How to Report a Workplace Injury or Disease

How to Report a Workplace Injury or Disease to WorkSafeBC

Before a person experiences an injury or illness at work, the employer must already be aware of how to report this kind of incident. Having pre-existing knowledge of the claims process will lessen the stress on everyone should such problems arise. Knowing how to report a workplace injury or disease can make the working environment safer for everyone.

Image Source: Flickr

  • Workers can call Teleclaim at 1-888-WORKERS(1.888.967.5377)
  • Employers must submit a report to WorkSafeBC
  • Health care providers must also present a provider-specific report to WorskSafeBC

What to report
Contact WorkSafeBC right away when a worker:

  • Leaves the workplace in order to receive treatment in a medical facility
  • Is absent the day after getting injured
  • Goes unconscious
  • Is diagnosed with a work-related illness
  • Shows symptoms of a mental health sickness that is probably caused by the nature of work or the workplace itself
  • Has broken eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aid, or artificial limbs because of circumstances at work.

In the event of grievous incidents, employers should urgently inform WorkSafeBC.

The claims process
Help speed up a worker’s recovery after being injured at or because of work by allowing them to do altered tasks at home. Medical studies prove that working is one of the most relevant factors in staying healthy.

Here are the steps workers can follow for most of the basic claims:

  1. File a claim

A filed report involving a work-related disease or injury requires supplementing information gathered from the worker, employer, and health care provider. It takes approximately 10 days for a decision to be made on whether a claim is approved or not. Other claims will require more time.

  1. Start receiving the benefits

The worker will be informed of the benefits and services that they should expect to receive once their claim is accepted. These things can help them recuperate so they can eventually go back to work.  Wage-loss payments are given to a worker who cannot work nor engage in altered tasks.

  1. Manage the claim

WorkSafeBC offers online tools that simplify the ways a worker can manage a claim. All information they might need regarding their claim can be found in their online account.

  1. Resume doing your usual work

The worker’s desire to go back to their previous tasks is also encouraged by WorkSafeBC. The aid offered is designed to strengthen the link between recovery and work.

A worker must communicate with their health care provider and with WorkSafeBC if their situation doesn’t improve or if they are worried about missing more time from work.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

Avoiding the Hazards of Lasers in a Workplace

Avoiding the Hazards of Lasers in a Workplace

Lasers are an apparatus typically used in certain workplaces which can instantly cause harm and injure your workers. Below, you’ll find the risks that come with operating this device and controls that can help limit the hazards of lasers for workers.

close up of the power of lasers in workplace for hazards of lasers article

Image Source: Flickr

How workers are exposed
Lasers are becoming a more typical addition to equipment at some workplaces. Some workers are exposed just by supervising a laser device, and some just by being in an area where a laser is being used. It can reflect in unexpected ways on some surfaces that may cause the beam to strike at workers that are nearby.

The risks
Laser light emitted into a worker’s eyes is dangerous. A low-powered laser can make a worker blink to protect their eyes which can cause a distraction and result in injury. More powerful lasers such as CO2 lasers can seriously damage the eyes even before triggering a blink response.

Other injuries such as thermal burns can also be caused by lasers to a varying degree which depends on the power of the laser.

How to reduce the risks
Working with lasers requires training. A worker must be knowledgeable about the classifications of lasers and how they work, personal protective equipment to use, and safety measures needed in case of emergencies.  A workplace with a Class 3B or Class 4 laser requires a laser safety program and the presence of a trained laser safety officer.

There are different controls that can limit the hazardous effects of lasers. The most effective will be to fully eliminate the source of the hazard, but if that’s not possible, there are other ways. Below, you’ll find the different kinds of controls arranged in order of effectiveness.

Elimination or substitution
Eliminate the source of hazard by replacing a safer process or equipment. Can a less hazardous method of cutting be utilized instead of using a laser?

Engineering controls
Physical alterations to the facility, machinery, and processes can lessen a worker’s exposure from the hazard. Can work methods get automated so that workers don’t have to get exposed to laser light? Can workers be shielded from laser light by installing barriers or enclosures?

