Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Improving worker health and safety in British Columbia’s aggregate industry has served as the driving force behind the release of a new guidebook.

The availability of “Health & Safety: A Practical Guide for Aggregate Operations” follows the death of four workers in 2007 in the aggregates industry. The accidents primarily involved gravel truck operators and quarry operations.

The book is organized into 11 sections detailing all phases of mine planning and operations, including emergency response, occupational health, mobile equipment, site preparation, mine planning, buildings and fixed equipment, extraction, explosives, processing, stockpiling and product transport.

The Aggregate Producers Association of British Columbia welcomes the opportunity to work with the mines ministry to ensure that every worker has a safe work environment. The guidebook is viewed as “a good start to raising the profile of safety and safe operating practices for aggregate operations.

As part of the prevention strategy, the ministry has issued a directive to the aggregates sector to ensure that all new workers receive appropriate orientation and training. In addition, an operational skills program in which new hires and experienced workers are identified by decals affixed to hard hats is also currently being used by some employers.

New employees work under the direction and supervision of experienced workers until they are competent to work without direction.

My opinion

In Ontario, we have many different sectors for the ACT. Below is a list of a few of the more important sectors;

1) Industrial Establishments — Regulation 851/90;
2) Healthcare and Residential Facilities — Regulation 67/93;
3) Construction Projects — Regulation 213/91; and
4) Mines and Mining Plants — Regulation 854/90.

There are others concerning the designated substance regulations as well as WHMIS and others but we will discuss only number 4, which involves the mining sector.

The same story applies in B.C. as it does in Ontario and Quebec, legislative changes concerning safety in the workplace are usually driven by deaths in the workplace.

It seems that the day-to-day operations of the aggregate operations needed to be updated and that proper training and orientation of new employees was needed to be spelled out. My concern is that older employees should have refresher training as well to be kept to the current standard if changes happen in this sector. To me, this is mandatory when training is developed. Never forget the regular or more experienced operator. Refresher training is almost as important as the new employee orientation.

In Ontario, all training must meet certain standards so that new and old operators are competent under the law.

The three aspects of competency is as follows;

1) The worker is competent because of knowledge, training and experiencing to do the work.
2) The worker must know the ACT and the appropriate regulations
3) Must know the hazards associated with whatever training has been given.

Please, wherever you work, incorporate all safe application in your workplace, follow all current legislation in your area, and strive to update current local legislation to better protect your workers.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRSGroup Inc.

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