SILO – The Film Debrief

Friday night fun included participating in a community screening of SILO and a discussion of the film with those who watched and the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association.  SILO is a feature film produced by Blood Orange Pictures about a grain entrapment.  A teenager working on the farm, Cody Rose, is entrapped in a grain bin as the corn turned to quicksand when the auger was accidently started from the outside.  Corn is a staple the community has relied on for generations.  This relatable film also features different generations of farming and various family and community interactions over the years.

This 70-minute feature film kept my attention throughout and highlighted the importance of having trained rescuers with the correct equipment to respond quickly in such emergency situations.

After the film, there was a discussion period with the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association (CASA) which focused on CASAs BeGrainSafe program.  The program includes the training for fire fighters and producers on the hazards of grain bins.  The fire fighter training focuses on the rescue aspect while the producer training focuses on emergency response planning and lockout/tag out.

Bring the BeGrainSafe program to your fire department or a group of departments!  Review the Grain Rescue Training Package, Training Course Information, and the BeGrainSafe Trailer Specifications for more information.

View the Trailer and host your own screening of the SILO.   You will be glad you did as it leaves a lasting impression.

 



How to Start Building a Farm Safety Plan

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when thinking about building a Farm Safety Plan for your farming operations.  The Health & Safety Self-Assessment Checklist is available to help you figure out where to start so you can bite off little pieces at a time.   The checklist is broken into four sections.  The sections are in similar layout as the Guide to a Farm Safety Plan & Workbook.  This makes it easy to reference what is needed in the Guide and Workbook, so you can take the available templates and make them your own.

 

There are generally 10 things to consider when developing your Farm Safety Plan and included in the checklist:

  1. Health & Safety Policy – the commitment for safety and an outline of the health and safety responsibilities for workers, suppliers, contractors, visitors, public, and other workplace parties that perform work on the farm.
  2. Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Legislation – minimum standards for working safety in the province.
  3. Rules – established set of rules for each workplace party and a method to enforce the rules to ensure compliance.
  4. Committee/Representative – Is it required on your farm? If yes, a process for selection of members or representative, training, and meetings. Watch this YouTube video for complete details including how to use the provided templates.
  5. Communication – how do you deliver health and safety information to workplace parties.
  6. Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment, & Hazard Control – process to prevent incident and injury by identifying hazards on the farm that can cause incident, occupational illness or injury, evaluating the risk, and implementing a hierarchy of controls to prevent them from happening.
  7. Inspections – while workers are working, tour the farm to ensure workplace parties are compliant to your farm safety plan and occupational health and safety legislation.
  8. Training – giving workers the tools they need to be able to perform tasks in a competent manner.  Click here for online training currently at no costs and click here for training & workshops offered virtually or in-person.  Download a Passport to Safety for each worker to keep track of training.
  9. Emergency Response – what to do in the event of an emergency; build emergency response plans and have the correct emergency response equipment available.
  10. Incident Investigation & Reporting – reporting process for near misses, incidents, occupational illness and injury.

 

If you need help, do not hesitate to reach out to the Farm Safety Advisor for guidance or assistance in the plan development.  E-mail: lbrookhouse@nsfa-fane.ca or phone 902-957-2785.

 



Commodity Specific Farm Safety Plan

Farm Safety Nova Scotia offers commodity organizations the opportunity to work with the Farm Safety Advisor at no cost to build a farm safety plan specific for the commodity.  To date, the Fruit Growers Association have built a Farm Safety Plan designed to their specific operations and the Christmas Tree Growers are in the process of developing a Farm Safety Plan of their own.

The commodity specific plans are built on the evaluation of the farm through on-farm visits and surveys to identify the scopes of work performed.  Identifying the scopes of work with a list of tools, equipment, and machinery allows the Farm Safety Advisor to develop policies, practices, procedures and program templates needed for that particular commodity.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia provides a generic Farm Safety Plan and Workbook documents for all farms to get a start on their farm safety plan.  A commodity specific plan allows the commodity to have input on what they would like to have in their plan, based on the specific scopes of work performed.  The commodity specific plan also comes with a Farm Safety Plan index that lists each of the documents available in the plan, what they are used for and when to use them.  The Index comes with a suggested schedule in table format on when to review and complete the program templates.  It also includes customization hints and tips to help you easily adopt the plan for your farm such as instructions on how to add your farm name and logo.