Administrative controls
Administrative controls include changes to rules and regulations at work, distribution of awareness materials, and training workers. Is there an established exposure control plan that workers know about? Do you have a laser safety officer? Are there warning signs posted in areas where lasers are used?

Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Because this is the least effective control, one of the previous controls should be used together with PPE.  It is imperative that workers are always wearing proper PPE and that it is well maintained.

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

Why Sun & UV Radiation Safety is Important

Why Having Sun & UV Radiation Safety Procedures is Important

The most common source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the sun, however, harmful levels can also come from other sources. Excessive exposure to UV rays can be very harmful which is why people exposed to UV rays as part of their job should use caution to avoid its bad effects.

close up of the sun and its uv rays

Image Source: Flickr

How Workers are Exposed
Examples of jobs with workers getting exposed to UV rays include:

Outdoors

  • Farming
  • Construction
  • Gardening
  • Paving

Indoors

  • UV water filtration maintenance
  • Tanning salon
  • Welding
  • Foundry
  • Healthcare

The Dangers to Workers
Everyone responds differently to UV radiation and what may be a mild reaction to short-term exposure for some can develop into a more adverse reaction to others.

Effects of Short-Term Exposure

  • Suntan
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation

Effects of Long-Term Exposure

  • Skin cancer
  • Severe burns
  • Blindness

People under the following conditions are more at risk of getting skin cancer:

  • Light-coloured skin, eyes, and hair
  • Exposure to the sun for long periods of time
  • Had a number of blistering sunburns during childhood
  • Taking medication that renders them sensitive to UV light

How to Reduce the Risks
When the outdoor UV index level is high, you should avoid working outside or at least try to decrease the amount of time you are exposed to the sun.

It is best to use UV protection even if it’s cloudy, hazy, or foggy weather because even during this weather, harmful UV rays are not being blocked from getting to you.

Elimination or Substitution
Fully eliminating the hazard using a different process or equipment is the most efficient control to implement.  Consider asking:

  • Can workers stay away from types of machinery that generate UV light?
  • Can workers avoid getting exposed to UV by eliminating a certain process?

Engineering Controls
Modifications that can be done to facilities, machinery, and processes are all considered engineering controls. Exposure can be limited by asking questions like:

  • Are damaged UV-emitting types of machinery quickly fixed?
  • Can guards and shields be installed?
  • Can shelters or enclosures be installed in workstations?

Administrative Controls
Changing policies, training workers, and making awareness tools more available can help to limit the risk of overexposure to UV rays. Also, workers can be asked to do indoor tasks when UV ratings are high, or at least have their exposure time limited.

Personal Protective Equipment
Because this is the least effective among the control methods, it should be paired with at least one of the other controls. Workers should wear proper personal protective equipment to shield and guard them against excessive UV exposure.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

How to Conduct a Risk Assessment

How to Do a Proper Risk Assessment

Conducting a systematic risk assessment reveals the hazards in a work environment. As an employer, it can help you determine if you have done enough in implementing safety measures to protect your workers.

Risk assessment on paper

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When to do a risk assessment
Risk assessments are an organized method of evaluating risks in a workplace and ensuring preventive measures are taken in order to protect your workers. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation states risk assessment requirements for companies in B.C.

For small organizations, you can choose to carry out the risk assessment yourself as long as you’re certain that it will be done properly. However, for larger organizations, you might want to involve a health and safety representative to ensure that the assessment is correctly performed.

The risk assessment must be done for each of your work locations, as hazards may vary from place to place.

Regularly review the completed risk assessment to ensure its efficiency, especially when introducing new elements in the work process. Update risk assessments at least once a year.

 

Decide who might be harmed and how
The best way to control the risk is to identify which group of people might be harmed.

Consider the following:

  • According to the OHS regulation, there are different requirements for certain groups such as new, temporary or isolated workers.
  • Ensure that training and other information is also given to people who are often absent in the workplace (such as maintenance and field workers).
  • Consider how people outside your workforce can be affected by hazards in your work environment.

 

Determine the level of risk
Another factor in risk assessment is determining the degree of hazard that workers are exposed to. Rating the risks as high, medium or low can help you figure out which risks should be more urgently attended to.

