BC Municipal Safety Association - News & Updates

Read our August 2017 Newsletter Now!

Newsletter August 2017
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Announcement of new Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the BC Municipal Safety Association is pleased to announce the future appointment of Mike Roberts as the Executive Director of the BC Municipal Safety Association, following Cathy Cook’s retirement October 1, 2017. 

Mike has been the Manager of Audit and Training Services with the BCMSA since 2014.  In addition to his years of health and safety association experience, he has extensive municipal experience and a passion for safety excellence.

We look forward to working with Mike and all of the BCMSA staff in serving our communities, sharing the knowledge, and being the health and safety resource of choice.

Caleb Mierau – President, BCMSA Board of Directors

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2017 Conference Cancellation

We regret to announce that the 2017 Municipal Safety Conference, October 15 to 17 in Penticton, has been cancelled.  If you had registered for the conference, a refund will be processed in the same method as payment, within the next week to ten days.

Our delivery of face-to-face safety training in municipalities has increased exponentially since 2009, and we believe our success as a training organization has contributed to a reduced interest in a multi-day conference.

Watch for new training formats in 2018, including at least two regional one-day “mini conferences”!

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Special Air Quality Alert – July 18, 2017

As everyone is aware, the 150+ forest fires burning across our Province have caused moderate to severe air quality advisories in most areas.

Smoke concentrations will vary as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.  The situation is expected to persist until the weather changes.

Environment Canada has issued the following statement:

Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. If you are experiencing symptoms, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, especially along busy traffic corridors.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for your staff.  Since you cannot do anything about the air quality, during these periods of air quality alerts, this responsibility may extend to adjusting the work your outside staff perform, particularly if they have any of the underlying health conditions noted above.

Adjustments may include (but not be limited to): assigning workers with chronic health conditions to lighter work outdoors or to work indoors, or provide shorter work periods with more frequent breaks indoors for all other outside workers.  You may also need to increase the number of check-ins for workers working alone or in isolation.

If work must be done outdoors, Personal Protective Equipment (respirators) may help, but in extreme heat may add another hazard for staff.  Persons with respiratory ailments may be further affected if using a respirator.

Some useful resources:

Environment Canada Air Quality Health Index: http://www.ec.gc.ca/cas-aqhi/default.asp?lang=En&n=CF257CD8-1

Government of Canada Weather Information (navigate to alerts):  www.weather.gc.ca

As always, if we can be of any assistance as you draft procedures to help ensure a safe working environment for your staff, please contact us.

Mike Roberts (mroberts@bcmsa.ca)

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Joining forces to build psychologically safe and healthy municipalities

The Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division (CMHA BC) and the British Columbia Municipal Safety Association (BCMSA) have partnered to offer a suite of workplace mental health awareness and training courses to BCMSA members across the province.

Read the full article at http://www.cmha.bc.ca/news/joining-forces-to-build-psychologically-safe-and-healthy-municipalities/

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Guide to Handling Highly Toxic Substances

The unprecedented drug overdose crisis hitting our Province has led to some new challenges in health and safety.

The RCMP have shared their “Guide to Handling Highly Toxic Substances” which may help you create your Exposure Control Plans and will certainly assist in educating your staff. (With thanks to Gail from the City of Richmond for providing this information)

Guide to Handling Highly Toxic Substances

Following are links to a Fentanyl documentary and Safety website as a reference.


Safety websitefentanylsafety.com

(With thanks to Sergio from the City of Burnaby for sharing this information)

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BCIT is Granting Transfer Credits!

Great news! BCIT is granting transfer credits for our courses, if you enroll in the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate program.  The OHS Certificate is granted after completing 45 credits, of which 25 are electives; these transfer credits would apply to the electives.  So keep taking BCMSA courses and get credit towards the Certificate!

  • Every 8 hour course is worth .5 transfer credits
  • Every 16 hour course = 1 transfer credit
  • Every 24 hour course = 1.5 transfer credits (eg. Utility Locator Specialist)
  • Completion of the Supervisor Safety Certificate Program (SSCP) = 2 transfer credits
  • Completion of the Municipal Worker Safety Certificate Program (MWSCP) = 1.5 transfer credits

bcit-logoIndividual courses shorter than 8 hours don’t qualify for transfer credits, unless taken as part of the Safety Certificate programs.

