Senior dies as farm safety campaign begins

There are two areas being targeted for the Canadian Agriculture Safety Week: seniors and the safe handling of grain. Both issues can be found in the death of a Petrolia, Ont. farmer on March 9.

A Petrolia, Ont. farmer dies just as a national campaign begins targeting senior farmers and grain handling

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association is promoting March 11-17 as Agriculture Safety Week in partnership with the Government of Canada. (Twitter)

There are two areas being targeted for the Canadian Agriculture Safety Week: seniors and the safe handling of grain. Both issues can be found in the death of a Petrolia, Ont. farmer on March 9. 

Ontario Provincial Police say 78-year old David John Brand was helping to transfer crop from a storage bin to a transport truck. While doing so he fell into the bin, said the news release. Brand succumbed to his injuries.

Seniors are by far at a higher risk than other people in agriculture.- Marcel Hacault

"Unfortunately we hear too many of these cases," said Marcel Hacault, Exec. Dir. of the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association. "The seniors are by far at a higher risk than other people in agriculture."

It's why the association is targeting seniors in this year's safety campaign. 

Changing culture of farm saftey

Hacault wants to encourage farm families to talk to those who are getting up in years about what is realistic for them to do on the farm. "It's about how to have that conversation with grand dad, about what is safe on the farm and discussing what the expectations are," said Hacault. 

He admits the person on the receiving end might not be receptive. Farmers are independent and focused on getting "the job done", said Hacault. "We need to change the culture around safety, around the farm. It's very much a get 'er done type of attitude. What we're trying to say is 'yes', you have to get the work done but try to think about how to do it safely."
Marcel Hacault, executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. (Twitter)
Hacault suggests family members, neighbours or friends develop a buddy system to ensure farmers are looking out for each other's well being. 

'Be Grain Safe'

It ties into the other key message this year, which is "be grain safe". 

Hacault says, transferring grains to a truck can be dangerous especially if the crop isn't moving properly. He recommends a farmer pause and think about everything that could happen before taking any action.

"Don't become a stat," he said.