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BC Municipal Safety Association - News & Updates
On Monday, August 27th, Mike presented Parm Phangura from the City of Abbotsford with the Safety and Health Champion Award. Congratulations Parm and the City of Abbotsford!
Pictured (l-r): Mike Roberts, Executive Director, BCMSA; Parm Phangura, Manager, Occupational Health & Safety, City of Abbotsford; Mayor Henry Braun, City of Abbotsford.
As everyone is aware, the 500+ 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:
- Wildfire Smoke FAQ
- Wildfire Evacuation Planning
Environment Canada: Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia
For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The BCMSA and St. John Ambulance are pleased to announce that an award has been created for BCMSA members.
OBJECTIVE OF THE AWARD:
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.
- The nominee must be a municipal worker as defined by the BCMSA
- The deed must be performed during work hours
- The deed must be outside the nominee’s line of duty
- The deed must be performed within twelve (12) months of the date of application
- 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
Please complete this form and send it directly to:
BCMSA Executive Director
The City of Surrey’s Anja Fouche was successful in completing the course requirements for the Supervisors Safety Certificate Program (SSCP) on November 23rd. Anja was presented with the 1,000th certificate in the Program. The Program was established in 2012 to recognize those who have invested time and energy into learning the key elements of occupational health and safety from a supervisor’s perspective.
From left: Sam Chauhan (Manager, Occupational Health & Safety), Anja Fouche (ByLaw Enforcement Officer, Public Safety), Justin Chouhan (Manager, Audit and Training Services, BCMSA), Jas Rehal (Manager Public Safety Operations, Public Safety).
Greg Wightman, President of Public Works Association of BC (PWABC) (r) and Caleb Mierau, President of BC Municipal Safety Association (BCMSA) (l) are pleased to announce that PWABC and BCMSA are working together to deliver a joint-conference in 2018. The benefits include more presentations in key topic areas including safety, public works, utilities and leadership; a larger tradeshow; and more opportunities to network with municipal leaders and industry professionals from across BC. There is great excitement as we combine the key strengths and areas of expertise of each of our associations to elevate the quality and value of your conference experience.
Stayed tuned for more exciting news on sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities starting April 1st. The conference program and early bird registration will be available on
From left: Madelyn Davidson (Coordinator, Occupational Health and Safety), Justin Chouhan (Manager, Audit and Training Services, BCMSA), Mayor Henry Braun, Parm Phangura (Manager, Occupational Health and Safety), Allison Pye (Manager, Business Improvement).
On February 5th, Justin Chouhan, BCMSA Manager of Audit and Training Services, presented the City of Abbotsford with their COR certificate. The City of Abbotsford was successful in completing their COR certification for Safety Management Systems in December of 2017 and is to be commended for their leadership in health and safety, as achieving COR is no simple matter. The heart of COR is a commitment from the highest level to do what it takes to ensure worker health and safety and takes dedication from staff to ensure safety programs and procedures are created and maintained. The City of Abbotsford showed commitment from every level of the organization in establishing an excellent safety culture among all workers, management, and executives. The BCMSA congratulates the City of Abbotsford on this outstanding achievement!
The BCMSA and St. John Ambulance recognizes individuals who have acted alone or as a team in providing assistance to either 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. Taylor Buell (bottom center), Shem Smith (top center) and Meagan McMillan (not shown) were recognized for their actions at the Comox Valley Regional District Parks and Recreation Meeting jointly by Mike Roberts, BCMSA Executive Director (right) and Dave Valentine, St. John Ambulance Area Commissioner (left) for Vancouver Island at the first annual Above and Beyond Award presentation on January 23rd, 2018 .
In September, a gentleman in his early 50’s collapsed into full cardiac arrest while public skating. The staff responded very quickly and began performing CPR. After using the AED machine three times and further CPR, the gentleman regained consciousness. The gentleman arrested two more times and was then stabilized and transported to Vancouver where he received a complicated heart surgery. We are thrilled to report he is now doing very well.
If you know of someone who has acted alone or as a team in providing assistance to either 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 in the past year, the BCMSA and St. John would like to recognize their effort.Above & Beyond Nomination Form
On November 28th, Mike Roberts, BCMSA Executive Director, presented The District of North Vancouver (pictured above), Royal Roads University and Squamish Nation with NAOSH Awards at the Annual B.C. Safety Forum & Awards Luncheon.
The North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week is an annual, continent-wide event where employers, workers, and all partners in occupational health and safety collaborate to promote injury and illness prevention in the workplace.
Vancouver, BC – go2HR, BC’s tourism human resource association, is pleased to become certified by the Certificate of Recognition Program (COR).
Members of the Internal Health & Safety Committee receive COR certificate on behalf of go2HR. From left: Michele Priddy, Stephanie Mallalieu, Debbie Yule, Mike Roberts (Executive Director, BC Municipal Safety Association), Arlene Keis (CEO, go2HR), Heidi Romich (Board Chair, go2HR), Amy Knechtel
As part of their commitment to promote workplace safety within the tourism industry, go2HR is the certifying partner for the COR program in partnership with WorkSafeBC, developing audit tools and supporting tourism operators to achieve their certification.
