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Against asbestos


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Against asbestos

  1. 1. Asbestos remains B.C.’s number one occupationalWorkSafeBCWork SafeBC UPDATE disease killer.Asbestos campaign aims tohalt deadly exposuresE xposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen, is B.C.’s number In March 2011, Scott Nielsen, WorkSafeBC director of litigation, one occupational disease killer. Every year, 50 B.C. sought a contempt of court order from the B.C. Supreme Court workers die needless and often painful deaths because and asked that Moore serve time in jail for failing to stop doingthey’ve inhaled asbestos-contaminated air on the job. business.And, since 1972, the number of workers with asbestos-related While employers have received WorkSafeBC penalties forclaims has continued to climb. infractions relating to asbestos, the resulting jail sentence forA part of WorkSafeBC’s campaign against asbestos exposure Moore marks the first such sentence for an employer convicted ininvolves educating workers and employers about the dangers of a civil case.exposure — which still poses a threat on many construction sites, In the meantime, WorkSafeBC has developed a website to provideparticularly those requiring the demolition of older homes and education and resources relating to asbestos. The site outlinesbuildings. where to find asbestos, how to handle it safely, how to preventAnd while many employers are aware of the stringent requirements asbestos exposure, and what to do if you suspect you or someonedesigned to protect workers from asbestos exposure, workers you know has been exposed to asbestos.across the province continue to report exposures — exposures that For more information about WorkSafeBC’s efforts to raisemight take decades to develop into disease. awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, visitA more recent case associated with asbestos took place on 24 of this year, when the B.C. Supreme Court sentencedArthur Moore of AM Environmental, an asbestos and demolitioncontractor, to 60 days in jail for contempt of a court order.WorkSafeBC prevention officers found that Moore employed youngand vulnerable workers — some as young as 14 years old — toremove asbestos-contaminated drywall from homes without propersafety training or protective equipment. Moore falsified labcertificates to indicate homes were clear of asbestos and reportedlytold young workers to “run” if WorkSafeBC visited the jobsite. Scott Nielsen,Despite fines, stop work orders, and Supreme Court restraining WorkSafeBC directororders, Moore continued to expose his employees to asbestos. of litigation WorkSafe Magazine March / April 2012 13
  2. 2. Noel Alejd, quality control technician for Lafarge Canada, demonstrates its new concrete disposal system, designed to prevent MSI injuries. “Soft tissue injuries are most prevalent in our industry,” Merat says. Previously, Lafarge’s concrete sampling and disposal process involved shovellingErgonomics contest heavy concrete out of a wheelbarrow and into a concrete reclaiming system — more than one metre above the ground — anencourages worksite average of 25 times a day. But based on input from the Vancouver plant’s team, employees decided to strip theinnovation wheelbarrow of its wheels and attach it to welded hinges on the inside of the troughW of the concrete reclaiming system. Now, hen it comes to preventing “It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money whenever sampling is needed, a truck ergonomic injuries at work, or effort to improve ergonomics for empties some concrete into thesimple can be simply brilliant. workers on jobsites,” says Amir Merat, wheelbarrow. After sampling is done,Several noteworthy employer entries in a safety manager for Lafarge Canada Inc. each worker need only tip therecent WorkSafeBC contest clearly “Simple solutions can be highly effective wheelbarrow to remove the concrete.demonstrated this point. In fact, the ideas — that was certainly true in our case.” “Our solution also has the environmentaldeemed most innovative for protecting benefit of reducing concrete spills,” Merat WorkSafeBC staged the Innovationsworkers from musculoskeletal injuries says. Contest last October during Occupationalsuggest on-the-spot ingenuity and Ergonomics Awareness Month to Lafarge won an iPod for its ingenuity, butcollaborative thinking reign supreme. recognize employers’ and workers’ ability as Merat says: “the real prize is theAmong the more creative submissions in to improve the function and/or design of recognition we’re receiving for ourthe October 2011 contest was a concrete work stations, work flows, tools, and modified sampling process. We’re gettingmixing plant’s wheelbarrow device to other workplace items. From an