Safety and Health

AgSafe Safety Advisor, Tadhg O’Leary specializes in Dairy and Beef farming (2016)

About Tadhg O’Leary: Tadhg (pronounced liked Tiger without the “r”) has a strong passion for working within the agricultural community. His safety experience is based on a lifetime of exposure to farming and the associated hazards. Tadhg grew up on, and was actively involved in his family’s dairy farm in Ireland. He graduated as a Veterinary Surgeon from the school of Veterinary Medicine in Dublin Ireland. He worked as a veterinarian for ten years prior to coming to Canada. Tadhg first joined AgSafe in 2013 and is returning after a 1-year leave of absence in Toronto where his wife Kathryn was completing her medical training at The Hospital for Sick Children. Tadhg’s and Kathryn have two children, a 19-month old son Finbarr and a new born daughter Olivia.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be working on, now that you’re back with AgSafe?
A: My experience lies in dairy farming and veterinary. I will continue to assist employers in all safety matters in the dairy, poultry, hog, mink and equine sectors throughout B.C.’s Lower Mainland. I can help in a variety of ways from farm visits and assisting employers with their safety programs, to training workers within areas such as tractor, forklift and skid steer safety. Other training offered by AgSafe that I can facilitate includes livestock handling and supervisor training to name but a few.

Q: You’re known as the “dairy guy” at AgSafe, how did that come about?
A: This came about due to my background in being both a dairy farmer and working with dairy farmers for over 20 years. This experience helps me to relate to dairy employers and their workers needs by understanding the hazards that they are challenged with.

Q: What’s the biggest difference between dairy farming/farmers in Ireland and in B.C.?
A: The main difference that I see would be the seasonal calving pattern. In Ireland, for the most part all cows calve in the spring months during February and March to ensure as much milk as possible can be made from grazed pasture. This can result in a very busy spring period when all the calves need to be reared at once. However dairy farmers have a 6-week break from milking during the “dry off’ period between December and January each year. In B.C., cows are calved throughout the year and milking goes on 365 days a year.

Q: Your work extends across various agricultural commodities in B.C., what’s the one piece of advice that you give everyone you speak to?
A: As most farms in B.C. are family farms, I ask parents to recognize their role as the safety supervisors and to lead their new workers and the next generation of farmers by demonstrating best practice. In my experience parents set the tone of safety tolerance on their family farms and should always lead by example.

Q: In your opinion, what should dairy farmers be focusing on, health and safety wise?
A: I think from a safety perspective dairy farmers can care for new and younger workers on their farms by ensuring they receive the necessary training for their role on the farm. They can also provide a safe workplace by checking for dangerous conditions or work practices.

Q: Are there any exciting projects you’re working on for AgSafe, or in general that you can tell us about?
A: I am excited to be the lead on a manure gas exposure project which is currently underway in collaboration with the B.C. Dairy Association. This project helps dairy farmers to determine their own and their farm worker’s exposure to a toxic gas called Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) when manure is agitated on their farms. Participants in the project, as well as learning what level of H2S is on their farms, will receive a free H2S personal alarm valued at $200 for participating in this project. By participating in this project Farmers will be able to assess the risk to themselves and their workers and help create awareness of the potential unseen dangers on their family farm.

Q: How can B.C. dairy farmers get involved with these projects?
A: Feel free to contact me through the AgSafe office or at the email below. Q: AgSafe has great resources for all B.C. agricultural employers and workers, including the dairy industry. Are there any resources which dairy farmers are under using that you’d like to bring to their attention? A: I would like farmers to use AgSafe’s new Dairy Health and Safety Program that was recently published. It is designed to help dairy farmers implement a safety program and will meet their due diligence requirements.

Q: Any final words of wisdom?
A: Take care and be safe on your dairy farms everyone!!

Thanks Tadhg, it was great to catch up and find out a little bit more about how AgSafe can help the dairy industry continue to improve its health and safety. Good luck with all the projects.

  • Tadhg can be reached by email at tadhg@agsafeBC.ca 
  • AgSafe resources are available for free from the AgSafe office by calling 604-881-6078. Visit their website for more details www.agsafeBC.ca. 

AgSafe BC

AgSafe Announces Bachmann Farms is the #AgSafetyChamp of the year (2017)

February 6, 2017 – . The Champion of Agriculture Award was presented to Bachmann Farms by AgSafe at the BC Agriculture Council Agri-Food Industry Gala on January 25.

Joe and Andy Bachmann are second generation dairy farmers in Pitt Meadow and they put workplace safety first. The brothers regularly review work environments and safety protocols. When they have concerns they make a list and ensure that things on the list get addressed and fixed in a timely manner. This also applies to any work on the premises that is not related to the daily operations of the farm. When custom work needs to be done, they make sure to take time to have a safety meeting with every worker and contactor that comes on site.

“I just never want to have to explain to somebody’s loved one how they got hurt or killed on my farm, I want everyone to go home safe,” says Joe Bachmann

In 2016 AgSafe partnered with the BC Agriculture Council to run the year-long #AgSafetyChamp safety awareness campaign. The goal was to increase awareness about workplace safety concerns faced by BC’s agriculture community and to get the community talking and sharing information about best practices.

People working in agriculture from all parts of the province were asked to share, via social media using the hashtag #AgSafetyChamp, a workplace safety tip or to nominate someone they think has good workplace safety practices. Wendy Bennett, Executive Director of AgSafe was pleased with the campaign, “We received a lot good safety tips from all sectors, and people of all ages who had different responsibilities in their workplace. The campaign was also an opportunity for people to ask us questions about workplace safety.”

Over the past ten years BC farmers and ranchers, encouraged by safety training & education from AgSafe, have reduced the number of farm fatalities by 50 per cent and accident claims by 27 per cent.

For over twenty years AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for British Columbia’s agriculture industry and is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries by offering health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services.

For more information about AgSafe services call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca