Nicole McAuley, Head of Communications and Public Affairs
Farm safety should never be a once-per-year consideration – it needs to be a year-round priority. This is an incredibly important rural health issue that farmers have understood for generations. Whether it’s working with machinery, chemicals, structures or livestock, everyday interactions can become hazardous when you live or work on or around a farm. The risks become particularly acute where children are concerned. During the summer months, many kids are out of school and are playing on or even lending a hand around the farm and fields – and without taking proper care, they can be exposed to potential risks resulting in injury or worse.
The statistics around farm safety are hard to hear. According to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), on average Canada mourns the loss of over 100 adults and children per year due to agricultural fatalities. CASA estimates that approximately five children die each year due to incidents on farms, with 70 per cent being the children of farm operators and 36 per cent being under the age of five years old. Recent research released from the Injury Prevention Centre (IPC) showed that the rate of fatal farm injuries to Canadian children did not in fact decrease over the past 23 years, despite being identified as a public health priority.
One death is too many, and these stark statistics show the continued need for greater awareness around the risks of preventable farm-related accidents.
We believe that playing safely on the farm is one of the most important lessons a child can learn, and it’s one in which families and caregivers also play a critical role. At BASF, we value the health and safety of people above all else, and our roots within Canada’s farming communities run deep. With safety near and dear to our hearts, we’re dedicated to helping make farms a safer place to live, work and play. That’s why we introduced our Safety Scouts program in 2021, focused on helping to keep safety top of mind for parents and caregivers on the farm, and instill the values of safe farm play in children at a young age.
This year, we’re proud to bring the program back, and 2,000 Safety Scouts kits are now available for the 2022 season, free of charge (while supplies last) – kits can be requested online here. This toolkit includes materials designed help make farm safety fun and engaging for kids and parents, including an adjustable CSA Z96-15 compliant safety vest, safety-themed activity and educational colouring sheets, a BASF Safety Scouts reward badge, and an official membership certificate. And most importantly, families connected through our Safety Scouts program will be part of a growing network of more than 2,000 families across Canada who are committed to promoting safety both on and off the field.
The Safety Scouts program is just one part of our long-standing dedication to helping to build safe and healthy communities across Canada, and we are a long-standing sponsor of CASA and a proud supporter of Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Our relationship with CASA stems from a shared commitment to advocating for farm safety, and providing those within our industry with the tools and information needed to help make farms a safer place for everyone. We’re proud to continue this work together, and have developed some additional resources for farming families as part of the BASF and CASA Kids Safety Hub.
Through our work together, we’ve been so inspired by our network of growers, retailers and industry partners who work tirelessly to ensure that anyone who works, lives, visits, or plays on a farm stays safe.
We want to do everything we can to continue instilling those values in Canada’s farming families, and we welcome more members into our Safety Scouts program as part of this effort, who are all committed to helping ensure a bright future for Canadian agriculture. Let’s keep up this important work, together.