Finding answers to questions about safety in fishing

November 19, 2014

On average, each year from 1999 to 2008, commercial fishing accidents took the lives of 13 workers in Canada. The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) did an independent investigation of these tragic fatalities.

I learned about this issue from Glenn Budden when he spoke at the Human Factors Community of Practice at WorkSafeBC. He described the jurisdiction of his Board and answered questions from safety professionals. Some asked about the TSB’s guarantee of confidentiality in the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act

“The confidentiality that our Act provides is our biggest asset. Those involved in accidents can feel protected and feel good about helping us prevent a similar accident happen to others,” Glenn said.

The TSB is “an independent agency, separate from other government agencies and departments, that reports to Parliament through the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons,” reads the TSB website.

“Our independence enables us to be fully objective in making findings as to causes and contributing factors, and in making transportation safety recommendations.”

Glenn is the Pacific regional senior investigator of fishing vessels and he described the report that outlines deficiencies and recommends solutions.

Read the full report - Safety Issues Investigation into Fishing Safety in Canada – which includes the 10 greatest hazards to people who fish for a living:

* Stability
* Fisheries resource management
* Lifesaving appliances
* The regulatory approach
* Training
* Safety information
* Fishing industry statistics
* Fatigue
* The cost of safety
* Safe work practices

What happened? Why did it happen? How can we prevent it from happening again? These are the basic questions that need answering, as Glenn describes in the video above.

No argument about safe winter driving

November 12, 2014

Photo credit: Adam Arroyo on Flickr

Photo credit: Adam Arroyo on Flickr

Winter driving season is here – and the Shift Into Winter campaign reminds you to plan ahead and know the conditions before you go.

Commercial vehicles must carry chains between October 1 and March 31 – and passenger vehicles must have “mountain snowflake” or “mud and snow” tires with at least 3.5 mm tread as winter tires, according to this information from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Online.

I contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to clarify if there are any roads that require passenger (non-commercial) vehicles to use chains. For the most part, it is optional (but a good idea) for passenger vehicles to carry chains.

“The Ministry can require chains on any vehicle through the use of signs,” said Jennifer Hardy, the Ministry’s Traffic Engineer. “However, the only location that I am aware of where this is currently in place is on the road to Mount Washington Ski Resort.”

Here’s a story from a professional driver who helped keep two people safe from the road conditions (and possibly each other).

One morning while plowing snow on Heckman Pass I noticed a small car had arrived at the chain-up area and the male occupant was removing tire chains from the trunk. Not thinking much of the situation I proceeded to make another pass, plowing to the top. I plowed to the top approximately 18 km, then turned around and headed back towards the bottom again, expecting to meet the small car on my way down.

While arriving back near the chain-up area at the bottom I noticed the small car had become stuck, was blocking traffic, and the two occupants – man and wife – appeared to be in quite a heated debate near the rear of the car. I approached cautiously noticing that the gentleman had the tire chain instructions out and was reading them to his wife while she shook her head and repeatedly called the man an idiot.

As I approached I interrupted the argument by asking if I could be of assistance. The wife turned to me and said: ‘Can you please tell my idiot husband that he has chained up the rear wheels of our front wheel drive car and that is why I am stuck?'”

The man then turned the tire chain instructions to me and said: ‘I am following the instructions and my idiot wife has purchased the wrong tire chains.'”

Trying to ease some tension I suggested that I could help remove the chains from the rear and we could put them on the front and give that a try. After some persuasion I convinced the man that these particular instructions were generic and that the chains indeed needed to be on the front wheels for this particular vehicle to climb the pass.

The two continued to utter insults at each other while I removed the chains and reinstalled them on the front. I interrupted again once finished, then said: ‘Well – should be good to go now,’ but by this time the argument had escalated to the point that the wife was refusing to drive the car let alone be in the car with her husband.

Trying once again to defuse the situation I offered to take one of the occupants while the other followed in the car, and that I would assist in the removal of the chains at the top of the pass. The two agreed and we proceeded to the top. Once at the top the man removed the chains while his wife sat in the car. At this point I wished the two safe travels and left them to continue on their own.

Ha! Notice the wife was right… ;-)

Finding answers to questions about safety in fishing

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?

What to expect in an inspection

The purpose of the inspection is to audit and assess safety systems and help you address deficiencies – and you can request the report be delivered in person, for answers and guidance on how to proceed.

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.

“Falling will make coworkers look down on you”

In BC, falls from a height accounted for 92 worker deaths and 22,610 serious injuries from 2004 to 2013. That’s why a new partnership has been formed to address this tragic reality.

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.