New HR Toolkit provides the building blocks for an effective farm safety program

Today’s farmer realizes the importance of formalized safety programs when it comes to keeping their employees safe and their operations running smoothly. But the challenge with standardized safety programs for farms is the unique nature of every operation.

That’s why the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) put together an Agri HR Toolkit specifically for farms. The toolkit gives agricultural operations of all types and sizes the information and resources they need to understand their responsibilities and liabilities, and to build a customized workforce management program.

CAHRC has recently updated the toolkit, and the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association has purchased a subscription for every one of their current members.

What is an HR toolkit?

That’s a question we asked CAHRC’s Project Manager, Tracy Biernacki-Dusza. Tracy explained that the toolkit covers everything involved in managing a workforce. It isn’t a safety program, but it does include a whole section on health and safety, with lots of detailed information on everything that should be considered when building a program, including steps to get started, links to other templates, and action plans. Some of the elements include:

    • Canadian Occupational Health and Safety legislation
    • WHMIS
    • Provincial legislation
    • Workplace conditions and expectations
    • Policies on drug and alcohol abuse
    • Hazard audits
    • Farm equipment safety
    • Animal safety
    • Bio-security

“It helps the business owner consider every aspect of their workforce management, to protect themselves and their employees. It includes everything from health and safety policies to hiring; from workplace wellness to succession planning – and lots more,” said Tracy.

Why is the toolkit an important resource?

Because agriculture is such a unique industry, the Agri HR Toolkit has been designed to be extremely customizable. “Rather than a checklist, we’ve included the information in a human resources handbook,” Tracy explained. “It runs through all the policies and procedures a farm operator should have in place, and helps them work out how they pertain to their operation.”

As part of their work with ACFA, CAHRC has helped create seven different feedlot role job descriptions, complete with training requirements, and has conducted training sessions on recruitment, selection and hiring.

Good for owners and employees alike

The primary purpose of the toolkit is to help business owners comply with standards and legislation. By helping them make their operations safer for their employees and visitors to their farms, it will also protect them against employment related claims.

You can read more about safety in the agriculture industry in these earlier blog posts: