First Aiders and First Aid Kits

The Farm Sustainability Assessment (, outlines the requirement for emergency and incident procedures which would include developing your own emergency response plans to include the emergency response equipment that may be required for each plan.  You may also want to include those who can provide help in an emergency situation such as first aiders and in part and parcel with that the correct type of first aid kit.  When considering the required number of first aiders include all full-time, part-time, and casual employees in the total number of employees. For every 1-19 employees at least 1 person should have emergency first aid on the work site.  For every 20 -99 employees at least 1 person should have standard first aid on the work site.  For 100 or more employees, at least one person should be trained in advanced first aid.  Each person/driver in vehicles or equipment requires emergency first aid.  Use an approved provider as per the Canada Labour Code.  Post a list of your first aiders on your farm.

The First Aid Regulations outline the type of first aid kit required based on the number of persons on the work site.

  • First Aid Kit #1 is for one person per site.
  • First Aid Kit #2 is for 1-19 persons per site per shift.
  • First Aid Kit # 3 is for 20-50 persons per site per shift.
  • A First Aid Room is required for 100 or more persons per shift at the work site.

First Aid kit contents are listed in the first aid regulations.  Inspect first aid kits regularly to ensure contents are present. Complete a First Aid Record and maintain the record for 5 years when first aid kit is used.

Following the Farm Sustainability Assessment ( and the occupational health and safety first aid regulation will help you to have adequate first aid trained personnel and first aid equipment for an emergency situation.

Fire Extinguishers

The Farm Sustainability Assessment (, outlines the requirement for emergency and incident procedures which would include developing your own emergency response plans to include the emergency response equipment that may be required for each emergency response plan.  Some emergency response equipment to consider would be firefighting equipment.  Simply we can look at the fire extinguisher.  Do you have the correct class and size of fire extinguisher for the work area or equipment/machine?  The correct class of fire extinguisher for the building or equipment may fall in one of the following categories: Type A – Ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, and trash; Type B – Flammable Liquids such as gas or grease; or Type C – Electrical Equipment.  You could also use type ABC for all of the three listed above.  The correct size of fire extinguisher for the building or equipment/machine to consider is the size of the area and where fires are most likely to start.  For example, for a large room, a 10-pound fire extinguisher may be best or for a small room, a 5-pound fire extinguisher may be best.  Inspect the fire extinguisher every 30 days and mark it on the tag.  Service the fire extinguisher once per year and keep the receipt for your records.  For further detailed information consult the references below.

For further information consider the following resources:

  1. National Fire Protection Code (NFPA) 10 – Portable Fire Extinguishers.
  2. Part 4, Section 25 – Fire Protection & Escape of the Occupational Health and Safety General Regulations.
  3. Fire Safety Act and Fire Safety Regulations.

Creating an Engaged Workforce

A large part in building a sustainable farm we discovered is a good risk management program and an engaged workforce.  The Gallup Study revealed (“The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organization Outcomes,” by Harter et al, Gallup, April 2016) that having an engaged workforce can quite possibly increase your profit margins by decreasing the costs related to incident and injuries.  So how do you build an engaged workforce who are committed to top performance, excellent quality of work and high efficiency; who believe whole-heartedly in the farms mission and vision and are confident in speaking to what they believe in.  Here are a few hints and tips in building an engaged workforce:

  1. Have a clear mission and vision for your farm and share it with all employees. Live the mission and vision!
  2. Get to know your employees to see if your mission and vision align with their values.
  3. Give employees the tools and training needed to live your mission and vision.
  4. Make it personal. Get to know employee interests, hobbies, and outside of work activities and integrate similarities within the workforce, where possible.
  5. Keep employees in the loop on how the farm is doing. Make them aware of the successes, concerns and problem areas.  They may have ideas to help build up the farm and fix problem areas.
  6. Allow your workforce to grow and support them in their growth.
  7. Give recognition for hard work when and where it is due. Timing is important.  Waiting too long can decrease the value of the recognition.
  8. Listen to employee feedback and suggestions.
  9. Motivate and coach each employee when you see an employee struggling with something or trying to grow and evolve but needs a boost.
  10. Allow the employee to take the reigns and show their leadership skills.