 

Record your findings
Record the accumulated data from the risk assessment in order to effectively control the risks in the work environment. It doesn’t need to be a complex report. Just make sure that it includes the hazards, list of groups who might be harmed, and measures taken to contain the risks.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

7 Tips for Identifying Work Hazards

7 Important Tips for Identifying Work Hazards

Correctly recognizing and identifying work hazards is the first step in ensuring the safety of workers. Look for anything (object or process) that might threaten your workers on site.

water level sign identifying work hazards

Image Source: Flickr

Begin identifying hazards by doing a workplace inspection. Roam around the workplace:

  • Examine how each task is executed
  • Evaluate equipment and how it is used
  • Analyze the arrangement of work areas and how any of the processes or materials used can possibly pose a threat to your workers’ health

 

Generally, hazards may emerge from the following:

  • Work area
  • Machinery and materials used
  • Work assignments and how they are done
  • Work layout and supervision

 

If you’re used to working in a certain environment, you might not see potential hazards.  To identify these hazards, here are some tips to help you out:

  1. For machinery and materials (especially those that are hazardous), always check manufacturer instructions and safety data sheets. Also, consider the effects of long-term exposure.
  2. Check commonplace tasks like maintenance, cleaning, or shifting production schedule.
  3. Study incident reports including complaints and worker health records to recognize unnoticed hazards. Reviewing previous incidents may reveal a certain pattern that can aid you in recognizing any systemic hazard.
  4. Keep communications open with workers and ask them about any observed health and safety concerns. Probe anonymously, using open-ended questions. You can even acknowledge workers who are able to recognize hazards early as it ultimately helps your business.
  5. Monitor industry organizations, manufacturers, and government laws regarding industry safety standards and information on hazards and risks related to your industry.
  6. Check out resources for information on prevalent hazards in different industries, including those that are caused by tools and machinery.
  7. Once hazards are identified, assessment and control of the risks will follow.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

5 Steps to Due Diligence and Workplace Safety

Due diligence involves doing all reasonable steps in ensuring that a worker is kept from harm. “All reasonable steps” pertains to the degree of care a person is anticipated to do during an incident. Taking all measures to ensure that workers’ health and safety are prioritized makes an organization duly diligent.

workplace that requires due diligence

Image Source: Flickr

To be duly diligent, an employer is required to:

  • Determine all hazards in the workplace
  • Carry out the needed risk controls
  • Openly communicate to involved personnel

5 Steps to be a duly diligent employer

  1. Be informed

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is your responsibility as an employer to know your legal, health, and safety obligations which can be found in The Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

  1. Be objective

Seek help from knowledgeable people in the workplace or from professionals in certain fields as you try to recognize any potential hazards.  Make sure you complete inspections and review previous occurrences and trends.

  1. Be proactive

Display due diligence by developing an effective health and safety program that ensures workers are trained in following rules and regulations dedicated to diminishing any hazard in the workplace. This program should contain best work practices, health and safety information, and other measures in compliance with the Regulations and internal policies.

  1. Be watchful

Regularly use self-evaluations in checking systems and processes. Constantly review health, safety, and best practices in the workplace and apply any changes in the Regulations and industry set standards.

  1. Be on record

Be able to provide proof of your health and safety program and how it is implemented in the workplace.  You should be able to include evidence of checking and reviewing all processes and practices to assure continuous monitoring. The Due Diligence Checklist can help you determine if you have the adequate documentation for an active health and safety program.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

How to Reduce Mould in the Workplace

How to Reduce Mould in the Workplace

Mould is known to grow quickly in any moist environment. And as it grows, it can release spores that are hazardous to human health, especially to people with asthma, allergies, and weak immune systems.

mold in the workplace

Image Source: Flickr

How workers are exposed

Mould is easily found everywhere because they only need water and a source of food to grow. Airborne mould spores in large quantities can pose a hazard to workers who inhale it. There are even certain types of mould that can produce mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can pose a greater threat to both human and animal health. Dark, humid, and steamy places are where moulds survive.

