On-Track Safety Solutions

Alberta Proposed WCB Changes 2017

Several changes have happened in Alberta in the past two years, and another change to safety is coming in what is being called a major overhaul of the current WCB program.  This includes the change that workers will be given the right to refuse unsafe work without loss of pay as some believe that the system has been tipped in the employer’s favour for too long.

 

Other changes listed from an article from CBC news in Bill 30 include:

  • An end to the $98,700 cap on insurable earnings for workers compensation benefits. That means people who earn more than that amount would receive benefits based on their current income.
  • Workers would still get paid even if a stop work order is imposed on their worksite. The government hopes this would encourage more people to report unsafe conditions.
  • Employers and supervisors would be required to take measures to prevent harassment and violence in the workplace. Workers would be prohibited from engaging in harassing, bullying or violent behaviour.
  • Spouses of workers killed on the job would be treated equally. All would receive benefits for five years. Spouses with children would receive benefits until the youngest child is 18, or 25, if that child is in college or university.
  • The government would create an independent Fair Practices Office to guide injured workers through the WCB system and provide support.
  • Larger workplaces, those with 20 or more workers, would have to create a joint work health and safety committee. Sites with five to 19 workers would need to designate a health and safety representative. These provisions apply to projects lasting 90 days or more. Alberta would be the last province to make these committees mandatory
  • Workplaces would have to report “near-miss’ incidents that could have killed or seriously injured someone.

Links to find out more about the changes that could be coming:

Opt Out of the ACSA Peer Auditing Process – EDITED

NOTE: As of May 4, 2017, ACSA has decided to remove this program.

Did you know that it is possible to opt out of the peer auditing process with ACSA and use and external consultant auditor for both internal and external audits?  As of January 1, 2015, changes to the SECOR and COR programs through the ACSA stated that a company would no longer be required to staff a full-time employee to complete yearly maintenance audits. This information was published in the ACSA Advisor magazine back in Winter 2014, volume 26, issue 4.   Continue reading “Opt Out of the ACSA Peer Auditing Process – EDITED” »

Safety Program – Build In-house or Buy

If your company has decided to implement, revise, or update a safety system, you are frequently faced with whether it should be created in-house, or by a third party safety consulting company. With this decision a business owners need to look at its organizational and decide if building an in-house system would be better than what’s available in the market.

Building a complete and effective health and safety program for your company can be a complex process. Some key things your company should evaluate when to build vs. buy are; time, price, long-run support, and trial and error.  We look at these a little more in depth below:

  • Time, Price and Resources – What is the timeline that you need a safety program completed in for your company. Building a health and safety program from scratch is a time-consuming You need to ask yourself if you have the manpower and knowledge within the organization to complete a full health and safety program within the allotted time.
  • Will an in-house program grow with your organization and support you in the long run? When an organization grows, it’s important that the safety system grows with it. Even though the program might work well for you today, will it fit your business after future growth? If your company is moving from a SECOR to a COR or switching certifying partners, does your company understand how to make this transition smoothly.
  • Trial and Error – When creating your health and safety program it may be hard to define what works compared to what works well. This trial and error period could take months of trying different techniques to find what fits your company, which in turn means more money out of your pocket. An in-house system may not adhere to legislative requirements and can quickly become a burdensome task. By analyzing your company’s needs, a third party vendor will be able to provide you with a program that’s built solely around your needs and wants. If you are not confident in performing safety analysis on tasks, hazards and controls it if often best to consult with a third party safety consulting company.

If your company does not have the adequate support or knowledge to bring an effective health and safety program to life, On-Track Safety Solutions can help you from start to finish with this problem. Call our office at 800-440-6650 or email at info@on-tracksafety.com for more information on safety program development and safety program implementation.

How to Create a Formal Hazard Assessment

There are two levels of hazard assessment:

  • Formal hazard assessment
  • Field-level hazard assessment

Formal Hazard Assessment are the foundation of safety program and involve:

  • identification of all jobs and tasks performed by employees,
  • assessment of each task for hazards,
  • prioritization of the hazards based on the level of risk,
  • implementation of controls for the identified hazards

 

Steps for Conducting a Formal Hazard Assessment

  1. Create an inventory of jobs and tasks – The first step of formal hazard assessment is to create a list of all jobs within the scope of your companies business, and record the number of workers that perform each job. Then, list all the tasks performed as part of each job identified.

 

  1. Identify and assess hazards – Each task needs to be assessed to determine the potential hazards and associated risk.  Workers who perform the tasks should be involved in this process to ensure nothing is overlooked. After the hazards are identified, calculate their risk ratings by asking the following questions:
  • What are the consequences if the hazards are not controlled?
  • What is the probability of an incident occurring?
  • What is the frequency of exposure to the hazard?

 

  1. Prioritize hazards- Using the information created so far, determine the overall risk rating for each task, and rank the tasks in order of priority, based on the level of risk.  Sort the tasks from high risk to low risk, and this will give you a critical task list.

 

  1. Determine controls- Address identified hazards by assigning methods of control to eliminate or reduce the hazard. Elimination, engineering, administrative, PPE or a combination of controls can be used for each identified hazard.

 

  1. Review hazard assessments- Formal hazard assessments should be dated and subject to a regular review schedule to prevent the development of conditions that may put workers at risk. These reviews should take place annually (at a minimum), or anytime a new process is introduced, a change is made to the operation, or a significant addition or alteration is made to a work site.

On-Track Safety can help your company with the creation of a formal hazard assessment that will meet government and partnership requirements.  Call our office at 800-440-6650 for more information.

