There’s a new face in the 2015-2016 SAIF Agricultural Safety Seminar series. Kevin White, executive director of the Oregon Future Farmers of America Foundation, co-taught the English sessions with veteran instructor, Kevin Pfau. Although not in person, Kirk Lloyd did present a segment, “News from OSHA”, by video. The seminars began in November and will be held in 16 cities across the state. Eight sessions will be conducted entirely in Spanish. I attended the session held in Hillsboro on January 5.
The OR-FACE investigation report, “Vineyard worker killed in fall from trailer,” was incorporated into a group activity. Kevin Pfau read the introduction and provided some background on the case. Each table of participants were then asked to play the role of the safety committee to find and prioritize the hazards and then develop strategies to eliminate or reduce hazards. Descriptions of the topics covered in the seminar can be found here.
Kevin White led the discussion on culture of risk-taking, e.g., not communicating the risks and how to perform a task with minimal risk of injury. According to SAIF data (SAIF policyholders only) there are about 2,200 Oregon agricultural injuries a year with a cost almost $20 million, approximately $50,000 per day in dollars alone. The human costs (pain, suffering) and loss of revenue were not included in monetary cost described above, thus total cost is much higher. Kevin emphasized that these factors reinforce the need for change and to “Think about safety in a new way.”
I look forward to next year’s series and more discussions on enhancing safety culture on farms and within the agricultural community.