Alberta’s ranchers and farmers have a new tool to help them navigate workplace health and safety incidents – AgSafe Alberta's Hotline for Incident Assistance provides confidential support for farmers and ranchers 24/7.
According to Jody Wacowich, executive director of AgSafe Alberta, the service is the first of its kind in the province.
“There was nothing like that available, and everybody's still learning about safety and some of the rules and legislation around that,” she said.
Dealing with incidents can be overwhelming for farmers and ranchers who are new to the latest rules and regulations around health and safety in the workplace, Wacowich said. She added it can also be stressful for those who’ve experienced work-related injuries to know what resources they can access.
Which is where AgSafe Alberta comes in, she said. According to Wacowich, the industry-led organization connects Alberta’s farmers and ranchers with farm safety management tools, resources and programs – and now, a hotline available at any time of day.
“If you have a major incident, or a fatality happened on the farm and [you are] stressed and grieving, safety and dealing with everything else doesn’t come to the top of mind, [such as] the things you're needing to do at that point in time,” Wacowich said.
The free service aims to provide advice by phone or through visits to the farm as a result of an incident, according to Wacowich.
She added it’s important to note while information provided to the hotline will be kept confidential, AgSafe Alberta will help callers determine what should be reported, in the case of a reportable incident.
“I think sometimes people go, 'I don't know how to go about this. I don't want to get in trouble, but I need to do right by my employer or the person who's been injured,’” she said.
Resources will be available throughout the province through the hotline, Wacowich said, assisting farmers and ranchers facing a variety of situations. To learn more, visit agsafeab.ca or access the hotline by phoning 1-833-9AG-SAFE.
“If you've got a serious incident on your farm or a fatality on your farm, give us a call,” she said. “We've got a staff member who will answer the phone and we'll see who we can get out there to you as quickly as possible.”