January 28, 2015
Illustration from WorkSafeBC Hazard Alert 99-11: Ensure transportation of injured workers
The First Aid Training Providers list, most recently updated December 2014, is a valuable resource for BC workers and employers who need to find service in their communities. It’s one of the most frequently visited pages on the WorkSafeBC website.
First aid requirements for employers in BC are based on number of workers, their proximity to medical aid, and industry hazard rating.
Read more on the above in WorkSafeBC’s Introduction to First Aid.
How to choose?
WorkSafeBC published its first list of trainers online 10 years ago. Now it’s updated every quarter or as needed, says Angélique Prince, senior certification officer with WorkSafeBC.
She said – when I asked – that it was only once a week her office received calls from employers looking for first aid trainers. I thought they might get a lot of phone calls, but they don’t. Most employers know the list is online.
But about once a week they get a call from someone who says “‘I live in the Lower Mainland and there are 50 places on the list. How am I supposed to pick?'” Angélique said.
She and her staff refer them to How to Choose an Occupational Health and Safety
A more frequent question, Angelique said, is from employers wanting information on first aid requirements for their workplaces.
This question is answered in WorkSafeBC’s First Aid Guideline that sets out “a step-by-step method for employers to follow when conducting an assessment of the workplace to determine an adequate and appropriate level of first aid coverage.”
For information on out-of-province first aid certification, requirements for paramedics, and certificate renewals, see WorkSafeBC’s requirements for First Aid Attendants.
The OFA Job Checklist guides attendants through a review of the Regulation, site-specific hazards, personnel, evacuation, exposure control, and all they need to know in case of emergency.
Ongoing training keeps skills fresh
Angelique stressed the importance of ongoing training to “keep skills fresh.”
Certificates are good for three years, but workers still benefit from drills and refresher training.
“The employer has a duty to ensure their competency as an attendant,” Angélique said.
In my view, it takes a special person to be a first aid attendant – someone who can stay calm and do what’s needed for an injured person. I have great respect for people who can do it.
January 22, 2015
Improved safety for roadside workers is the the goal of a new law in BC as of Jan 1, 2015.
Drivers are now required to slow down and move over for all vehicles with flashing lights – be they red, blue, or yellow.
Any vehicle with flashing lights, stopped on the side of the road, means there are people working nearby.
In the past, drivers had to check to see if the flashing light was a certain type of “official vehicle” – but not anymore. Now the Slow Down Move Over rule (within BC’s Motor Vehicle Act) applies to all roadside vehicles with flashing lights.
“Many hard-working roadside workers face significant risks on a daily basis, and it is essential that drivers use their common sense and slow down when encountering a vehicle with flashing lights on a highway or road,” says Jack Davidson, president of the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association. “…hopefully this regulation change will prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities. We are very pleased that our concerns regarding the safety of all roadside workers has been acknowledged.”
The expanded Slow Down Move Over rule requires drivers to drop their speed as soon as flashing lights are visible. On a highway, that means dropping to 70 kilometres an hour or slower.
If the speed limit is 70 kilometres per hour or less, drop to 40 kilometres an hour or slower. Slowing down gives drivers more time to react in the event that more defensive action is required.
Moving over means that if a vehicle with flashing lights is stopped on the side of the road and there’s another lane going in the same direction, drivers must change lanes to move farther away from the parked vehicle.
Drivers caught breaking this law will get a $173 ticket and three penalty points for “failing to adjust your speed appropriately or failing to move over,” says the BC government press release.
How many people work on BC’s roads?
More than 2,000 contracted employees work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep our highways and roads open, safe and reliable, according to Todd Stone, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in this recent editorial.
“We are committed to better protecting roadside workers. That’s why we are simplifying the current rule,” reads the editorial. “It means that drivers will no longer have to figure out what flashing light to pay attention to – it will now be easy to know the rules of the road. Drivers will now be required to slow down and move over for all vehicles with a flashing light.”
The press release notes “hundreds more people who have reason to stop and turn on the flashing lights, including conservation officers, commercial vehicle safety enforcement officers, land surveyors, park rangers, tow truck operators, municipal maintenance workers, contracted electronic technicians and geotechnical engineers in addition to police, fire and ambulance services.”
I’ve written about the safety of road workers in the past, and see many of them every day in Vancouver. I hope this new law makes a difference and that people remember they are driving past other people’s family and friends.
The online First Aid Training Providers list, most recently updated December 2014, is a valuable resource for BC workers and employers who need to find service in their communities.
All employers are required by law to plan for emergencies – but this is complicated by many factors for employers with crews in remote locations.
“School is no place for bullies. Neither is work.” That’s the theme of WorkSafeBC’s 10th annual Student Safety Video Contest that runs to April 1, 2015.
When I was a kid in the 70s, my dad worked for BC Hydro and was on-call for dealing with power outages. See how today’s crews keep the lights on.
“Many workplaces don’t have a very good fire safety plan,” says Ray Roch, director of BC’s Fire Inspection and Prevention Initiative (FIPI). “We needed to put together some materials to help organizations develop fire safety plans…
“DON’T rush to your solutions with a person who is angry, belligerent or emotional.” Instead, “be ready to listen when someone is emotional and then explore mutually acceptable resolutions.”
If the worker has an accident, and the employer knew (or even encouraged) the use of handheld devices, the employer can also be held at fault.
On average, 13 people a year died in fishing accidents in Canada between 1999 and 2008. What happened? Why did it happen? How can we prevent it from happening again?
Commercial vehicles must carry chains between October 1 and March 31 – and it’s also a good idea for anyone else on snowy, icy roads.