Resource Road User Safety Guide
Effective Safeguarding Starts With Risk Assessment
Hard Metal Hazard
Resource Road User Safety Guide
A driving guide aimed at helping drivers understand how to drive and communicate on resource roads.
The BC Forest Safety Council has updated the Resource Road User Safety Guide that is intended for recreational users or industrial traffic unfamiliar with traveling on resource roads (e.g. delivery vehicles, mining, land surveying, etc.). This guide lets readers know what to expect on resource roads and some things travelers should do to ensure a safe trip. It provides driving guidelines aimed at helping drivers understand how to drive and communicate on resource roads.
Please note this guide provides basic information for travelers on BC resource roads. It does not contain maps or area specific information such as radio frequencies or road closures. It should not be considered a replacement for proper trip planning, effective training programs or pre-trip safety briefings.
Click here for this handy pamphlet in PDF.
Article courtesy of BC Forest Safety Council.
Effective Safeguarding Starts With Risk Assessment
Frequent review of safety practices is important, especially in manufacturing where more than one-third of injuries are related to lack of, or improper, safeguarding and lockout.
In the recent issue of WorkSafeBC Magazine, Occupational Safety Officer Mike Tasker noted the importance of safeguarding in lumber manufacturing. And often during inspections there are conversations between sawmill management and Mike that gravitate to whether or not existing safeguards in the operation are adequate. What follows are some frequents questions and answers.
Q. We don’t have problems with safeguarding. Why should we review our procedures?
A. Frequent review of safety practices is important, especially in manufacturing where more than one-third of injuries are related to lack of, or improper, safeguarding and lockout. The question to ask is, do you just keep guarding things the way you always have out of habit, or are you basing your safeguarding procedures on a recent risk assessment? Many mills seem to rely on safeguarding techniques that other industries don’t use anymore. For example, mills often restrict worker access to a hazardous area by installing a handrail; in some circumstances this is adequate, in others a greater level of protection may be required. It’s worth asking whether workers even need access to the area. Very often they don’t. In that case, the better safety barrier — one commonly used in other industries — is a six-foot fence. By safeguarding appropriately, and to the level of risk, you eliminate significant opportunity for human error.
Q. How can we improve our risk assessment?
A. You should look at the hazard points first, rather than just assessing your guards. Recently, we helped one employer with a risk assessment and found 30 to 40 points that needed guarding — points the employer just didn’t see. The employer had been so focused on the existing guards that other hazards were overlooked. You also need to understand the root cause of hazards. Machines often get jammed in mills, for example. While effective safeguarding procedures are a must, it’s important to also explore the cause of the jams. If you figure that out, you might be able to eliminate the hazard.
Q. What safeguarding technology is available?
A. Light curtains, which use photoelectric sensors, are very effective when workers must frequently access a guarded area and physical barriers would be an impediment. You can also consider safety laser scanners to guard large areas. Both technologies use light to detect motion, shutting down equipment when there’s movement. A couple of B.C. firms are in a pilot project using kinetic energy. They’re testing motion detectors that won’t allow safeguards to open until all motion stops. We recently had an incident where a worker was pulled into a log canter while cleaning the machine after using an improper lockout procedure; the worker was seriously injured and could have been killed. An electronic safety device, and costing less than $1,000, used to detect the kinetic energy, could have prevented the incident.
Q. How can investing in safeguarding help our bottom line?
A. Without effective safeguarding, you’re going to pay through injury costs, more down time, and higher assessments. When you protect your employees, you protect your business. Updating equipment or investing in new technology not only enhances safety but can also increase productivity by making operators more confident and faster in their work. As an employer, one of the most cost-efficient steps you can take is to ensure workers are properly trained in safeguarding and lockout procedures. The time it takes to put safety precautions in place is far less than the time it takes to deal with an accident.
Q. Aren’t safeguarding and lockout the same thing?
A. No. Safeguarding is a general term for measures put on a machine to protect workers when the machinery or equipment is operating. Lockout is a procedure to protect your workers once safeguarding is removed, during maintenance or other necessary procedures. Both safety measures must be provided.
Q. Where can we get more information on safeguarding?
A. Our spring campaign, “Attaching a Finger Isn’t as Easy,” gets underway mid-March. We have practical tips and helpful online resources for you to use in your shop. Resources include:
Visit worksafebc.com/safeguarding for more information and resources. Looking for answers to your specific health and safety questions? Send them to us at email@example.com.
Mike Tasker work is the Prince George region of BC and has been a WorkSafeBC Occupational Safety Officer for 17 years.
This article is courtesy of WorkSafeBC Magazine - Mar/Apr 2016 Edition.
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Hard Metal Hazard
Serious exposures to cobalt may come from grinding carbide, wet or dry, and from welding stellite. The most serious exposures to chromium come from knife grinding.
Most saw filers know that cadmium or lead can be hazardous to their health. In most instances they have switched to solders and babbitts that are free of these metals. What filers often don’t know is that the hard metals (tungsten and stellite) they are now using also contain hazardous materials that may be released when they are ground or welded.
In fact, a B.C. saw filer who ground tungsten carbide tips became totally disabled over a number of years because of lung damage. He died at the age of 50. An autopsy indicated his cause of death as hard metal lung disease caused by exposure to cobalt from grinding carbide.
UBC Saw Filer Study Pinpoints Hazards
A study of eight coastal sawmills by the UBC Department of Health Care and Epidemiology provides important information to saw filers who work with hardened metals.
For the study, air samples and grinder coolants were tested for the presence of airborne metals. The effectiveness of local exhaust systems was also tested. During the study the health of more than 100 sawfilers was examined. The study found that some saw filers, particularly those grinding carbide or welding stellite, showed varying signs of reduced lung function. Metals that pose the greatest hazard are cobalt and chromium.
Serious exposures to cobalt may come from grinding carbide, wet or dry, and from welding stellite. The most serious exposures to chromium come from knife grinding. Stellite welding and stellite grinding can also expose workers to unhealthy levels of chromium.
What You Can Do
Discuss and review your operation’s exposure levels and prevention methods with your management and your joint health and safety committee or worker health and safety representative.
For more information on the potential hazards related to hard metal exposures, or to obtain a copy of the UBC study, contact a WCB occupational hygiene officer for information on monitoring hard metal exposures and providing effective mechanical ventilation. Call 604 276-3100 or toll-free 1 888 621-SAFE (7233).
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SAFER Council's mission is to assist workers and employers in the BC Forest Industry to improve accident prevention and create a healthy environment, both on and off the job. To reach this safety goal, SAFER has taken a leadership role in the development of safety training sessions for workers.
It is pretty clear to someone just hearing about SAFER that safety is the chief concern of this organization. The name, SAFER, stands for Safety Advisory Foundation for Education and Research.
SAFER was created through broad negotiations between the IWA Canada (now United Steelworkers) and FIR on the coast and the IFLRA in the southern interior for the 1988-1991 master collective agreements in both regions.
SAFER continues to be jointly managed by USW, FIR, and the IFLRA where the industry and the union enjoy equal representation.
Under the leadership of two Co-Chairs selected from the union and industry ranks, the SAFER Council coordinates its safety activities and initiatives under the guideance of eight safety advocate board members and four trustees.
SAFER will celebrate 25 years of creating healthy environments and improving accident prevention for workers and their families in early January 2013.
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