Introducing the Small Employer Program Building Webinar Series

Build a world class safety program with an eleven part Small Employer Webinar Series.

by Dale Johnson – The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC has launched a series of interactive webinars to guide small employers (1-19 full-time employees) through all of the important steps of building an occupational health and safety program. The Small Employer Program Building webinar series has been designed to help employers who lack the time, resources or know-how to develop a formal safety program by guiding them through each required safety program element.

The webinar experience fits the needs of our members by allowing them to participate online from their workplace while still allowing them the ability to ask questions, seek guidance from their peers and interact with the learning objectives. If participants are unable to watch the live presentation or would like to revisit any topics they can access all historical sessions through our online learning centre.

Register Today if you are a small employer in the manufacturing sector and you want to improve the safe working conditions for your employees and reduce the likelihood of a costly claim. For more information about the webinar series, visit

Did you know?
The injury rate among small manufacturers is almost 80% higher than the provincial average and the serious injury rate is double the provincial average.

Safety Advisor Corner: Top 3 Safety Tips for Winter 2016

Safety Tips for Workplace Hazardous Products

Tip #1 – Inventory
Employers must identify and inventory all chemicals and potentially hazardous products or substances that are present in the workplace. Quantities of each should be noted as well as the storage locations. Centralized purchase of materials and designated storage locations for products will assist this process

Tip #2 – Reduction
Employers should look to reducing the number of hazardous products in the workplace. Standardize the purchase process rather than allowing purchase by individual departments or individuals. Where possible use a single brand or producer for required products. Identify products in the inventory that are no longer used or that are waste amounts and arrange for proper disposal

Tip #3 – Substitution
Identify chemicals, products and substances that are highly hazardous or toxic and look at the potential for replacing these with a similar product that is less hazardous or toxic. Research is required at this point to determine that the replacement product does not pose a greater risk than the original product

WorkSafeBC’s High Risk Strategy in Manufacturing continues through 2017

by Gladys Johnsen – WorkSafeBC’s prevention officers’ activities in the manufacturing industry are guided primarily by the High Risk Strategy which identifies sectors and sub sectors that make a significant contribution to the serious injury rate. The Strategy focuses prevention initiatives on identified areas of high risk in order to apply resources and effort where they will be most effective.

Manufacturing has a relatively high serious injury rate. For 2015, the last year where the injury rate has been finalized, the serious injury rate in manufacturing was 0.5 per 100 workers while the serious injury rate for all sectors was 0.3 per 100 workers.

Barry Nakahara, Manager, Prevention Field Services for the Prince George and Terrace Regions said: As with 2016, in 2017 for manufacturing there will be continued concentration on safeguarding, lock out and combustible dust. Injuries related to safeguarding and lock out have the greatest impact on the rate.

While safeguarding and lock out related injuries combine to impact the serious injury rate, combustible dust is a significant risk in many manufacturing sectors. The number of incidents is small; but when fire or explosion occurs the result can be devastating.

Anecdotally, Barry does see indications that employer awareness and understanding of these issues is steadily improving. Feedback from prevention field officers and emerging industry initiated projects such as the shake and shingle guarding pilot or the sawmill planer project show that the industry is focusing on prevention.

In the past couple of years officers have engaged with a number of manufacturing employers to help them develop and implement better health and safety policies and procedures. Some of these have progressed beyond compliance to focus on prevention with clear and defined plans. Consequently, the officers will, in 2017, move to assist others who need to update their plans.

The WorkSafeBC High Risk Strategy for manufacturing is available for review at It shows ongoing initiatives as well as the Manufacturing Strategy Inspection Guide indicating relevant Regulatory and Targeted Hazards Sections.

Winery Promotes Safety: Tinhorn Creek wins National Leadership Awards

by Gladys Johnsen – On October 24 and November 24 Sandra Oldfield CEO and President of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards was in Toronto to receive awards based on her amazing work ethic. She has spent years working with her staff of 30 to develop and implement an occupational health and safety (OHS) program while working tirelessly to bring recognition to BC’s wine industry.

