November 20, 2012
I went to the 2012 Safety Forum and Luncheon on October 25, 2012 at Newlands Golf and Country Club in Langley. I sat with some safety colleagues from the Trucking Safety Council of BC and listened to the details of this year’s winners.
The MC was John McMahon, TSCBC’s executive director. After the ceremonies, he said he was glad to see three trucking companies recognized. The TSCBC is a Certifying Partner designated by WorkSafeBC to work on safety with industry.
The winners in trucking and transport:
- Versacold Logistics/EV Logistics, who won in the Transportation of Goods category
- Air North – who recently earned COR certification from TSCBC – received Honourable Mention in Transportation of Goods
- DCT Chambers Trucking Ltd. , who won the TruckSafe Organizational Excellence Award sponsored by WorkSafeBC
You can see a complete list of winners at the WorkSafeBC website. I look forward to sharing more of their stories soon – so stay tuned.
Growing safety culture
I asked John, via email, why it’s significant that three trucking companies are recognized? Here’s what he said:
“We are seeing a growing trend in the industry to demonstrate a commitment to achieving a high standard of health and safety management. This is borne out when we look at the rising numbers of BC Trucking companies, large and small, who are becoming COR Certified.
“There is definitely greater awareness amongst trucking companies of the importance of having a sound health and safety management program that not only protects their workers but everyone that comes into contact with their businesses, from pedestrians to other road users. These three companies thoroughly deserve to be honoured in this way and I take my hat off to them for leading by example, well done.”
I asked John if he sees a growth in safety culture in trucking and related industries in BC.
“Absolutely,” he said. “ As more companies are recognized for their safety performance achievements the safety culture in our industry will grow even stronger as the realisation that good health safety equals good business sense and increased profitability. As they say in the business: ‘It’s a no brainer.’ ”
“Employers in our industry are very aware that they are in the public eye more often than some other industries. That is why many of them have engaged with our organization – to help learn about safety legislation and best practice in their industry… The best want to get better and that is always a great goal for any industry.”
New SafetyDriven website launched
Find out more about safety in BC’s trucking and related industries at the cool, new SafetyDriven website – just launched last week and a great example of what industry safety associations are offering.
May 01, 2012
He described them as “literal artists.”
That’s how John Gilder, general manager of the Canadian Materials Handling and Distribution Society, described some of the competitors he’s seen at forklift rallies over the years.
“They are on these machines eight hours a day. That’s where their career is spent – on a machine. Some of them are incredible. It’s like the machine is a part of them,” said John, who I quoted in my post about the 2011 forklift rally.
Now it’s rolled around to that time of year again. On Saturday May 5, 2012, the 15th Annual BC Championship Forklift Rally will take place at the Cloverdale Agriplex.
Forklift operators from around BC will gather to test their knowledge in writing and their skills behind the wheel. For the first time, participants will also have a chance to win one of four pairs of Canucks tickets.
Here’s a link to more info on What is a forklift rally? The public is welcome – so check it out if you’re in the neighbourhood. Here’s what it looks like on video.
January 10, 2012
I’ve been following up with NAOSH (North American Occupational Safety and Health) Week 2011 winners and contacted TJ Garcha, health & safety coordinator for the BC Institute of Technology. He told me about BCIT’s NAOSH Week entry that won them the Educational Institutions category for the fifth year in a row.
In 2011, BCIT turned the NAOSH Week challenge into a WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) challenge. WHMIS training is mandatory for all BCIT employees, so one of the organization’s goals was to increase staff participation in WHMIS training. To be eligible for a prize, BCIT employees had to complete their WHMIS training and then enter their name into the prize pool before the end of NAOSH Week.
This year the prize pool was bigger than ever, with 35 prizes and lots of giveaways from health and safety exhibitors. “Any time there are prizes or incentives involved, the interest level of participants goes up,” said TJ.
Other activities included “lunch and learn” sessions – on topics like “Major Events and Radiation Contamination” and the general NAOSH theme: “Prepared? What’s Your Plan?” – along with online quizzes (one for each of the five NAOSH week days) and a popular kids’ colouring contest.
“Everyone at BCIT was reminded that the more entries they got in, the better chances they had in winning a prize,” TJ said, describing “meal vouchers for use at BCIT eateries, custom hearing protection, high quality ear muffs, and a variety of gift cards from Starbucks, Toys-R-Us and Future Shop.”
Marketing NAOSH Week activities on campus
According to TJ, the campus atmosphere really lends itself to NAOSH participation.
“With a large number of students and employees on campus, advertising and marketing is quite effective and this generates interest for our many events throughout the year,” he said. “Also, with the Exhibition, we didn’t need to invite the community – the event was brought to the community. This approach helps maximize participation.”
BCIT’s health & safety exhibition during NAOSH Week included Acklands Grainger; Alda Pharmaceuticals; ER Plus; Community Fire Prevention Ltd.; F.A.S.T.; Sperian; Mediquest; Custom Protect Ear; WorkSafeBC; Wasserman Partners; Evolution Radio 107.9 FM; BCIT Safety, Security & Emergency Management; BCIT Human Resources; BCIT Audiometric Office; BCIT Recreation Services.
