Foundations of Safety
Safety education and consultation is what we do at AgSafe BC. That’s why we are introducing a short eight-part series about the foundations of workplace safety.
While much of the information in this series applies to smaller agricultural producers, the series in general is intended to highlight the foundations of a robust workplace health and safety program regardless of operation size.
New elements will be featured in the Dirt on Ag, and added throughout the year.
Is your Occupational Health and Safety program paying off?
The Certificate of Recognition (COR) program is an incentive program that recognizes and rewards employers for implementing an effective Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program and demonstrating a commitment to workplace health and safety.
Participation in the COR program is voluntary, and for as few as 1 – 2 hours per month you could achieve COR certification and claim the benefits associated with being COR certified, which include:
- Increased confidence in meeting regulatory requirements
- Demonstration of commitment, leadership, and dedication to managing risks to people on site
- Competitive advantage when hiring employees because COR certification instills trust
- Protects the operation
- Annual incentive payments and proven lower claims costs
Examples of potential incentive payments*:
|Farm Type by Commodity||Classification Unit||Base Rate (2019)||Assessable Payroll||Potential Incentive|
|Ranch||701022||$6.16||$163,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Orchard||701017||$2.22||$450,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Berry||701003||$1.30||$775,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Dairy||701005||$2.67||$375,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Vegetable Farming (Field)||701025||$3.41||$295,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Poultry||701020||$1.44||$700,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
|Horse Ranching||701023||$6.12||$170,000 or less||Lesser of $1000 or 75% of premium|
* Eligibility requirements exist, more details can be found here: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/certificate-recognition/incentives
You can determine your ROI by using the COR Safety Ready self-assessment tool. Enter and track your unique details here: http://safetyready.agsafebc.ca/roi
- AgSafe BC has agriculture-experienced, qualified, professional health and safety consultants and advisors available throughout the province. AgSafe services and resources are free of charge to our levied members.
- Contact AgSafe BC at any time through our contact page at: http://agsafebc.ca/contact-us/ or by calling toll-free 1-877-533-1789.
What should I do next?
- Register for the COR program via this link http://agsafebc.ca/cor/cor-registration/
- Share this series with family and friends and make it a community effort
- Watch for Part One in March 2019
Leadership and commitment is a good place to start when building your safety system. In this article we discuss what a commitment to safety looks like and how you can involve your workers and family members.
How to demonstrate leadership and commitment
Engaging workers in the development, implementation and review of a workplace safety program shows leadership and commitment. A strong Occupational Health and Safety policy is your promise as the employer or owner to protect your workers, and other site visitors from harm. You want them to know that their safety is as important to you as production, and that you are willing and able to take steps to prevent a serious injury or the death of any individual.
AgSafe has developed OHS policy templates that you can use as a starting point:
The templates are designed to be modified to suit different needs, but before making any significant changes discuss them with your AgSafe BC safety advisor or regional safety consultant. If you haven’t met your consultant or advisor, contact our office. AgSafe consultants and advisors are qualified hand-picked agriculture-experienced health and safety professionals. Their services are free of charge to AgSafe members in all regions of B.C.
Things to consider
Your OHS policy, which is your safety promise to your family, friends and workers, may include:
- Statement of owner/organizational responsibility to:
- Provide a safe and healthy workplace
- Set goals and timelines for achieving safety standards and implementing a full safety program
- Develop the safety program in consultation with AgSafe to meet those goals and deadlines
- Confirmation of your commitment to:
- Value worker participation in safety
- Provide resources to maintain and improve your safety program, such as training, instruction, demonstration and supervision
- Resolve identified issues promptly
- Review the statement of responsibility annually
- Be in compliance with regulations
- Make the policy known to workers, contractors and other on-site persons
- Description of the worker rights/responsibilities
- Right to know (about hazards and safety resources)
- Right to participate in terms of:
- Reporting of unsafe acts or conditions
- Using controls such as written instructions, universal signage and PPE
- Assisting worker representatives or committee members
- Right to refuse work that is reasonably considered unsafe to the worker or others
- The signature of the owner or senior manager, and the current date
How to involve others in the process
You will benefit greatly by involving your workers and family early on. In some cases it is a requirement. Workers, along with the AgSafe team, can help you with the next steps that will be discussed in upcoming articles:
- Identifying hazards
- Assessing risks
- Evaluating and implementing controls
- Complete the Safety Policy Template for your location
- Complete the monthly meeting agenda and minutes
- Ensure you have “discussed the safety policy” as an agenda item
- Introduce your worker safety representative at the first safety meeting and identify that person at each successive meeting
Recognizing things that may hurt you, a worker or family member is the first step to hazard identification. The next step is to find a way to determine which hazards are most risky to workers and operating the business. Last, is to consider and implement various ways to stop or reduce the possibility of injury.