An example of commodity specific safe work practices added to the fruit growers’ plan include:

  • hedge trimmers
  • mobile work platforms
  • orchard ladders
  • pruners
  • ponds & wells

Safe work practices added to the Christmas Tree Growers plan include:

  • axes, bush axes, & machetes
  • chainsaw
  • Christmas tree baler
  • clearing saw
  • skidder
  • wood chipper

Other adaptations and additions made were updates to the New Worker Orientation and training matrix as well as adding a performance appraisal, heat stress policy, and emergency response plans specific to the commodity operations.

Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment, and Hazard Control can be one of the largest undertakings when building a Farm Safety Plan.  As part of a commodity specific plan, the Farm Safety Advisor takes the information gathered and drafts a hazard assessment.  The hazards are identified, a risk evaluation is completed and suggested controls are added to a table for easy evaluation and review. Having a template like this, makes light work for the farm to make changes to the identified hazards list and update or make changes to the hazards controls in order for it to apply to each specific farm for that commodity.  Review the Fruit Growers Hazard Assessment here

Save yourself hours of work, by participating in building a commodity specific Farm Safety Plan.  To participate, contact the Farm Safety Advisor: e-mail – lbrookhouse@nsfa-fane.ca or phone – 902-957-2785.



COVID-19 Hints & Tips Approaching the Winter Months

Last week, the CASA Provincial Leadership Partners met on Wednesday to discuss the current challenges of COVID-19 and share resources and supports.  We reconvened on Thursday to participate in Session 2 of the 2020 CASA Conference called Bridging Over Troubled Waters: Ag Innovation in a Pandemic Conference session.  In one of the breakout sessions, Farm Safety Nova Scotia shared the challenges with obtaining PPE and Cleaning and Disinfecting Supplies during such a trying time.  We also learned the successes and resources available for temporary foreign workers through AgSafeBC; challenges for greenhouses and U-Picks in Ontario through Workplace Safety & Prevention Services; and Peter Lundqvist, Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science shared insight on lessons learned and how they plan to move forward in Sweden to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Below are a few hints and tips to keep in mind to slow the spread as our province’s cases are on a gradual rise.

Potential Exposure:

Try to limit your exposure by:

  • Staying close to home, avoid close contact with others if you are out picking up farm supplies, selling your wares at the market, or while working with other farm workers.
  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a cloth face covering while indoors in public settings and maintain physical distancing.
  • Follow good cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Monitor your health and get the flu vaccine.

 

 

COVID-19 Alert App is a free exposure notification app.  It lets you know if you may have been exposed.  You can visit the Public Health Website to monitor exposure alerts as well.

 

Symptoms & Testing:

The Nova Scotia Public Health website also gives direction on what symptoms to be on the look out for, how to self-isolate if you experience symptoms, and when and how to get tested.

Restrictions and Guidelines:

There are various provincial restrictions and guidelines in place to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Click here to view the restrictions and guidelines currently in place.

Financial Help and Social Supports:

Click here for full details on financial help and social supports for individuals, families, seniors, businesses and municipalities who may be suffering hardships during this unprecedented time.

The COVID-19 Agricultural Response Program is available to help those working in the Agriculture Industry by mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the industry’s competitiveness, productivity and profitability.

The Emergency On-Farm Support Program is available to help farms improve their workers health and safety by limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Agricultural Operations.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia developed a COVID-19 Health and Safety Guide to provide resources farms may need to help manage workers health and safety while working on the farm.   The guide provides tools and resources to farms to help develop their own COVID-19 exposure control plan.  This is not meant to replace the Provincial Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan but to act as a supplement to it.

Mental Health Support:

The Farm Family Support Center (1-844-880-9142) is managed as a Member Assistance Program by Morneau Shepell.  Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost.

