March 12, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - March 12-18 will be officially recognized as Canadian Agricultural Safety Week in the province, Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette has announced.
The week launches the year-long Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign. "Manage more than just your back!" is the theme of this year's campaign, with the focus on sprains, strains and falls.
"Overexertion in general - and that related to machines in particular - animal-related incidents, and falls account for 84 per cent of all farm-related strain and sprain injuries sustained in agricultural work," Ouellette said. "The goal of the campaign is to encourage farmers to think through their work and find ways to reduce the risk of on-farm injuries."
Statistics Canada reports that about 15 per cent of agriculture-related injuries are back injuries. Many of these can be prevented through proper design of the work environment, redesign of tools, and appropriate worker training.
Ouellette said that farm safety should be a priority this week and throughout the year, because a debilitating back injury can have serious consequences to personal health and the health of the farm business.
"I encourage every agricultural producer in the province to make a commitment to workplace safety, and to follow through on this commitment," Ouellette said. "The agriculture and agri-food industry is a cornerstone of the economy in New Brunswick, directly affecting more than 14,000 jobs in the province. We need to take every means possible to protect those jobs to enhance the industry's ability to play an important role in our government's goal of achieving self-sufficiency."
The New Brunswick Agricultural Alliance is a strong advocate of on-farm safety, and actively supports the Canadian Agricultural Safety campaign.
The campaign is delivered by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, in partnership with Farm Credit Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
MEDIA CONTACT: Alain Bryar, communications, Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.