Toolbox talks made easier and available online

April 22, 2015

They are short, informal meetings often held at the start of a shift.

A toolbox talk – also known as a “safety huddle” – is where supervisors warn workers about safety hazards. Ideally they keep track of who was there because they are responsible for informing each and every worker.

A selection of toolbox talks is available on the WorkSafeBC website – and they include a page for workers to sign. This makes it easier for employers to be sure the information reaches everyone who needs to know it. Topics range from asbestos to WHMIS. There’s something for all industries, with new talks being added regularly. Some of the talks are available in multiple languages.

Employers can customize the content of the talk templates for their own specific situations.

Image from  new WorkSafe Bulletin Conveyor hazards in shake and shingle mills

Image from new WorkSafe Bulletin: Conveyor hazards in shake and shingle mills

Conveyor hazards in shake and shingle mills is one new talk, published online in March 2015.

“Recently, there have been several serious injuries and worker fatalities related to material conveyor systems at wood products manufacturing facilities, including shake and shingle mills,” reads the outline that describes the hazard and offers advice for addressing it.

“As a worker, there are some simple things you can do to keep yourself safe when working with or around conveyors.”

Employers are responsible – under Sections 12.23 and 12.28 of BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – for “ensuring that your conveyors have adequate safeguarding and that your workers are trained to work safely on and around conveyors,” reads this new safety bulletin for employers, released with the talk above.

“Conveyors are useful for moving materials quickly, but operating an unguarded conveyor can lead to serious injury or death,” it reads.

More information on this industry is at Injury Prevention Resources for Wood Products Manufacturing – Shake & Shingle.

It’s amazing how much information we can find online today – related to work and anything else we may need to know. Have you found any good, free sources of workplace safety info lately? Do tell.

A change in perspective drives new tools for agriculture

April 15, 2015

Image from  WorkSafeBC video Tractor Rollovers

Image from WorkSafeBC video Tractor Rollovers

It’s a new resource for BC farmers and ranchers – launched during Agriculture Safety Week March 15 to 21, 2015.

Now available on the WorkSafeBC website, the Tractor and Equipment Safety Initiative asks employers to revisit their existing safety procedures and develop a safety plan for working with equipment and machinery.

“Any farmer you ask can tell you about someone who was injured by or because of a piece of equipment,” says Wendy Bennett, executive director of BC’s Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA).

“Farmers continue to be killed or very seriously injured and this has to stop. It only takes a few seconds to ensure that the equipment is properly guarded or secured.”

Since 2009, there have been 11 fatalities and 134 serious injuries related to equipment and machinery in BC. That includes employers registered with WorkSafeBC and unregistered hobby farmers. (Technically speaking, hobby farmers are not under WorkSafeBC’s mandate, as per the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, but when an incident occurs on one of these farms, it affects the whole community.)

What’s unique about this industry is that an “employee” could refer to a brother, daughter, or other family member. This calls for a different vocabulary than what is used typically when it comes to occupational health and safety. Words like “employer” and “workplace” tend not to resonate in the same way as they do in other industries. That’s why the new resources talk about safe practices for “you, your family, and your workers.”

“This helps because we are encouraging them to ensure that their farm is safe for their family and their farm family,” Wendy says. “It is easier to make a connection for them on a personal level in this case.”

Postcards, posters, and notebooks are also available and soon to be published in French, Spanish, and Punjabi.

Getting attention on social media

This year, Agriculture Safety Week included a social media contest offering daily prizes worth $100+, with a grand prize of 1,000 litres of fuel.

Here are some of the tips submitted using the #GrowSafety hashtag:

* I #GrowSafety by actually having a Farm Safety Plan. @planfarmsafety has the template for you (@_icu812_)
* #GrowSafety safety tip: wear steel toed boots!! (@neufy_21)
* Safety equipment placed in equipment and throughout builds in case of emergency for everyone #GrowSafety (@agnathanstamp)
* #GrowSafety safety tip: wear ear plugs when operating loud machinery! (@jdoherty_10)

It’s great to see so many people sharing their safety tips (and photos). Congrats and thanks to all winners.

Toolbox talks made easier and available online

Conveyor hazards in shake and shingle mills is one new talk, published online in March 2015.

Arming workers and gardeners against fire ants

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Go Ergo video adds fun to its safety message

This musical message – brought to you from the Oregon State Accident Insurance Fund – reminds us how to adjust an office workspace to the right ergonomic fit.

New tools help employers assess MSI risks

It’s “…a simplified approach to understanding how to conduct an ergonomics assessment.”

Biohazards found in water from floods and leaks

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Work safely near forklifts

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Conference centres on workplace impairment

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Time to start planning for NAOSH Week

“It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive, time-consuming adventure… It’s just recognizing safety in your workplace and allowing everybody to be part of it.”

Protecting the mental health of front-line workers

“Mental illness is hitting our front line workers like a sledgehammer,” says the Canadian Mental Health Association. They host the Bottom Line Conference Feb 24 & 25 in Vancouver.