agri-retailers are uniquely positioned to have a strong influence on farm safety.
“Agri-retailers are knowledgeable about their products, about hazards their customers might face and are a part of the larger farm family. They have a valued position and can be influencers for farm safety,” says Robin Anderson, communications officer for CASA. “Agri-retailers have the confidence of their customers and are often trusted members of their communities.”
That trust and influence is why CASA is encouraging agri-retailers to get involved with Canadian Agricultural Safety Week.
This year’s Ag Safety Week runs from March 12 - 18, 2017, and coincides with the second year of CASA’s three-year campaign “Be an AgSafe Family.” The theme of the first year of the campaign was “Keeping Kids Safe.” This year’s theme is “Appealing to Adults” and will focus on the hazards adults face on their operations.
Creating a Culture of Safety
When talking to adults about farm safety, Anderson says one of the biggest challenges is simply getting adults to realize they should make their personal safety a priority.
“Everybody wants to see kids be safe, but sometimes, as adults, we forget our safety is important too,” she says. “There are lots of pressures on adults and sometimes personal safety and wellness get sidelined because of a multitude of reasons. Convincing adults that their safety is vital to the success of their family and their farm is going to be an important message this Ag Safety Week.”
Agri-retailers have extensive knowledge of safely handling hazardous products, which puts them in a valuable position. Through education and influence, they can pass that knowledge to their customers and make their safety a priority in the workplace.
“Sometimes, agri-retailers don’t know or realize the influence they have over their customers. We’d like to encourage these retailers to make safety an everyday part of the discussion when working with their customers,” says Anderson, who believes this will have a large impact over time.
“This kind of thinking and action requires a mind shift. If we normalize safety as integral to everything we do, we can create a culture of safety,” she adds.
CASA encourages agri-retailers across Canada to participate in Ag
Safety Week by holding events in their communities and becoming champions for farm safety, something agri-retailers are well equipped to do.
“By participating in Ag Safety Week, agri-retailers can send the message that they are dedicated to safety. Agri-retailers and farmers are the best farm safety champions,” says Anderson. “Those who work in agriculture are passionate about the industry and want to see it thrive and succeed, and part of this is being safe on the farm.”
Sometimes, agri-retailers don’t know or realize the influence they have over their customers. We’d like to encourage these retailers to make safety an everyday part of the discussion when working with their customers.
The AgSafe Ribbon Campaign
One way to get involved during Ag Safety Week is to participate in the AgSafe Ribbon Campaign. Ribbons will be available to order from agsafetyweek.ca leading up to Ag Safety Week. The ribbons are a starting point for conversation about farm safety, and the campaign will ask all Canadians what role they play in the AgSafe Family.
After ordering the ribbons, participants are encouraged to find creative and engaging ways to use them as conversation starters. Some participants may want to host an evening with a guest speaker and give a ribbon to everyone in attendance. CASA suggests putting farm safety on the agenda of a local club or association meeting and passing out ribbons.
CASA encourages anyone who has their own ideas about how to use the ribbons to share it on social media. Use the hashtag
#AgSafeFamily so others can see your idea and get inspired. The strength of the ribbon campaign is its ability to integrate into any situation while bringing farm safety to the forefront of the conversation.
Plans and Toolkits
CASA has also developed a number of resources to help agri-retailers organize safety events and encourage safety among producers.
One of the resources CASA will provide for Ag Safety Week 2017 is Toolbox Talks addressing the seven most common agricultural fatalities. Toolbox Talks can be downloaded from CASA’s website, and can be customized to an individual farm’s specifications. CASA’s flagship resource, Canada FarmSafe Plan, provides producers with information on identifying and controlling hazards and can be customized to their operation.
Ag Safety Week is one week long, but farm safety issues don’t go away once the week is over. CASA encourages
agri-retailers to be farm safety champions year-round. By normalizing safety and creating a
culture that values it, we can all work toward a future where no one loses their lives farming in Canada each year.
Order AgSafe Ribbons for your workplace or community today at agsafetyweek.ca
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