Aug 182014
 

The Government of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Program Development Branch is excited to share with you the start of the OHS Futures: Research Funding Program.

OHS Futures is a research funding program to help support a better understanding of occupational health and safety issues in Alberta’s workplaces.  This program will enhance the partnership between the OHS Program and experts in our province and across Canada to make better policy for the issues of today and the emerging issues of tomorrow.

The OHS Futures will distribute up to $1 million per year for three years beginning in 2014, with a variety of OHS proposals funded.

  • The program is designed to fund a range of research projects.
  • The projects funded will address a variety of topics depending on OHS Program needs.

Applications are NOW AVAILABLE online at http://work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety/ohs-futures.html . The submission deadline is October 15, 2014.

There is additional information on the website regarding priority research areas, eligibility and assessment.

 Posted by at 8:37 am
Aug 112014
 

The rate of Alberta workers being hurt on the job dropped in 2013, according to information provided by the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). In fact, the lost-time claim (LTC) rate is now at an all-time recorded low.

In addition, the disabling injury rate (DIR) dropped in some of Alberta’s key sectors last year: construction; manufacturing; and oil and gas development. The DIR combines information on workers who couldn’t work because of their injury or had their duties modified due to workplace injury or disease.

Despite safety improvements, there were 188 workplace fatalities in 2013. More than half of the fatalities resulted from occupational disease. In some cases, the worker may have been exposed to the disease decades ago.

While the rate of injury went down, the number of disabling injury claims rose slightly as Alberta’s workforce grew by 2.9 per cent to 2.1 million.

“I’m pleased to see a steady improvement in workplace safety. The hard work of industry, employers, workers, safety associations and government is paying off. That said, there are still far too many workplace deaths. I want all Alberta workers to get home safely at the end of the day.”

Kyle Fawcett, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour

Highlights

  • The LTC rate is now 1.34 per 100 person-years, an all-time recorded low. That’s down from 1.40 in 2012.
  • The DIR decreased to 2.67 from 2.72 per 100 person-years in 2012.
  • In 2013 there were 54,140 disabling injury claims, the combination of lost-time claims and modified work claims, an increase of two per cent from 53,081 claims in 2012.

Workplace Injury Rates high all-time low, 1994-2013

 Posted by at 7:21 am
Aug 012014
 

(Article contributed by Dean Brown, NCSO, Mudrack Concrete)

If a Hazard Assessment is performed and there is no hazard to the head why force workers to wear Hard Hats?  PPE should never be worn if their use can result in subsequent hazards in the case of summer heat; Heat Exhaustion and Heat stroke.

Healthy individuals who do a lot of physical activity or work in a hot environment are at a high risk of developing heat related illness.

Non-negotiable sweeping safety policies so that everyone in a company wears the same PPE regardless of their task or profession is simply “LAZY SAFETY”.

In temperatures reaching or surpassing 30C workers start to lose their mental sharpness as exhaustion, dehydration and the body’s core temperature rises. If we are at all worried about the worker in a Hot Environment let’s make sure the workers’ mental awareness and mental acuteness is of the utmost importance.

Reducing PPE to avoid Heat Related Illness needs to be taken seriously, we as Safety Professionals must use our training and experience to identify hazards and control them properly to avoid potential deaths caused by heat related illness.

 Posted by at 7:43 am
May 252014
 

ACA applauds OHS for meeting with industry to raise awareness of potential OHS Code changes.  While formal proposals cannot be released until after Ministerial approval likely this Fall, OHS held information sessions this week to discuss potential areas for change and to invite further dialogue with industry.  ACA has long advocated for dialogue in advance of finalizing proposals and OHS deserves credit for its current approach.

The proposals can be accessed here.

ACA welcomes any questions or comments from members, please contact ken.gibson@albertaconstruction.net.

 Posted by at 12:49 pm
May 252014
 

Alberta Construction Association is developing a best practice to protect construction workers from occupational exposure to silica.  As reported previously, field testing of Alberta construction jobsites indicates that exposure above acceptable limits can occur on many different types of jobsites and many of the workers onsite.  ACA strongly believes industry is in the best position to develop practical and effective solutions, rather than those created through regulation.

To this end, ACA needs your leadership and ideas.  Our ad hoc committee has identified numerous construction processes and products that could generate exposure to silica. We are asking for knowledgeable and committed volunteers from a number of trades to join our work.  We would welcome representation from trade associations to ensure we have the best ideas and can raise awareness as broadly as possible.  The committee terms of reference are attached.  Contact ken.gibson@albertaconstruction.net for further information.

 Posted by at 12:47 pm
May 192014
 

Congratulations to Ledcor Industrial and Construction Labour Relations / Electrical Contractors Association of Alberta for being named the 2014 recipients at this year’s COAA Best Practices Conference.  Ledcor was the recipient in the large company category for their winter program, and CLR / ECAA in the small company category for their audiometric testing program.

The award recognized Ledcor’s “proven work processes and outstanding practitioners” as part of its efforts to protect against winter-related accidents.

The winter safety procedures that led to Ledcor’s nomination for the award were introduced after a regular management review of high potential incidents noted the recurrence of winter­-related incidents. Action was immediately taken to ensure staff could work as safely as possible in winter conditions on an ongoing basis.

This included the creation of a standard site preparation plan and a checklist of mitigation actions, as well as an annual all-project leadership review that kicks off the Winter Works campaign to ensure sites are ready for cold weather and snow.

Ledcor procedures have since been recognized by other organizations, and are being used as the basis for a COAA Best Practice.

The CLR-A Audiometric Testing Program was launched on September 1, 2006 and is compliant with OH&S legislation regarding audiometric testing, assisting CLR member company with noise management compliance.

 Posted by at 8:55 pm