Developing a Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control Process will help you build confidence in your ability to manage worker safety. Involving others in this process will make the outcome more successful and help get buy-in from your team.
Documenting the process is vital to success, and the first component of the process is a written policy. Apply the process to hazards related to your unique operation and document implementation. AgSafe safety advisors and consultants will support you along the way.
Things to consider
Remember that your Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control Policy is an important promise.
The policy must include:
- Ways to check jobs or activities, equipment and conditions for hazards.
- A risk assessment strategy that helps prioritize hazards from most hazardous to least.
- A Control Implementation Plan based on the ordered list (found below) when considering how to stop or reduce the potential loss.
How to identify hazards, prioritize in terms of risk, and determine controls
How to Identify a Hazard
- Receive reports from workers or visitors.
- Discuss hazards during your safety talks.
- Use inspection reports.
How to Prioritize Risk
- Identify likelihood and consequence of the hazard.
- Compare to likelihood and consequences of other hazards.
- Select and implement controls based on most risky to least risky hazard.
How to apply controls
Monitoring and Evaluating Control Measures
- Make sure the controls selected are implemented as planned.
- Determine whether they are effective.
- Look out for hazards that may be introduced by the controls implemented.
AgSafe has developed OHS templates that you can use as a starting point:
Hazard ID Policy
Hazard and Site Specific Assessment
Hazard Reporting Form
Risk Assessment Matrix
Assessment of Tasks, Situations or Equipment and Risk Assessment Rating Matrix
Hazard Control Decision Process and Control Plan
These templates are designed for you to modify to meet your needs. However, before making any significant changes to a template, discuss proposed changes with an AgSafe safety advisor or regional safety consultant – they’ll help you stay in compliance and prepare you for COR certification at the same time *bonus*.
If you haven’t met your consultant or advisor, contact our office. AgSafe consultants and advisors are qualified hand-picked agriculture-experienced health and safety professionals. Their services are free of charge to AgSafe members in all regions of B.C.
How to involve others in the process
- Consult the people doing the work. They are often most familiar with the hazards – include yourself.
- Ask your workers about hazards and risks related to the work they perform – document it.
- Promote problem solving and safety discussions with your team.
In Part 1 – Leadership and Commitment, we discussed the importance of involving others in building your safety system. This is where that work begins to pay off and AgSafe safety professionals can help you with this too.
Complete the Hazard Identification Policy for your location. Support the policy by documenting the hazards, risk assessments and controls. Include things you are already doing for full credit!
- Apply the policy to a number of hazards and use our Hazard Control Decision Process and Control Plan form. Keep the documentation for reference and to show due diligence.
- Discuss the following and complete a ‘Tool Box Talk’ or monthly meeting minutes:
- Hazard ID, risk assessment and control process.
- Identified hazards, risks and controls that are unique to your operation.
- Be sure to mention PPE requirements as part of the controls you use.
Our Regional Consultants and Safety Advisors are familiar with many hazards found in a variety of agricultural environments. Take advantage of their experience and remember to check back next month when we discuss written instructions and procedures.
As a producer and employer you’ve made a promise to your family and workers to keep them and you safe. In Part 3 of Foundations of Safety we talk about how to develop safe work procedures for specific tasks; how to communicate and follow-through on those procedures; and how to engage others in determining what are the safest procedures for your particular workplace.
AgSafe has a “Safe Work Practice/Procedure Policy” template to get you started. Use this template to develop practice and procedure documents which are extremely helpful in providing training and instruction for how you want a task performed at your location. These documents may also form part of your due diligence documentation should something go wrong unexpectedly.
The Safe Work Practice/Procedure Policy might include:
- Commitment to develop and maintain SWPs for hazards identified unique to your operation.
- Communication plans to keep your workers informed of safe ways to do things, and records of those communications.