There is no denying that there is some work to be done up front, but the return on investment can be surprisingly extraordinary.  The key, are you committed to building this type of workforce?

Material Storage – Is it all stacked up?

Material storage can be quite hazardous if materials are stacked haphazardly as the stacks can topple over and quite possibly land on a passerby.  Materials stacked indoors too high can also interfere with sprinkler systems as well as materials stacked in hallways or aisleways can interfere with safe entry and exit especially during an emergency.

You may be surprised to learn that OHS has guidelines for stacking and storing materials.  Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety General Regulations outline the minimum standard for the general handling of objects and material, bulk material in bins, hoppers, and tanks, pile material, hazardous substances, rechargeable storage batteries, compressed gas, portable compressed gas cylinders, and refuelling.  This is a great resource if you have ever had any questions in this regard.

Here are some hints and tips for stacking and storing materials on your farm:

  1. Stack materials on a flat level surface, if possible.
  2. Keep the stacks at heights to prevent them from falling over.
  3. Keep heaviest material closest to ground level as possible.
  4. Secure loads on pallets to prevent movement.
  5. Check or inspect pallets for their general condition regularly; discard broken pallets.
  6. Keep like materials stacked and stored together. Check SDS to ensure materials are compatible and the conditions for which material should be stored.
  7. Keep aisles between stacked rows wide enough for access/egress as well as allow people and machines to access the material easily without bumping into material in rows.
  8. Keep stacks away from sources of electricity and other possible sources of ignition.
  9. Keep stacks from interfering with access to fire extinguishers and emergency equipment.
  10. Use blocks or create a solid foundation to prevent round items from rolling.

Tick Talk – Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected blacklegged tick.  In Nova Scotia, only the blacklegged tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria.

What should you do if you think you have Lyme disease?

Tick bites are often painless, and you may not know that you have been bitten. Symptoms for Lyme disease typically appear 3 to 30 days after you have been bitten and may include any of the following:

  • Rash (sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye)
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Aching muscles and joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes

More severe symptoms (experienced weeks to months after a tick bite and no antibiotic treatment taken) may include but are not limited to:

  • Severe headaches
  • New skin rashes
  • Facial paralysis (such as Bell’s palsy)
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Joint pain
  • Nervous system disorders (such as dizziness, confusion or inability to think clearly, and memory loss, nerve pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet)

If you have recently been in a grassy or wooded area and have symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease, especially if they include a bull’s eye rash, you should seek prompt medical attention.


Do you know what to do if an OHS inspector appears at your door?

The OHS laws give health and safety inspectors exceptionally broad power to inspect workplaces and enforce health and safety standards.

An OHS Inspector may visit your workplace based on targeted initiatives such as for fall protection, machine guarding, WHMIS 2015 compliance, electrical hazards or any activity that may be high risk.

An OHS officer can write compliance orders in which the employer will be required to act or the OHS officer may issue a stop work order in situations of immanent danger.

Inspections by OHS can result in fines, penalties, and/or surcharges.

OHS inspectors are becoming more proactive in conducting workplace inspections.  The purpose behind this is to ensure that all workers in the workplace go home in the same condition they went to work.

Let us help you prepare for a visit from OHS by participating in an On-Farm Inspection Initiative.

We have partnered with the OHS Division of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education on an educational inspection initiative for the farm community.  In 2016, OHS identified farming as a priority industry and FSNS worked closely with OHS Division to develop a phased approach to compliance inspections.

We host an educational inspection on-farm and invite the farmers in the area to attend. It is a great forum for an initial introduction to OHS inspections. This session allows the group to share their questions, recommendations and concerns. These sessions are very generic in nature as they are intended as an introduction to the inspection process and OHS compliance.

The group does a walkabout of the farm, led by the farm owner and OHS Inspector, with periodic stops throughout to discuss areas of the farm.  Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and share their troubleshooting ideas with others.

These workshops can be open to the farm community and advertised via FSNS or can be invite only at the discretion of the host farm.

