The BC Safety Authority presented its 2011 Annual Report at its eighth Annual General Meeting in Langley June 13th. The Safety Authority was created when the provincial government set up a private agency to handle its regulatory authority for seven equipment categories.
These categories include: electrical and gas equipment, pressure vessels, elevators and escalators, ski lifts, amusement rides, and rapid transit railways.
BCSA President Catherine Roome explained the role of the Safety Authority advising attendees that post-accident investigations may involve representatives from both WorkSafeBC and the BCSA, such as the recent sawmill explosions and fires in Burns Lake and Prince George.
Representatives of the Occupational First Aid Attendants Association have been attending most of the Safety Authority AGM’s, and were present at this year’s meeting in Langley.
Members interested in more information about the BCSA can find it on their website and this year’s AGM highlights will be added to it in the future.
The Health and Safety Community in BC is very diverse and includes: sports and recreation, community and society health care, community and workplace trauma and loss, and workplace occupational health and safety. We would like to hear how our Members work in the broader community.
The Occupational First Aid Attendants Association participated in the review on the final day of hearings on proposed changes to the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
The four days of Public Hearings, chaired by Anne Burch, were held around the province and were the opportunity to express opinions about some revisions before a draft goes to the Board of Directors.
There were a limited number of presenters at the June 7th Richmond public hearing as the majority of the proposed changes to the Regulation appeared house keeping in nature.
Representatives of the BC Federation of Labour, the Council of Construction Associations (COCA), Atlas Anchor Systems, RJC Engineering, and the OFAAABC provided their input regarding the proposed regulation revisions.
In the course of providing input on “Part 11 Fall Protection” regarding wording changes to Anchor, Anchorage and the various definitions of the proposed amendments, RJC and OFAAABC commented that the proposed wording changes seemed to result in unintended effects both to engineering practices and how work might be conducted in the field.
At the afternoon session June 7th Atlas Anchor System recommended that WorkSafeBC use industry terminology such as CSA and ANSI wording rather than developing its own terms and meanings.
RJC commented about built in place engineered anchor points typically used for post construction activities like window washing anchors and was looking for a clarity in the regulation and noted there is little in the regulation on clear labeling of anchors intended for a travel restriction system compared to those used for a fall arrest system. RJC was also looking for clarification regarding wording on the annual inspections in the proposed regulation and its practical affects on the industry as the wording could be read to include manufactured concrete anchor straps cast into columns during the construction process.
OFAAABC provided input on Part 11 about how misinterpretations can develop depending on whether the Regulation is viewed from a post construction anchor system or for fall arrest used during construction and emphasized a need for clear definitions when defining a fall arrest system to ensure workers and supervisors clearly understand the regulation and how to apply it correctly in field conditions.
It became apparent in discussions after the close of the hearing between a WorkSafeBC engineer, RJC and the OFAAABC that there may be a need to provide fall protection wording for post construction separate from fall arrest requirements required during construction. It remains to be seen how this might be managed. WorkSafeBC invited RJC and OFAAABC to participate in future discussions on the proposed amendments to Fall Protection. Both RJC and the OFAAABC agreed to participate and provide perspective from the applied engineering practices in the field and multiple design conditions and from the perspective of using the equipment in actual day to day operations from a worker, supervisor, and safety officer perspective.
The OFAAABC also provided recommendations on proposed wording in “Part 12 Tools, Machinery and Equipment”, and on insulated elevated work platforms in “Part 13 Ladders, Scaffolds, and Temporary Work Platforms” to have a reference directing the reader to Part 19 where the regulation is proposed to be moved to.
We invite all our Provincial Members and their associates to provide input now for Part 11 Fall Protection and to participate in the review of future regulatory change proposals.
JUNE 12, 2012
- WorkSafe Policy & Research Division e-Newsletter
JUNE 7, 2012
- Court of Appeal for British Columbia – Loss of Earnings Policy
JUNE 6, 2012
- Proposed Policies to Implement Bill 14 Amendments
Canada’s Dangerous Export of Asbestos
Canada will continue to export chrysotile asbestos leaving it up to the receiving country to warn its users.
The Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver recently wrote to the First Aid Attendants Association that: “The risk posed by using chrysotile fibres can be managed if adequate controls, such as those established in Canada, are implemented and completely observed.”
The United Nations has a treaty known as the Rotterdam Convention that lists hazardous materials in Annex III. The Rotterdam Convention would not ban the export and import, but by including asbestos on the hazardous materials list it would require that Canada provide a warning to the recipients of the asbestos.
The Conservative government of Canada has refused to support the Rotterdam Convention to include chrysotile asbestos on the list of hazardous materials.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has supported this approach allowing Canada to continue exporting chrysotile asbestos as if it is well regulated in other countries.
In Canada chrysotile is regulated under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. In British Columbia the use of asbestos in the workplace is strictly regulated by WorkSafeBC. In many countries it is not well regulated or not regulated at all; these are the countries that import asbestos.
Canadians are protected because asbestos and products that contain it must be disclosed to the consumers/workers but the government of Canada does not want to follow the Rotterdam Convention to warn people in other countries about the hazardous product we are sending them.
The Canadian Cancer Society reports that worldwide about 107,000 people die every year from disease related to occupational exposure to asbestos. Many deaths were due to historical exposures and as Joe Oliver wrote: “These uses have been prohibited or discontinued in Canada since the late 1970s.” These dangerous uses continue in other countries.
In November 2011 an NDP motion in the House of Commons to ban the export of asbestos and include it in the Rotterdam Convention failed.
June 2012 will be the one year anniversary of Canada’s third time blocking the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos on the hazardous materials list.
—– Occupational First Aid Attendants Association of BC