Safety News You Can Use

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More than 2,200 safety orders were issued and work was stopped more than 200 times during an Ontario enforcement blitz in late 2015.

The purpose of the blitz was to increase safety compliance when heavy equipment was used on construction sites.

Ontario inspectors issued 2,277 orders for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. Included in the violations were 268 orders to stop work due to either heavy equipment, fall protection or excavation violations.

Learn more here.

Steel Company Fined After Worker Injured

A steel company was fined $100,000 after a worker had an amputation as the result of an injury.

A truck driver was standing on the back of a truck, attempting to help load a steel slab onto the truck. When the slab was over the truck’s flatbed, the electromagnet on the crane carrying the slab released the slab unexpectedly.

The slab then fell onto the flatbed, which caused the driver to fall off the truck and onto a concrete floor.  In addition to fractures, the driver suffered an infection, which led to the amputation.

Read more here.

Safety News You Can Use

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A construction company was fined $50,000 when two temporary workers were injured after steel sheets fell on them.

Three workers were moving the cart that contained sheets of 18-gauge steel that were not secured to the cart. The sheets weighed a total of 2,050 pounds. As the cart moved over an electrical extension cord on the floor, the load shifted. It fell on two of the workers, who suffered broken bones.

To learn more, click here.

Ontario Launches Compliance Audits

Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure is conducting audits of retail companies this fall. The goal is ensure that workplaces are following accessible practices when recruiting and supporting workers with disabilities.

The Ministry will work to ensure that these retailers, with 500 or more employees, are following Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements.

For more information, read more here.

 

Avoid Contaminants in the Air: Develop a Respirator Program for Your Workers

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When there are contaminants in the air, workers are at risk for respiratory hazards. Some of the airborne contaminants of concern include biological contaminants, dusts, mists, fumes, and gases, or oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), respirators should be used to protect against those contaminants if other hazard control methods aren’t effective. Some of those control methods include mechanical ventilation, enclosure or isolation of the process or work equipment, proper control and use of process equipment, and process modifications, including substation of less hazardous materials.

It’s helpful to have a written respirator program so employees know how to choose a respirator, if that is the desired manner in which they can protect themselves from contaminants.

If you’ve never created a written respirator program before, CCOHS offers this list of what such a program should contain:

  • Hazard identification and control
  • Exposure assessment
  • Respirator selection
  • Respirator fit-testing
  • Training program
  • Inspection and record keeping
  • Cleaning and sanitizing respirators
  • Repairing and maintaining respirators
  • Proper storage of respirators
  • Health surveillance
  • Standard operating procedures (available in written form)
  • Program evaluation

If you don’t already have one, develop your respiratory program today and encourage the proper use of this and all PPE (personal protective equipment) in your workplace.

Hazard Assessment and Control: Building a Safer Workplace

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When working to create a safe workplace for all of your employees, one place to start is by conducting a hazard assessment: identify existing and potential hazards before they harm anyone.

The next step is to build a hazard control program that will effectively protect workers from exposure to those hazards.

CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) offers these four ways to control a hazard:

  • Elimination (including substitution): Removes the hazard from the workplace, or substitute (replace) hazardous materials or machines with less hazardous ones.
  • Engineering Controls: Includes designs or modifications to plants, equipment, ventilation systems, and processes that reduce the source of exposure.
  • Administrative Controls: Controls that alter the way the work is done, including timing of work, policies and other rules and work practices, such as standards and operating procedures (including training, housekeeping and equipment maintenance, and personal hygiene practices.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Equipment worn by individuals to reduce exposure, such as contact with chemicals or exposure to noise.

While it’s not always easy to identify workplace hazards, and get all employees on board with working to identify them, the process is definitely worthwhile. It can also be helpful to work together to put controls in place to reduce those hazards.

Have you conducted a hazard assessment in your workplace? What type of controls have you put in place to ensure everyone stays safe?

Compliance Update: Understanding New Guidelines Regarding Rope Access

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A new Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and guidelines for rope access were released earlier this year. Part 34—Rope Access of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) applies to industrial rope access (such as construction, building maintenance and bridge inspection).

A safety bulletin from WorkSafeBC defines rope access as “a specialized technique for work positioning and rescue where a worker is intentionally and directly suspended on ropes at height, often as a versatile, economically efficient alternative to scaffolding or swing stages.”

The new guidelines focus on training, safe work practices and equipment.  For instance, they address how rope access training relates to other disciplines of work. They also explain how safe work practices related to various types of rope access work. Also included are requirements around rescuing workers after a rope access incident, as well as requirements related to the inspection and testing of permanent anchors used in a rope access system.

Safety News You Can Use

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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.

Safety News You Can Use

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Safety for Mining Workers to Increase

Underground mine workers in Ontario should be healthier and safer with Ontario accepting and acting on all 18 consensus recommendations from the final report of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group.