In October Sandra accepted the Gold Award for safety in the hospitality industry at the Canada’s Safest Employers gala and in November she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women with a Top 100 award by the Women’s Executive Network.

Tinhorn Creek was one of the smaller companies at both the events but, “I’m honoured to be recognized as a trailblazer and have the opportunity, as a female CEO in the wine industry, to act as a role model for younger generations and my peers,” says Sandra Oldfield. “At Tinhorn Creek we strive to be at the forefront of the industry; pushing boundaries and setting trends to promote Canadian wine.”

Sandra has never separated her role as CEO and President from that of the person who both works on the shop floor and who is responsible every day for the health and safety of each of her workers.

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has some unusual health and safety issues – rattlesnakes and bears, heavy boxes of wine and unruly customers. Developing a successful OHS program that meets all of these hazards has taken a number of years and a lot of planning.

One of the critical parts of the Tinhorn program is new worker orientation. All new workers spend their first two days with a supervisor who ensures that all certification requirements are met and the worker has a thorough review of the hazards and health and safety requirements of each position in the company. Only on Day 3 does the worker get introduced to their new position and start putting into action what has been learned.

Our next goal is to be ready for the Best Health and Safety Culture award by raising the OHS bar even higher and keeping our programs and policies fresh and relevant.
— Sandra Oldfield

To do this, in 2017 each worker will receive a half day health and safety re-orientation on Tinhorn plans, committees will be updated and on and off site health and safety training will be increased.

2016 was the 6th year for the Canada’s Safest Employers Awards and recognized 41 winners in 10 industry –specific categories. The judging is a rigorous process which includes worker perception survey and site visits to the finalists by a third party auditor.

What you need to know about Administrative Penalties from WorkSafeBC

by Terry Thomas, CRSP – WorkSafeBC has the power to assess administrative penalties (monetary fines) against employers for non-compliance with the requirements of the Workers Compensation Act or the Occupational Health & Safety Regulation. There are now two levels of administrative penalty identified in Section 196 of the Act:

Lower Maximum Amount

The lower maximum amount of $1000 was introduced in October, 2015 through an amendment called the “Lower Maximum Administrative Penalties Regulation (LMAPR) – OHS Citations”. You can refer to Section 196.1 of the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC Policy D12-196.1-1 for further guidance

The lower maximum amount will be referred to as a citation and will be issued against an employer only for violations considered not to be high risk in nature. The base amount of $1000 will be adjusted annually to the cost of living increase. Currently the maximum penalty amount is set at $1,010.33 and the penalty for a first offence will be 50% of the maximum.

A citation will be issued for “non-compliance with an order or failure to submit a compliance report to WSBC within the specified time.” It will only be issued after a warning letter from WorkSafeBC has been issued to the employer identifying the issue. If a second exact or similar violation occurs within a three year period the full penalty will be assessed.

Upper Maximum Amount

The upper maximum amount level has been in place since 1997. You can refer to Section 196 of the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC Policy D-12-196.1 for further guidance

The upper maximum amount for a violation is currently set to $628,034.57, however the amount considered by WSBC for a specific employer will be calculated on the employer’s annual assessable payroll multiplied by 0.5% with a minimum amount of $1250. This penalty will be considered for any violation of the Workers Compensation Act or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

If a violation is considered to be high risk, intentional, involves hindering a WSBC officer in performance of their duties, involves suppressing a worker’s attempt to report an injury, illness or hazardous condition or is a breach of a stop work / stop use order then a multiplier of 2 for each of the above criteria violated will be imposed. A high risk violation where an employer suppresses a worker’s report will have a multiplier of 4 applied to the base penalty amount. If an offence is a repeat penalty for the same or similar violation that occurs within 3 years of the initial violation then the repeat violation penalty will be doubled and each subsequent violation will have a doubling of the penalty amount.

For more information please contact the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
T 1.604.795.9595 E

Have Your Say…The future OHS labour needs of BC’s Manufacturers

by Glayds Johnsen – The demand for occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals in BC’s manufacturing industry has never been higher. Technological, demographic and corporate culture shifts in the past decade have created a need for OHS professionals who are excellent communicators and can incorporate safety management into every step of a company’s growth.