For more information on BCIT’s OHS program, check out their website: http://www.bcit.ca/study/programs/6850cert#details

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Above & Beyond Recognition Award

The BCMSA and St. John Ambulance are pleased to announce that an award has been created for BCMSA members.

To recognize those individuals who have acted alone or as a team in providing assistance to:

  • those in need of medical aid using their knowledge in first aid; or
  • those in a situation where their lives may be in danger with or without the application of first aid.


  1. The nominee must be a municipal worker as defined by the BCMSA
  2. The deed must be performed during work hours
  3. The deed must be outside the nominee’s line of duty
  4. The deed must be performed within twelve (12) months of the date of application
  5. It is not necessary that the deed or attempt was successful, that the nominee has a first aid certificate or is a member of St. John Ambulance
Above & Beyond Nomination Form
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Workplace Mental Health – CMHA Presentation December 9, 2016

Dec 2016 CMHA Presentation
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WorkSafeBC 2016 Asbestos Enforcement Initiative

Notice of asbestos inspections and featured resources

Asbestos exposure remains the number one killer of workers in B.C. Hundreds of houses are demolished and renovated every month in our province, and as many homes built up until 1990 used products containing asbestos, this poses a potential threat of exposing workers to harmful asbestos fibres.

WorkSafeBC prevention officers will be conducting a province-wide program of worksite inspections from July 1-December 31, 2016 to ensure homeowners, contractors, and consultants are properly informed and equipped to safely remove asbestos containing materials and are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

WorkSafeBC has a list of information and resources to help ensure everyone remains safe from asbestos-related occupational disease on the jobsite.

Some of these resources include:

  • Ten simple steps to complying with asbestos abatement
  • Safe work practices for handling asbestos
  • Health hazards of asbestos toolbox meeting guide
  • Asbestos removal toolbox meeting guide

For more information

For further information and a full list of resources, please visit the WorkSafeBC asbestos resource page or contact: Chris Back, Manager, Industry & Labour Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Construction (interim) Sectors | 604.244.6367 | 778.874.1809

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Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussions are a more common injury to municipal workers than you may think.  Workers who suffer concussions are often away from work for a long period of time from this unfortunately debilitating injury.

WorkSafeBC attended the Regular General Meeting on Friday June 10th, and presented “Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injury”.

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Law and Policy Bulletin – updated April 2016

Bulletin - Administrative Penalties
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Get out of the passenger seat!

A presentation given by Elise Kobylanski at BCMSA’s Regular General Meeting on March 11, 2016.
Get out of the passenger seat!

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After many months of work, we are happy to launch the online PoolSafe program.

This course was previously only available in face-to-face full day format, and we recognized that aquatic staff were unable to commit the time for the course.

Now it’s available online! The course is hosted on the BC Recreation & Parks Association e-learning site, at a cost of only $40.00.

PoolSafeSpecial thank you to the Alberta Municipal Safety & Health Association for taking our material and producing the online version.



The Globally Harmonized System has now been adopted in Canada and by WorkSafeBC. The former WHMIS program (now referred to as WHMIS 1988) now includes the new GHS information in what is referred to as WHMIS 2015.

There is a nearly 3 year transition period before WHMIS 2015 must be fully implemented. Some suppliers may have started sending Supplier Labels and Safety Data Sheets in the new format, which means the employers must train their staff in both systems.

Geoff Clark, Senior Occupational Hygiene Officer at WorkSafeBC, made a presentation at the last regular general meeting of the BCMSA, highlighting the changes between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015. His presentation is here: What is WHMIS 2015? (8 Sep 15)

The BCMSA offers a face to face WHMIS course, and as of November 1st, this course will be a blended WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015.

Effective February 8th, we have launched our WHMIS 2015 online training. Read more at www.bcmsa.ca/course-catalogue/whmis-2015-online/.

