Prompt detailing of workplace injuries and illness on the farm is an important step in risk assessment and prevention.
To help you do this, a new farm management tool called the Canada FarmSafe Plan has been developed by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). The Canada FarmSafe Plan initiative supports the theme Plan Farm Safety, a three-year focus for the Canadian agricultural safety campaign. In 2010, the campaign promoted "Plan" with safety walkabouts and planning for safety. This year, the focus is on "Farm" including implementation, documentation and training. And in 2012, emphasis will be on "Safety" including assessment, improvement and further development of safety systems. Download the core Canada FarmSafe Plan at www.planfarmsafety.ca .
Prompt reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses ensures complete, accurate information and allows the injury or illness to be assessed and treated as necessary. This information is also useful in injury surveillance where similar, recurrent injuries reported by several workers may suggest the need to change some aspect of the work site or the tasks performed by workers.
Here is a four-step process to farm first-aid reporting:
First, ensure your farm or ranch has the equipment, supplies and trained staff to provide first aid care in the event of a workplace injury or illness.
Next, designate a person to whom all injuries or illnesses will be reported; likely the owner or operator.
Third, as the employer, create and maintain an accurate written First Aid Report of all work-related physical injuries or sudden illness that workers experience.
The First Aid Report is simply a statement of facts including: date and time of the injury or illness as well as when it was reported; the full name, date of birth and address of the worker; description of the injury or illness and where it occurred; the cause or likely cause; whether first aid was provided and if so by whom and what is their training, if any.
Although the cause of the injury or illness may be unknown at the time it is being treated, every effort should be made to determine the cause within a reasonable period of time and add it to the report. Even if no first aid is administered, an injury or illness reported by a worker should be recorded.
And finally, once the First Aid Report is written, the injured worker should review it for accuracy and sign it. A copy should be offered to the worker for their records and the employer should file the original in a confidential manner for at least three years from the date in injury/illness. It is important to retain these records as it may be helpful to the treatment of the worker and also helps demonstrate due diligence as an employer.