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Safety Record Improving on Canada’s Farms

Winnipeg, January 24, 2013: Canada’s safety record on farms is improving but new numbers still indicate that agriculture is a dangerous occupation in Canada.

According to the most recent report from Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR), the rate of agricultural fatalities in Canada has declined by 38 per cent from 1990 through 2008. The most encouraging shift took place in the second half of the study. Throughout the 1990s, an average of 118 people died on farms each year. After 2000, that number dropped to an average of 89 deaths per year.

“Although our goal of zero deaths is the only acceptable number, the new numbers are encouraging,” says Marcel Hacault, the executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.

“We’re definitely seeing evidence of a greater commitment to managing safety risks on farms. Farmers are beginning to build safety plans into their business operations and we’re seeing increased interest in safety training courses for agricultural employees,” Hacault says. “Changing a safety culture is slow work but these new numbers do show progress.”

While the overall fatality rate from 1990 to 2008 was 13 deaths per 100,000 farmers, that number skyrockets for the most elderly farmers. Producers 80 years of age or older have a fatality rate of almost 80 deaths per 100,000, indicating that they are at higher risk of injury on the farm.

From 1990 through 2008, 1,975 agricultural deaths were recorded in Canada. Seventy per cent of those fatalities were machine-related, with the top three most common sources of injury being rollovers, runovers and entanglements.

Hacault points out that the new data continues to show agricultural injuries are not random or isolated “accidents,” but are predictable and preventable with recurrent patterns of injury. “If more producers made sure all their tractors had Roll Over Protection Systems (ROPS) and wore seatbelts, it would go a long way toward making farm work safer,” Hacault says.

For the complete report Agricultural Fatalities in Canada 1990–2008, or to view a summary document, go to CAIR’s website: www.cair-sbac.ca.

Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) was established in 1995 (formerly the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program) to provide one of the only sources of national agricultural injury data in Canada. CAIR is funded by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) through Growing Forward, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.

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For more information, contact:

Michelle French Lancaster
Communications Officer
(T): 1-877-452-2272