You and your eligible family members can receive support over the telephone, in person, online, and through a variety of health and wellness resources. For each concern you are experiencing, you can receive a series of private sessions with an expert. You can also take advantage of online tools to help manage you and your family’s health. You’ll get practical and fast support in a way that is most suited to your preferences, learning preference and lifestyle.

Join Session 3 of the 2020 CASA Conference, Thursday November 12, 2020 from 3-4:30pm for Break the Silence: New Mental Health Resources & Initiatives for Canadian Farmers.  Registration is free.

Case Data:

Click here to find out specific COVID-19 Case Data information for the province.Data from Nov 9/20

Provincial State of Emergency:

Click Provincial State of Emergency for more information on the current Provincial State of Emergency and what that means to us as Nova Scotian’s during the pandemic.

Other Resources:

Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019



“Talk Ask Listen” Webinar Highlights ” Module 4

A series of 4 module webinars was presented by the Do More Ag Foundation in support of Mental Illness Awareness week from October 5th to October 8th.  Here are some highlights from Module 4. It was made clear that throughout each session that the information laid out in the four modules do not make us mental health professionals and we should always be ready with support resources to provide to someone who may want or need help.  This is information to help you on your Mental Health literacy journey.

Module 4: How to take care of yourself

Self-Care is a way to maintaining mental wellness.  Important components of self-care include exercise, rest and nourishment.

Rest may be difficult to come by in the harvest season or if you work varying shifts such as early or late milking schedules, and it is important to prioritize sleep and get rest when you can.

You are moving all day on the farm and it is a form of exercise.  It is important to ensure the heart rate is increasing so the entire body including your heart, lungs and brain are benefiting as exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.  When your heart and lung health improve, in turn this improves mental health.  Our mind and body can handle stressors better when they are fit.

Nourishment is important as when we eat well, we feel well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you respond to stress?  Do you have the fight or flight response?  Explore your stress response, is it healthy or are changes needed?  We can rewire our brains to cope and respond differently.  Everyone’s stress responses are different as well as we all have different strengths.  We need to recognize and be open to each other’s differences to help reduce the stigma of mental wellness

How we think is a reflection on how we feel and our behaviour.  How do you react in certain situations?  What are your thoughts on your reaction?  How do you respond emotionally to the situation?  Can you adapt your behaviour to match the emotional reaction?   Are you in control of your responses?  We need to be in control of our responses if we want to build community and be resilient.

Be yourself or just do you.   These are things you can do to rewire or reset your brain.  Do things you want to do not what people think you should do or what may be best.  If there are activities that help you destress and regroup, do those things and make time for those things.  Don’t be afraid to try new things but know you can do you.  Examples of activities that may reset you include:

  1. Spending time in the garden
  2. Chop wood
  3. Go for a Walk
  4. Watch the sunset
  5. Prepare for the week
  6. Practice time management
  7. being mindful of social media and digital usage.
  8. Read
  9. Journaling, and more…

Do not be afraid if someone else activities that reset them do not work for you.

What is our perspective on self-care?  If you no longer enjoy your self-care activity evaluate it to see if it is because you aren’t taking the time to enjoy or is it really not for you anymore.

Ways to maintain mental wellness can be through limiting activities such as social media which can be addicting.  When we receive the likes and recognition on Facebook and such, we want more so we spend more time reading and posting to get those likes.  The more time you spend the more it becomes addicting.  We need to understand what social media does, and how we use it appropriately.  Be mindful and use it with intent, understand the risks and make good choices to manage it appropriately.

Mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and environment.  It is the ability to know what is happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.  We tune in to our senses in the moment.  Are you practicing mindfulness?  Learn to respond wisely to things that happen rather than reacting blindly.  This can be done through meditation.   Throughout the day, take a moment to breathe in, and relax your mind and body, go for a walk without the phone, play, or do whatever you can to clear your head.  There is no set amount of time to spend but spend enough time to reset yourself.  Moments of mindfulness can help clear our thoughts, reset our minds and help us destress.

