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March 13 to 19 marks Canadian Agricultural Safety Week.
For the past two years, Alberta’s producers and processors have shown great ingenuity and determination to protect workers from COVID-19, while keeping our food supply safe, and secure.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, I would like to thank all farmers, ranchers and food processors for their resiliency during these difficult times.
As part of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, we must remain diligent, and remember to focus on preventing other common injuries and illnesses on the farm and in the workplace as well.
Employers, workers, and government all have a part to play to ensure the safety of agricultural workers and their families across the province.
Unfortunately, on average, 85 people die each year in Canada due to farm-related incidents. About 70% of these deaths are machine related, and a staggering 13% of the deaths are children.
These aren’t just numbers but real people. Entire families, friends, and communities are affected when these tragedies occur. Many Albertans probably know of someone that has been injured or lost their life in a farming incident. It’s not just something you read about in the paper.
The fact is, these tragedies are preventable.
Taking time to develop a heath and safety plan is the first step in saving a life. Identifying hazards, and creating emergency procedures on the farm or in the workplace will help ensure all Albertans can come home at the end of each shift.
So this week, I encourage farmers, ranchers, and food processors to renew their commitment to worker health and safety.
Your commitment could help ensure someone close to you doesn’t just become another “number”.
Nate Horner served as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development from November 5, 2021 to October 24, 2022.