Winnipeg, Manitoba – Fewer than one in 10 Canadian agricultural producers has a written safety plan, but that’s about to change for Manitoba hog farmers. Just in time for Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, which kicked off March 11, Safety Services Manitoba (SSM) and Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) have joined forces to develop customized loss prevention programs for the unique regulatory and working environment of hog farmers.
“Programs from the past have not had significant uptake because they were broad based, not industry specific, and very administrative heavy for producers”, said Miles Beaudin, Manager of Quality Assurance and Labour Programs with MPC. Beaudin says MPC’s Industry Performance and Services Committee is committed to reducing WCB premiums and providing a program that works for Manitoba’s pork producers. “MPC is providing strong leadership in this much needed area by now partnering with Safety Services Manitoba. This organization has relevant agricultural experience and a proven track record. Together we will create a customized program that works and which will minimize workload on producers.”
The injury rate in the agricultural sector has remained stubbornly stable, even as it has fallen in other sectors. From 2000 to 2010, Manitoba’s overall lost-time injury rate fell from 5.6 to 3.3 injuries per 100 workers. Meanwhile, the lost-time injury rate in agriculture fluctuated from 4.8 in 2000 to a high of 6.6 in 2004 and back down to 4.6 in 2010, according to statistics from the Workers Compensation Board.
“A formal loss prevention program that is well implemented and monitored is the key to reducing injuries and managing risk consistently,” says Judy Murphy, President and CEO of Safety Services Manitoba (SSM). “We are excited to partner with Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) to bring our diverse industry experience to hog producers and set them on the path to a safer workplace. It’s fitting that we can make this announcement during Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, with its theme of Plan Farm Safety.”
Working farms will participate in the program development process, giving SSM first-hand insight into daily operations and the concerns of management and workers. “Our first priority is to make sure the loss prevention program works on the ground,” says Murphy. “We want to deliver programs that will nurture a safety culture.”
Three loss prevention programs will be developed, each tailored to a different size farming operation: small, medium and large. SSM and MPC expect that the programs will be ready for producers to implement in eight weeks.
Safety Services Manitoba is the province’s leading not-for-profit safety service provider, delivering comprehensive, customized safety services to help Manitobans effectively manage safety and reduce injuries in the workplace and on the road.
Manitoba Pork Council’s role and mission is to represent the province’s 500 pork producers by fostering the sustainability and prosperity of the pork industry for the good of hog producers and all Manitobans.
For media enquiries contact:
Safety Services Manitoba
Anita Zubricki, Director of Marketing, Sponsorships and Special Events
Manitoba Pork Council
Audrey Treichel, Manager, Communications and Media Relations Programs