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Dairy Farm


A 3rd generation fully automated dairy farm located in Northern Alberta reached out to Al because they had an employee who was repeatedly injured while using a common piece of hydraulic equipment. The latest injury resulted in a significant amount of lost time for the worker, and the farm’s Board of Directors requested that external help be brought in. They asked Al to help them find out what was causing the problem; and to see if they needed to change procedures, update equipment, provide training, or solve the issue in another way so that they could prevent further injuries. During the start-up phase of the assignment, management was understandably reluctant to share intimate details of the incidents with an outsider. Al was able to quickly establish rapport and build trust due in part to his upbringing on a small family farm and non-judgemental communication style.

Al reviewed the WCB reports and completed the investigation remotely by interviewing management and workers via the telephone, text message, and email. The clients also provided videos of the equipment in action, which Al compared to online videos on different manufacturers’ websites, to determine if manufacturer’s standards were being met. Finally, Al checked to determine if there were upgrades or new technologies available to prevent injuries.

Al’s final report included a written “safe job practice” that can be used for training and re-training, recommendations for training of all employees, identification of equipment upgrades and accessories, development of engineered controls to assist in injury prevention (i.e., painted lines on the ground or on the machine to remind staff where to stand) and an action plan for implementation. Finally, Al suggested that a next step could be for the operation to develop a critical task list and hazard assessment to ensure they have procedures in place for all of their high-risk activities.

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