Now that the Bill 6 consultation process is winding down, the coalition of Alberta agriculture groups, AgCoalition, is turning its focus back to advancing safety culture and QHSE on Alberta farms.
Formed in January, the 29 farms in the coalition represent 97 percent of Alberta’s agricultural industry. Since January, AgCoalition has been kept busy in a consultation process regarding Alberta’s Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. Key changes came into effect as a result of this act, including requiring WCB coverage of all paid workers, and ensuring that all OHS basic safety standards will apply to workers.
The consultation process led to a fairly major amendment in Bill 6, making it so that unpaid workers are not affected. Exemptions under this act include; farm families who do not have any waged workers, unpaid farm and ranch workers (relatives, friends, or neighbours helping out on the family farm), and children doing chores.
Now that this process is winding down, AgCoalition can turn its attention back to its original objective, which was to take leadership in developing and advancing safety culture and leading practices for farm and ranch safety. In the coming months, AgCoalition will be working with its members to plan and shape what the future of safety on Alberta farms and ranches will look like.
In the first half of 2016, the WCB received 395 claims from Alberta farm employees, of which 356 were accepted. Compared to the numbers from 2015, this is a sharp increase with nearly double the amount of injury claims. While these statistics show a sharp increase in reported farm injuries and fatalities, it actually indicates an improvement in participation rates among Alberta’s farm employees. Since January, it has been mandatory for workers to report safety hazards and incidents, and farm employees are now becoming more active in reporting workplace injuries, allowing for more accurate statistics and better insight into managing safety processes through proper education and programming. This data will also support the implementation of regulations and standards specifically tailored to manage workplace safety on farms.
With a firm belief in making workplace safety a part of their lifestyle, the AgCoalition shows that Alberta’s agriculture industry is committed to advancing and innovating safety performance. Soon, we hope to see this industry begin to adopt QHSE/EHS software solutions to redefine and manage health and safety processes. With the detailed logic and technical capabilities to streamline safety processes across the spectrum of connected devices, iTrak allows organizations to manage every facet of their quality and safety processes, from hazard identification, performing inspections, workflows, and audits. Combining QHSE/EHS processes with the power of mobile tablets and smartphones provides additional opportunities to encourage broad use, ensure compliance, and most importantly stay safe.
To read more on ‘Farm groups plan to lead the way on workplace safety’ please go to: http://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/2016/11/07/farm-groups-plan-to-lead-the...