Resources for safety committees

October 29, 2014

Image from the opening page of the JOHSC Resource Tool

Image source: Opening page of the JOHSC Resource Tool

Earl Galavan describes his first experience on a health and safety committee – many years ago, when he worked in the logging transport industry.

“I still remember the boss sitting in the rec hall with the whole crew, and telling us we had to have these meetings, and he didn’t know what to do,” said Earl, who now works as an OHS advisor with SafetyDriven. “For a tough old logger, that was a big admission.”

Fast-forward to 2014 and you’ll find many resources to guide joint health and safety committee members – including those taking on this important role for the first time. Earl describes what kind of help is available in his recent newsletter article “I’m on the Safety What?” – including the WorkSafeBC Joint Health and Safety Committee Foundation Workbook and the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee Resource Tool.

I followed up with Earl to find out more about the value of a well-run safety committee.

“The safety committee is so often overlooked as a safety tool,” he said. “It is too often seen as ‘something we have to do’ and not something that really does things. Yet properly running, a safety committee is a great opportunity for employees to participate in safety at their workplace. The result for the employer is a team that helps them do many of the jobs needed to promote and maintain a high level of job safety.”

Another great source of guidance is the 2014 Safety Committee Conference on November 17 in Langley, BC – with post-conference courses available November 18.

According to the conference website, attendees will do the following:

1) Learn how other safety committees are solving their safety problems.

2) Meet WorkSafeBC annual safety committee training requirements.

3) Discover what’s new in Occupational Safety and Health.

To learn more, I contacted Mary Moltman, client services rep for the Pacific Safety Centre, host of the conference.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to get information and gain insight on a multitude of different topics,” Mary said. “Our keynote, Gary McDougall, is a former hostage negotiator and is speaking on ‘Dealing With Difficult People.’ Difficult people are everywhere, from the general public who feel they have been treated poorly to that guy or gal who just doesn’t want to hear about why he or she should wear their PPE.”

Times sure have changed when it comes to guiding the members of a safety committee on how to do a good job. Thanks to Earl and Mary for the extra info.

“Falling will make coworkers look down on you”

October 23, 2014

Photo credit: Tymtoi on Flickr

Photo credit: Tymtoi on Flickr

That’s the key message from WorkSafeBC – in collaboration with five Lower Mainland construction companies representing 22 jobsites.

In BC, falls from a height accounted for 92 worker deaths and 22,610 serious injuries from 2004 to 2013, according to this 2013 Statistics publication released in September.

The BC Construction Safety Alliance is a not-for-profit association that provides services to more than 40,000 construction companies employing more than 180,000 workers. Their crew of safety advocates is also working to address this issue – along with other risks to workers.

“We lent our full support to the partnership between five of our Lower Mainland construction company members and WorkSafeBC in the recent campaign to reduce the number of falls from heights. The campaign addresses the challenge of a culture of safety that includes peer pressure and entrenched work habits. As the safety association for construction, it is always our aim to challenge the root causes that inhibit the safety culture on sites and we think this campaign does that,” says Mike McKenna, BCCSA’s executive director.


“Falling from heights is one of the top three high-risk issues facing the BC construction industry. As such, fall prevention is a key focus for us at the BC Construction Safety Alliance.”

Visit to find out more about this falls from height initiative. Here you’ll find a backgrounder, poster, and other online resources such as the new Preventing Falls in Residential Construction web book from WorkSafeBC, which uses animated videos to show solutions to common fall hazards in roofing, framing, siding, and formwork.

Preventing falls will also be a topic at the upcoming Bridging the Gap construction safety conference, November 14 and 15 in Richmond, BC.

Resources for safety committees

Today there are many resources to guide the members of workplace health and safety committees – but things were much different in past years.

Machines don’t know where you are

“The machine doesn’t know you’re there, so if it’s got to move from Point A to Point B, and you get in the way, it’s not going to stop.”

Calling WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Info Line

WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Line receives an average of 1,000 to 1,100 calls a week from workers, employers, and first responders with questions and concerns about safety.

Share your ergonomic solutions in the 2014 Innovations Contest

Have you done anything to lighten the load and reduce workers’ risk of musculoskeletal injury? If so, here’s a chance for BC workers and employers to share their stories during October Occupational Ergonomics Month.

Another reminder to call before you dig (VIDEO)

This video shows what happens when an excavator hits a power line on a construction site.

How not to use a ladder

I was standing in the grocery line-up when it happened. A worker slipped from the top of a step ladder (the part you are not supposed to stand on) and landed on his back into a bin of onions.

Facing down confined spaces on BC farms

Safety advocates in BC are reaching out to farm workers to minimize risks of confined spaces. Help is available in person and on-line in multiple languages at the Confined Space Centre of Excellence for Agriculture.

Finding employers who expose workers to asbestos

These employers are among those targeted during planned inspections of residential demolition worksites in BC.

Due diligence done right

“Onboarding” is a term used in HR that refers to welcoming a new staff member and making them feel like part of a team. But too often, something goes wrong during new staff orientation.