The single-largest cause of on-farm injuries in the farm sector according to WorkSafeBC is falls, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong the provincial agency is doubling down on efforts to make sure the farm sector is adhering to its safety plans designed to curb the risk of infection.
WorkSafeBC announced May 8 that it was launching a three-week “inspectional and consultative initiative” across the Interior involving 40 field inspections and 35 consultations targeting wineries, cideries and craft breweries.
The announcement pointed to an uptick in seasonal hiring as the reason for the blitz, specifically calling out production staff for scrutiny. However, the establishments chosen were targeted because they’re popular destinations for tourists.
While the work of organizations such as AgSafeBC were effective in keeping workers safe from COVID-19 last year, with no major outbreak related to an agri-tourism operation, WorkSAfeBC isn’t taking any chances.
“We need to ensure these employers have updated and effective COVID-19 Safety Plans in place to protect their diverse workforces,” a statement announcing the inspections said.
It isn’t known if other agri-tourism operations could be visited, but WorkSafeBC said sectors are chosen on the basis of “risk assessments and employer effectiveness surveys, as well as COVID-19 claim numbers, information from BC’s health authorities, and seasonal and temporal factors.”
“Our prevention efforts are continually being re-evaluated as situations evolve in workplaces and sectors across the province,” a WorkSafeBC spokesperson told Country Life in BC.
WorkSafeBC has conducted 27,248 COVID-19-related inspections and 4,887 consultations as of May 8. These resulted in 3,099 orders for health and safety violations related to COVID-19.