Agricultural Health & Safety

Gain a better understanding of the health and safety issues present on Canadian farms with this series of online modules.

You will learn about the health and safety situation in the agriculture industry, the major health and safety risks and explore some strategies for improving the current situation.

Issues in agricultural health and safety

Start off with a detailed look at the state of health and safety on Canadian farms. This module highlights the causes of disease and incidents on Canadian farms and introduces the importance of improving agricultural health and safety.

Models of health behaviour change 

Take a look at the theories and models that attempt to explain the factors that influence behaviour change. Understanding these factors is necessary when trying to improve the health and safety behaviours of individuals and communities.

Managing farm health and safety

Get an overview of the importance of farm safety from a management standpoint. You’ll look at the costs associated with farm incidents and the benefits that result from reducing those incidents. Key areas of emphasis are the implications of recent changes in the legal aspects of the health and safety responsibilities under the provincial Occupational Health Safety acts and the tools available to assist farmers in managing farm safety risks.

Agricultural machinery

Examine tractor and equipment incidents as a major cause of farm fatalities and injuries and identify the main types of tractor and equipment hazards. You will also cover the basics of safe tractor and equipment operation and learn about reducing agricultural machinery incidents through education, engineering and enforcement of legislation.

Agricultural chemicals

Examine the reasons agricultural chemicals pose a health risk to farmers and farm workers. You’ll also learn about the difference between classes of agricultural chemicals, focusing on pesticides, the symptoms of pesticide poisoning and long-term health effects of pesticide use, including cancer risks and environmental effects.

Safe livestock handling

Learn about the importance of safe livestock handling and the main types of hazards associated with handling livestock with animal diseases and the drugs used on livestock operations. You’ll also explore differences between livestock species in terms of physiology and psychology with an emphasis on the benefits of good livestock handling and strategies to assist in the development and implementation of safe livestock handling procedures.

Occupational health

Cover the main types of other health hazards present on farm operations and identify strategies for minimizing the risks posed by those hazards. You’ll also examine ways to improve the health and safety climate on a farm. Health hazards covered include respiratory, climate issues, cancer and eye and ear.

Agricultural family dynamics

This module is divided into two: Agricultural Stress and Child Safety on the Farm. You will examine the dynamic relationships that exist between members of the farm family and their emotional and physical health. You will also look at the unique role of children on the farm and their risk factors for injury and illness.


This module expands on Models of Health Behaviour Change. Before successful interventions can be designed to improve agricultural health and safety, it is necessary to understand why people engage in dangerous behaviours and why people take risks. In addition to studying general risk taking behaviour, you will also examine the specific risk taking activities of farmers and farm workers and the factors that play a role in these behaviours.

Improving agricultural health and safety

Take a look at current strategies to improve agricultural health and why these strategies have succeeded or failed. You will also examine ideas for future strategies, several types of interventions, recommendations for the agricultural industry and look at some research initiatives.