The Farm Safety Curriculum Development and Pilot Course Delivery project was completed June 2014 to September 2015. The project was based on an identified need for emerging and existing producers to access timely and relevant information on farm safety. In an effort to provide awareness and education in this area, the project was focused on developing and delivering farm safety learning opportunities for agricultural diploma students and Manitoba producers.
The Introduction to Farm Safety course has been offered since 2013 to agricultural diploma students at the University of Manitoba, and was re-developed for 2015 to be taught in a blended learning delivery format. In a blended course, part of the course is taught in a face-to-face classroom setting, and the rest is completed in an on-line environment. The blended format allows for students to engage with the instructor and learn collaboratively during the classroom component, and reflect on their individual learning and future adoption of farm safety in the on-line sections.
The creation of a blended course provides additional support for those interested in applying the course materials to their individual farm workplaces. The course information and resources can be accessed at any time, from any place with Internet access. The on-line course is interactive and learner-friendly, guiding students through the basics of farm safety and their responsibilities as both employers and employees. The learning objectives of this course include increasing awareness of farm safety legislation and improving the adoption of safer work practices on farms. Students learn that farm safety is an important component of farm business management. The top priority of the course is to influence students to translate the course materials into personal action and safe on-farm behavior.
During the winter of 2015, the School of Agriculture worked closely with Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), Manitoba Canola Grower’s Association (MCGA) and SAFE Work Manitoba to provide three community-based workshops on Farm Safety Awareness for producers in Winnipeg, Brandon and Dauphin. In addition to providing participants with an introduction to farm safety, these workshops initiated a dialogue between producers and the School of Agriculture to help identify barriers to safety adoption, and determine where Manitoba producers currently reside in terms of on-farm safety practices. The intended outcome for the workshops was to provide producers with an awareness of farm safety regulations and the resources to start developing farm safety systems for their own farms.
In the future, the School of Agriculture plans to expand their safety course offerings to include an Advanced Farm Safety course that will build upon the introductory course, guiding students through the components of a farm safety system. The course has been developed as part of this project, and will be offered as a blended course for agricultural diploma students and Manitoba producers in 2017. The learning objectives for the course include understanding how the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Act applies to farm workplaces and developing a Farm Safety System for an individual farm workplace (with support).
The School of Agriculture would like to thank and acknowledge the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) for providing the funding for this curriculum development project through their Research and Workplace Innovation Program grant. Together we hope to create positive change in Manitoba’s farming communities, where education and awareness support the adoption of safer farming practices.
The Farm Safety Curriculum Project was supported by a grant from the Research and Innovation Program of Worker's Compensation Board of Manitoba
Thea Green (B.A., B.Ed., Dip. Ag.) is involved as the project lead and instructor for the safety curriculum project. As an experienced educator she is responsible for revising and developing curricular and workshop materials that are focused on improving agricultural safety in Manitoba through education and awareness. Creating interactive course materials and positive learning opportunities for her students is a challenge that Ms. Green enjoys, while working towards the goal of increasing awareness and adoption of safe work practices on farms across the province.