Since 2002, more than 157,000 children have participated in Progressive Agriculture Safety Day events in Canada.
The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) has been working with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF) to support volunteers that host these community-based safety days.
Progressive Agriculture Safety Days is recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Traditionally, these are one-day events featuring a mix-and-match of stations that are fun, engaging, and hands-on.
Stations cover everything from sun safety and recognition of chemical look-a-likes to avoid exposure, to farm equipment safety. However, in 2020, the events may look a little different.
“Due to COVID-19, the majority of spring safety days were cancelled or postponed,” said Marcel Hacault, CASA executive director.
“The health and safety of children, volunteers and community members is paramount at all times, and of course that’s never more important than during the pandemic.”
In lieu of in-person events, the groups have made available resources for rural children.
In partnership with BASF, CASA created a ‘For Kids’ resource page on its website casa-acsa.ca, featuring tools like a farm safety contract for parents and kids, a toolbox talk, links on building safe play areas and downloadable activity and colouring pages.
PAF created a daily learning drop series available on Facebook and YouTube featuring 68 consecutive drops of timely safety and health information for teachers, parents and children. They are also exploring additional virtual opportunities for children.
“Seeing the postponement of many of our spring events, coupled with the fact that more children would likely be helping on the farm during spring planting season, we took a proactive approach to continue our mission and deliver timely, hands-on safety and health messages,” said Brian Kuhl, PAF president and CEO.
“Our goal was to help assist both parents and teachers with fun activities for children, hoping they would adopt safer practices while at home or on the farm, to combat risky behavior that can accompany curiosity and boredom.”
Both CASA and PAF hoping to host in-person events next year.
“Even though no one is sure what will happen in the future, we are hopeful that in-person safety days can resume as soon as it’s safe to do so,” Hacault said.
– Submitted by CASA