Jonathan Sweat, Vice President, Business management
To my Canadian Agriculture Community,
Safety is an important rural health issue – and we all have a role to play in keeping our industry safe.
Whether it’s working with machinery, chemicals, structures or livestock, everyday interactions can become hazardous when you live or work on a farm. Our goal as a community is to ensure that anyone who grows, sells, handles, or hauls crops stays safe from seeding to harvest.
As a leader in the Canadian agricultural industry, we have a responsibility to not only recognize the evolving safety needs of our farmers, but also to advocate for change and support the players who are making a difference and working to build a safer, healthier community.
At BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, that means valuing the health and safety of our people above all else. This is core to our business and is exactly why we partner with amazing organizations across the country to provide Canada’s agriculture community with the information, investments and resources needed to help build a safer, brighter future for farms across Canada.
We have seen firsthand the incredible work that local volunteers, non-profits, charities, and grassroots movements are doing to keep our communities safer. Their mission, values and stories are inspiring, and I think it’s important that we all recognize the impact of these groups.
I want to first start by highlighting one of BASF’s newer partners: STARS air ambulance. This not-for-profit ensures farming communities across Western Canada have access to critical care by providing safe, rapid and highly specialized emergency transport system to critically ill and injured individuals living in rural communities. STARS and their team of dedicated staff and volunteers provide an invaluable service to our region.
I had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with the folks at STARS earlier this summer, where BASF announced an exciting partnership with the critical care provider, marking a $500,000 investment to help STARS air ambulance upgrade their helicopter fleet.
I’m incredibly proud that BASF has joined forces with such a great partner like STARS who shares our mutual value of building safe and healthy communities. This is an important investment and will help reduce the chance of fatalities in rural regions.
Another longstanding partner of ours is the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), which equips producers, their families and their workers with the information and tools needed to make farms safer to live, work, and play. CASA’s mission is rooted in fostering positive change across our industry and offers a variety of important educational tools, resources, and guidelines to better understand, recognize and prevent risk in the agricultural workplace.
As we see this work come to life, we can also look to our annual BASF Safety Scouts program, which focuses on helping educate Canada’s future generation of farming about the value of safety and the role we all play (no matter how old you are) in creating safer spaces for everyone. This growing network of over 2,000 families across Canada is committed to embedding safety into everything they do – and it’s been inspiring to see the impact from coast to coast.
These are just a few examples of how we are putting our commitment to work in helping to build safe and healthy communities across Canada – and how we entrench these values across every layer of our business to better serve the industry.
But we still have a way to go on our journey – according to the latest Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) information, the average number of agriculture-related fatalities declined to 85 per year. But even one death on a farm is too many. We’ve said this before, and it still stands today: we need to do more to protect Canada’s farmers both on and off the field.
We have established several commitments of safety within our internal culture and business. In fact, BASF was recognized by the Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine as one of Canada’s safest employers for the third consecutive year, receiving a Gold Award in the chemistry industry. This award recognizes companies annually for their efforts in promoting and maintaining outstanding health and safety in the workplace.
As well, we have major milestones at both our Regina and Thatcher production facilities, with our team in Regina celebrating more than 10 years without a lost time injury. The achievement reinforces that BASF’s best-in-class health and safety protocols, and culture are working to protect our employees from injury and risk.
I’m excited to see how else BASF, our partners and the community as a whole are taking additional steps to address safety in meaningful ways. And regardless of your role within the industry, I hope you continue to feel energized, passionate, and motivated to create a safer, brighter future for Canadian agriculture.
- Jonathan Sweat