Safety effort lauded

A Central Alberta farm safety program is being honoured with the 2009 CN Safer Alberta Community Award.

A Central Alberta farm safety program is being honoured with the 2009 CN Safer Alberta Community Award.

On Tuesday at Olds College, a representative with Canadian National Railway recognized the Safe Communities Central Alberta organization for its Young Farm Workers Safety Training Workshop. The program promotes agriculture safety and injury prevention.

Paul Miller, CN’s chief safety and transportation officer, said 23 people were killed on Alberta farms last year.

“That’s a tragic number,” said Miller, a judge of the annual awards program. “These incidents can be prevented, so it’s critically important to build safety awareness in the next generation of Alberta’s farmers.”

The workshop is held each May at the college, giving 14-to-18-year-olds the knowledge to recognize danger areas in farming.

Karen Spruyt, co-ordinator with Safe Communities Central Alberta, said more than 200 people have participated in the one-day workshops since 2006.

Having Olds College and other community partners on board has helped give invaluable expertise and interactive training, she added.

“We’re honoured to receive this recognition from CN, which will help us build our program and expand to other areas of Central Alberta,” said Spruyt in a news release.

College president Tom Thompson said many of its students arrive with a heightened sense of farm safety that serves them well in the college’s programs.

The CN awards began in 2008 to recognize youth and community organizations. The $10,000 award program presents the winners and runners-up in each category with $4,000 and $1,000, respectively.

A full list of 2009 recipients can be found online at http://www.cn.ca/en/corporate-citizenship-community-all-aboard-safer-alberta.htm.

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