October 2015

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Welcome New Chair and Board Members

CASA welcomes a new Chair to the CASA Board of Directors, along with two new board members for 2015–2016.
Wendy Bennett Executive Director of British Columbia’s Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), takes on the role of Chair. This is Bennett’s second year on the CASA Board of Directors and the first as Chair.
“The health and safety of Canadian farmers is critically important to the well-being of the industry. As Chair of CASA I will bring two decades of experience in occupational health and safety to the table, working with the Board and other CASA partners to continue to make safety a priority on farms and ranches across Canada,” says Bennett.
Bennett replaces outgoing Chair Dean Anderson (Strategic Advisor Agriculture Initiatives, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services), who assumes the role of Treasurer.
Bennett and Anderson are joined by first-time CASA Board members Carolyn Van Den Heuvel (NSFA Farm Safety Coordinator, Farm Safety Nova Scotia), and Jeff Shaw (SAFE Farm Coordinator, SAFE Work Manitoba).
 Anderson, Van Den Heuvel and Shaw were acclaimed to the Board of Directors at “Be the Difference!” CASA’s 21st annual farm safety conference and AGM held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan this past October 6 to 8, 2015.
 Existing Board member David Powers (Director, Health, Safety & Environment, Oxford Frozen Foods) takes on the role of Vice-Chair, while former Vice-Chair Tara Huestis (Farm Safety Specialist, PEI Workers Compensation Board) continues on as Board member. Niels Koehncke (Director, Canadian Centre for Health & Safety in Agriculture) continues on in the role of Secretary.
CASA’s Board of Directors would like to extend a tremendous thank you to outgoing Treasurer Lauranne Sanderson (Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus) for her many years of service, and outgoing interim Board member Martin Caron (Second Vice-President, L'Union des producteurs agricoles), who stepped in for former Board member Denis Bilodeau (Second Vice-President – retired, L'Union des producteurs agricoles) in 2014–2015.

Saskatoon Conference a Success
Approximately 65 farmers, safety professionals, suppliers, trainers, manufacturers and researchers converged on Saskatoon this past October to take part in “Be the Difference!” CASA’s 21st annual conference and AGM. From October 6 to 8, 2015, participants heard from safety leaders from across the industry. Wes Jamison, Associate Professor of Communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University, proved that getting buy-in on safety is even hard for a seasoned safety veteran like himself (Jamison suffered serious injuries in a fall incident). Curtis Weber (High Voltage Consulting) shared his own gripping experience of being electrocuted while building a grain bin. Rounding out the conference were presentations on the latest ag injury statistics, equipment safety, professional development workshops, and a tour of CNHi’s manufacturing plant.
View and download the 2015 conference presentations.
Diane Wreford is the CASA Conference Coordinator and says participant feedback was very positive. “They really appreciated the mix of presentations,” she says. “There was something for everyone, from personal safety narratives, to insight into human behaviour, to an insider’s look at the engineering of safety from the plant floor.” Thank you once again Diane for putting on a fabulous conference!
Next year CASA will hold its 22nd annual conference and AGM at the Rodd Charlottetown in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, October 4 – 6/16. Save the date now, and check back to for more information early next year (we will be leaving the conference website up for your reference all year long)!
Thank you to 2015 conference supporters: the Government of Canada through Growing Forward 2, CHS, Farm Credit Canada, Imperial Oil, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, BASF, CropLife Canada, Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association, John Deere, MacDon and New Holland.

Give the Gift of Farm Safety This Holiday Season 
 It’s just about that time of year, and the Board of the FarmSafe Foundation, CASA’s charitable wing, would like you to consider supporting the cause of farm safety this holiday season. The Foundation (charitable number 840404487RR0001) provides funding to help traumatically injured farmers cover the cost of assistive technology to return to farming. The Foundation also supports farm safety education for youth through Safety Days. If you want to support the cost of training and resource development, the Foundation covers that too! Pick what you’d like to fund by earmarking your donation, or provide a general donation and the Foundation will apply your gift to the area of greatest need. You can also leave a gift on behalf of someone dear to you. Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable receipt for tax purposes. Donating is easy, just go to and donate by credit card, pay pal, debit card, or gift card.

Donate Now
Preventing Grain Entrapment
Following the tragic loss of three sisters on an Alberta farm in October, CASA would like to post a safety article we published in Grainews shortly before the tragedy occurred. Stay safe out there!