It’s not hard to make decisions, once you know what your values are.  Knowing your values makes it easier to make decisions, create boundaries, and understand how to space out our stimulus and response which will put us in a better place when we experience hard times.

Self-Care Review

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming or all consuming; can change as you grow and your life changes; can change with the seasons; and what happens when a self-care strategy no longer works.  Start with one bite size thing at a time and do it until it is easy and then add something else if you like.  It is ok to reevaluate and adjust if the activity no longer works for you.  Use the lens perspective to see if it is serving you anymore and if it doesn’t then change it.

If you would like or need further guidance there are resources available such as the Farm Family Support Center.

Farm Family Support Center

The Farm Family Support Center is a member assistance program by Morneau Shepell.  Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost.  The service is supported by Farm Safety Nova Scotia and is confidential.  Your information is not shared with the NSFA or FSNS.

Solutions for a wide range of life’s challenges.  Call 1.844.880.9142 for confidential and immediate support 24/7/365.

Achieve well-being

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Crisis situations
  • Life transitions

Manage relationships and family

  • Separation and divorce
  • Elder care
  • Relationship conflict
  • Parenting
  • Blended Family issues

Tackle addictions

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Other addictions
  • Post-recovery support

Get legal advice

  • Separation and divorce
  • Civil litigation
  • Custody and child support
  • Wills and estate planning


“Talk Ask Listen” Webinar Highlights ” Module 3

A series of 4 module webinars was presented by the Do More Ag Foundation in support of Mental Illness Awareness week from October 5th to October 8th.  Here are some highlights from module 3.  It was made clear that throughout each session that the information laid out in the four modules do not make us mental health professionals and we should always be ready with support resources to provide to someone who may want or need help.  This is information to help you on your Mental Health literacy journey.

Module 3: Supporting within Your Means

This webinar started off with some interesting statistics from the study by Dr. Andrea Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph, noted in Farmer Burnout in Canada, that 35% of farmers met the criteria for depression classification, 45% were classified as having high stress, and 58% met the criteria for anxiety classification.

As of May 2020, Farm Management Canada reported that more than 3 out 4 farmers are experiencing medium to high stress.  Their report on Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms offers recommendations to improve farmers mental health and business practices.

Reviewing those statistics allows us to reflect to how full our cup or battery actually is.  Dr Bill Howatt from Howatt HR expressed in the Maintaining Mental Fitness during COVID19 webinars that “we are like batteries, and like batteries we can be anywhere from charged to empty on a daily basis.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal and situational stressors can drain your battery such as stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression.  You need to intentionally recharge your battery by prioritizing sleep, being active, eating fruits and vegetables and finding a connection rather than self-medicating.  We need to find creative ways to stay connected and charge our battery or fill our cup.

In order to charge our battery or maintain a charge, we support others within our means.  To do that we need to consider the following:

  1. How close we are to the person who is disclosing.
  2. Understanding our availability in a crisis.
  3. Redirecting appropriate resources.

To support within our means, we also need to evaluate self-care.  Ensure there is an outlet or a recharge method, when supporting someone else.  Everyone has their limit and staying within those boundaries is key to maintaining our own mental fitness.  As the old saying goes, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Setting boundaries or limitations of being able to help others can be difficult to do especially if it is hard for us to say no as we don’t want to disappoint or let anyone down.  You are not responsible for the reaction others may have to the boundary but communicating the boundary clearly.

Think about where to set your boundaries when supporting others.  Do you need to consider personal space? What emotions or thoughts may be off limits for discussion or if you are not prepared to respond to?  How much time and energy do you have to give?  Are there topics such as culture, religion and ethics that you need to set boundaries?

Healthy boundaries are clearly outlined and they may be different from person to person.  We have more control over the situation when we have healthy boundaries as it forms respect and we take responsibility for ourselves.  Loose boundaries result when we just can’t say no and may lead to breaking points.  Unwavering or rigid boundaries may be unhealthy and you may want to revisit these boundaries.