Commonly, they are found in bathrooms, kitchens, and poorly ventilated environments.

 

The risks

Most people don’t experience any health issues when exposed to moulds. However, workers with weak immune systems can be inflicted with severe illness or conditions such as allergic reactions or respiratory problems.

 

How to reduce the risks

Prevention is the best way to avoid moulds. Water leaks should be fixed right away and standing water should be mopped. The employer must inspect the workplace if workers start to complain about the air quality. If mould contamination is confirmed, then suitable action must be taken to remove it. A trained abatement team can safely take care of removing the mould. Then the source of water must be found to stop the mould from growing once more. Eliminating the source of exposure is the best form of risk control. The controls below are arranged in order of efficiency. Choose which one to apply by asking yourself the questions after each control.

 

Elimination or substitution

The most efficient control is to fully eliminate the source of hazard by substituting a safer method or material.

  • Can mould-proof building materials be used in areas prone to it?

 

Engineering controls

Physical alterations to the facility, machinery, and methods used can help lessen exposure.

  • Can mould exposure be monitored?
  • Can short-term enclosures be made for moldy materials?
  • Can air filters and enclosures be installed in mould removal work areas to prevent the spread of airborne spores?

 

Administrative controls

Changes to rules and regulations at work, distribution of awareness materials, and training in proper safe work practices are all part of administrative controls.

  • Is there a written exposure control plan for mould?
  • Are warning signs posted in mould removal work areas?
  • Are safe work practices posted in areas that can be seen by workers?

 

Personal protective equipment

Another control must be used together with personal protective equipment because this is the least effective among all controls.

  • Are workers doing mould cleanup wearing their proper personal protective equipment such as respirators, eyewear, and clothing?
  • Are respirators properly checked and in perfect working order?

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

Reduce the Risk of Hepatitis B and C at Work

Reduce the Risk of Hepatitis B and C at Work

A blood-borne disease such as hepatitis B and C can be passed on by being exposed to contaminated body fluids or by getting injured from sharp objects like needles and scalpels.

Workers in the medical industry are most vulnerable due to constant exposure. In the case of a needle-stick injury or a worker getting infected by getting contaminated blood in their eyes, nose, or mouth, the person must be checked in the emergency room within two hours of exposure.

 

hepatitis b and c at work

Image Source: Flickr

How to reduce the risks
An exposure control plan (ECP) should be established in case the workers are exposed to Hepatitis. The hazards of being exposed to Hepatitis and the controls needed to keep people safe depend on the type of work and workplace. Below you’ll see the different types of risk controls you can use, arranged in decreasing order of effectiveness.

 

Engineering controls
Making physical alterations can help reduce the risks of exposure. Ensure that safety engineered needles are being used, and sharps disposal equipment is accessible.

 

Administrative controls
Changes in rules and regulations at work, posting awareness materials, and training of workers are all included in administrative controls. Ensure that workers are informed about safety guidelines around picking up and eliminating used sharps.

 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Because this is the least effective among all control options, another control must be used in conjunction with this one. Ensure that workers use proper PPE every time they work.

 

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

Training Employees About Workplace Safety

3 Basic Steps of Training Employees About Workplace Safety

It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide proper instructions and safety training to workers.  This includes teaching them safety measures, going through the basics, and providing specific training for their particular assignments.

worksafe instructor training employees about workplace safety

Image Source: Flickr

The most efficient way to ensure safety and prevention of serious work-related injuries is to properly train and orient your employees on ideal work practices. To help you with this task, here are 3 basic steps to follow:

 

  1. Safety orientation and the basics

During new-hire orientation, it’s important to include safety training in the program. Aside from instilling safety practices that the new hires can use as they start their work, it’ll also show them how important safety is to the company.To make things easy, keep a checklist. You can use it as a record of the employee training and it can aid in creating a more straightforward and detailed orientation.
The topics you’ll cover in the orientation can vary but the following three should be included:

 

  • Rights and responsibilities

It’s everyone’s right to have a safe place to work but it is also everyone’s responsibility to maintain that safety. Knowing your rights and responsibilities is essential for every employee in the company.