“Overall, NAOSH Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about Health & Safety issues to the community through a variety of different mediums. The awareness benefits everyone,” TJ said. “While organizing these fun and interactive activities, we (the organizers) learn a lot ourselves. The experience is very rewarding.”
Congratulations to BCIT and thanks to TJ for telling me his story. Visit the 2012 NAOSH Week website for more info.
December 06, 2011
A group of young warehouse workers at Versacold/EV Logistics in Metro Vancouver found an interesting way to get their coworkers thinking about what it’s like to live with an injury.
During NAOSH Week, workers organized games like eye-patch basketball, one-armed slap-shot, and one-legged golf putting – and this is one of the reasons they were chosen as best overall winner in BC’s NAOSH Week competition for 2011.
Mike Stephens, occupational health and safety manager for the Versacold’s Western Canada region, said planning for safety week begins by asking for volunteers – known as “Safety Week Champions” – to be the lead organizers for events at their facility.
“They found a way to reach out to the employees so they get the message, and they also have fun doing it,” Mike said. “At the EV Logistics locations, the workforce is largely made up of young males. One of the things of interest to young males is sports – like basketball and hockey.”
Other activities held throughout the region included a partnership with the Canadian Blood Service to hold a blood drive clinic, multiple in-house forklift rally competitions, evacuation drills, health and fitness seminars, and more.
“We have participated in NAOSH week in the region since 2006. It is a great opportunity to focus on safety initiatives, have some fun and take some time to reflect on the importance of working safe every day in our jobs,” Mike said, describing what he likes about NAOSH Week.
“It’s good to see people get really enthused about safety. The safety champions at each facility are great at developing new innovative and creative ideas to promote safety during NAOSH Week. The really rewarding part is the cultural change in our employees and overall improvements to safety in our organization.”
Mike accepted the award on behalf of Versacold, but he gave credit to the many others who made NAOSH Week a success.
“I’ve got to hand it to the people at our facilities – the managers, the champions that sponsored and put on these events. They’re the ones who really deserve the recognition. They’re the ones who put the time and effort in. I’m just the overall organizer.”
Thanks to Mike and congrats to Versacold/EV Logistics.
November 22, 2011
Chlorine leaks can be deadly, so a proper response is critical.
Jennie Inkster, safety coordinator for the City of Kamloops, completed a set of written emergency procedures for dealing with chlorine leaks. Then she tested them with the local fire department during NAOSH Week 2011.
“Our fire department always likes to practise because once chlorine gets out – leaks don’t get better, they get worse,” Jennie told me on the phone from Kamloops.
“The fire department comes at it from a different angle than I do. I’m worried about the worker’s safety – and they’re worried about their members and how they’re going to approach the scene. They have to evacuate if they’ve got a cloud of chlorine floating.”
Jennie and her team developed a booklet of information for responding to this type of emergency, including all maps and phone numbers of people who may need to be evacuated. Now each each fire station and haz mat truck has a copy.
“That was a suggestion from the fire department – so they could look at terrain, who they’re going to need to evacuate first, and an overall map of where the actual chlorine is located and the closest houses to that,” Jennie said.
Planning your route to the emergency
Jennie said they discovered another route that the fire department could take, if needed.
“There’s one way in that the City uses, but there’s another way we can come at it depending on which way the wind is. You might not necessarily be able to get at it from our main entrance that we use right now and it’s basically through a farmer’s field,” Jennie said. “But they have to be careful. It depends on the type of year because their trucks are so heavy they could get stuck. Some of that stuff came up and was discussed and it was really great.”
This exercise, along with other activities at work and in the community, earned Kamloops three NAOSH Awards: Best New Entry at the national level and in BC’s Local Government category and Best Presentation of Theme. Congratulations to all!
See Chlorine Safe Work Practices by WorkSafeBC
November 10, 2011
NAOSH Week organizers suggest different ways to participate – one of which is “setting new goals for workplace health and safety.”
That’s what the health and safety committee did at Tourism Whistler, winner in BC’s NAOSH Week Tourism/Hospitality category.
I learned about Tourism Whistler’s goal-setting from Dennis Ranada, senior building operations manager and OHS committee chair. He and his team work for safety at this non-profit organization that represents 7,000 members who own, manage, and operate properties or businesses on resort lands. They also operate the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, and Coast Mountain Reservations.
Following up on promises
Dennis chairs the 12-member OHS committee that includes reps from each department. In 2010, the committee asked all departments to submit a list of safety commitments in writing – then, a year later, they went back and checked progress “to make sure they kept their promise.”
Dennis said their overall goals are to “minimize incidents, reduce our WorkSafe premiums, take a leadership role in the community and most of all, go home to our families safe and in one piece.”
During NAOSH week, staff also took part in fire extinguisher training, fire drills, earthquake drills, nutrition seminars, yoga, and an ergonomic seminar with desk site assessments.
Using foresight before work orders
Dennis encourages other operations managers to “take the leadership role in promoting H&S in their organization” and work closely with the loss and prevention officers who tend to be the leaders of OHS programs.
