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Starting now, until December 31, WorkSafeBC Prevention Officers will be conducting an inspection initiative focused on preventing workers from unsafe exposure to ammonia. Their focus is on recreational facilities such as skating or hockey arenas and curling rinks, where ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant.
Exposure to ammonia can irritate or burn the skin and mucous membranes, or cause freezing injuries. Inhalation may result in respiratory distress, unconsciousness, or death. In high concentrations, ammonia is a fire and explosion hazard.
Workers most at risk are those working on the refrigeration system, including refrigeration operators and maintenance contractors. Others in the vicinity may also be at risk in the event of an emergency.
The objectives of this inspection initiative are to ensure:
- Workplaces have exposure control plans relating to ammonia, including written work procedures for the safe handling of toxic process gas.
- Workplaces have procedures for emergency response and rescue plans, including the safe evacuation of workers, and in some cases the public, in the event of exposure.
Part 6 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, sections 6.116 to 6.132 outline the requirements specific to toxic process gases including ammonia. Part 5 of the OHS Regulation outlines general requirements for all chemical and biological agents.
The following sections in particular relate to ammonia risks:
- Section 6.118 on risk assessment
- Section 6.119 on exposure control plan
- Section 6.127 on appropriate personal protective equipment, including the requirement to provide emergency escape respirators and for workers to wear the appropriate type of respirators when performing hazardous work
- Sections 5.48 to 5.59 on controlling exposure, including the requirements for an exposure control plan under section 5.54
WorkSafeBC have developed a new document entitled Employer Information for Ice Rinks and Recreational Facilities to go along with the Ammonia in Refrigeration Systems booklet that is currently being revised. They expect the new Ammonia in Refrigeration Systems booklet to be finalized in December, 2017.
WorkSafeBC has provided the following documents that are available to help employers understand their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation:
WorkSafeBC’s senior management team will be travelling the province in July to talk with employers about insurance rates for the coming year.
During these sessions, the organization will provide an overview of WorkSafeBC’s preliminary rates for 2018, outline injury trends in British Columbia, and advise employers on what they can do to reduce injuries, as well as their claim costs and insurance rates.
WorkSafeBC’s health and safety team will also be on hand to answer questions about injury prevention, and provide resources to help employers protect their workers.
The two-hour sessions are being held in Richmond, Nanaimo, Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, Langley, Fort St. John, Terrace, and Nelson.
For more information, and to reserve a seat at one of the sessions:
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/160429/160429.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/prrd/160429/160429.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/prrd/151211/151211.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/151215/151215.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/150617/150617.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/Enews/PRD/150820/150820.htm
Bill 9 received Royal Assent on May 14 and contains a number of changes to Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act (the Act). The changes are designed to improve workplace health and safety and strengthen the tools WorkSafeBC can use to enforce the Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
WorkSafeBC.com has been updated with information and tools including:
- Questions and Answers on Changes to the Workers Compensation Act
- Employer Incident Investigations Overview
Also posted are three high level summaries that provide an introduction and overview of the changes to the Workers Compensation Act:
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/150203/150203.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/i/posters/2014/ws14_14.html
Board of Directors approves amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety High Risk Policy (D12-196-2)
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/141127/141127.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/140929 /140929.htm
Distracted driving caused by the use of electronic devices continues to be a leading cause of MVA’s in BC. Workers who drive fleet vehicles or drive their own vehicles for work purposes, are at risk to become victims, or to be distracted drivers themselves.
WorkSafeBC has created a new safety video – “Prevent Distracted Driving on the Job” that addresses this issue and provides four ways employers can keep their workers safe.
The video is available to stream and download at: http://www2.worksafebc.com/Publications/Multimedia/Videos.asp?ReportID=35133&_ga=1.65051054.1033433124.1395079526
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/140603/140603.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/ppa/140516/140516.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/PRD/140429/140429.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/140327/140327.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/140310/140310.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/140131/140131.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/nis/140116/140116.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/131119/131119.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/131120/131120.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130801/130801.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130528/130528.htm
Consultation on Proposed Deletion of Policy R20.26-1 Regarding Inspections of Concrete Formwork and Falsework
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130527/130527.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130424b/130424b.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130430/130430.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130424/130424.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/130417/130417.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/PRD/121126/121126.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/121120/121120.htm
Read it online at http://trk.cp20.com/Tracking/t.c?XAgX-eKvB-Be20U9
During the first half of 2012, WorkSafeBC has issued 160 orders to firms in the Local Government and Related Classification Unit. 18 of these were Compliance orders – the follow-up orders to Inspection orders, requiring the employer to comply and respond within a certain time frame.
In the second quarter of 2012, five violations were noted in “high hazard” Regulations. These are the orders that will likely result in penalties against the employer, and if the employer is COR-certified, could result in loss of incentive rebate for this year.Quaterly Report - Regulations Cited in IRs - CU753004- 2012-Q2
Read it online or get a printable version at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/prd/120723/120723.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/rap/120323/120323.htm
Read it online at http://www2.worksafebc.com/enews/120425/120425.htm
Prepared by the E-Business Unit of WorkSafeBC
(the Workers' Compensation Board of BC)