Archives for June 2015

The UV Danger: How to Protect Workers Against Ultraviolet Radiation This Summer


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has definite health benefits: it stimulates necessary vitamin D production in the body. But only limited exposure is beneficial.

More excessive exposure is connected to skin cancer, sunburn, accelerated skin aging cataracts and other eye diseases.

The CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) notes that many types of workers are at risk from exposure to UV radiation, including outdoor workers, construction workers, contractors and surveyors, welders and laboratory workers.

Exposure to UV radiation isn’t just generated by the sun. There are other indirect sources. Keep these facts in mind: Reflections from snow, sand and concrete increase the UV intensity. A light cloud cover does not necessarily block UV in the sunlight. Water reflects only a small amount of UV. The rest can penetrate below the water’s surface.

The CCOHS offers the following suggestions to minimize UV exposure when working outside:

  • Avoid midday sun (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
  • Wear clothing that is tightly woven to block sunlight. Protective clothing can include long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat that will shade your face, neck and ears.
  • Apply waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all sun exposed skin.
  • Use UV protection sunglasses.

Remind your workers about the hazards of UV radiation and how they can minimize their risk.


In an Emergency: How to Prepare Your People and Your Facility for an Evacuation


How prepared are you, your workers and your facility for an emergency evacuation? Don’t wait until an actual emergency to find out. If you don’t already have a plan in place, start creating one today.

WorkSafeBC offers these guidelines for creating a solid emergency response plan for your facility:

  • Determine the conditions under which an evacuation is necessary.
  • Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and emergency exits. Make sure they are clearly marked and well lit. Post signs. Install emergency lighting in case a power outage occurs during an evacuation.
  • Ensure that evacuation routes and emergency exits are wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating people; clear and unobstructed at all times; unlikely to expose evacuating people to additional hazards.
  • Coordinate your plan with the local emergency management office.
  • Designate “evacuation wardens” who will help others during an evacuation and account for employees.
  • Establish specific evacuation procedures.
  • Establish a system for accounting for evacuated employees.
  • Hold emergency drills at least once a year to ensure that employees know what to do in an emergency and to test the effectiveness of emergency exit routes and procedures.
  • Consider the transportation needs of employees.
  • Post evacuation procedures where employees can read them.
  • Establish procedures for assisting people with disabilities and people who do not speak English.
  • Consider how you would access important personal information about employees in an emergency.

It’s also important to establish safe assembly areas for employees to congregate during an evacuation. Also, train your employees on the proper actions to take when an emergency happens and an evacuation needs to occur. Finally, provide employees support after an emergency so they can more easily transition back to normal responsibilities.

Young Workers on Your Summer Payroll?: What You Need to Know


Do you employ young workers for the summer? If so, you need to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep these typically inexperienced workers safe.

The CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) reminds employers that they may be a young worker’s first boss, and it’s important that they teach these young workers about job hazards and how to stay safe.

To better understand young workers, CCOHS offers these facts:

  • Young people tend to take risks and are unrealistic about their own mortality.
  • Take care to caution your employee about potential hazards and negative outcomes.
  • Young people may be reluctant to ask questions for fear of appearing unknowledgeable. Make sure they understand that their first job priority is to ask questions when they are unsure.
  • Due to lack of understanding, a young worker may decide to make changes to the job in unexpected and possibly risk ways. Be sure they are closely supervised and stick to recognized and safe work procedures.

Training is very important when any new employee joins your workforce. It’s equally vital when that new employee is also a young worker.

Follow these CCOHS suggestions on providing proper training to young workers:

  • Show them how to perform the tasks safely, repeating parts of the procedures if necessary.
  • Watch the worker perform the tasks the first time, making sure to correct any mistakes.
  • Allow the worker to repeat the tasks until they are comfortable with the routine, and don’t have any more questions.
  • Continue to monitor workers to make sure they are doing their tasks properly.

What are you doing to help keep your young workers safe on the job?

Safety News You Can Use


Ontario has created an advisory group that will help the government develop and implement a Construction Health and Safety Action Plan.  The plan is expected to improve workplace injury and illness prevention among construction workers.

The group will work to accomplish the following: increase the commitment to health and safety in construction workplaces; enhance training for workers in the construction sector; work with other enforcement authorities and municipalities to improve safety; build an awareness about construction health and safety among young people; encourage effective supervision of construction workers; ensure legislation and regulations are better understood by the construction sector; and ensure effective consumer outreach strategies.

To learn more, click here.

 Supermarket Guilty in Worker’s Forklift Death

A supermarket pleaded guilty and was fined $140,000 after a worker was crushed to death by a forklift truck.

The worker, who had been hired the day before, was tasked with using a walk-behind lift truck (a “stacker”) and was not trained to use that equipment. While moving products from the basement to the main floor, the worker was crushed when the stacker tipped over and fell backwards.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the stacker was operated by a competent worker.

Learn more here.

Inspection Blitzes to Continue This Summer

Inspection blitzes are underway and will continue through July 31, 2015 in Ontario. Ministry of Labour employment standards officials will be looking for violations in areas such as minimum wage, overtime pay and meal breaks.

They will visit businesses that employ new, young and vulnerable workers who are working in seasonal, part-time or temporary positions, as well as temporary foreign workers.

Click here for more.