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Cultivating a farm safety attitude

by Theresa Whalen
CFA Farm Safety Consultant (440 words)

Effective ag safety practices require skill and a positive attitude. It is not enough simply to know how to
do things safely – you also have to have the drive to actually do it. You have to ‘walk the talk’.

So how do you create a great safety attitude in your farm operation? Lead by example, give feedback,
provide training, involve employees and offer safety incentives.

Leading by example is by far the most powerful way to establish acceptable and expected safety
behaviour on your farm. If the employer makes it clear that the safe way is the only way to work on his
or her farm, then employees follow suit.

Feedback involves letting the worker know how well his or her performance meets the expected work
standards – but first you must let them know what the expected standard is.

Training is an important means of influencing how people think and behave. It not only shows them
how to do the job, but also establishes possible consequences of their behaviour to themselves and
others. Make sure workers know how to do the whole job safely, not just the one or two steps that they
did wrong.

Employee involvement in farm safety is an effective way of changing worker beliefs by increasing
understanding, and offering a greater sense of support and pride in their work.

And finally, safety incentives based on things that workers have to learn, do or remember can be
effective in improving farm safety behaviour. For example, a worker could be sent for specialized
safety training paid for by the farm. This will give the worker some time away from the farm routine,
enhance their employable job skills, and make them a more capable and valuable employee on the
farm. It is important to remember that rewards should be based on correct actions rather than based on
not having incidents, because that could discourage accident reporting.

By getting to know your workers and what is important to them, you will learn the best way to
encourage and motivate them into becoming more safety conscious on your farm. For more
information on this and other farm safety topics visit www.planfarmsafety.ca.

“Plan • Farm • Safety” is the three-year theme of the Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign, which
was launched in March. Each aspect of the theme will be promoted over the next three years.
In 2010 the campaign promotes “Plan” with safety walkabouts and planning for safety. In the second
year, the focus will be on “Farm” including implementation, documentation and training. In the third
year, emphasis will be on “Safety” including assessment, improvement and further development of
safety systems.

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For more information contact:
Theresa Whalen, CFA Farm Safety Consultant – T: (613) 822-0016 E: farmsafety@cfafca.ca
** Free photos and cartoons are available to accompany this article at www.planfarmsafety.ca.
For more farm safety articles visit: http://communitycontent.ca/en