great feedback from other companiesease back strain while disposing of heavy ergonomics perspective, the goal was to with similar plant set-ups.”concrete, a revised work plan to reduce increase health and safety, improve Another noteworthy submission fromrepetitive tasks at a tree seedling nursery, comfort and efficiency, and ultimately, PRT Growing Services Ltd. demonstratedand a streamlined processing system to prevent injuries in the workplace. improved ergonomics through the simplereduce wrist strain for library circulation Of the eight companies that took part, modification of work routines. “Carpalstaff. Lafarge claimed top spot for devising a tunnel and other forms of hand and armNone of the innovations was particularly system to prevent serious back injuries strain are very common in the nurserycostly, but employees say each device or during the daily routine concrete business, because a lot of our activitiesprocess helped them do their jobs better sampling process at its Vancouver involve repetitive motion,” says nursery— while minimizing their chances of Harbour Ready Mix plant. manager Stewart Haywood-Farmer.getting hurt.14 March / April 2012 WorkSafe Magazine
  3. 3. Haywood-Farmer says the nursery has subcommittee decided to substitute thesignificantly reduced hand and arm strain 8 1/2” x 11” sheets with small slips ofincidents through its Altogether Harvest paper inserted directly into each on-holdMethod. item. (And staff store the item upside down and backwards on a “hold shelf,” so“During our fall rush, our staff — many of customer privacy can still be maintained.)whom tend to be women in their 40s and50s — used to work for up to “We not only drastically reduced strainseven-and-a-half hours on specific phases and injury; we did away with a lot of paperof our harvest process: pulling seedlings, usage,” says Joann Pierre, librarywrapping them, boxing them. Injurieswere happening constantly. So we technician and CUPE co-chair of the joint occupational health and safety committee. Day ofrearranged the process in order to allowstaff to work on all the different phases, “And we saved money to boot.” Other contest participants included Mourningrather than being restricted to a singlefunction. Norampac’s Burnaby Division, Tamsen Creative, V.E. Brandl Ltd., Vancouver gains live“As a result, we’ve greatly reduced our Island Regional Health Authority —injury rate over the past few years.” Regional Laundry, and Vincor Western Vineyards. screeningFaced with the incidence of similar Trepetitive strain injuries, Fraser Valley Heather Kahle, WorkSafeBC human his year, everyone, everywhereRegional Library (FVRL) made a small but factors specialist, says the contest can share in an opportunity topowerful change in the way it processed showcased some locally generated, remember those who’ve lost theirbooks, CDs, DVDs, and audio-books kept innovative, and practical workplace lives or been seriously injured at work —on hold. Previously, circulation staff would improvements. thanks to plans to run a live webcast ofwrap each book with paper and secure it “We hope the contest will become an the upcoming Day of Mourning ceremonywith a rubber band — a process that could in Vancouver. annual event, because it draws attentionbe repeated as much as 60 times in the to workplaces that encourage great ideas WorkSafeBC communications directorspace of 10 minutes, leading to wrist and for improving safety, comfort, and Scott McCloy says the decision to air thehand strain. Then, the circulation efficiency.” YOUR TRUSTED LEADERS Canada’s Preferred Provider IN SAFETY Safety is our Passion Safety: Construction Safety Occupational Health & Safety Consulting Officer Training (CSO) Rescue Services: March 12th - March 23rd 2012 High Angle, Confined Space, Trench Burnaby, BC Training: April 23rd - May 4th 2012 Richmond, BC Fall Protection, Confined Space & Rescue Equipment Sales: Temporary Personnel Safety, Rescue, Rope Access First Aid Attendants & CSO #225 - 17 Fawcett Road, Coquitlam, BC #230 - 11120 Horseshoe Way, Richmond, BC 1-800-661-9077 | Tel: 604 275 9070 | Fax: 604 275 9074 WorkSafe Magazine March / April 2012 15
