Archives for September 2014

Health Canada Wants Your Input On GHS Updates

GHS

In late 2011, the Canadian government committed to implementing the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) by June 1, 2015. The GHS system is intended to communicate health and safety information and hazards regarding chemical products via labels and material safety data sheets (SDS) that will be adopted around the world. The three major hazard groups within the GHS classification system are physical hazards, health hazards, and environmental hazards. Some of the benefits Canada will enjoy as a result of adopting GHS include: increased trade, regulatory, and compliance efficiency; cost reduction; safer transport, handling, and use of chemicals; more consistent hazard communication; better emergency response; and reduced need for animal testing.

In order to fully synchronize with the GHS system, WHMIS-related laws (the Hazardous Products Act and Controlled Products Regulations) will need to be amended on federal, provincial, and territorial levels. Health Canada is the government body responsible for making the required changes, and they have released the latest Hazardous Products Regulations proposal in the Canada Gazette, Part I for public comment. Anyone may comment on the proposed regulatory amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 regulations only. You have until October 8, 2014 to provide comments, which must cite the Canada Gazette Part I, the date of notice (August 9, 2014), and be addressed to:

Amira Sultan

Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate, Health Canada

Postal Locator: 4707A, 427 Laurier Avenue West, 7th Floor Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Email: WHMIS_SIMDUT@hcsc.gc.ca

Telephone: 1-855-407-2665

Fax: 1-613-993-5016

Questions and requests for additional information, as well as comments on the proposed regulations may also be directed to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Directorate. Final regulations are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II by early 2015.

Aging Workers: The Landscape Ahead

Aging

Statistics Canada has predicted that by 2021, nearly one out of four in the labour force (roughly 24%) could be 55 years of age or over. While older workers tend to be better at recognizing hazards, they incur more severe consequences and longer recovery times when they do get injured. Repetitive motion issues like musculoskeletal injuries are especially common among older workers. Recent reports have shown that many aging workers are putting off retirement and staying in the work force longer, which could present some of the following health & safety concerns:

  • Strength, range of motion, respiratory, and cardiovascular limitations: Older workers tend to have decreased capacity in these areas, which may restrict physical capabilities or contribute to injury and illness if limitations are not recognized.
  • Slips, trips & falls: Accidents related to loss of balance and posture tend to occur more often with age. Tasks involving the following should be reserved for younger workers: joint movements at extreme angles, slippery or unstable surfaces, unexpected bumps or shocks.
  • Sleep & body temperature regulation: The body’s decreased ability to regulate sleep and internal temperatures can present safety risks if older workers are scheduled to work at night or in extreme temperatures.
  • Vision & hearing changes: Older workers face higher risk of injury due to difficulty seeing and hearing in certain conditions.
  • Cognitive functioning: As mental capacity decreases with age, so do learning, thinking, and reaction speeds. However, what older workers lack in speed, they make up for in experience and expertise!

To learn more about specific health and safety needs for an aging workforce, take a look at this article from IHSA Magazine.

When baby boomers do begin to retire, replacing them with new workers comes with a whole different set of challenges. Construction, trucking, and electricity & renewable energy industries are expected to grow significantly in Canada in coming years, which could present as many setbacks as opportunities. The cost of training new workers can be high, and statistics show that their lack of experience and discretion leads to frequent hand and eye injuries.

Whether your facility is facing one or both of these scenarios, remember to make safety and compliance the priority. Ensure that each and every worker, regardless of age, is properly trained and suited for his or her position, and make adjustments where necessary.

8 Proven Money-Saving Warehouse Organization Tips

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An organized warehouse is an efficient one. When your facility is organized and clean, you can easily track and locate all your stored assets. Lack of order can lead to serious problems in your warehouse, so it’s important that your assets are stored in a way that makes sense.

Here are 8 basic tips for efficiently organizing your warehouse:

Toss away trash

Taking care of your trash is a great place to start. Purge all of the garbage just sitting there and gathering dust. Discard empty boxes, leftover cardboard, worthless stacks of files  – anything that doesn’t have value to your organization anymore. Make sure you have garbage receptacles nearby so your trash doesn’t create another pile to clean later. You can even consider selling some items. You’ve now cleared valuable space, which means lower costs for additional storage space down the road.

Arrange assets by category

Chances are, your assets fall under multiple categories, so it’s wiser to sort them by category and not by product. For example, if you are a clothing manufacturer, you can store shirts in one section and pants in another. Making your categories broad and general will make storing more streamlined.

