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Farm safety takes back seat to politics in Alberta

Red Deer, Alta. — My grandfather died in a farming accident. A great-aunt lost an arm in an auger. A boy I rode the school bus with stopped a church service one autumn to tell everyone his brother had just been crushed to death in a combine.

In the last few months, four children have died in farming mishaps in the region around Red Deer, Alta., alone.

In no other industry would such a poor safety record be allowed to stand unchallenged. But in Alberta, it’s just statistics — and poorly reported at that.

Alberta’s non-profit Farm Safety Centre lists agriculture as Canada’s third most dangerous industry. Other stats-gathering groups such as FinancesOnline rank agriculture at No. 9 in the top 10 most dangerous ways to earn a living, behind logging, fishing, flying, roofing, steel work, garbage collecting, power-line work and truck driving. Police work and firefighting don’t even make the list.

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