  4. 4. webcast during the April 27 ceremony willallow more people across B.C. toparticipate in this important event.“Sometimes people can’t attend their localDay of Mourning ceremony, because theyhave to work, are unable to leave theirhomes, or they’re out of town,” he says.“That’s hard. After all, this is a gatheringthat means a lot to workers and theirloved ones. BC Youth Week event targets“This year, people will have the ability towatch from anywhere in the province or young worker safety Iaround the world and feel like a part of n the commercial construction industry, rights in the workplace. “We encouragethe ceremony. It’s a way to bring us closer Randy Callaghan is considered a leader our older, more experienced workers to betogether.” in motivating young, mostly male mentors: to share their strong safetyApril 28 is set aside every year as a habits with our younger workers,” he says. workers to be mindful of their health andnational Day of Mourning to honour safety. Instead of simply offering the program forworkers who have been killed, or suffered “With young workers, they’re eager to the seven days comprising B.C. Youthserious injury or illness, as a result of please, but construction sites present a lot Week, Callaghan extended the programwork-related incidents. Preliminary data of hazards, along with hard, physical for one month. He wanted to ensure everyindicates WorkSafeBC accepted work,” says the field personnel advisor at jobsite would have enough time toapproximately 142 claims for fatalities in PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. “Young conduct its safety meetings targeting the2011. workers have lots of energy. Some of that company’s young workers. And, as part ofBecause April 28 falls on a weekend, this the program, the company held a contest energy needs to be harnessed.”year’s Vancouver ceremony will take place to recognize three young PCL workers forat Jack Poole Plaza on Friday, April 27, Callaghan’s experiences reflect reality. their work ethic and commitment to astarting at 10:30 a.m. The Olympic Statistics show that younger construction culture of work safety. Some of the prizescauldron will be lit to mark the occasion. workers have a much higher rate of injury. included T-shirts, mugs, and water bottles.Elsewhere in B.C., commemorative events Workers under the age of 25 are the ones getting injured most. In 2011, PCL was one of five employerswill be held Friday, April 27 and Saturday, who worked in partnership withApril 28. Callaghan is no stranger to the statistics, WorkSafeBC to celebrate Youth Week.To be a part of the Day of Mourning and he’s keen to keep his young workers WorkSafeBC — a gold level sponsor of B.C.ceremony, watch the webcast on safe. So, when WorkSafeBC new and Youth Week — also, where you can also find young worker industry specialist Robin municipalities, schools, and youthmore information about ceremonies being Schooley approached Callaghan to ask organizations in promoting safetyheld throughout B.C. him to participate in a youth safety awareness activities. initiative in conjunction with B.C. YouthDedications can be written to fallen To learn more about WorkSafeBC’s Week, he was instantly on board.workers at commitment to B.C. Youth Week, go to the Armed with WorkSafeBC publications, Young Worker section of DVDs, and alert bulletins, Callaghan Learn more about Youth Week at arranged for each of his project sites to hold “tailgate meetings,” specifically designed to show younger workers the importance of health and safety and their16 March / April 2012 WorkSafe Magazine
  5. 5. Photo by Doreen MaruskaSafety contest winnerlooks at life with an injuryE ye-patch basketball, one-armed slap it’s celebratory — all those things shot, and one-legged golf are just that are important to continued some of the unique activities that success for our company,” he says.earned one B.C. employer an award during During last year’s NAOSH Week,a week-long contest designed to instill the some of Versacold’s facilitiesimportance of safety at work. involved its younger workers inThe employer in question was Versacold sporting activities that meantLogistics and EV Logistics. And the acquiring a “temporary disability,”impetus was the North American so they could consider what it wouldOccupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) be like to live with a lifelong injury. RCMP constable Jeff PalmerWeek — an event that manages to spark A designated safety week champion led of the First Nations Integratedinnovative approaches to injury prevention similar activities at each of the Versacold Police Unit offers a safety talkevery year, despite its 15-year span. warehouses in the Metro Vancouver area. to children at Totem Hall in“Workplace safety is definitely a focus all Squamish, B.C. Meanwhile, the City of Kamloops receivedyear. NAOSH Week is a chance for us to three NAOSH Week awards. City staffhold various safety-related events and focused on the hazards of chlorine leaks. beginning of shifts, and organized safetyactivities. These activities make an Senior safety advisor Jennie Inkster wrote storytelling for teachers to read in schools.impression on our staff to remember to a set of emergency procedures for dealing Kathy Tull, WorkSafeBC constructionwork in a safer manner, all year long,” says with the leaks; then tested the procedures industry specialist and NAOSH WeekMike Stephens, Versacold’s occupational with the local fire department