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Thursday, 05 January 2012 09:49

Safety training is available in Raymond for farm workers

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By Jamie Woodford
Southern Alberta
Safety is always on the mind of agriculture industry workers, but sometimes safety training requires more than just information.
A safety course designed to change the way people think about safety on a farm, ranch or other agricultural settings is coming to southern Alberta.

The SafeThink Agriculture course takes place in Raymond on Jan. 13, Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and 24.

Ed Masson, manager of program and trainer development at Astec Safety Inc. said the course is specifically designed for the agriculture industry.

“It more of a behaviour-based safety training course versus one that’s information and regulatory,” he said. “It means that we’re trying to change somebody’s behaviour a little bit in terms of how they look at safety.”

Using a series of strategic thinking questions, the course aims to improve people’s critical thinking skills to plan ahead for potential dangers.

“Thinking strategies help you identify and predict hazardous situations, and then allows you, before you get into that situation, to select practical ways, or controls, to prevent hazards from coming into effect,” Masson explained.

“It’s not so much role playing, it’s learning the questions and applying them to agricultural work sites.”

The course revolves around five questions: Does the work involve hazardous materials? Does the work involve objects, motion or force that could cause harm? Does the work involve non-ambient hazards that could cause harm? Is current or static electricity a factor in doing the work? Could changes lead to, or create, a hazardous situation?

“Those are the five major questions that we go through and everything in the course sort of spins off of that,” he said.

Using the hazardous materials question as an example, Masson explained how asking questions identifies dangers, which can then lead to finding ways to prevent and control the situation.

“Let’s say you’re doing some vaccinating at a feedlot,” he began.

“So the answer there would be yes, we’re handling vaccines that if we happen to inject ourselves will cause some sickness. So then, OK, we’re dealing with hazardous material. How do we control the work site to lessen the chance of getting that on our skin, or injecting it? That could mean, say using a type of safety glove or making sure the squeeze with the neck catches to hold the head steady is working properly, those sort of things.”

Non-ambient hazards such as pressure, high or low temperature, unusual light conditions, excessive noise, hazardous emissions, and oxygen deficient atmospheres can also be controlled.

“If you identify say a poor light condition, trying to work in that poor light condition means you might put yourself in danger or trip on something, then a control would be to get in better lighting before you start work,” he said.

The interactive course is spread out over four days.

“It’s about 16 hours total, so we’ll do it in four, four-hour sessions,” Masson said, adding homework will be assigned between each session. “That would be where they would have exercises to apply what we’ve talked about that day to their own farming situation.”

Students must attend all four days to complete the course.

“There’ll be quite a bit of discussion and talking about what would the controls be for electrical hazards? Or, how do you apply controls for hazardous materials and using examples of how injuries occur,” he said. “There’s sessions where we’re going to talk a bit about risk tolerance in people and how that can affect worker safety, and those sort of things.”

The deadline to apply is Jan. 9 at the latest. To register phone Astec Safety at 780-753-2905.

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