References:

 

Important Information for ACSA Members

ACSA associate member changes 2015

On March 4th, 2015 ACSA posted an update on their website for all associate members in regards to renewals on their account.  The statement posted by ACSA is as follows:

To further assist our members and clients, ACSA has changed its process for Associate Membership renewals. ACSA will no longer be sending out renewal reminders including invoices to renew Associate Membership. Companies who are seeking services from the ACSA (ie: Training, COR/SECOR) and their Associate Membership has expired will need to purchase an Associate Membership before any services will be provided. If you have any further questions, please contact client services within regular business hours 1-800-661-2272.

Enform SECOR Changes

enform SECOR changes 2015

Enform has launched a new protocol for SECOR submissions this year. Changes include new supporting forms with the submission; a requirement for written notes by the Assessor for the audit questions; the ability to upload/submit the SECOR online to Enform for review; and the necessity to complete the audit by electronic means. For more information regarding these changes, please contact our On-Track Safety office at 1-800-440-6650 or visit the Enform website http://www.enform.ca/safety_audits_certification/secor-protocol.aspx

Alberta FarmSafe Plan

alberta-farm-safeMembers of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s farm safety team have been working with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) to develop the Alberta FarmSafe Plan. The plan is a resource to help farmers develop health and safety systems specific to their individual operations.

The idea behind this program, and what makes it different from other health and safety planning tools, is that it will be adaptable and easily applied to all sectors of the agriculture industry.

In addition to creating a safer work environment, the Alberta FarmSafe Plan complies with criteria for the Alberta Partnerships in Injury Prevention Certificate of Recognition (COR). A completed FarmSafe Plan will provide farmers with all the necessary criteria to obtain their COR if they so choose. With their COR farmers are eligible for rebates through the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta. The manual is expected to be available for Alberta farmers later this spring.

Anyone interested in participating in the second phase Alberta FarmSafe Plan pilot can visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca/farmsafety

WHMIS 2015 – What you need to know

whmis-2015

The WHMIS system is being updated to match with the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals. Countries are moving towards an international standard to create a worldwide system for labeling and chemical classification.

Changes to the federal WHMIS legislation include:

  • “Controlled Products” will be called “Hazardous Products”
  • Different hazard classes and more of them.
  • Different classification criteria
  • New supplier labels
  • New pictograms
  • New 16-section product safety data sheets (SDSs)
  • No requirement to update SDSs every three years

 

Old vs. New Label Content

WHMIS 1988 WHMIS 2015
Product Identifier Product Identifier
Supplier Identifier Supplier Identifier
Pictogram Pictogram
Risk Phrases Hazard Statement
N/A Signal Word
Precautionary Measures Precautionary Statements
First Aid Statement Part of Precautionary Statement
Hatched Border No

 

Links for more information:

Staying Healthy at Work

With the start of a New Year there are often new years’ resolutions that accompany. The most common resolution for many people is a commitment to achieve a healthier and more active lifestyle. However, there is always the struggle on how to incorporate this into the workplace.

Simple changes about how you move around your worksite can have a great impact. Some suggestions would be:

  • Walking over to a co-worker to talk instead of sending an email
  • Taking the stairs
  • Parking your vehicle in the furthest corner of the parking lot
  • Hold your safety meetings with everyone standing
  • When you are filling out documentation at the worksite- stand instead of sit
  • In an office setting- utilize an exercise ball for a chair
  • When taking a break, take a quick walk around the building or worksite

For those that work in urban areas, it is often convenient to eat out or grab something for lunch. Consciously making a lunch at home to bring can encourage you to select items that follow the Canada Food Guide and eliminate impulse purchases that may not offer healthy selections. Also consider walking instead of driving to an establishment for your break- depending on the distance, it will often take less time than manoeuvering through traffic.

As part of a commitment to live a healthier and more active lifestyle, ensure that you are taking adequate breaks from your workstation. Regular stretching can go a long way to help eliminate muscle tension and muscoskeletical injuries. For those that spend long hours driving or in equipment- ensure that you take appropriate breaks to get out and move about.

Ultimately the most important way to stay healthy at work is to know yourself and your limitations. Know when you need to take a break, whether it be a vacation to “recharge your batteries” or a micro-break.

2015 ACSA COR Audit Changes

cor logo

Effective January 1, 2015 a new standard for the COR training requirements will come into effect. Changes to the training requirements and audit requirements are coming into place. Companies in the COR program will still be required to have the training held by a full-time employee of the company. BUT, a certified auditor will no longer be required for a company if the company wishes to opt out of the peer process.  The auditor on staff for the company will no longer be required to do yearly audits to maintain their status.

This means that any employee taking the auditor training for the company will need to take the three day Auditor Training Program course, BUT will no longer be required to complete a qualification audit or complete yearly maintenance audits. So now all of your audit requirements can be completed by On-Track Safety, and do not have to be done internally to retain COR certification.  Call the On-Track Safety Office at 403-986-3811 for more information on this new 2015 ACSA COR audit process.

Take a look at ACSA’s Winter 2014 Advisor Magazine for more information – http://www.acsa-safety.org/advisor.php

A Word From The Owner

At On-Track Safety Solutions Ltd. we are committed to a safe and healthy workplace for everyone – our employees, customers, and subcontractors. Our success is directly related to our dedication to safety and quality.

We continually train our workforce to ensure safe and successful projects. We take pride in the fact that our zero injury goal continues to be met, providing our customers with confidence in our safety and services.

Diana Rude
President/Owner
On-Track Safety Solutions Ltd.

Call Now: (800) 440-6650
(403) 986-3811

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