 

  • Workplace hazards

It’s important for workers to be able to identify all hazards, no matter how obvious they seem, so that they can immediately report to their employer in case of hazardous conditions.

 

  • Safe work procedures

Workers must fully understand that they have to be careful when doing the tasks that require precise step-by-step safety procedures.

 

  1. Train workers for their specific tasks

Training under supervision is an important experience for newly hired workers. During this time, make sure that the workers are taught to adhere to the following:

  • Accomplish chores safely
  • Safe handling of equipment and machinery
  • Proper use and maintenance of personal protective equipment
  • Observe safe work procedures

 

 Here are examples of instructions you can follow:

  • Give a summary of tasks including safety guidelines
  • Show how a task is done while explaining each step
  • Monitor a worker’s progress and performance

 

  1. Provide supervision and ongoing training

It’s important to follow up on workers as part of their training. Check on them from time to time to ensure that they are still adhering to following safety guidelines.  Get involved with the workers in informal discussions regarding safety issues and ask for their feedback.

 

Training records
Recording the training process for each worker is the employer’s responsibility. To make it easier, you can make use of the training checklists that can also serve as documentation for what has already taken place.

 

Supervisor training
An employee must understand the tasks of a supervisor before taking on the responsibility. They have to be trained in health and safety before getting to supervise other workers.

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions
#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850

How to Avoid Carbon Dioxide Exposure at Work

How to Avoid Carbon Dioxide Exposure at Work

Carbon dioxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is essential to life on this planet. However, carbon dioxide can become toxic when concentrated, especially in an enclosed area. This can lead to asphyxiation in workers. To effectively reduce and avoid carbon dioxide exposure at work, proper ventilation should be arranged.

why you should avoid carbon dioxide exposure at work

Image Source: Flickr

 

How workers are exposed
Carbon dioxide is predominantly used in the following industries:

  • Performing arts
    • Fog and dry ice machines
  • Food & beverage processing
    • Created during fermentation
    • Added to carbonated drinks
  • Agriculture
    • Resulting from decomposition in manure pits
    • Greenhouses and mushroom farms
  • Fire prevention
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Used to subdue sparks and flames when cleaning fuel tanks

Workers might experience headaches, vertigo, confusion, or unconsciousness if they inhale high amounts of carbon dioxide.

 

The risks
Generally, carbon dioxide does not pose any danger in normal levels. However, when the level gets too high, it can push oxygen out of the work area, causing toxicity or asphyxiation to workers. Because of its characteristics, it can be hard to detect whenever concentration levels start to increase.

 

How to reduce the risks
If it is suspected that the carbon dioxide levels might be hazardous, one should:

  • Check the amount of carbon dioxide in the work area.
  • Before entering a work area, make sure that there is adequate ventilation.
  • Unless it is known that there is proper ventilation in a workplace, equipment that produces carbon dioxide must not be used.
  • Workers must be made aware of the symptoms of overexposure to carbon dioxide so they can leave right away if they begin to experience these symptoms.

There are different risk controls available to use depending on the situation. You will find each of them below, arranged in order of efficiency. To properly assess what is best for your situation, you can start with asking the questions after each one.

 

Elimination or substitution
The most efficient type of control is to fully eliminate the source of hazard by substituting a safer method or component.

  • Can another method that creates less carbon dioxide be used?

 

Engineering controls
Reducing the risk of exposure by making physical alterations to the facilities, types of machinery and methods used are all under engineering controls.

  • Can improvements be made to the ventilation system?
  • Is there equipment used to monitor carbon dioxide levels?

 

Administrative controls
Administrative controls include changing rules and regulations, distribution of awareness materials, and training of workers.

  • Is there an exposure control plan that workers are aware of?
  • Are warning signs that include information on symptoms of exposure posted in the workplace?

 

 Personal protective equipment
Although this is the least effective type of control, it still helps reduce the risk of exposure when used together with another control.

  • Are workers provided with supplied-air respirators?
  • Are supplied-air respirators properly tested and maintained?

 

 

Contact:
Working Safety Solutions

#200-4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C.
604-320-7850