Among those recommendations are the requiring of employers to have formal water management programs to reduce hazards related to excess water where miners are located, as well as enhancing ground control protection to track and monitor seismic activity.

Read more here.

Inspection Blitzes to Continue

The Ontario Ministry of Labour continues to coordinate enforcement blitzes and initiatives for the Occupational Health and Safety Program and the Employment Standards Program.  This includes provincial blitzes, which are province-wide and sector-specific. Regional initiatives are smaller-scale enforcement programs.

Blitzes happening over the next several months will focus on areas such as precarious employment, struck by hazards, temporary foreign workers, new and young workers, and trenching hazards.

For the complete schedule of blitzes and initiatives, click here.

Ontario Investing in Workers

Ontario is investing $55 million in apprenticeship programs to help train workers to become tradespeople. Funding will be provided to two apprenticeship programs: the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund, which will receive $23 million over a two-year span, and the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program, which will receive $13 million during that time.

Colleges and other training organizations will receive $19 million over three years.

For more details, click here.

Injury Prevention: A Proactive Model

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The key to preventing injuries in the workplace is having a proactive approach. Eliminating and reducing hazards is crucial in keeping injuries from occurring in the first place.

Manitoba’s Five-Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention was recently released, and it can serve as a model for injury prevention in any province.

The plan consists of 10 action areas:

  1. Dedicated Prevention Services:  Making services easier to access and making them more responsive to individual industry and workplace needs.
  2. Nation-Leading Safety and Health Laws: Includes immediate fines for activities that present imminent risk to life or health.
  3. New Tools to Strengthen Accountability, Transparency and Reporting: Manitoba’s chief prevention officer (CPO) will improve the monitoring, reporting, coordination and system-wide accountability of prevention services.
  4. A Renewed Role for Business as a Safety Partner: Manitoba will continue to support safety associations and encourage the development of more industry-based safety associations.
  5. Focus on Manitoba’s Most Vulnerable Workers: Provide support for the young and new workers in the workforce.
  6. New Training Programs; Consistent Training Standards: Manitoba will work to ensure safety and health training meets or exceeds current standards.
  7. Stronger Incentives for Real Prevention: Employers will be recognized and rewarded for positive injury prevention practices and programs.
  8. Improved Supports for Small Business: Ensuring small businesses receive the support and resources they need.
  9. Addressing Workplace Mental Health: Involves developing a toolkit of resources to promote mental health in the workplace.
  10. Measuring Success: Put measures in place to more effectively monitor and track workplace injury and prevention.

Click here to read more about Manitoba’s plan.

Safety News You Can Use

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A construction company was fined $90,000 after a young worker was killed after falling from a roof. The worker was helping to deliver concrete blocks to the roof when he fell.

The worker had received fall protection training, but was not wearing any fall protection gear when the accident happened.

The company admitted guilt to not ensuring that a fall restricting system was used where a guardrail system could not be utilized.

Learn more about the incident here.

Mining Company and Supervisor Fined for Putting Workers at Risk

A mining company and a supervisor were fined $88,000 for safety violations in a mine.

Workers backfilling part of the mine were working with sandfill, a substance consisting of sand, cement and water. The cement was known to cause chemical burns when in contact with skin.

A worker removing sections of pipe to help continue backfilling the area became stuck when sandfill poured around the worker. Seven workers freed the stuck worker, but all had burns on their legs and one needed skin grafts.

The company failed to ensure machinery was locked out and tagged before work was done on the pipes. It also failed to educate workers on the safe procedures for backfilling.

Read more about the fine here.

Recycling Company Fined in Worker Death

A recycling company was fined $225,000 after a worker was killed picking up recycling. The worker lost control of the truck he was driving. He was ejected and died from his injuries.

An investigation revealed that an occupant safety restraint device was not being used at the time of the accidents. Also, the truck’s right-side door safety restraint device was not working. In addition, the right side cab door (where the worker was operating the vehicle) was not closed and latched.

Click here to learn more.

Safety News You Can Use

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  • A recent amendment to Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act has modified the requirements to mark and sign construction zones. Additionally, it created an offence for speeding in a designated construction zone, penalties for which are double the fines for speeding elsewhere.
  • Alberta launched a new campaign, Work Right, encouraging workers and employers to question what they know about occupational health and safety. The campaign comes in response to a common lack of understanding, and aims to create a culture of compliance, fairness and safety in the workplace. The initiative overlaps with an inspection campaign focusing on residential construction, launched after a man was badly injured in a construction shaft accident last month. It will run from mid-June through the end of summer construction season.
  • Seton’s Job Safety Videos won a Canadian Public Relations Society Award for Digital Campaign of the Year – watch, laugh, and learn!
  • The Ministry of Labour continues its series of Blitzes & Initiatives. Take a look at the full schedule and do your part to help raise awareness, increase compliance with the OHSA and ESA, and protect workers.
  • Canada Day 2014 is right around the corner. Make it a happy and safe one with Seton!