Understanding balance of life by evaluating how well your wagon wheel rolls.  Each spoke is an aspect of your life.  For each aspect of your life rate it from one to 10.  How satisfied are you with each aspect of life?  Then connect the dots, how well does your wheel roll?  You want your wheel to be able to roll and function.  May need to look at changing some priorities to have the wheel more balanced in life.

Farm Family Support Center

The Farm Family Support Center is a member assistance program by Morneau Shepell.  Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost.  The service is supported by Farm Safety Nova Scotia and is confidential.  Your information is not shared with the NSFA or FSNS.

Solutions for a wide range of life’s challenges.  Call 1.844.880.9142 for confidential and immediate support 24/7/365.

Achieve well-being

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Crisis situations
  • Life transitions

Manage relationships and family

  • Separation and divorce
  • Elder care
  • Relationship conflict
  • Parenting
  • Blended Family issues

Tackle addictions

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Other addictions
  • Post-recovery support

Get legal advice

  • Separation and divorce
  • Civil litigation
  • Custody and child support
  • Wills and estate planning


“Talk Ask Listen” Webinar Highlights ” Module 2

A series of 4 module webinars was presented by the Do More Ag Foundation in support of Mental Illness Awareness week from October 5th to October 8th.  Here are some highlights from module 2. It was made clear that throughout each session that the information laid out in the four modules do not make us mental health professionals and we should always be ready with support resources to provide to someone who may want or need help.  This is information to help you on your Mental Health literacy journey.

Module 2: Recognizing & Providing Support

It was important to evaluate the “Rule Out Rule” meaning to explore that the possibility that the changes in behaviour may be unrelated to a mental health issue before taking action,  To help do this, you can engage with the person and say you have noticed changes and try to engage them in a conversation to determine if there is an issue.  During the engagement, be sure to stick to the facts, prepare yourself in allowing enough time for a conversation whether long or short, be prepared for a reaction, (the person may not be prepared to talk and dismiss you), listen with intent to understand and have resources on hand to share with the person.

The support through stages of personal change were shared below:

It was reinforced when listening with intent is to also listen with empathy rather than sympathy which was demonstrated well through this video from Dr. Brene Brown, called “The Power of Empathy.

Follow up and checking in is key in showing support to those who may need it at this point in time in their life.

Farm Family Support Center

The Farm Family Support Center is a member assistance program by Morneau Shepell.  Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost.  The service is supported by Farm Safety Nova Scotia and is confidential.  Your information is not shared with the NSFA or FSNS.

Solutions for a wide range of life’s challenges.  Call 1.844.880.9142 for confidential and immediate support 24/7/365.

Achieve well-being

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Crisis situations
  • Life transitions

Manage relationships and family

  • Separation and divorce
  • Elder care
  • Relationship conflict
  • Parenting
  • Blended Family issues

Tackle addictions

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Other addictions
  • Post-recovery support

Get legal advice

  • Separation and divorce
  • Civil litigation
  • Custody and child support
  • Wills and estate planning

 

 

 



“Talk Ask Listen” Webinar Highlights ” Module 1

A series of 4 module webinars was presented by the Do More Ag Foundation in support of Mental Illness Awareness week from October 5th to October 8th.  Here are some highlights from each of the modules. It was made clear that throughout each session that the information laid out in the four modules do not make us mental health professionals and we should always be ready with support resources to provide to someone who may want or need help.  This is information to help you on your Mental Health literacy journey.

Module 1: Understanding Mental Illness

This module took a brief look at understanding mental illness to include mood, anxiety, psychotic, and substance-related disorders.  An excellent infographic was presented to help understand mental illness on a scale of healthy, reacting, injured, and ill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress is not a mental illness but chronic stress can lead to anxiety disorders.  Burnout was noted to be persons who are disengaged, whose emotions are blunted, are feeling helpless, lacking motivation, ideals and hope which, all can lead to depression.  A study by Dr. Andrea Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph, noted in Farmer Burnout in Canada, that 12% of Canadian farmers were in the burnout profile.

