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Farm Safety Know your OHS responsibilities

Provincial regs spell out whatmust be done to protect workers in all industries, including agriculture.


ll employers in British Columbia are required to have an occupational health and safety (OHS) program to prevent injuries and diseases and to deal effectively with any incidents that occur.

The type of program depends on the size of the workforce and the nature and extent of the risks and hazards in the workplace. A formal OHS program is required where there is:

• A workforce of 20 or more workers in a workplace that is moderate or high risk

• A workforce of 50 or more workers in a workplace that is low risk A farm labour contractor with more than 20 workers, even though they might be working at multiple locations, is required to develop and implement a formal, written OHS program. Elements of such a program should include:

• A statement of the employer’s aims and the responsibilities of the employer, supervisors, and workers (OHS policy) • Regular inspection of premises, equipment, work methods and work practices

• Appropriate written instructions • Management meetings for the purpose of reviewing health and safety activities and incident trends • Investigation of incidents to determine the action necessary to prevent their recurrence

• Maintenance of records and statistics • Instruction and supervision of workers in the safe performance of their work

Small operations may have a less formal health and safety program that includes regular meetings with workers to discuss health and safety issues. Such programs should include the following: • Senior management’s commitment towards health and safety

• Regular inspections that identify and correct hazards

• Instruction, training and supervision of workers


• Safe work procedures and general rules that are written and followed by all workers

• Accident/incident investigations TRANSPORTATION OFWORKERS Using a vehicle to transport workers to a jobsite means the vehicle itself is considered a workplace. When transporting workers, farm labour contractors are responsible for: • Ensuring the safe transport of their workers

• Hiring drivers with valid B.C. driver’s licences

• Inspecting all vehicles prior to their use

• Providing drivers with a vehicle inspection report

• Providing drivers, supervisors, and workers with appropriate education and training

• Ensuring that each worker uses a seat belt

• Not exceeding the safe seating capacity of the vehicle

• Ensuring that no workers jump on or off a moving vehicle DRIVER/SUPERVISORRESPONSIBILITIES • Ensure a first aid kit and fire extinguisher are available in the vehicle • Ensure that the treatment record book is present in the first aid kit and all injuries are duly recorded • Correct all unsafe conditions immediately

• Report all vehicle defects to your supervisor or employer

• Ensure that every worker is wearing a seat belt • Follow the posted roadside speed

limit • Ensure the vehicle is not overloaded • Ensure each passenger has a minimum of 41 cm (16 inches) of seating space EMPLOYERRESPONSIBILITIES Under the B.C. Workers Compensation Act, the primary responsibility for workplace health and safety rests with employers, although workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders have an important part to play as well. As an employer, a farm labour contractor’s responsibilities include:

• Providing a safe and healthy workplace

• Ensuring that workers are adequately trained and supervised • Keeping written records of training (who, what, when)

• Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive occupational health and safety program, including a written health and safety policy and an incident investigation procedure

• Ensuring that supervisors, safety coordinators, and workers understand their health and safety responsibilities • Taking immediate action when a worker or supervisor tells you about a potentially hazardous situation • Initiating an immediate investigation into incidents

• Providing adequate first aid • Providing personal protective equipment when required SUPERVISORRESPONSIBILITIES • Instructing workers in the safe work procedures

• Training workers for all tasks assigned to them and checking that their work is being done safely • Ensuring that only authorized, adequately trained workers operate tools and equipment or use hazardous chemicals

• Ensuring that equipment and materials are properly handled, stored and maintained

• Enforcing health and safety requirements

• Correcting unsafe acts and conditions

• Following up with interviews and referrals where necessary

• Inspecting the workplace for hazards • Monitoring workers in the safe performance of their duties

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016

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