Agriculture sector struggles to locate adequate safety equipment
The following is an excerpt from GrainsWest Magazine article Agriculture sector struggles to locate adequate safety equipment
By: Ian Doig, Editor
Farmers require PPE for themselves and their employees during daily operation as well as to satisfy Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) requirements where necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on the healthcare sector as well as a greater volume of use by the general public has created a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) in the agriculture sector.
The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley surveyed farmers early in the pandemic to determine which gear is most needed. Top priority items identified are disposable gloves, N95 respirator masks, face shields and non-N95 certified masks. Shannon Sereda, government relations and policy manager for the commissions, said the survey also determined that farmers aren’t using PPE for COVID-related concerns, but for day-to-day operations and crop-related activities.
Protection from hantavirus is a big concern, as are residuals from inputs such as fertilizer, feed and crop protection products. Grain dust is also a central concern, with OH&S regulations requiring employees to wear N95 masks when exposed to it.