By Martin Ridgway, CRSP, BC Forest Safety Council
On December 14, 2016, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved changes to regulations about Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (for companies with more than 19 people) and Worker Health and Safety Representatives (for companies of 10-19 people). Companies with less than 10 people in any month do not legally need a worker representative or a JOHSC. The changes come into effect on April 3, 2017 and cover Investigations, JOHSC & Worker Representative Training and JOHSC self-assessment.
When a company is required to perform an investigation, they need to actively involve a worker in the investigation. This is Regulation 3.28 and section 174 of the Act. If the company has a JOHSC, this should be a worker member of the JOHSC if they are available. For a company with a Worker Representative, this should be the Worker Representative if they are available. For companies with less than 10 people or where the designated member is not reasonably available, any available worker should be selected to participate. A company can meet this requirement by having 2-person investigation teams; one worker member from the JOHSC/representative and one manager/supervisor knowledgeable about the work area being investigated. To be effective, all potential investigators should be trained. (The BCFSC offers investigations training for 2017 sessions across the province. Click here for more information)
Regulation 3.27 now defines the minimum training for JOHSC and Representatives. It used to be that the company was only required to offer the annual safety training opportunities, without the worker being required to actually take them. As of April 3, 2017, the members of the JOHSC (or worker representative for companies from 10 to 19 people) will need to actually attend the 8 hours of annual training. In addition to the 8 hours of annual training for all members, new members to a JOHSC (unless they can have records proving that they were already on a JOHSC within the last 2 years and have actually attended 8 hours of training on the specified topics) will need to take 8 hours of initial training within the first six months of being on the JOHSC. This means that in the first year of being on a JOHSC, a new member will have 16 hours of training. New Safety Representatives only need to attend 4 hours of initial training along with their 8 hours of annual training. The contents of the initial training are specified in the Regulation and include safety duties and functions and how to perform investigations, inspections and work refusals. This training will help companies fulfill the new regulation about worker participation in investigations by training workers to help perform investigations. For JOHSC members it also includes how to hold effective meetings. While the training is always useful, members joining a committee on or before April 2, 2017 are not required to have the initial training; only the annual training. The initial training is expected to be available online through WorkSafeBC.
Regulation 3.26 sets out that each JOHSC must perform an annual written self-assessment. This can be done by the co-chairs of the JOHSC, by other JOHSC members as designated by the co-chairs, by a consultant on behalf of the co-chairs or by safety person in the company on behalf of the co-chairs. The company is responsible for paying for the external assessment or for allowing time off work to perform the assessment. The self-assessment is a comprehensive review of how well the JOHSC is functioning in assisting to reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities. It covers the Terms of Reference, the procedural rules of each JOHSC, how minutes are published and posted, how inspections, investigations and work refusals were handled and how the committee meets all of its legal and regulatory requirements. A draft evaluation tool of over 70 questions was presented by WorkSafeBC during the public consultation on the self-assessment regulation, but a final version is not yet available. The self-assessment only applies to the JOHSC and does not apply to companies that only have a worker representative.
Click here for the full set of the resolutions of the Board of Directors is available.
This article is courtesy of the BC Forest Safety Council Forest Safety News - Safe Companies section in the February 2017 edition.
By Heather Prime - WorkSafeBC Magazine Archives
Accidents involving unguarded machinery and equipment often result in disfiguring injuries, amputations, and death. Safeguarding is your first and best defense against these types of accidents. Safeguarding is the primary means of ensuring the safety of workers operating and maintaining powered machinery and equipment. Lockout procedures and training and supervision are also important, but safeguarding should be considered first.
What is safeguarding?
“Safeguard” is the umbrella term to describe a number of measures that provide effective protection to workers from harmful contact with hazardous moving parts or other harmful conditions. Safeguards include: barrier guards, safety devices, shields, awareness barriers, warning signs, or other appropriate means, used singly or in combination to provide effective protection to workers.
When is safeguarding needed?
Safeguarding is needed to protect workers from potential mechanical and health hazards from machinery and equipment. Mechanical hazards — To recognize mechanical hazards, observe a machine while it operates. Watch for the machine’s moving parts and consider how a worker could come into dangerous contact with them.
You’ll find hazardous moving parts in one of two machine
1. Barrier Guards
Fixed-barrier guards are the simple solution to protecting workers when access to moving parts is not needed during operation. These physical barriers or covers are the most effective solution in preventing workers from making hazardous contact with the machine and in containing harmful fluids and projectiles. Commonly used for guarding power transmissions, handheld circular saws and jointers, to name a few, barrier guards are reliable, cost-effective, and require low maintenance when properly designed and installed. When a worker must access a point of operation or feed point during normal production, then the guard must be interlocked to disable the control system until the guard is put back in place and the control system is reset.
2. Safeguarding Devices
When production requires workers to access feed points, an interlocked barrier guard may be impracticable. Safeguarding devices, though more complex and technical, are your next best alternative to barrier guards and include:
3. Safeguarding by Location
Machinery is considered guarded by location if the distance to the dangerous moving parts is greater than 2.5 m (8 ft.) from any floor, walkway, access platform, or service ladder. If workers gain hazardous access using ladders or scaffolds, temporary guarding or lockout procedures must be used.
4. Awareness Means
When none of the above safeguards is practicable, less effective means are still available, including:
5. Training and Procedures
Administrative controls such as training and safe work procedures, including lockout, are necessary for worker safety, but will never be as effective as eliminating the hazards or providing engineering solutions like barrier guards.
6. Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment may be needed even when other machine hazards are effectively safeguarded. In the worst-case scenario, such as operating a powered forging hammer, the worker’s only protection other than training and safe work procedures may be eye and face protection, hearing protection, hand protection, or other effective personal protective devices.
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In our overworked and sleep-deprived society caffeine has become a quick fix for many people. It wakes up the brain, improves concentration and can make us feel temporarily more alert, even happier. But, if you’re using caffeine as an energy crutch, it may be time to take a closer look at the amount you’re choosing to take in each day and also where caffeine is “sneaking in.” If your caffeine habit totals more than 500 to 600 milligrams per day, you should be cutting back. This is particularly important if you’re bothered by headaches, sleep issues or anxiety. Like most things, moderation is key and by being aware you’ll be able to enjoy your caffeine guilt free.
Caffeine the good
Caffeine has been plagued with a bad reputation in the past and has been linked to high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart problems, especially in connection to smoking—i.e., lots of people associated having a smoke break with drinking coffee. Once smoking is removed from the equation, however, research shows that there are lots of potential “perks” to caffeine. Moderate caffeine consumption can provide a:
Brain boost. Caffeine improves your alertness and reaction time by stimulating the central nervous system. This makes you feel more alert, relaxed and helps you concentrate.
Pick-me-up. Caffeine can have a positive effect on your mood, causing increased happiness, energy and sociability. These effects depend on the amount of caffeine consumed and your individual tolerance.
Stamina source. Research reveals that caffeine may actually improve your athletic ability. As a natural stimulant, caffeine helps with your endurance and acts as a mild pain reliever so you may feel less sore after your workout.
Shield from disease. Reputable studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption may actually provide some protection against coronary disease, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and liver cancer and gallstones. Green tea and coffee are also loaded with antioxidants, which help with your overall health.
Caffeine the bad
For most people moderate amounts of caffeine aren’t harmful. But, heavy caffeine use—more than three cups a day—can cause:
Insomnia. For some, drinking caffeinated beverages can make it harder to fall asleep and affect sleep quality. This can create an unwelcome cycle of masking sleep deprivation with caffeine, which will continue to impact your sleep and other areas of your life. To break this cycle, try to reduce the amount of caffeine you take in a day and stop drinking beverages with caffeine at least six hours before going to bed. When you’re tired just try catching a nap or going to bed earlier instead of reaching for more caffeine.
Dependency. Caffeine is addictive so if you try to stop drinking coffee, tea, energy drinks or colas, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms including bad headaches, muscles aches, anxiety and irritability. Keep your addiction to a minimum by slowly weaning yourself off your beverage of choice and working towards a more modest daily intake.
Fertility problems. Although research is inconclusive in this area, research suggests that more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day increases a woman’s risk of conception problems, miscarriages and low weight babies. Doctors recommend that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should either eliminate or cut down on caffeine.
Osteoporosis. Caffeine can cause your body to excrete calcium and this loss over time may start to affect your bones. If you must have your caffeine, bone up on calcium by adding extra milk to each cup of coffee or tea to offset the calcium lost.
Other caffeine concerns include: heartburn, anxiety and stomach problems. These effects depend on the individual and usually accompany heavy caffeine use. Some medications may also be affected by caffeine so be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re on medication and have a high caffeine intake.
Although we are all well aware of the usual caffeine suspects like coffee, tea and many energy drinks, it can actually pop up in some pretty unexpected places. Look out for:
Pain relievers. Caffeine is used in many pain medicine because it helps the body absorb the drugs quickly, bringing fast pain relief. A little caffeine can beat that headache, but if you take more than the labels suggest you are getting more than you need. Two common pain relief tablets can contain as much as 130 milligrams of caffeine, which is the same as an espresso shot—so stick to the recommended amounts.
Non-cola pop. Colas are well-known for their caffeine content, but less suspecting, sweeter sodas also pack a caffeine punch. Because of the sugar content in these beverages though, they’re probably wise to drink only occasionally anyways.
Chocolate. Caffeine is found naturally in cocoa beans so all chocolate contains caffeine, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount. Your average dark chocolate bar has 31 milligrams of caffeine, which is almost as much as a can of cola. Chocolate ice cream has much less with usually only 3 milligrams.
For caffeine lovers out there, you will be pleased to know that caffeine can make you a better athlete, chase away the blues and provide some protection from serious health concerns. But, this doesn’t mean that it’s bottoms up: the secret behind all of this is moderation. The next time your energy drops and you start making your third trip to the drink machine at work or the coffee shop down the street, think about eating a fresh piece of fruit or getting some exercise—both of which are great ways to get that energy boost you’re looking for without going into caffeine overload.
This wellness article is courtesy of Shepell at workhealthlife.com.
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It is pretty clear to someone just hearing about SAFER that safety is the chief concern of this organization. The name, SAFER, stands for Safety Advisory Foundation for Education and Research. SAFER was created through broad negotiations between the IWA Canada (now United Steelworkers) and FIR on the coast and the IFLRA in the southern interior for the 1988-1991 master collective agreements in both regions.
SAFER continues to be jointly managed by USW, FIR, and the IFLRA where the industry and the union enjoy equal representation. Under the leadership of two Co-Chairs selected from the union and industry ranks, the SAFER Council coordinates its safety activities and initiatives under the guidance of eight safety advocate board members and six trustees.