Mood disorders can include depression, bipolar and suicide disorders.

Mood Disorder Signs & Symptoms may include:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased Agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide

Bipolar Signs & Symptoms may include:

  • Extreme Mood swings between depression and mania
  • Depression
  • Mania (Elevated mood, grandiose ideas, rapid speech, lack of insight, increased energy)

Suicide Ideation Signs and Symptoms may include:

  • Expressing negative self-comments
  • Expressing intent to die by suicide
  • Telling final wishes to someone
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Loss of interest in friends, hobbies, etc.
  • Repeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness or depression

To assess suicide risk, use the acronym A.G.E.S.

A – Access the risk of suicide or harm;

G – Give reassurance and information;

E – Encourage the person to get professional help; and

S – Supports.

Anxiety disorders may include general anxiety, panic attack, obsessive compulsive and PTSD disorders.

Those who experience anxiety may experience physical and psychological signs and symptoms; more is involved than just mental reactions but can affect the entire health system.

Experiencing a panic attack may include suffering from more than 4 physical signs and symptoms for more than 10 minutes and may feel intense fear that may be inappropriate to the situation at hand.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) signs and symptoms may include reexperiencing the trauma, feeling uneasy, avoidance behaviour, reduced interest in the outside world, persistent increased arousal, jumpy, irritable, outbursts, and insomnia.

Substance related disorder signs and symptoms may include decrease in work habits, sudden mood swings, sudden change in personal habits, sudden change in minor mistakes or accidents, and sudden weight loss.  Risk factors that may lead to substance related disorders on the farm include high stress, boredom or repetitive tasks, being isolated or in a remote area, long work hours, shift work and lack of advancement.  Those with substance related disorders may use hallucinogens, depressants and stimulants.  It is interesting to note that alcohol is a depressant and caffeine and nicotine are stimulants.

It is noted that psychological health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to their community.

As noted in the Farm Safety Cultivating Your Way to Burnout Webinar in July, fatigue can have a significant effect on one’s mental health and it was also noted in this webinar the impacts of sleep hygiene.

Final word: “No health without mental health.”

Farm Family Support Center 

The Farm Family Support Center is a member assistance program by Morneau Shepell.  Farmers and their families have access to up to 3 hours of service at no cost.  The service is supported by Farm Safety Nova Scotia and is confidential.  Your information is not shared with the NSFA or FSNS.

Solutions for a wide range of life’s challenges.  Call 1.844.880.9142 for confidential and immediate support 24/7/365.

Achieve well-being

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Crisis situations
  • Life transitions

Manage relationships and family

  • Separation and divorce
  • Elder care
  • Relationship conflict
  • Parenting
  • Blended Family issues

Tackle addictions

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Other addictions
  • Post-recovery support

Get legal advice

  • Separation and divorce
  • Civil litigation
  • Custody and child support
  • Wills and estate planning

 

 



Breathe Easy on Farm

When working on farm, there can be dust, mist, fumes and other gases that can cause permanent damage to the respiratory system if the worker is not protected from these sometimes-invisible hazards.  Wearing the correct mask or respirator can allow a worker a lifetime of breathing easy and avoiding permanent lung damage.

Workers not wearing the correct PPE for the hazard can be susceptible to respiratory illness such as asthma, farmers lung, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies, rhinitis, and other illnesses that interrupt the proper function of the lungs making it difficult to breathe.  These conditions can be caused by dust, mould, pesticides, chemicals, and gases found on the farm.

Respiratory Illness Prevention:

Conduct a hazard and risk assessment on farm to determine the potential sources of respiratory illness.  Eliminate or substitute chemicals and pesticides for those less toxic, rid of sources of mould and dust and prevent the build up of gases, where possible.  Add warning signs to identify areas of risk and post hazard control requirements for those areas.  Ensure to post PPE requirements where elimination, engineering, and administrative controls are inadequate in controlling the hazard.

