MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke about Safety in Agriculture in the Legislature

Today, MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke about Safety in the Agriculture industry in the Legislature. You can watch the video here, or read the transcript below.

Did you know that agricultural workers had a higher injury rate than the provincial average and double the average for serious injury? Work-related fatalities are a real risk too, especially around farm equipment. Farming can be a dangerous occupation for producers, workers and their families. I’m speaking of agriculture because this week is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week.

Consider ranching. A young worker enthused and full of that sense of invincibility that comes with youth or the 70-year-old head of the family ranch with so many years on the job he can do it in his sleep, working alone out on the back forty, miles in from the last dirt road, using farm equipment, driving tractors and other vehicles and handling livestock.

A disproportionate number of WorkSafe B.C. claims come from ranching. Working on a ranch or any of the nearly 30 sectors of farming doesn’t have to be so risky. There are ways to reduce the chances of injury and death. WorkSafe B.C. works with industry associations and other stakeholder groups. The focus for 2018 is on working in confined spaces, tractor safety, training for those new and young workers, use and storage of pesticides, mushroom composting and vehicle safety. They are on the ground with 15 prevention officers dedicated to agriculture.

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and Canadian Federation of Agriculture are highlighting seniors risk management this year, making physical changes to the working environment, like adding more lighting to workspaces, rollbars to tractors, practising planned communications with the farm team and modifying the work to match their body’s changing capacity.

These kinds of improvements help everyone. I feel better biting into my mushroom burger knowing that those who made it possible are working in the safest conditions possible.