Farm Safety Initiatives
Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)
Your Go to Source for Farm Safety
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The AgSafe Alberta Society is an industry-led organization whose current membership consists of 26 crop and livestock producer groups. AgSafe Alberta develops and delivers farm safety management tools, resources, and programs for Alberta farmers and ranchers. The goal is to help farming operations establish practical farm safety management systems to further enhance a culture of safety, where safety is a fully-integrated part of the farm.
When the Government of Alberta introduced the Bill 6 Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers’ Act in late 2015, Alberta’s agriculture industry took a proactive approach in addressing it, by joining together as the AgCoalition to advocate with one voice on behalf of Alberta’s commodity groups. The formation of AgSafe Alberta in 2018 was one of the outcomes of this coalition. The resources and services that AgSafe Alberta offers farms and ranches reflect the current requirements of the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code, and are informed by hazards identified while doing site hazard assessments on farms and ranches.
AgSafe received a grant from Alberta Labour for $2 million dollars to build our resources so we can better support farms, ranches, and feedlots in Alberta to grow their safety culture. We are actively focused on achieving the following:
AgSafe Alberta’s goal is the establishment and implementation of appropriate, practical safety and health training, and education programs and resources for farmers, farm families, and persons employed in Alberta’s agricultural sector. To achieve this goal, AgSafe has set four objectives:
1. Guideline documents that inform safe work procedures or practical safety guidance
2. Coordinating capacity to provide workshops and resources and to work with other health and safety organizations
3. Industry-wide incident reporting
4. Communications to promote AgSafe and create awareness of a farm safety culture
When the Advanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act (Bill 6) was introduced in the fall of 2015, AWC felt that it was necessary to bring all of the crop and livestock organizations together to discuss how our sector could work together as a unified group in preparation for the upcoming consultations. This inaugural meeting saw historic and unprecedented support from across the crop and livestock sector to work collaboratively in developing a culture of farm and ranch safety in Alberta.
During this first meeting, there was overwhelming support across the board to continue to meet as the ‘AgCoalition,’ and to work together as a sector in preparation for the Bill 6 consultation sessions. This coalition is unprecedented in Alberta history, representing over 97 percent of cropping and livestock producers who share a common cause.
Since its inception, AWC’s staff has provided dedicated in-house support to the AgCoalition to ensure it could continue to build momentum in garnering producer input. Some of the highlights of this work included an online producer survey, as well as three producer meetings held across Alberta that shadowed the government’s consultation process. These workshops gave the agriculture community the opportunity to consider how best to create regulations under Bill 6. The intent of garnering this input was to support AgCoalition representatives at the government’s consultation sessions with information grounded in feedback from their peers.
AWC’s staff continues to support the AgCoalition’s efforts to build a culture of farm and ranch safety by carrying out operational functions under the direction of Interim Executive Director, Gord Winkel. With the consultation work well underway and in some cases complete for certain tables, the AgCoalition members are now working towards the formation of an industry-led farm and ranch safety association, which is consistent with the AgCoalition’s original mandate to ensure improved farm safety for all of those working in the agriculture sector in Alberta. The intent to move forward with an industry-led safety association or society was well received by the provincial government and we will look for opportunities to advance this work with their support.