Farm Safety Week
Farm Safety Week is March 12-18 and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) offers various resources and programs available to help keep children safe on the farm.
“For many young Albertans, farming is a key element in their lifestyle,” AF farm safety youth coordinator Janice Donkers says in a news release.
“Children growing up on a family farm have many opportunities to gain rewarding life experiences, whether it’s increasing responsibilities of age-appropriate tasks, learning the importance of hard work, or understanding the value of a dollar.”
However, given the dual role of farms as homes and workplaces, children are inherently exposed to agricultural hazards and the possibilities of injuries through play, work, and the passive observation of adults at work.
In fact, between 1990 and 2013, the Injury Prevention Centre, based at University of Alberta, recorded a total of 75 agriculture-related fatalities of children under the age of 15.
That is an average of three deaths each year.
“The three most common causes of farm-related fatalities for children are being run over by equipment, drowning, and death resulting from equipment rollovers,” says Donkers.
“It’s important for community members to know what they can do to help raise children in their communities to celebrate the benefits of life on the farm while also keeping them safe.”
Donkers says a popular approach to promote farm safety awareness and education among children and their families is to organize a farm safety day camp.
Those community-based events are typically organized and offered through local schools or community organizations.
In most camps, children move in small groups through a number of stations or sessions where they learn about specific safety topics, such as equipment, chemical, or livestock safety in presentations lasting no more than 20 minutes, depending on the age of the children.
“Organizers can customize the sessions based on what works best for their farm families,” Donkers says.
“They may choose to educate about topics that have in one way or another made an impact on their community, such as ATV or dugout safety.”
For more information about these resources and programs, visit the Alberta Farm Safety Program website at www.agriculture.alberta.ca/farmsafety.