Keeping our Kids Safe – Farm Safety Week

Farm-Safety-Sign-PKE-18287_1000.gifHappy Farm Safety Week everyone!!

So it’s farm safety week, what does that mean? We will be extra safe for one week of the year? Or do we all try to implement a safer way to do an on-farm task? How do we carry the lessons learned this week throughout the entire year?

Honestly, growing up on a dairy farm in Newfoundland we were kind of terrible at safety. Not that we did a lot of unsafe things, but because a lot of tasks on the 220 milking herd were dangerous for kids, my brother and I were not allowed to participate until we were much older. Driving tractors was a “no-no” not because we would be bad at driving them but because someone else might not see you as they come flying around a corner. Majority of our farm land is approximately 20 mins away from the farm, therefore required taking public roads making drivers licences a necessity also.
This year farm safety focuses on kids and the importance of ensuring their well-being. This was is a wise move considering the unfortunate events and media frenzy that has surrounded kids “working” on farms. Personally, growing up and having worked on a farm, involving young people and taking the time to talk about the dangers instead of simply avoiding them all together is a better solution.  Talk with your kids, discuss the hazards and explain to them why you may or may not be comfortable taking on a certain task. The Ag Safety Website has a bunch of awesome resources! (http://www.agsafetyweek.ca/) casa_casw_2016_agsafe_family_english_-_colour_vertical

My favourite is identifying basic skills your child can try and then you as a parent or guardian is able determine if the child is able to safely complete the task. Can he/she push a shopping cart? Perhaps then they can push a feed cart. It breaks down tasks into components, making it easier to identify if a task is safe. I understand not all farms can hire staff and require children to assist in work, but please ensure they are well trained and regularly supervised.

I realize our lives can get hectic and safety hits the back burner, but that’s unfortunately when accidents occur. Take the time to review farm tasks with employees, children, family and even neighbours. I am fully aware farm safety isn’t a glamourous topic and is often hard to engage others in the discussion. We as women need to reinforce this notion and ensure everyone involved is on the same page. Take a leader role in safety as all our lives and livelihoods depend on it.

-Robyn Walsh

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