If you have been following this series from Day 1, you are well underway in creating a sustainable farm by:
- Implementing risk management;
- Creating engaged employees;
- Preparing for an emergency by having the correct emergency equipment, adequate number of first aiders, and developing emergency response plans for all the potential emergencies that could happen on your farm;
- Identifying hazards, evaluating them for risk and controlling them to mitigate the risk and lower the residual risk of the hazard;
- Learning how safety provides a return on your investment;
- Providing adequate training, safe work practices, and safe job procedures to workers so they can perform hazardous tasks on your farm without incident, illness or injury;
- Providing the correct PPE to protect the worker;
- Learning about worker health and the importance of protecting worker health;
- Learning about occupational hygiene and what it means to include providing adequate drinking water and washing facilities;
- Learning about chemical safety through Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System regulations and available training;
- Increasing communication on the farm through a health and safety representative or a health and safety committee; and
- Knowing what information to post on the farm to increase communication.
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The key to enhancing your return on investment on your newly implemented farm safety plan is discipline. Discipline needs to be specific and timely. Specific, meaning stating exactly what the violation is and why it is a violation of the safety plan. Timely, meaning discipline the worker as soon as reasonably possible after the offence to ensure the worker understands the importance of the infraction and remembers the details of the event to reason on how to prevent reoccurrence of the infraction. Draft a Disciplinary Policy that outlines the expectations of the Farm Safety Plan and what will happen if the Farm Safety Plan is not followed. See section 2:11 of the Farm Safety Plan workbook for guidance.
Disciplinary action should be done in phases unless the offence is severe. Consider a three-phase disciplinary process such as a verbal (documented), written, and termination.
Undisciplined employees have a tendency to repeat infractions and could end up causing the farm significant monetary and human resource losses. Put your foot down and discipline at the beginning and your expectations will be met with mutual understanding and respect.