IN THIS ISSUE
It Happened To One of Us
2022 Incident Summary
(Incident source: Briere, Karen. 2022, February 23. “Dairy farm fined for worker’s death.” Western Producer. Accessed 2023, January 08 from https://www.producer.com/news/dairy-farm-fined-for-workers-death/)
Foreign worker entrapped in PTO shaft
30 – 39 Years
A temporary foreign worker was found dead after his clothing became caught in an unguarded power take-off (PTO) shaft while processing barley with a tractor and grain mill. He left behind a wife and two children.
It was believed that the worker had been visually inspecting the rolling process when a piece of his clothing became caught by the running PTO shaft. In addition to his clothes being wrapped around the shaft, it was reported that his hands and face came into contact with the chain & gears as well.
Important findings from this incident included:
- While the worker had been working with another person initially, that person was somewhere else at the time of the incident and there were no witnesses.
- Documents confirmed that the equipment had been manufactured with the necessary guarding over the gears, chains and PTO shaft.
- It was reported that the required guards had been removed a couple of months prior to the incident during maintenance. It was determined that the farm not having reinstalled them was an oversight as opposed to a deliberate act.
- The Crown and defense counsel agreed to an $80,000 fine (to be paid over a two-year period) and the dairy farm was prevented from participating in the temporary foreign worker program for a period of time.
Below are some tips that will help you prevent a similar incident from occurring on your farm.
- Thorough, farm-specific hazard assessments are essential to preventing incidents on your farm, and they are required by Alberta OHS legislation before work begins.
- Pre-job inspections and regular workplace inspections can help catch oversights, such as damaged or missing guards before equipment is used. Just remember that workers will need to be trained in how to perform an inspection, what to look for and how to report it.
- To learn more about pre-job inspections and workplace inspections, refer to Module 5 of the AgSafe Alberta FarmSafe Plan Manual. Customizable Workplace Inspection Forms are coming soon.
- Your farm’s working alone procedure should clearly state that when two workers are required for a task and one worker has to leave the immediate work area for any length of time (e.g., to get something, to take a washroom break, etc.), all work must stop and only be restarted when the person who left has returned and is ready to begin again.
- For a customizable working alone plan or a printable working alone toolbox talk, refer to the Working Alone section of the AgSafe Alberta Resources Page.
$100 Cabela’s Gift Card Winners
Congratulations to Linsey Cybulskie, Makaela Magee & William Stahl, who have each won a $100 Cabela’s gift card as part of our FARMERS CARE promotion!
AgSafe Alberta would also like to recognize DeVry Greenhouses and their employees for their commendable uptake of the FARMERS CARE program.
When a Vehicle is a Worksite
When a vehicle is used for work purposes while away from the worksite, it is considered a worksite. This commonly occurs when someone is using a vehicle to travel from one field (worksite) to the next on a public road or when going to town to pick up a part.
It is important to recognize a vehicle as a worksite because:
- Alberta OHS legislation defines a worksite as a location where a worker is, or is likely to be, involved in any kind of job or profession. Legislation goes on to state that this includes any vehicle or mobile equipment used by a worker for their work.
- Alberta OHS legislation requires employers to protect the health, safety and welfare of their workers and others who may be affected from identifiable and controllable hazards originating at the worksite.
Some things you will want to do include:
- Having both farm-specific general hazard assessments and some form of pre-job hazard assessment will help the people on your farm find and correct issues before you have a major incident. Things that may be caught during a pre-job hazard assessment include identifying fluid leaks, tire issues, headlight problems and even measures to take to stay safe in the driving conditions.
- Ensuring everyone who will be operating a vehicle for work purposes is trained and competent to do so. Driving in Alberta is very different from other parts of the world and not everyone will have received good driving instruction or adequate experience. These are things that you will need to address on your farm through your training program.
- Having well-maintained farm vehicles is a must! Think back to the incident highlighted in It Happened To One of Us section of this newsletter; if the farm had been found guilty of negligence for not addressing the unsafe working condition of the equipment being used (re: guards not being in place), the outcome would have been far more serious for the farm and any individual(s) who may have also been found to be negligent in their actions.
- Important: Even if someone is using their personal vehicle for work purposes, it is still considered a worksite. If you recognize that a personal vehicle is not safe or suitable for the task, you will want to ensure that it does not get used.
- Ensuring vehicles are equipped with any necessary safety equipment is also important. Seasonal emergency kits, fire extinguishers & first aid kits should be available in the vehicle.
A farm-specific and thoughtfully developed health and safety program will support you here as well as in many other areas. If you have not already, we highly recommend that you download and review the new AgSafe Alberta FarmSafe Plan Manual. For more information or support, please email us at email@example.com.
Additional resources relating to vehicles as worksites:
Safety First, Last Thoughts
2024 WCB Premium Rates
If you are not already aware of the 2024 Premium Rates
for your commodity group, you can view them HERE.
The rates for agricultural operations increased
on average by 7.99% with Small Animal Producers seeing
the largest increase with 8.12%.
Employers – It’s a leap year!
You have until Feb. 29 to file your WCB-Alberta annual return.
Article submitted by the Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta
As an employer with workers, you’re required to fill out an annual return reporting your workers’ assessable earnings paid in the last year along with what earnings you expect to pay in the upcoming year. This is important information to ensure you’re paying the correct premium amount.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, you can submit your 2024 annual return by logging into myWCB and selecting “File my annual return.” You have until Feb. 29, 2024, to file.
If you need support to access a myWCB account, contact us or call us at 780-498-7688 in Edmonton or 1-866-922-9221 toll free Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. WCB is here to help!
Note: If you are enrolled in the Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program, it is important you submit your return on time, as late filing may prevent you from receiving your 2023 PIR refund.
Do you have adequate coverage?
If you’re a business owner, you’re not automatically covered by workers’ compensation benefits—only your workers are. Optional personal coverage is available to you. The minimum personal coverage for 2024 is $33,400 and the maximum amount is $104,600. You can request personal coverage on your annual return submission.
Has your situation changed?
If you have personal coverage, it’s important to review it regularly to make sure you’ve selected the right amount to protect yourself from lost earnings in the event of an injury at work. Purchasing the minimum amount of coverage may initially reduce your costs, but if your earnings are greater than the minimum, the benefits you receive if injured may not be enough to replace lost income.
For more information on personal coverage, please visit the WCB Alberta website.