Potential Sources of Respiratory Illness:

Dusts and Mould:

  • Areas that cannot be ventilated should be enclosed.
  • Increase ventilation rates and ensure ventilation systems meet the requirements to give enough air exchange to prevent air borne contaminants resting in the air and being inhaled by workers.
  • Self-propelled equipment should have enclosed cabs with air filters. Clean filters regularly.
  • Work at slower speeds when operating equipment to reduce the dust, and other air borne contaminants.
  • Use feed products that reduce the amount of dust & fungi generated while feeding.
  • Clean tools, equipment and machines with water or liquid to prevent the aerosolization of dry material.
  • When working outdoors, maintain a position upwind from airborne contaminants.
  • Remove indoor dust as often as possible using a system with water or similar to keep dust from aerosolizing while cleaning.
  • Storage and processing areas for grain and feed are enclosed and sealed.
  • Store harvested crops dry with 14% moisture content.
  • Do other chores before feeding animals to limit the time in airborne contaminants such as after distributing silage or chopped feed.

Gases

Nitrogen Oxide in Silos: Add signs outside of silos to warn of the danger, do not enter a silo for 2-3 weeks after filling it and run the blowers for 30 minutes or more before entering.

Carbon monoxide: Ventilate buildings where engines are running, and ensure all equipment is maintained.

Manure Pit Gases

Methane (CH4): An odorless gas that is lighter than air. Like CO2, it acts as an asphyxiant, but is explosive.

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S): A by-product of manure decomposition, that is heavier than air and smells like rotten eggs.  Ensure a gas trap is between the buildings and outside storage and direct airflow towards the floor to prevent workers from inhaling dust and gases.  Inhalation can cause death.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A by-product of manure decomposition and fermentation and is heavier than air but is difficult to detect.  It causes shortness of breath and dizziness and, at high concentrations, cause death.

Ammonia: Do not enter manure pits during agitation. Exhaust air through manure channels, and use tight fitting hatches, water traps or evacuation fans.

Chemicals, Fertilizers, & Pesticides

  • Read labels and safety data sheets that come with the product.
  • Contact the manufacturer for additional information about products.
  • Inspect and maintain sprayers to prevent seeping or leaking of chemicals.

Always use PPE that is recommended by the safety data sheet or label.  Masks or respirators may be required.  There are two types of air-purifying respirators (CSA-Z94.4-18), which can be used in environments with a high concentration of dust, pesticides or chemicals, and may not be suitable for oxygen deficient atmospheres.  Use air-supplied respirators in oxygen deficient work areas (CSA Standard Z180.1-00: Compressed Breathing Air and Systems).

Check with your supplier for the right mask for the hazard and ensure fit testing (CSA Standard Z94.4-02, Selection, Care and Use of Respirators) is performed initially and at least every two years thereafter.  Ensure the mask meets the CSA standard required by OHS legislation. Follow the care, use, cleaning and storage instructions to keep masks in a condition to perform the function for which it was intended.

Final Note

Inhalation of airborne contaminants may cause breathing issues and lung problems in both the long and short term. The more often a worker is exposed to these contaminants, the greater the risk of them developing a long-term illness. Respirators are very effective at removing the risk of exposure, but you must have the right kind and use it the way it was intended by the manufacturer.

Visit the Farm Safety Nova Scotia website to download a template for a respiratory code of practice, respiratory instruction sheet and a respiratory inspection checklist.

 



First Aid Requirements on the Farm

First aid is a means of providing care to an injured or ill person until help arrives.  First aid training gives a person the skills and confidence to be able to help the ill or injured person as well as learn what could happen and apply prevention measures before it does.

You never know when you may need to respond to an ill or injured person while at home, in the park, on the highway, at the market, or even on farm.  Farming is one of the most hazardous occupations as workers are exposed to confined space, gas, handle animals, exposed to zoonotic disease, high stress, extreme weather conditions, and machine and equipment hazards such as run over or entanglement.

Did you know that Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety has its own set of First Aid Regulations that outlines the first aid requirements at the workplace to help you prepare for a potential emergency requiring first aid?  The First Aid Regulations outline the employer’s responsibilities in providing and maintaining first aid supplies, services and trained first aiders.   This includes a means of safe and timely transport to emergency care.  The driver should not to be the caregiver during transport, another person should assist.