With the launch of Small Employer COR (SECOR) in early 2017, go2HR undertook the program and was audited in September. Today, Mike Roberts, Executive Director of the BC Municipal Safety Association, presents go2HR with their official COR certificate.
“This was a phenomenal result, especially for an organization going through the COR process for the very first time,” says Roberts. “The BCMSA has never awarded 100% on a certification audit before; go2HR has clearly demonstrated that there is a commitment from every level of the organization, in establishing an excellent safety culture among all workers, management, and the executive.”
The Certificate of Recognition Program (COR) is an occupational health and safety audit, certification and incentive program, rewarding employers that go beyond the legal requirements by taking the “best practice” approach to health and safety in the workplace. Employers with fewer than 20 employees can participate in the Small Employer COR with a slightly different process and audit tool that takes into account the size of the operation in order to increase small employers’ success.
“For several years we’ve been dedicated to helping other employers obtain COR. It was a great experience for us to undertake the process ourselves and see it from the other side,” says Arlene Keis, CEO of go2HR. “I’m very proud of our team for exhibiting such great safety knowledge and practices. It sets a great example to others to also go above and beyond the standards of workplace safety.”
Interested small employers in the tourism industry can learn more about SECOR and how to participate at go2hr.ca/SECOR.
go2HR is BC’s tourism human resource association, responsible for coordinating the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy and providing programs and resources in the area of recruitment, retention and training. For more information, visit www.go2hr.ca.
The BCMSA and St. John Ambulance recognizes individuals who have acted alone or as a team in providing assistance to either 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. Lea Kunz was recognized for his actions at the BCMSA Regular General Meeting jointly by (below left to right) Mike Roberts, Executive Director BCMSA; Caleb Mierau, President BCMSA; Lea Kunz recipient District of Lake Country; Cam Manning, Survivor; Tanis Stoltz, District of Lake Country and Jean Chute, St. John Ambulance Chair of the Honours and Awards at the first annual Above and Beyond Award presentation on October 16th, 2017 .
Lea Kunz, a recreational worker for the District of Lake Country, was asked to provide assistance to a hockey player in a dressing room of an arena. Lea immediately grabbed the AED machine and told another person to call 911. When Lea entered the dressing room the hockey player was sitting on the bench and suddenly collapsed and went into arrest. Realizing that the man was unconscious and not breathing, Lea immediately hooked up the AED machine and continued chest compressions until emergency services arrived. The casualty was transported to hospital where he made a full recovery.
If you know of someone who has acted alone or as a team in providing assistance to either 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 in the past year, the BCMSA and St. John would like to recognize their effort.[Download not found]
On average, while driving for work, 21 workers a year are killed and another 1,280 are injured and miss time from work due to motor vehicle crashes. Almost 30% of these happen during the peak winter months of October, November, and December, and unfortunately, due to last winter’s extreme conditions, claims from these crashes were 38% higher in December 2016 than in December 2015.
On October 13th, in a continued effort to reduce the frequency and severity of winter-weather related vehicle crashes in B.C., the annual Shift into Winter campaign was launched, and will run through until March. This campaign is part of WorkSafeBC’s Occupational Road Safety Initiative (ORSI), led by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance (a partnership of 18 organizations), and operationalized by Road Safety at Work. WorkSafeBC is a part of this winter road safety awareness initiative because vehicles are the workplaces for many people in our province. From the obvious occupations of truck drivers, couriers, and taxi drivers, to the less obvious roles of community health nurses, sales people, and maybe even your own job – these people are at risk of injury and potentially death when they are driving for work on our roads.
Employee safety is a shared responsibility — employers, supervisors, and workers need to be aware of the risks associated with winter driving, to prepare for the winter season now, and to drive safely.Prepare yourself and your vehicle for winter conditions and drive safely!
Effective October 16th, Justin Chouhan is the new Manager of Audit and Training Services – filling the position recently left vacant by the appointment of Mike Roberts to the Executive Director role.
“We are proud to welcome Justin to our team,” said Executive Director Mike Roberts. “Justin’s experience as a health and safety professional will have a positive impact for the BCMSA and its members.”
Justin’s municipal health and safety career began over 8 years ago with the City of Richmond as a Health and Safety Specialist; and more recently the City of Coquitlam as a Safety and Training Coordinator. Justin is a graduate of BCIT where he received his Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety and Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health.
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
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/
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 website – fentanylsafety.com
(With thanks to Sergio from the City of Burnaby for sharing this information)
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
For more information on BCIT’s OHS program, check out their website: http://www.bcit.ca/study/programs/6850cert#details
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
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”.
A presentation given by Elise Kobylanski at BCMSA’s Regular General Meeting on March 11, 2016.
Get out of the passenger seat!
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.
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/.
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
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.
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 changed June 1, 2015. There are 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).
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 Helga Hildebrandt (email@example.com) with the following information:
- Name and contact information for your SDS Administrator
- Assessable payroll (most recent year available)