Blog Post #1018 – WorkSafeBC Targets High-Risk Sectors

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

WorkSafeBC’s high-risk strategy for 2019 will focus on construction, forestry and manufacturing.

In a statement issued on March 7, 2019 the safety Board says its high-risk strategies target the four industry sectors of construction, forestry, healthcare and manufacturing where there is a high risk of serious injury and a significant contribution to the serious-injury rate.

For the construction industry, WorkSafeBC will step up enforcement efforts on fall-protection-system anchors used to the residential wood-frame construction industry. “There are too many falls from roofs and scaffolds, so we are increasing our efforts on those employers in framing a residential forming and steep slope roofing,” says Dan Strand, Dir. of prevention field services with WorkSafeBC in Richmond, British Columbia.

Work-site inspections will also focus on the OH&S responsibilities of prime contractors to ensure the that they have established and maintained a system that comply with fall-protection regulatory requirements. The board will also work with stakeholders to encourage communication and proactive response to evolving emerging risks. What we are trying to do here is make construction sites safer and reduce the number of injuries,” Strand says.

For the forestry sector, additional focus will be placed on phase congestion – an industry-wide problem that has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities. Forestry operators often carry out multiple harvesting faces within a single operating area were many contractors work at the same time. Without proper planning, these areas can become overcrowded and lead to unsafe conditions. “Poor planning and scheduling, as well as inadequate communication among workers, employers and contractors, are often contributing factors in these incidents,” Strand says.

Through inspections of forestry operations, officers will ensure that employers understand the risks associated with phase congestion. To help identify those risks, officers have developed a questionnaire, which WorkSafeBC will make available to employers, for use during inspections.

Slips, trips and falls will be the focus for the manufacturing sector were slippery surfaces are a key cause of injuries. ” Contributing factors to injuries are often seasonal, such as slippery surfaces after rain or snow or are indirectly related to the manufacturing process,” Strand says. “We are tackling complacency around these avoidable incidents by educating employers and workers through inspections and providing effective resources.”

Those efforts will be reinforced in 2019 with the development of an employer resource and two marketing campaigns to address slips, trips and falls and winter -related risk, the statement adds.

My opinion

The Ontario government has been doing the same things to ensure a safer workplace through periodic workplace blitzes (eg. ladder safety in the Industrial sector) and have been pretty good at it.

I am sorry to hear that there is an upward trend in the quantity of incidents and accidents in the BC workplace. WorkSafeBC has a great reputation and will get to the bottom of the issue, I believe, very quickly. They have always been known as a proactive-type association. This is a great first step.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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