As harvest comes to a close, combines are cleaned and stored, augers fall quiet and the result of all that hard work in the field is safe at home in the bin. Grain bins represent the bounty of the harvest and they are the symbol of a successful season, but they also pose serious hazards.
There are many hazards associated with grain and grain storage. Respiratory hazards, fire and explosion hazards and fall hazards. However, there is one hazard that is becoming all too common in stories about near misses, injuries and deaths in and around grain bins—grain entrapment.
Grain entrapment can happen within seconds. There are all sorts of reasons why somebody might enter a grain bin, but without proper equipment and training, a simple action can turn into injury or even death.
First of all, just like farm equipment, grain bins should be off limits to children and unauthorized personnel. This means talking to children, employees and visitors about the dangers associated with grain bins. This first step can go a long way in preventing grain entrapment and suffocation.
It’s also a good idea to understand how grain entrapment can occur. There are three types of entrapment. Flowing grain, an avalanche of a vertical grain wall and a collapse of a grain bridge. Understanding how grain behaves under different circumstances is a part of understanding how to work safely around it.
Flowing grain
When a grain bin is being unloaded, the grain flows in a funnel shaped path towards the auger. The grain then acts like quicksand, pulling the victim down. Depending on the size of the auger, it can take only seconds for a person to become fully covered in grain.
Avalanche of a vertical grain wall
Sometimes grain in a bin can become spoiled due to high moisture content and variation in temperature. This spoiled grain can lead to serious issues including the sides of the bin wall becoming encrusted in grain. Grain in bad condition can stand almost straight up and down, and removing it becomes difficult and dangerous. Victims of this type of engulfment have tried to remove the grain by shoveling at the base or poking the vertical towers. This can cause the grain to break free from the walls, resulting in a grain avalanche that can bury the worker inside the bin.
Collapse of a grain bridge
Grain bridges form when grain on the surface becomes spoiled, moldy or frozen. The grain forms a hard crust that spans to the grain bin walls. When any of the grain is unloaded, the crust remains in place, resulting in a void under the grain bridge. The danger arises when a victim enters the bin and attempts to walk across the crusted surface. The extra weight can cause the grain bridge to collapse. This results in the victim not only falling but becoming completely submerged in falling grain. 
Suffocation and entrapment can be avoided. It comes down to taking the time and energy to ensure safe operation around grain bins. First of all, make sure nobody enters a grain bin when unloading equipment is running. If you must enter a bin, shut off the unloader. Locking out the equipment before entering the bin will prevent someone from inadvertently starting the equipment while you are inside.
Don’t walk on a grain bridge. It isn’t always easy to determine if a grain bridge exists. One way to detect if a grain bridge exists is to take a look at the surface of the grain. Look for an inverted cone or funnel after unloading from a bin. Follow fall prevention strategies and use a pole or weighted line to free the bridge. Remember to watch out for power lines.
Entering a bin to work with vertically crusted and spoiled grain requires equipment and planning. If at all possible, don’t enter the bin. Use a long wooden pole to break up grain but remember to watch out for power lines. If entering a grain bin becomes necessary because of crusted grain, a detailed plan has to be developed and appropriate safety equipment needs to be used to ensure safety. If at all possible, consider hiring a contractor to clean out the bin. They have the necessary equipment and expertise to safely and efficiently clean out the bin.
The need to enter a grain bin to clean out spoiled grain can be avoided all together. By developing storage strategies for the grain, conditions that cause spoilage and formation of vertical grain walls and grain bridges can be avoided. Grain storage specialists can give good advice about storing grain to prevent spoilage. Places to go for advice include local grain handling experts and provincial agricultural departments and ministries. 
Grain entrapment can be avoided. It’s a matter of communicating and planning. For more information about farm safety, visit

Annual Report
Extra! Extra! Read all about CASA’s accomplishments this past year in Renewing Change: CASA’s 2014–2015 Annual Report! Scan our infographics (p. 7), see how our fundraising is doing (p. 16), or read about a grain entrapment training that helped save a life (p. 15).

Apply for Assistive Technology
The Back to Ag Program is back! From November 12 to December 21, 2015, Canadian farmers that have been traumatically injured can apply to the Back to Ag Program to support the cost of adaptive technology to help them continue farming. Previously funded items include sit to stand wheelchairs, modifications to stairs and livestock handling facilities, and lifts. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, a Canadian resident, have experienced a traumatic injury and are able to show their need and demonstrate how the adaptive technology will help them return to work on the farm. The Back to Ag Program is made possible through a partnership between CASA, FCC and the Rick Hansen Foundation. For more information or to apply for funding, visit and click on “Grants,” or contact CASA at 1-877-452-2272 or
Apply for Machinery Training
If you thought Back to Ag (above) was great, how about the FCC Ag Safety Fund! CASA will be accepting applications for the granting program from November 4 to December 18, 2015. For the second year in a row, funding will focus on tractor and machinery safety training. “Tractor and machinery safety training helps develop skills for safe operation,” says Marcel Hacault, Executive Director of CASA. Local and provincial/territorial safety training projects are eligible for up to $5,000 in funding, while national projects are eligible for up to $15,000 in funding. Charitable and non-profit groups may apply. This fund is made possible by FCC, a long-time supporter of CASA and farm safety initiatives. For more information or to apply for funding, visit and click on “Grants,” or contact CASA at 1-877-452-2272.
This past August, CASA bid adieu to communications intern Erin Hill. Over the summer, Hill worked on several communication projects for CASA including our annual report, newsletters and presentations for various conferences, while also working weekends at a Winnipeg radio station. Hill entered her final year at Red River College's Creative Communications program this past September with a Major in Public Relations. Good luck Erin, and thanks for a job well done!
The following is a list of upcoming activities at CASA. Get your calendars out!

November and December 2015
In case you missed the funding announcements above, there are two granting programs accepting applications in November and December:

FCC Ag Safety Fund, accepting applications from November 4 to December 18, 2015

Back to Ag Program, accepting applications from November 12 to December 21, 2015

March 2016
What’s that? You want to know when Canadian Agricultural Safety Week is being held next year. Good to hear! We are excited too! Next year, CASW takes place March 13 to 19, 2016. Stay tuned to for information about our 2016 campaign theme, to be released soon. We know you’ll love it.

October 2016
It’s not too early to start thinking about CASA’s next conference and AGM. In 2016, CASA’s Conference and AGM will be held in the beautiful and picturesque city of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island from October 4 to 6. Save the date!
Copyright © 2015 Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, All rights reserved.

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