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The 2018 Mission: Farm Safety for “Yours, Theirs & All” + Bonus Tips

Safety seems to be that little word that gets people – especially in the ag industry – feeling anything but safe. When it comes to the financial bottom line, and a pathological way of farming for generations, many farmers and producers feel threatened. Drawn-out implementations of various Bills and Labour Standards only amplify their worries. Yet, as seen by various campaigns such as Ag Safety Week and Grain Bin Safety week to name a few, there is an astounding level of commitment to provide a safe environment.

To help us navigate Ag Safety, we are proud to host Dan Trottier – Integral member of Tatonga Consulting’s safety consulting team in today’s discussion. Dan has been involved in Ag his whole life – from on his own family farm days, to helping operations improve their safety systems for the past 20 years! We’re proud to have him answer some of your very own questions!

 

AGRALINKS: What are three (3) simple things farmers can do to improve the safety of their operation?

Dan Trottier:

  • Hazard Assessment: Perhaps the greatest opportunity for them to set up a safety strategy would be to formally address what hazards are on the farm. Additionally, every operation is different. So, each site is going to have unique hazards that represent danger for the workers that are doing the jobs. Using language that means something to the farm is very important. It’s pointless to use fancy terms that don’t mean anything to the workers. Keep it real.

 

  • Measures of Control: Once you have identified those hazards, look at how you will control those hazards; eye protection, as an example. What barriers can you place around those hazards? What kinds of policies, rules, and procedures are you going to have to protect the worker from those hazards? What kind of PPE or safety gear will those workers wear? Establishing a hazard control plan goes a long way towards a successful farm safety strategy!

 

  • Train them right: Now you can focus on training. What are you going to do to train your workers? Job-specific training, equipment-specific training, etc. Performing a competency assessment to determine if a worker is able to perform the task in a safe manner is an important step . Standardize your training for all workers and all ages to ensure that everyone has a comman base of understanding for completing the work safely.

 

AGRALINKS: When a farmer considers expansion/diversification opportunities, what safety measures should be taken into consideration?

Dan Trottier:

  • Just Pause for a Moment: When you’re thinking about expansion or a new building; or simply moving into a new direction, this could mean new equipment with new problems. Just pause. It doesn’t have to be a long pause. Think of the safety considerations that might be coming along with that new expansion. Identify that if you’re purchasing new bins, as an example, and working heights has always been an issue on your operation; there’s a cost to have proper stairs or climbing devices put in. Before implementation, it’s often the best time from a cost perspective and training perspective to analyze the how to do those jobs safely and engineer some safety designs into the expansion plan. It’s just a good consideration along with building and design, or the business plan to have safety as an included section.
    • AGRALINKS: In the business plan, safety should have some budget allocated?
      • Yes, I think a lot of operations are worried about how much safety costs. And the conversation that we often have with agribusiness owners is that there is a cost of extra time for training or, there might be an extra cost for equipment you might need to replace. But the downside to someone getting hurt or injured could be catastrophic. It’s a bit of a risk evaluation. It’s where you go from hazard control to a risk assessment. You say okay, here’s the most risk in my operation – that’s where I’m going to focus most of my budget and identify how I’m going to provide training in those areas. I see that a safety management system seems like a book of documents to an operation. However, they should see it as a critical piece that supports the business with better efficiencies and ultimately contributes to the bottom line while protecting people at the same time.

 

AGRALINKS: It’s very apparent that you have a passion for agriculture. Are you able to pinpoint one specific reason why you do what you do?

Dan Trottier:

  • For me, it’s all about the kids. If I could help every farm that I visit put up a sign that says: “We have safety on the farm for the children that live and work in this operation – yours, theirs, & all”, I would. For me, children is everybody from the toddler to the 24-26 year-old workers. Protecting those people from the hazards that they’re not aware of, or that they don’t respect; that’s my biggest motivating factor for helping provide safety in this industry.

 

AGRALINKS: Do you have any final tips you would give to anyone making major safety changes in the near future?

Dan Trottier:

  • That would be to ask plenty of questions, and let’s stop looking at safety as something that we are being told we have to do. Let’s make safety something that we want to do.

 

We want to thank Dan Trottier of Tatonga Consulting Group for sharing his mission, and some tips we can implement on our operations to ensure we all stay safe!

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Dan Trottier
Special Guest

Dan Trottier

#Tatonga Safety professional looking to put #SMRT back into safety.

Designations: BSc PAg CHSC CRSP

Professional Societies/Associations: SIA CSSE ASSE AIC IOSH AIC AOSSA

Years in Safety Related Work: 20+

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