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WorkSafeBC Bulletin & Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy

WorkSafeBC issued the bulletin “Working around microwave radiation from rooftop antennas” last August. WorkSafeBC Bulletin

Early in 2015, Health Canada revised the exposure limits for Radiofrequency (RF) Electromagnetic Energy. As a result, testing companies are contacting employers to promote their services to conduct RF surveys.

The WorkSafeBC Bulletin notes Engineering Controls to protect workers include using physical guards or barriers to restrict access to areas near antennas, and to raise the antennas above the working level of the roof as the lowest level of radiation is directly beneath the antennas. Administrative Controls are also listed in the Bulletin, and include using signs and/or caution tape to indicate high radiation areas, and maintaining at least a 3 meter distance from an antenna.

Please review the WorkSafeBC bulletin and note that as the employer or as a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring worker exposure is kept below the values issued by Health Canada. Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 for RF Exposure limits can be found here: RF Exposure Limits 2015

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St. John Ambulance Training

UPDATE August 26, 2016: Emergency First Aid for Industry – OFA Level 1 Equivalency has been approved for EOCP 0.60 CEU’s! Approved as Core for WWC – WD – WWT – SWWS – as Related for WT – SWS.

One of the important strategies established by the BCMSA Board of Directors is to collaborate with naturally aligned associations and capitalize on appropriate relationships. With this in mind, the BCMSA is pleased to announce the renewal of its partnership with St. John Ambulance. Members of the BCMSA will be eligible for a 10% discount on several St. John Ambulance courses.

BCMSA members will register directly by telephone or in person at any one of the St. John Ambulance BC branches using the promotional code ‘BCMSA’.  Visit https://portal.sja.ca/eRegistrationSearch/ for course information.

St John AmbulanceSt. John Ambulance is a not-for-profit charitable organization, incorporated in the same year as the BC Municipal Safety Association (1994).

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Online SDS Management

Do you have control of your MSDS management system? Are you ready to make the switch to Globally Harmonized System (GHS) WHMIS? Do you know what that means?

Federal WHMIS legislation will change June 1, 2015. There will be new classification rules, new label requirements and a standardized format for (Material) Safety Data Sheets.

We offer a solution to your Safety Data Sheet (SDS) management system. Through 3E Online SDS, you can create and maintain a catalogue of your SDS’, indexed by location, facility, or department – your choice. The team at 3E will help you set up your own unique system.

Other benefits include:

  • Access to historical records – expired SDSs are archived and accessible from the application at any time
  • Advanced Security – access is allowed to authorized users for certain functional or administrative features
  • Unlimited users – no limit to the number of users or administrators that can access and use the system
  • Mobile access – 24/7 access from any smart phone devices
  • Web-based training – scheduled upon implementation and by request at any time to ensure your employees know how to use the system
  • On Demand Backup – live assistance via phone for SDS requests when Internet is not available
  • Chemical spill hotline – Toll-free access for information and guidance on hazard assessment, location, weather considerations, evaluation of employee competency, PPE, use of absorbents, choice of storage containers, labeling and agency reporting requirements
  • Poison Control Hotline – access to physicians, toxicologists and Poison Control specialists
  • Secondary Container Labeling – create secondary container (Workplace) labels that are GHS compliant


You may utilize the electronic versions of 3E start-up materials, which you can access through the links below.  These materials should be provided to your employees so they know how to access the Data Sheets.  (i.e., poster in break room, stickers near phones and wallet cards for field employees).

Stickers: Click to Download 3E Online stickers
Posters: Click to Download 3E Online posters
Wallet Cards: Click to Download 3E Online wallet cards

More information is available on 3E’s website:

Because we were able to negotiate with 3E to provide this service on behalf of all of our members, the cost to participate in this system is very reasonable.

Assessable Payroll – Annual Cost*
Less than $500,000 – Free
$500,000 to $4,999,999 – $200
$5,000,000 to $19,999,999 – $1000
$20,000.000 to $49,999,999 – $1600
$50,000,000+ – $2,000
* plus $0.50 per (M)SDS

Interested? Contact Cathy Cook (ccook@bcmsa.ca) with the following information:

  • Name and contact information for your MSDS Administrator
  • Assessable payroll for 2015
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