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Workshops are helping to create safer Manitoba farms

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If Justin Morison had his way, he would soon be out of a job.


Morison is the executive manager of Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities, an organization committed to educating farm communities about health and safety and preventing accidents that result in injuries.


"We don’t want people to have a disability," Morison said.


The MFD was formed 10 years ago as a non-profit organization and provides resources for people living with a disability. In addition to offering videos designed to teach farm safety to families and tips on returning to farming following a serious injury, it provides peer counseling.
"After someone has been involved in an accident that results in the loss of a limb or some type of disablement, it is an important step to seek support. They need to talk to someone who cares and understands," Morison said.


Morison helped develop a four-part workshop series entitled Safe Farms Safe Families. The series was made possible through local sponsorship and a grant from the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association,


The third workshop in the series was held Nov. 8 in Fannystelle and featured workplace safety and health specialist Theo Kowalchuk.


Kowalchuk, president of 1Life workplace Safety and Health, has worked on her family’s seed operation near Brunkild. Her presentation combined her knowledge of agriculture and safety to address the issues of risk management, liabilities and increased productivity.


Kowalchuk said the aim of her presentation was to give the audience an awareness of safety and health regulations. She used several examples of incidents in which Manitoba farm owners were fined for workplace safety and health violations.


"I want them to understand how the laws work," she said.


Morison will present a workshop for children on age-appropriate tasks and hazard identification in the farmyard at the fourth workshop to be held later this year.


The MFD is currently renovating the former Tempo Gas station in Elm Creek to serve as its office. The building will contain a large classroom for training classes and programs. The rooms will also be available for use by local businesses.

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