The future OHS needs of the manufacturing industry are being analyzed and training gaps identified by the Sector Labour Market Partnership (Sector LMP). Led by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (the Alliance) and supported by partners, the Sector LMP is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement; its purpose is to achieve a clear consensus and direction on the number and skill levels needed of OHS professionals within the industry over the next five years. A final report will be published by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Alliance.

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In BC, the nature of the manufacturing industry and the demographics of its workers is changing and diversifying. The sector has a relatively high injury rate compared to the BC average and has sector-specific issues that could pose significant future OHS risks. Rising public and supply chain expectations for improved workplace safety, as well as increased oversight and regulation means that employers may need to recruit, retain and develop OHS skills and expertise relevant to the sector in order to maintain a safe and healthy future workforce.

According to Scott Bax, Senior Vice President Operations with Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., an OHS person with the right combination of theoretical and practical skills is difficult to find.

There’s a gap between what I and the entire manufacturing industry needs and who is available. An OHS professional is no longer just a shop floor cop enforcing health and safety regulations; that person must also be the catalyst for a cultural change throughout an organization. Being part of the Steering Committee allows me to influence how that gap can be closed.
– Scott Bax

Beginning in February 2016, the Alliance began engaging with partners to learn their specific OHS needs. Phase 1 brought together stakeholders including manufacturing and food processing employers, industry associations and educational institutions that represent regions and sectors across the province. The feedback was compiled and there was consensus was achieved by the Steering Committee members on several labour market issues and OHS themes that need to be addressed including:

  • Existing shortage of OHS professionals where the gap is expected to continue to widen
  • Current training and development program(s) limitations to produce enough OHS graduates with industry and occupation relevant skills
  • Identification of those unique / ideal skill sets
  • Pre-qualifications and contractor management and the demands placed on employers regarding their OHS programs

Now, each of these areas need to be explored in depth. To do this the Steering Committee is working with an independent consulting company, The Graham Lowe Group, to conduct research, to complete both an on-line survey and telephone interviews and to conduct five regional focus groups.

Lisa McGuire, CEO of the Alliance, believes that: Those who participate in this research have an opportunity to show leadership and have real influence on the future of their profession. Working OHS professionals can tell us what they need to increase their ability to develop and implement programs at all company levels, companies can identify where they see education gaps and training institutions can indicate how they can make their programs more relevant.

BC manufacturers will have multiple opportunities to participate. The Alliance has been reaching out to manufacturers’ contacts that either manage or are responsible for their company’s OHS or those contacts who can speak on behalf of their company about its OHS policies, practices and needs. These contacts will be invited to share their opinions anecdotally, by completing the survey when it is posted or by registering for a focus group.

According to Daneen Skilling, Sector LMP Steering Committee Chair, and National Environmental Health and Safety Manager at Andrew Peller Ltd: Health and safety in manufacturing in BC is critical to our continued growth. To meet the needs of our diverse industry we need good, fact based evidence of those issues to move BC’s companies forward. This project will provide a real basis for future improvement.

Future OHS professionals will need to be change agents and promote the integration of their programs and policies at all levels of a company – from the shop floor to the board room. They will need to be able to apply and use modern communication and technical advances with both traditional and totally new manufacturing procedures while meeting corporate business needs.

“A well trained OHS professional is no longer someone who is only able to cite relevant WorkSafeBC regulations,” says Daneen. “That person must now be an active change agent who promotes a safety culture, understands the diversity of the workforce and can read a company budget. It’s an exciting time to be in this field.”

Data collection for the Sector LMP will start in January of 2017 with the posting of the survey followed by regional focus group sessions and phone interviews. The information shared will be kept confidential and used to identify and compile common issues.

The Sector LMP is a project that can have a positive long term impact on BC’s manufacturing sector by identifying its issues with the OHS labour market. This research phase is an opportunity for manufacturers, representing different company sizes, regions and demographics, to have their say and make a difference.

To find out more about the Manufacturing Sector LMP, please call the Alliance office at 1.604.795.9595 or send an email to

Winter 2016 Newsletter