Three new tools are available for the agriculture industry. To find out more about them, I called Wendy Bennett, the executive director of BC’s Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA).
My Confined Spaces
Toxic gases or lack of oxygen can strike suddenly, without warning, even when the task is something you’ve been doing the same way for decades. I wrote about this in my post Facing down confined spaces on BC farms – and this new app offers another solution.
My Confined Spaces makes it easier for agriculture employers to create an inventory of the confined spaces on their property. I downloaded it to my iPhone for free from the iTunes App store and was impressed to note the commonsense reminder in its initial message: “Warning: Keep a safe distance from any confined space while using this app.”
Here’s how it works. Farmers choose their commodity from a dropdown list – such as a dairy farm, greenhouse, or berry farm, for example – then the app lists types of confined spaces that are found commonly on that type of operation. They select which ones apply to their farm and see options for keeping workers safe around them.
“It shows you what all the hazards typically are and you can choose all or none of them, depending on the specific situation,” Wendy says. “This allows them to focus on their business while ensuring they’re following the rules and keeping everybody safe.”
Health and safety for small- and medium-sized ranches
Ranching is one of the most dangerous occupations in agriculture with hazards that include working with heavy equipment, such as tractors and chainsaws, as well as animals that can weigh more than a tonne. To address these hazards, FARSHA worked with WorkSafeBC and the BC Cattlemen’s Association to produce this new booklet.
It includes information about specific hazards ranch workers face, and how to eliminate or minimize their impact. Also available is a PDF version of just the forms and checklists found in the book. Employers can use it to develop, implement, and maintain their own health and safety programs.
“A health and safety program doesn’t have to be a big, cumbersome document,” Wendy says.
Health and Safety in Ranching: A Field Guide for Owners and Employers
“It’s short, sweet, and to the point,” says Wendy. “It’s small. It’s portable. You can stick it in your pocket or throw it in the glove box. It’s readily accessible, where ever you’re going to be. You can easily find whatever topic you’re looking for.”
Thanks to Wendy – once again – for talking with me about available resources.