Helping Farmers and Agri-food Operators Protect Workers’ Health and Safety
WOODSTOCK – The Ontario Government, through Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), is providing information sessions to help farmers and other agri-food operators better protect workers’ health and safety and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. The first webinar is being offered on February 26, 2021, hosted by Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in collaboration with Randy Pettapiece, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister and MPP for Perth – Wellington, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Ken-Middlesex and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga.
The 2021 growing season is already underway in some parts of the agri-food industry and temporary foreign agricultural workers have started to arrive in Ontario. This information session will help all farmers and operators enhance health and safety requirements and apply best practices in their operations.
“I know farmers and agri-food operators care deeply about their workers’ health and safety,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “There’s an abundance of resources and information out there and these sessions will help each farmer and agri-food business in their ongoing efforts to improve their own workplaces to protect their workers.”
“It’s important that our agricultural workers feel safe,” said MPP Pettapiece. “I’m looking forward to being a part of this session with MPP Hardeman to provide farmers with more resources to enhance health and safety measures on their farms.”
The upcoming session for Oxford, Middlesex, Perth, Wellington, Kitchener and Conestoga will support agriculture workplaces, including those with temporary foreign agriculture workers or other employees, to prepare for and put in place effective measures and training based on evidence-based practices. It will also introduce tools and resources to assist these workplaces to implement these practices and includes access to up to two days of individualized consulting and training services by WSPS experts for their business.
The webinar for Oxford, Perth and Wellington will take place on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 1:30 PM. Attendees are asked to register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is open until Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 4:00 PM.
Control the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace by incorporating public health advice and include measures to:
- consider having a screener at the farm to conduct active screening of workers and visitors to the farm
- limit the potential spread of an outbreak through cohorting, establishing work teams or crews of people that work together.
- ensure physical distancing and separation of at least 2 metres, Personal Protective Equipment must be work when workers are unable to maintain at least 2 metres distance from another person
- use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment including surgical/procedure mask, gown, gloves and/or eye protection (goggles or face shield).
- reduce transmission from surfaces and objects by sanitizing commonly touched surfaces or areas such as entrances, counters, washrooms and kitchens.
- support good hand and respiratory hygiene, enable workers and visitors to properly clean their hands, by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, warn individuals to not work if experiencing respiratory symptoms.
Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers
Working with farm operators to stop the spread of COVID-19 on farms
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Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford