Board of Directors: 1993 to 2018
1993: Mark Thompson (Chair – 1993 to 2006), Larry Campbell (BCAC – 1993 to 2003), Jake Janzen (BCAC – 1993 to 1993), John Schmidt (BCAC – 1993 to 2000), Harke Van der Meulen (BCAC – 1993 to 1998), Satvinder Basran (CFU – 1993 to 2001), Mario Lanthier (CFU – 1993 to 2001), Raj Chohan (CFU – 1993 to 1995), Paul Gill (CFU – 1993 to 1994) 1994: Peter Clarke (BCAC – 1994 to 1994) 1995: John Mathies (BCAC – 1995 to 2000), Charan Gill (CFU – 1995 to Present) 2000: Vic Regier (BCAC – 2000 to 2007), Bill Zylman (BCAC – 2000 to 2010) 2001: Param Grewal (CFU – 2001 to 2008), Jasbir Mann (CFU – 2001 to 2010) 2003: Mark Grafton (BCAC – 2003 to 2007)2006: Ralph McGinn (Chair – 2006 – 2018) 2007: Joy Gammie (BCAC – 2007 to 2017), Tom Hoogendoorn (BCAC – 2007 to 2012) 2010: Guido Konigs (BCAC – 2010 to 2012), Bhupinder Sidhu (CFU – 2010 to Present), Balvindar Aulakh (CFU – 2010 to 2016) 2012: Dick Klein Geltink (BCAC – 2012 to 2016), Gord Mathies (BCAC – 2012 to 2017)2016: Patricia Babij (BCAC – 2016 to Present), Judy Cavanaugh (CFU – 2016 to 2017) 2017: Larry Rast (BCAC – 2017 to Present), Erin Schlacht (BCAC – 2017 to Present), Nina Hansen (CFU – 2017 to Present) 2018: Don Dahr (Chair – 2018 to Present)
AgSafe Through the Years
- The Governors of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) recommends the formation and funding of the Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA) to coordinate and direct activities related to health and safety in the agriculture industry.
- December 23rd, FARSHA receives Certificate of Incorporation certifying that FARSHA is incorporated under the Society Act.
- Bruce Johnson is appointed General Manager of FARSHA. Beginning on May 2nd, Bruce’s illustrious career would span two decades with FARSHA.
- Sandeep Mangat hired in the fall and would deliver safety courses in Punjabi for the growing population of farm workers over the next thirteen years, eventually becoming a Field Officer for WorkSafeBC.
- An office administrator, GeeTee Bala, is added to the team to manage FARSHA’s business operations.
- FARSHA sets up it’s first office at 5755 Glover Road Langley – home to the association until December 2003, when the office moved to its current location in Walnut Grove. The move would be as a result of the organizations growth.
- FARSHA hires 2 more safety coordinators to service the province and develops industry specific safety programs and resources, including decals and signage, to further support the work of the coordinators and enhance the safety programs. Developing resources and hiring safety coordinators proves to be successful.
- FARSHA begins providing courses and safety training for pesticide application, in English and Punjabi; WHMIS and hazardous materials safety management; and safety committee training.
- FARSHA begins developing injury and fatality reports to help the agriculture industry identify cause and prevention.
- The FARMEDIC program is introduced throughout the province. This program proved to be an essential program for farmers as well as FARSHA.
- FARSHA services become more diverse. The number of site visits increase rapidly and there is demand from farms in all regions of the province. In response to the rapid growth in the Okanagan, FARSHA hires a French speaking coordinator to reach the hundreds of workers coming to the region from Quebec.
- FARSHA adds two additional coordinators to the team.
- FARSHA undergoes an independent performance review. Findings prove what Bruce Johnson always knew – FARSHA is highly regarded by the agriculture industry and seen as a benefit to all farms and ranches in B.C.
- This cements the foundation for FARSHA’s long-term goal to reduce the number of injuries and illness in the agriculture workforce. This continues to be the organizations mandate.
- The B.C. Ranching Safety Guide is completed with help and contributions from many ranch industry employers.
- The agricultural community begins to accept and understand the need for workplace safety. At times a challenge, FARSHA believes they are helping employer and safety coordinator to find common ground.
- Carolyn Pearce is hired as the new Office Administrator and is still with the association handling finance and office operations.
- Reg Steward is hired as the Provincial Ranching Safety Coordinator, specifically to assist the ranching industry with its unique health and safety concerns. Reg is now the Superintendent of Field Operations. His philosophy is that “boots on the ground” is the most effective way to succeed in the industry.
- New injury trends are identified. After reviewing numerous reports from WorkSafeBC (WSBC) detailing workplace injury, it is found that strains, sprains and tears contribute to the bulk of injuries in the industry.
- Charlene Olm is hired to develop a pilot program for five companies. According to the participants the program created a safer, healthier environment when workers were permitted to take stretching breaks and alternate tasks. FARSHA incorporates this into safety training program materials.
- B.C.’s agriculture industry continues to see tractor and equipment related safety incidents – six agricultural workers died on the job this year.
- FARSHA’s logic model to report activities and associated outcomes enables the Executive Director, Bruce Johnson, to guide staff and consultants to address trends and act to resolve injury causal factors.
- FARSHA expands the implementation of site specific safety programs.
- Considerable attention is given to the ranching industry this year due to increased injury rates. FARSHA Provincial Ranching Safety Coordinator, Reg Steward focuses on education within the industry, speaking at community centres, conducting on-site consultations, and helping ranchers understand the safety culture.
- An independent stakeholder review of FARSHA is conducted and finds that FARSHA is successful in providing the necessary and appropriate services to the agricultural industry.
- Injury and death of workers working in confined spaces is a growing hazard concern. FARSHA begins to educate staff and Coordinators about the hazards and engages subject matter specialists to present to the FARSHA team on the topic.
- FARSHA hosts the National Institute of Farm Safety (NIFS) conference. NIFS is a US association that is now known as the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health, ISASH.
- FARSHA launches the “50 ROPS in BC” pilot project. The program is offered to all farmers in B.C. to equip their tractor with an engineered ROPS system for cost of $100.00. The program is highly successful.
- FARSHA continues to grow and increase staff in the Lower Mainland and in the field. Changes in the agriculture workforce prompt the association to hire a Spanish speaking consultant to assist with the safety education of the workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
- FARSHA becomes the agriculture industry’s certifying partner for the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program. This program recognizes a company’s diligence to improve their health and safety culture.
- FARSHA develops safety materials for incoming SAWP workers and distributes materials during visits to farms and ranches throughout the province.
- Hazards of working in confined spaces continue to be an issue in agriculture. FARSHA staff and consultants are regularly sharing safety awareness materials and information.
- This is the 20th year of operation for FARSHA.
- Digital technology is now in common use in the agriculture industry. Computer programs and mobile apps farmers and ranchers manage their operations.
- FARSHA is delivering safety resources, training materials and equipment check lists in digital download formats and using social media to connect with the industry on a broader scale.
- FARSHA is proud to have a suite of resources and training programs for workers in languages other than English.
- Bruce Johnson turns over the reins of FARSHA after an astounding 20-year career with the association. A retirement party is held for Bruce at Redwoods Golf and Country Club with family, friends, staff and key partner organizations such as the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) in attendance.
- Wendy Bennett becomes Executive Director of FARSHA. Wendy marked the occasion by picking up the plant her Mom bought her and carried it into the bigger, better office – her fortress to this day. Ruling from the top is a tough job but with the help of many who came before and stayed – we made it easy – or hopefully easier – for Wendy to make the transition. Wendy still holds the Executive Director position.
- FARSHA experiences a year of transition. The office receives a face lift; the organization re-brands as AgSafe with a new logo and website that better depicts who we are and where our services are available. FARSHA remains the association’s legal name and is occasionally used in loving memory of the early days.
- A major safety awareness campaign is designed and delivered to increase the use of seatbelts and ROPS in tractors. Tractors and equipment continue to be one of the leading causes of injury and death in agriculture.
- The first publication of AgSafe’s monthly newsletter “Dirt on Ag” was January 2015
- AgSafe launches the “#AgSafetyChamp” social media campaign to engage the agriculture community in talking about safety. Farmers and ranchers from across the province are asked to share their workplace safety knowledge on Twitter. Each month AgSafe profiled the best safety tip and acknowledged the individual on social media and in the Dirt on Ag e-news for their contributions to safety in agriculture.
- Proudly, AgSafe has COR certified 35 employers to date. The growth in this program continues.
- Bachmann Farms is announced the #AgSafetyChamp of the year. The Champion of Agriculture Award is presented to Bachmann Farms by AgSafe at the BC Agriculture Council Agri-Food Industry Gala on January 25.
- Staff and consultants continue to work closely with employers and workers to increase awareness about equipment safety, animal handling safety, ladder safety and injury duration. These four issues have been a focus and challenge for the industry for many years.
- B.C. sees the worst wildfire season in recollection. Reg Steward, AgSafe Provincial Ranching Safety consultant works closely with ranchers, fire fighters, and police in the Cariboo Regional District to facilitate safe evacuations and help reduce the general turmoil.