Agricultural Health and Safety Network

The ultimate goal of the AHSN is to reduce injury related and illness related to the farm environment through co-operative efforts with our partners. AHSN website


As a recognized leader in research and outreach service, the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA, formerly the Centre for Agricultural Medicine) has been providing Health Surveillance to companies in Saskatchewan since 1987. We have provided surveillance to grain industry, swine workers, pulp, and paper industry and sheet metal workers throughout Saskatchewan, and the list is growing. We are in a unique position to provide health surveillance that reflects both the needs of industry and our up to date knowledge and experience with occupational health hazards and issues. CANWORKSAFE was created as the business and health surveillance arm of I.ARE. H now providing those services.

A questionnaire regarding respiratory exposures and symptoms is given. Blood pressure is taken, spirometry is performed. The worker receives counseling on mask use and respiratory health issues. Workers are given a copy of their results along with an explanation. Our occupational health physician reviews all files and letters to each employee are sent. Referrals are made for chronic respiratory symptoms, below average spirometry results, and above normal BP reading. Referrals may also be made for concerns the workers has discussed in regards to their health. Referal is made to either the family doctor or the occupational health clinic.

The RN provides the worker with a hearing history questionnaire. An otoscope examination is carried out, and then the test is performed at each frequency of 500, 1000, 2000,3000,4000,6000 and 8000 Hz. The worker receives counseling regarding the harmful effects of overexposure to noise and the use and care of hearing protection. Workers are provided with a copy of their results and an explanation. Our occupational health physician reviews all files and letters to each employee are sent. If necessary, referrals are made to the family physician, or for further hearing testing.

Using the TSI Portacount we test the worker’s personal respirator to determine if there is any possible leakage. We first discuss the use and care of the respirator and review how to properly wear and adjust the respirator. The respirator is then put on, and the test is conducted while the wearer performs breathing and moving exercises, which simulates workplace movements. A pass/fail result is printed out for both the worker and his employer.

This is done to determine if a worker is medically fit to wear a respirator. A specific questionnaire in regards to respirator wear is completed. The questionnaire is reviewed, and if further evaluation is necessary, this is arranged.

Flu immunization can be provided at your place of work.

The RN will provide on-site wellness clinics. The clinic includes testing for cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Any or all of these tests may be chosen. Results are available immediately; and discussed with each worker. Education, increasing the level of awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle is given. The worker is advised to follow up with their family doctor for any abnormal results.

For more information, please contact us at (306) 966-6643.

Occupational Medicine Clinic – University of Saskatchewan

Occupational Medicine is that branch of preventive medicine dealing with the effects of work on health (occupational illness and injury) and the effects of ill health on the ability to work. The goal of occupational medicine is to recognize, prevent, diagnose and treat occupational illness and injury and to promote health and productivity. Outpatient clinical consultation (by referral) for patients with occupational or environmental health concerns or concerns regarding exposures, health hazards, return to work or fitness to work are welcome. Dr. Koehncke has been the clinic director since August of 2000.

Q1: Why as an employer would I choose to have my employees screened?

There are many potential health hazards in the industry that can lead to illness and injury. Sometimes the effects are clear and noticeable, but often the effects are gradual and subtle, difficult to detect.
Occupational health surveillance can detect illnesses early, before they become significant health issues, and can, therefore, help prevent progression to more serious illnesses.
With early detection, steps can be taken to prevent the situation from getting worse.

Regular health surveillance is usually very well received by employees, and also gives an opportunity to address other more common issues such as blood pressure, diet, and exercise.
A dedicated health surveillance program can go a long way towards helping an employer maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Q2: Do my employees need a hearing test?

Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety regulations require audiometric testing and counseling at least once every 24 months for workers who are exposed to noise greater than 85dBA Lex or employees who work in areas where noise levels are equal to or greater than 90 dBA.

Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable, and an audiometric screening reinforces your hearing conservation program.

Q3: Why would I provide Spirometry testing for my employees?

Spirometry can play an important part in the prevention of respiratory disease through early detection of changes in lung function

Q4: Why provide flu vaccine for my employees?

Every year, influenza results in significant illness and lost time from work. Providing a flu vaccine can help prevent significant lost time from work due to influenza

Q5: Why would I provide a wellness clinic for my employees?

  • The wellness clinic focuses on factors that could lead to coronary artery disease
  • it would increase the level of awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle
  • health screenings can be the initial step in identifying individuals at risk.

Q6: Why would I have my employees blood pressure checked?

  • High blood pressure is a silent disease.
  • Many people have elevated blood pressure and feel fine.
  • Early detection of high blood pressure can prevent many long-term illnesses, including heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

Q7: I test my employees for qualitative fit testing, why would I want to do quantitative fit testing?

Qualitative fit testing uses a challenge agent like banana oil, irritant smoke, saccharin or bitrex and relies on the worker's sense of smell and therefore is very subjective. On the other hand, quantitative testing measures the particles in the air and the particles in the mask, providing an accurate measurement of fit. The employee performs a series of movements, breathing and talking exercises while the quantitative test is being carried out assuring, that an accurate fit is obtained. Quantitative fit testing eliminates the worker’s interpretation and subjectivity and is a direct measurement of the respirator’s efficiency at filtration.

For general information please contact:

Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture - CCHSA
Telephone: (306) 966-8286
Facsimile: (306) 966-8799

For information on the Occupational Medicine Clinic, or to arrange an appointment, please contact:

Occupational Medicine Clinic
Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
P.O. Box 23, 104 Clinic Drive,
Saskatoon, SK, Canada, S7N 2Z4,
Telephone: (306) 966-7906
Facsimile: (306) 966-8799