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Area farmers to take part in training program

By Heather Latter, Fort Frances Times Ltd.

Some district farmers have volunteered to participate in farm safety training this September as Safe Communities Rainy River District helps pilot the new “Passport to Farm Safety” training that will soon be available to farmers and their employees.
“Safe Communities Canada has always had a ‘Passport to Safety’ which is occupational health and safety training,” explained Grace Silander, administrative coordinator of the local Safe Communities group. “But they found there was nothing specific for the farm and it didn’t really relate to safety around animals, tractor safety, etc.”
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This endeavour will help area farmers meet the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) criterion that is soon to be implemented across Canada.
“It’s ready now to pilot,” she stressed. “We’re going to put it out there and evaluate it, such as whether the language is proper and if they learned anything.”
So we’ll be doing a survey to see where we are with it and how it fits.
Silander would like about 25 farmers from the district to offer to take the training—she has about half now, so she still needs a few volunteers.
The pilot program will begin on-line beginning Sept. 5 and passwords will be given to each participant.
The sessions can be completed in one or more sessions as time permits. And it’s free.
“It’s not a big course,” Silander voiced. “You just go through the questions, answer a question, and the answer will come up with an explanation. So it’s a learning process, as well as a test.”
Safe Communities Canada is hoping to kick-off the completed “Passport to Farm Safety” training on Oct. 5, which is also “Safe Communities Day.”
“We’re trying to get five communities across Canada [to help pilot the training],” noted Silander. “We want to get Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan—the farming areas. We’re trying to get some down east, who may not be cattle farmers, but seed and crop.
“So there is all types of agriculture covered,” she added.
Safe Communities Canada’s theme is “Be Visible,” so Silander indicated they are attempting to make safety more visible on the farm.
Silander attended the conference to market it to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and speaking to people to see what they thought of offering this training at the Safe Communities Canada level.
“They thought it was great,” she expressed. “But first we have to see if it works. We’re still working on it.”
“It can get bigger and better,” she added. “I think it will be a wonderful education process.
Eventually, Silander said she’d like to see the “Passport to Farm Safety” training offered through 4-H.
“It’s really nice to be able to offer this because the farming community in our area has been so good as far as safety goes,” Silander enthused. “They’ve been excellent.”
Any farmers in the area who would be willing to participate in the pilot of the farm safety training can e-mail Silander at: safety.grace@gmail.com

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