Training Requirements:

  1. The farm is to pay for the first aid course and the workers time while in the course at the same rate as if they were conducting their normal work duties.
  2. Persons working independently who have no one available to give first aid must be trained in emergency first aid.
  3. 1-19 workers employed regularly on the farm, requires at least one emergency first aid certificate.
  4. 20-99 workers employed regularly on the farm, requires at least one Standard First Aid Certificate.
  5. 100 or more workers employed regularly on farm, requires at least one Advanced First Aid Certificate.

First Aid Records:

When a first aider opens a first aid kit and uses the contents of the first aid kit to treat an ill or injured person at the worksite, a first aid record must be completed and the written record kept for 5 years after the date of injury.  The first aid record is not a public document and the privacy of the injured person must be protected.  First aid records may be included in your first aid kit, if not click here for a template.

The first aid record must include:

  1. name of the injured person
  2. date and time of injury
  3. location and nature of the injury to the person
  4. time first aid administered
  5. first aid treatment provided
  6. name of first aider or person providing treatment and
  7. name of person the injury was reported

Location of First Aid Supplies and First Aiders:

  • First aid kits should be readily available during all working hours and easily accessible.
  • Post the names of the available first aiders and their phone number in obvious highly visible locations on farm property and in equipment and/or vehicle cabs.
  • Keep supplies clean and dry.
  • Include first aid kits with your monthly work site inspections. Check to ensure all contents are present and they are not expired.
    • Check the contents of first aid kits with sections 14, 15 & 16 of the first aid regulations.
    • Recommend printing a copy of the contents and adding to the back of the kit for easy reference or including as part of your inspection checklist.

First aider Responsibilities:

  • Have access to and control over the correct first aid kit and first aid room, if applicable.
  • Be available to treat an ill or injured person without delay.
  • Wear and use personal protective equipment when providing care as to prevent exposure to infectious disease.

Remote Location Plan:

A remote location is a place where it would take more than 30 minutes of surface or road travel time in one direction to reach an emergency care facility that is open during working hours.

If you have a remote location, prepare a written first aid remote location plan.

Include the following in your plan:

  1. Correct number of trained first aiders at the required level.
    1. 20 workers or less at the location, one person hold standard first aid certificate OR at least 30% of the workers hold emergency first Aid certificate.
    2. See requirements listed above.
  2. Correct number and size of first aid kits.
  3. List of first aiders with their contact information.
  4. Transportation method for the ill or injured person.
  5. Communication with and from remote locations.
  6. Reflect the scope of work performed at the remote location.
  7. Consult with the Health and Safety Committee or Representative in the development of the plan.

Exceptions to having a remote first aid plan are: no worker spends more than 10% of their time there over a 4-week period; spend more than 10% but less than 25% of their time, over a 4-week period if the safety of the location is adequately assured.

CSA Standard Available:

Did you know there is a CSA standard for first aid training and first aid kits? The CSA Standard for First Aid Training is CSA Z1210 and the CSA Standard for First Aid Kits is CSA Z1220.

If you are interested in checking out the CSA Standard for First Aid Training and First Aid Kits, you will need to access your CSA Communities account.  If you do not have an account check out this post to learn how to create an account and access standards or join the farm safety advisor on October 15th from 11:30am- 12:30pm to walk you through creating a CSA Communities account and navigating the platform.  To  register for the webinar, click here.

 

 



Events

  1. Farm Safety Nova Scotia Annual Meeting

    December 4 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  2. Mental Fitness 101: Foundational Elements to Building a Mental Fitness Plan

    December 4 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
  3. Discovering the Root of Your Back Story: Prevention and Understanding of Back Injuries

    December 8 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  4. Forklift Operator Training

    December 10

Contact Us

7 Atlantic Central Drive
East Mountain, N.S.
B6L 2Z2

o: 902-893-2293
f: 902-893-7036
e: info@farmsafetyns.ca

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