- A commitment to monitor how closely workers apply the SWP, through your valuable supervisors.
How to develop a Safe Work Procedure
There are many ways to do this. AgSafe’s safety advisors and regional consultants can discuss options that take advantage of practices you are already doing.
Downloading the Safe Work Procedure Template is the first step.
How to use the template
1. Describe the task.
2. Specify required training
3. Select proper PPE
Prior to providing task training, do the following.
- Describe potential hazards – These usually come from the hazard identification performed earlier, but may be amended or added to if equipment or conditions change. Include your experienced workers when completing this section.
- Perform Pre-Operational Safety Checks – This is an inspection so remember to record it.
Tasks can be broken down into stages. Complete the three sections of the SWP according to each stage.
3 Stages of Work
1. Before you start
2. While you’re working
3. After you finish
Breaking the task down into a step-by-step process is a good way to explain it to others. Provide those steps as clearly and simply as you can, and be specific about what is expected. Provide relevant information to the farm manager or supervisor.
How to involve others in the process
- Have open and honest conversations with your workers. Their experience and input is valuable.
- Ask an AgSafe safety advisors or regional consultant.
- Have your worker safety representative or health and safety committee members contribute their ideas, and aim for agreement with them.
- Be sure to make a note on the form about who was involved in the creation, review or changes, and log the date.
- Complete the Safe Work Practice/Procedure Policy for your location.
- Support the policy by documenting the Safe Work Procedure Template for your priority tasks.
- Discuss the following and complete a Tool Box Talk or monthly meeting minutes.
- Importance of following Safe Work Procedures of your operation.
- Recognize contributions of your workers to the Safe Work Procedures.
- Remind workers of the availability of these resources.
Our Regional Consultants and Safety Advisors are familiar with various agricultural Safe Work Procedures. Take advantage of their experience.
Next month we focus on training and instruction of workers.
As a farm operator, you are probably already familiar with training others on how to do the job the way you like it done. In Part 4, we focus on how to document your training efforts for a variety of tasks and different types of employees – young or new workers versus established employees. When finished, this combined documentation should show that you are training appropriately for the task and in consideration of the individual employee.
AgSafe has a 2-page “Training Policy and Requirements” document to get you started. It starts by indicating areas of responsibility for supervisors regarding training. Page 2 highlights the difference between informal (undocumented) and formal (documented) training procedures, including how to determine which type of training applies to different tasks based on risk level.
These documents are designed to support your management of training and instruction of workers, and should also align with the Training Policy and Requirements document.
- Training Requirements Chart
- Identifies what type of training you provide, informal/formal/certification, and what areas of training are included, orientation, emergency response, first aid.
- Worker Certification Record
- For each employee this lists the position held, types of certification required and an area to track certifications received and expiry dates as appropriate.
- Worker Orientation Checklist
- For each employee includes their signature for verification and is a list of items that should be covered when employees are new or returning to work.
- Training Record (WORD)
- This is a chart where the list of employee names appears down the side and their training areas are indicated according to the subject columns. This document is available in word or excel format
What to do:
- Review the Training Policy and Requirements Make applicable changes for your unique operation as needed.
- Ensure you complete the Worker Orientation Checklist for new and returning employees.
- Identify the training required for various tasks and record in either “Training Requirements Chart” or “Training Record”, or both.
- Review the documents at least annually to ensure they reflect changes in your operation and updates to the training that you have provided. Be sure to have a manager sign and date after reviewing.
How to involve others in the process
- Talk with workers about the hazards associated with the tasks they perform, and ask for their opinions regarding the risk levels of those tasks.
- Contact your AgSafe safety advisor or provincial consultant with questions or if assistance is needed.
- Document, document, document. It cannot be stressed enough that you should always document your activities regarding orientation and training of workers.
- Add the training and instruction of workers policy to your Health and Safety program.
- Discuss the following and complete a ‘Tool Box Talk Log’ or monthly meeting minutes.
- Importance of training for your operation.
- Workers may ask if they don’t understand parts of the training or task.
- New or returning worker orientation prior to beginning work.
Our regional safety consultants and safety advisors can provide training, and in some cases can help with training for Spanish and Punjabi speakers. Take advantage of our team’s expertise.
Next month we focus on workplace inspections.