Kwik Fix R3000 ShelvingStack high

By storing your assets vertically instead of horizontally, you will save precious floor space and make your warehouse look tidier. Be careful not to create stacks that are dangerously high or just too high to reach. Utilize storage and industrial shelving systems so your items are neatly stacked on one another.

Arrange according to weight

Keep heavy items lower and the lighter ones on top. This will prevent injuries and major product loss, and is particularly helpful if you don’t have a machine picking inventory for you.

Label everything

It’s frustrating to have to go through each item one by one just to find out what’s inside it. When everything is labelled, it makes it easier to keep inventory. It also protects your organization from time-consuming and expensive errors.

Stick photos to boxed items

Attaching photos on boxes also helps you know what’s inside, so there is no need to open them. Nothing looks more cluttered and  messy than half-opened boxes. Items are more prone to being misplaced, displaced or missing in this scenario.Anti-slip warehouse floor marking

Mark your aisles

Signs are a great way to communicate your safety messages and policies to workers and visitors. They also help you locate the aisle you’re looking for more efficiently . Warehouse floor markings are especially helpful in pointing out hazardous areas around your facility and indicating the proper precautions to take.

Clear your aisles

Never leave out any product or equipment in the middle of your aisles. These may pose a major safety threat, and could also begin to pile up and seriously affect your overall organization scheme. Assigning someone to keep aisles clear is a proactive solution to this concern.

As you can see, creating an efficient warehouse doesn’t need to be big deal. Sure, it may seem a huge task, especially if you have a big facility, but these steps don’t take up a whole lot of time and effort. You just need to plan properly and utilize all available warehouse supplies and tools to help you achieve your goal – an organized and efficient warehouse. When you achieve this, the improvement in your bottom line will surely follow soon.

Safety News You Can Use

safetyglobe

  • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced last month that premium rates will not increase for most employers. Maintaining current rates for the second consecutive year can be attributed to improvements in return to work outcomes, more timely adjudication, and lower claim volumes. Only Local Government Services will see rates increase.
  • A Newfoundland and Labrador fishing company that pled guilty to several Occupational Health and Safety breaches has been fined $90,000. Provincial court ruled that the 2012 death occurred as a result of failure to provide necessary employee safety training.
  • Alberta’s provincial Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour has begun inspecting gravel crushing worksites following two unrelated deaths in July. The previously scheduled inspections began several weeks early, in response to the two incidents, and will run through September.
  • Results from the May 2014 Ministry of Labour excavation hazards blitz revealed a decrease in the number of orders and requirements (per workplace visited and per field visit), as compared to the 2013 blitz. While this is a sign of overall improvement, there were still frequent compliance issues in the areas of: support systems, personal protective headwear, and emergency procedures.

Hot Topic: Farm Safety

Farm

The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program (CAIR) reported that an average of 104 people died every year from agricultural incidents between 1990 and 2008. Recently, several Canadian farms have come under public scrutiny for questionable safety practices. An eastern Saskatchewan chicken ranch was ordered to stop hiring underage workers last month, following multiple child labour complaints. In Ontario, police are investigating the death of a North Walsingham tobacco farmer who drove his fertilizer spreader off a 75-foot embankment into a pond.

Agriculture is considered one of Canada’s most hazardous industries, so farm owner/operators have considerable challenges to face in keeping workers and visitors safe. Ensuring the safety of not only workers, but other adults and children who may visit or live on the farm is critical. Prominently displaying safety and first aid signs will communicate a safety-first attitude, in addition to offering guidance. Proper PPE and lockout/tagout protocol is also critical in avoiding machine-related injuries. Be careful in selecting workers who are competent, confident, responsible, and capable to operate machinery. If you need assistance establishing safe practices on your farm, check out The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)’s comprehensive FarmSafe Plan.

Farms can be fun, exciting, and lucrative – but only if safety is the #1 priority. The Ministry of Labour offers extensive information on farm equipment and general agricultural compliance and safety. The Canada Safety Council offers the following safety training courses that may be of interest to farm operators and employees.

  • ARGO Operator Course
  • ATV Rider Course
  • Confined Spaces Training Course
  • Ladder Safety Training Course
  • Snowmobile Operators Course
  • Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Side by Side Course
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Training Course

Be sure and stay on top of industry and equipment-related updates, ask questions, and empower the experts in your facility so that your farm can get the most out of the remainder of the season.