As discovered in both the Farm Safety Plan and the Farm Sustainability Assessment communication is key when it comes to hazard identification, risk assessment and hazard control. One way to improve communication is to have a health and safety representative or to establish a health and safety committee. Depending on the number of workers you have on your farm, will depend on if you may need a health and safety representative or a committee. If there are between five and nineteen workers on your farm, a health and safety representative should be appointed. If you have twenty or more employees, a health and safety committee should be established. If there are four or less employees, you can choose to have a health and safety representative on your Farm.
It is best to have a health and safety representative who is a worker or non-management employee. This person is typically exposed to the day to day activities and involved in various tasks on the farm. This person will be exposed to various hazards and can consult with the farmer in regards to identified hazards, inspections, incident investigations, and protective devices.
The health and safety committee is made up of both management and workers not connected to management, where half the members are of each category. The workers not connected to management are elected from the workers they will represent. Typically, a health and safety committee will meet once per month and consult on hazards, inspections, incident investigations, and protective devices.
Having more safety boots on the ground evolves your farm into an Internal Responsibility System which means the responsibility for health and safety is shared among all employees, contractors, and self-employed workers on the farm. This gives a better framework to gain participation in health and safety and more efficient transfer of information thus increasing communication and farm sustainability.
- Section 29 and 33 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act