“Both roles should work side by side. Most of the deficiencies, action items, and investigations fall on the operations/maintenance personnel to complete, so it would be wise to have the manager be more proactive to mitigate potential hazards versus getting the work orders after the fact,” Dennis said.
For more info, read Managing Employee Performance at Tourism Whistler on the website of go2 – the BC tourism and hospitality industry’s human resource association.
Congratulations Tourism Whistler and thanks again to Dennis.
November 08, 2011
I found lots of great stories to track down and tell after looking at the list of NAOSH and Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) Achievement Recognition awards. Winners were honoured October 20 at the 2011 Safety Forum and Awards ceremony in Langley, and I’ll be following up to find out more about what they did.
Then I’ll tell you – during the next few weeks – so you might want to subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already. Just click the Subscribe Now button over there on the right.
A preview of stories to come
In my next post, I’ll tell you about Tourism Whistler – winner in the Tourism/Hospitality category. In 2010, WT’s health and safety committee asked each department in the organization to submit their health and safety commitments – then they “followed up to make sure they kept their promise,” said Dennis Ranada, senior building operations manager, in charge of OHS at Tourism Whistler.
I’ll tell you more about the City of Kamloops, winner in the Local Government category after I talk with their safety coordinator Jennie Inskter. One of their many NAOSH Week activities was a chlorine leak exercise including many departments of the City, emergency personnel, and local residents.
I’m also looking into the story of Versacold Logistics- winner in the Tranport of Goods category and Best Overall entry. Mike Stephens, OH&S manager of the Pacific and Prairie Region is going to tell me more about what they did – and I’m particularly curious about their games for staff that show what it’s like to do sports after losing an eye or limb.
Stay tuned for more – and congratulations to all!
October 27, 2011
A Canadian safety magazine has announced its first annual list of Canada’s Safest Employers. I was curious to find out more about who is on the list, how they were chosen, and why the magazine decided to start a new award program, so I emailed Mari-Len De Guzman, editor of Canadian Occupational Safety to find out more.
“We wanted to create a national recognition program for companies that deserve to be acknowledged for going above and beyond in promoting health and safety in the workplace,” Mari-Len said, via email.
In its first year, the contest attracted more than 100 employers whose nominations were judged by a a panel of reps from Canadian workplace safety organizations, including WorkSafeBC.
Social media shout-out
Many of the nominees responded to a call for nominations on the COS Online website www.cos-mag.com, via Twitter – @cosmagazine, the COS Facebook Group, and on COS’s YouTube channel. Acklands-Grainger, the national founding sponsor for the Canada’s Safest Employers Award program, and other people and organizations also promoted it through their social media channels.
Manufacturing was the award team’s focus for this first year and in 2012, targets will include construction, mining, oil and gas, natural resources, and the service industries. Nominations for 2012 will open in December 2011 – and as a born and bred BC resident, I’m hoping to see some representation from my home province.
“We are planning to work with the various industry safety associations in all provinces and solicit their support in both judging the nominations and/or helping us promote the award to their member companies to encourage more submissions,” Mari-Len said.
Five winners were honoured September 27 by Canada’s Labour Minister Lisa Raitt in Toronto. In the coming weeks, I’ll follow up with more details about what they did to earn the honour. Congratulations to:
- Atotech Canada (Ontario)
- CCI Thermal Technologies (Ontario)
- GE Aviation (Quebec)
- Innovative Automation (Ontario)
- Pratt & Whitney Canada – Halifax Operations (Nova Scotia)
Here’s a link to Mari-Len’s article rounding up the first year of the award.
February 22, 2011
Last fall, I had a great time hearing about all the NAOSH Week 2010 winners at the annual awards ceremonies – and now it’s time to plan for this year’s activities.
This year’s theme for NAOSH Week is “Safety & Health – What’s Your Plan?” and it runs from May 1 to 7.
“We encourage participants in Safety & Health Week to use this question to focus on what it is that aids people in ensuring they know what to do, and how to keep themselves and others safe,” says BC Rapid Transit Company Ltd‘s Buck Page, president of the NAOSH Week Steering Committee.
Need any ideas?
The NAOSH Week planning guide for BC is full of ideas, such as:
- Organizing a family safety fair and picnic
- Planning contests with safety-related prizes
- Conducting a young worker safety presentation
- Displaying a NAOSH Week banner in a prominent location in your community
- Hosting a public open house using displays, videos, speakers, or demonstrations
Many NAOSH Week participants will enter to win awards, and I’m really looking forward to hearing about them in the fall. Good luck to all!
December 16, 2010
I admire people who can see a problem, find a solution, and put it into practice. Preston Boomars of Ventana Construction saw problems with electrical cords on construction sites, so he created a new system for keeping them organized.
What did he make?
It’s a portable stand that houses an electrical panel and keeps cords organized using holes drilled into its sides. It charges batteries for portable tools, and has places for a light, fire-extinguisher, air horn, and emergency eye-wash station.
Electrical cords are plugged in through holes in the sides of the ECM system. By keeping cords organized and out of the way, the system protects cords from damage and avoids the frustration of tripping GFCIs [ground fault circuit interrupters]. Trades workers tag their cords to keep track of which ones are theirs. Read more