throughout organizer, says the week-long event helpshealth and safety manager. the week. This exercise earned Kamloops organizations develop a culture aroundOne of the events held at the top spot in B.C.’s local government safety and health, with employeesLangley-based warehouses chose to focus category, the best presentation of theme adapting those safety concepts to theiron the province’s most vulnerable group: category, and best new entry at the work throughout the year. And althoughyoung workers. Its efforts reflect the national level. some of the goals can be ambitious, Tullcreative thinking the NAOSH Week 2012 Squamish Nation tied with the City of says companies of any size can participate.committee will be looking for this spring — Kamloops for best new entry at the NAOSH Week, led by the Canadianearning the company the overall winner national level and also received the award Society of Safety Engineering, is heldprize and top spot in the transportation of for the regional government category. annually during the first week of May, andgoods category at last October’s NAOSH it focuses on the prevention of injury and Tanya Steele, president of B.C.’s NAOSHWeek awards banquet. illness in the workplace through a Week steering committee, said the NationStephens, whose company has entered the community-based approach. held an impressive series of eventscontest for the past six years, says it throughout the week. It partnered with More information about NAOSH Week inmakes sense to engage its employees in many local agencies to carry out events, B.C. is available at event. including fall protection training,“NAOSH Week aligns with our company’s defensive driving, fire extinguisher WorkSafeBC updatephilosophy and our guiding principles: It’s training, and emergency evacuation. continues on page 25about increased awareness, it’s training, Employees held daily safety huddles at the WorkSafe Magazine March / April 2012 17
  6. 6. What everyone can do • Ensure flooring, or the work surface, is appropriate for the tasks and work processes being performed.Perkins says employers and employees can both play a role inreducing the incidence of slip, trip, and fall injuries in the Employees can do as follows:workplace. • Communicate with the employer regarding slip and tripEmployers can do as follows: hazards and possible remedies.• Regularly inspect floors and work areas to identify slip/trip • Wear employer-recommended footwear and ensure it remains hazards and take immediate action (i.e., barricade the area, in good condition. contain spills, and highlight and repair uneven surfaces). • Be involved with your workplace health and safety program.• Encourage open communication and involvement of staff in • Ensure all “close calls” are reported to your employer, so they generating appropriate control measures. can be addressed as soon as possible.Continued from page 17Island conference angles for all things safetyI f your co-workers are driving you crazy and you’re looking for For more information about the Upper Island Safety Conference, coping tips, the third annual Upper Island Safety Conference visit has a session for you. Forest industry professionals might also be interested in theThis year’s event — running May 28–29 in Campbell River on Vancouver Island Safety Conference, Saturday, October 20 inVancouver Island — includes a session from Arete Safety and Nanaimo. For more information about this event, contact ChrisProtection on interpersonal skills in the workplace. Workshop Warburton, Hugh Pelmore will be offering common-sensestrategies for dealing with your co-workers without delving intopersonalities. Other topics include discussions on leadership, Does workplace safety top your agenda?stress management, brain wellness, and aging workers, as well as If so, you’ll be in good company at thisfall protection, lockout, and hazard assessment. year’s third annual . . . .WorkSafeBC senior regional officer Bjarne Nielsen says thegathering attracts a mix of industry professionals. “That’s one of Upper Island Safety Conferencethe benefits of this conference: all these people with different May 28–29, 2012perspectives networking and exchanging ideas.” Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex Campbell River, B.C.Strathcona Regional District manager of programs SusanBullock says the local venue is another draw for Islanders. “Small Enjoy a stay in the scenic anglers’firms can afford to send people. And larger organizations can paradise of Campbell River during thissend more than just one or two people — sometimes their entire invigorating, two-day committee.” Bullock says some groups are now makingthis conference their main health and safety training event of theyear. For more information, call 250 287-9234 WorkSafe Magazine March / April 2012 25