Phase 1 Process

  • A host farm is identified.
  • Inspection date is scheduled and advertised via FSNS.
  • FSNS does a pre-visit with the farm to determine the walkabout route of the workshop.
  • On-Farm Inspection Workshop hosted (with coffee and snacks!).
  • Inspection report generated for host farm.
  • FSNS will support the farm in reviewing and implementing report recommendations on request.

Visit to request your on-farm inspection or call 902-893-2293.


Employee Engagement a must to build a Sustainable Farm

Once you have a risk management system in place, it can be used to set your priorities for taking action to become a sustainable farm. The more you involve your employees, especially during the risk management phase, and collaborate with them on how to mitigate the risk, the employees will take ownership in their roles and want their part to be a success. This is easier said then done, but it can be done. The Gallup study (“The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organization Outcomes,” by Harter et al, Gallup, April 2016) showed a clear connection between safety culture and safe work performance. A key part of this study was the evaluation of employee engagement. They found that the more workers were engaged in their workplace, there were fewer incidents and injuries. It is interesting to note Canada was included in this study. The study showed that there was a 78% higher success rate in businesses with an engaged workforce. The study also showed there was about 70% fewer incidents and 41% less absenteeism. It sounds like employee engagement can be quite profitable! Stay tuned for tools that you can use to create an engaged workforce.

Tick Talk Time

A great informative video put together by the Nova Scotia Department of Health & Wellness!

If you find a tick on your body, here is what to do to remove it according to the Department of Health & Wellness

  1. Remove ticks as soon as you find it.
  2. Check yourself, your family, and pets after being in grassy or wooded areas.
  3. Check clothing and inspect skin including in and around ears, arm pits, inside belly button, groin, around the waist, and especially in hair and scalp area.
  4. When possible, take a bath or shower within two hours of being outdoors. This makes it easier to find ticks and washes away unattached ones.
  5. Put clean and dry outdoor clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.
  6. Use clean tweezers to remove ticks as soon as they are found.
  7. Carefully grasp tick as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick straight out.
  8. Clean the bite area with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer.
  9. Record the date and location of the tick bite. This information is important to provide your healthcare provider if you start to have symptoms


Risk Management

Becoming a sustainable farm, requires a good risk management program.  The process doesn’t have to be complicated.  It can be as simple as asking “what if,” using checklists, a group discussion, or a job analysis.  To conduct a risk assessment, use the following steps:

  1. Choose a system or a component of a system to evaluate for risk.
  2. List the hazards associated with the system or component of the system.
  3. Determine the likelihood of an incident of injury.
  4. Determine the consequences of an incident or injury.
  5. Identify the risk level using your risk assessment matrix.
  6. Recommend corrective actions or controls to reduce the risk to acceptable levels.
  7. Identify the residual risk or level of risk that remains after the control measures have been put into place.

Do you have and use a risk assessment tool?  If not, use this resource as a guide.

Tick Talk

Ticks and Lyme Disease

In the news July 18, 2019, Lyme-infected ticks are so common in parts of Canada, testing is no longer done.

See what the Government of Nova Scotia is saying about Ticks and Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected blacklegged tick. In Nova Scotia, only the blacklegged tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria.

Ticks attach to the skin and feed on blood. In most cases, a tick carrying the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease must attach and feed for at least 24 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted.

Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by touching, kissing or being near an infected person.

How can you protect yourself from Lyme disease?

Nova Scotians are encouraged to spend time outdoors, be active and remember to protect yourselves against tick bites, which is the best way to prevent Lyme disease.

There are several ways to prevent or reduce contact with ticks when in areas with long grass, shrubs, leaf litter, woods, urban parks and gardens:

  • Reduce the risk of having a tick bite;
  • Apply insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin to exposed skin and clothes. Follow directions on the package carefully;
  • Wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants, closed-toe shoes;
  • Tuck shirts into pants and tuck pant legs into socks;
  • Walk on well-traveled paths, avoiding high grass and vegetation;
  • Reduce ticks around your home;
  • Keep lawns mowed short;
  • Remove leaf litter; and
  • Put playground equipment in sunny, dry places, away from wooded areas, yard edges, and trees.

To access more information about simple landscaping techniques to reduce the number of blacklegged ticks around your home, please see the Landscape Management Handbook.

For complete information and further resources visit the Department of Health & Wellness website.