"We've never had a serious work-related injury and we're proud of that safety record," says Coburn Farms owner David Coburn.
"The health and well being of my family, workers and animals are very important to me.
When everyone is healthy, the whole farm runs better."
operates a 260 acre mixed operation consisting of 25,000 laying hens, a computerized feed mill, in-vessel composting system and a 10-acre apple orchard and cider press.
The family business employs his
wife, Karen, two of their three adult children and three other full time staff as well as up to six seasonal workers.
Part of Coburn's safety ethic stems from his
20 years as a volunteer fire fighter - eight of those as Fire Chief.
Safety is a value shared by both of his
sons who are also volunteer fire fighters.
Tragically, in November 2010, the fire fighter pagers beckoned for aid to put out a fire at Coburn's apple storage facility, which ended in a total loss.
From the ashes, Coburn
built a new state-of-the-art apple storage and press, which is the site for the eastern launch of CASW this year.
Coburn drew on this experience to develop his
own farm safety plan.
Using the templates and plan structure of CASA's Canada FarmSafe Plan, he
has compiled a customized blueprint for safety specific to his
A free download of the core Canada FarmSafe Plan is available at www.planfarmsafety.ca .
"Many of the things outlined in the Canada FarmSafe Plan are what we were practicing anyway - now we have committed them to paper," explains Coburn
If I have to nag or enforce safety behaviours - then that worker is not a good 'fit' in my business," says Coburn
In addition to his
customized Canada FarmSafe Plan, Coburn
has developed Operating Procedures Manuals for his
poultry operation, the apple press and is in the process of completing one for the feed mill.
operation as a 'closed loop' farm, meaning all stages of production and output are recycled and reused rather than discarded.
As part of these sustainable practices he
grows and mills the feed for the chickens, then composts all waste products from the chickens and apple pressing.
The compost is then spread on the orchards, replenishing to the earth the nutrients that were withdrawn.
"I don't see the way I farm as being exceptional," says Coburn