Results of a recent Ontario Federation of Agriculture survey reveal producers in the province are struggling trying to source and obtain the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to safely run their farm businesses.
In fact, the survey of nearly 500 OFA members across Ontario showed that 16% of respondents were unsure if they would be able to even keep their farm businesses open due to a lack of accessible PPE. Further, 21% of members reported they still anticipate PPE shortages within the next three months, and 68% reported unexpected shortages in N95 masks specifically.
“The consensus of the survey indicated that farmers are concerned with the increased cost of PPE and the unavailability of certain safety supplies,” said OFA director Steve Brackenridge. “As a farmer, we regularly experience unforeseeable challenges in our day-to-day work. Having to deal with the stress of tracking down PPE and obtaining the right materials necessary to keep our business open adds another layer of worry to managing our farm.”
According to respondents, the top three items that farmers experienced shortages of were N95 masks, dust masks and sterile gloves. Due to government guidelines to meet proper safety protocols, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are mandatory supplies needed to operate businesses.
More than 50% of farmers who completed the survey stated they do not have an extended supply of PPE on-hand, which leaves them vulnerable to future supply shortages. Only 12% of farmers stated they have enough supply to last their business more than six months.
Collectively, farmers also indicated they were unaware of various government programs that could assist them in offsetting the cost of PPE, managing financial strain due to making fundamental changes to their operations to protect the health and safety of their employees or accessing resources to order enough PPE needed to run their businesses safely and effectively.
Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.
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