#1 – WORKPLACE INSPECTIONS
Trace out emergency exits in available light from emergency lighting. Frequently, debris stored in areas surrounding entrance and exit points pose a hazard in low-light conditions.
#2 – STORAGE RACKING
Storage racking is a combination of steel frames, beams and associated accessories that have been assembled to support materials (including pallets).
Some requirements for storage racks that are higher than 8 feet (floor to top of highest shelf) or under 8 feet, if loaded/unloaded by mobile equipment:
- Employer must ensure storage racks are capable of safely supporting weight of items stored, designed and constructed in accordance with good engineering practice, and used in accordance with the specifications and instructions of the manufacturer or professional engineer.
- Employer must ensure a qualified person conducts regular inspections of the racking for signs of wear, corrosion, damage, fatigue, or missing/incompatible parts, and ensure regular maintenance and repairs are completed in accordance with specifications/instructions of the manufacturer or professional engineer.
#3 – PEDESTRIAN/FORKLIFT INTERFACE
A key element of warehouse safety is the interaction between mobile equipment and pedestrians. Wherever possible, designate separate, restricted lanes for mobile equipment and pedestrian traffic. Ensure that pedestrian crossings are located in open areas with good visibility. Ensure that mobile equipment is equipped with audible and visual warning devices. Ensure that both operators and pedestrians maintain a high level of situational awareness at all times.
by Paul Boileau – Philips Lighting employs approximately 250, manufacturing light fixtures and housings in Langley. As part of its Lean Manufacturing implementation strategy, Philips introduced a lead-time reduction program for their customers, called Quick-Ship.
Start-to-finish orders have been cut to just 10 days, while work-in-progress is down to 48 hours, “a reduction of 70%” according to Health & Safety Co-ordinator Andrew McKenzie. An inherent benefit of the Quick Ship program is a reduction in piece part touch times and associated exposure to warehouse pedestrian incidents.
Plant Manager Vincent Gelineau describes the site’s vision for alignment between Lean and health & safety:
“Lean and safety are very much linked together, by empowering each employee to take ownership of Continuous Improvement in both productivity and health & safety. ”
An aspect of Lean within the scope of health & safety is the standardization of work instructions. Lines of text are converted from text form into pictures of procedures, including health & safety measures and best practices.
Adds Vincent: “employees are encouraged to step away from their everyday tasks to improve their work area”.
An example of the company’s success is the Quick & Easy Kaizen program, where each employee is tasked to make one improvement in their area every month. This led to many safety improvements: in one instance a plastic tube stopper was added from one side to the other on a mobile rack, so that housings on the rack don’t move during transportation.
The Great Little Box Company’s (GLBC) 250,000 square foot Richmond facility employs over 200 men and women. GLBC designs and manufactures corrugated boxes and displays, folding cartons, labels, and foam protective packaging.
GLBC’s safety team is part of the Continual Improvement Department reporting to Nick Reiach, GLBC’s Vice President of Operations. Nick explains the company’s safety culture:
“At GLBC, employee well-being is a core value. So, when we began to update safety programs, employees were involved every step of the way. Looking back, this was one of several key success factors in moving from a penalty to a discount rate with WorkSafeBC. ”
A major potential risk area at GLBC was the pedestrian crossing points traversing two five-foot wide, 300-foot long roller conveyors, used to transport pallets. At the first conveyor crossover, GLBC removed every second 3” roller across a 3’ section, replacing it with a flat plate for the worker to step on. A button was pushed, thus stopping the conveyor for 15 seconds and allowing the pedestrian to cross the conveyor while safely on the plates. In Nick’s opinion however, an even better solution has been applied at the 2nd conveyor crossover. There, a 5’ section of plastic flat-top conveyor replaces the individual rollers altogether, and is de-activated by a push button.
Elsewhere in the warehouse, a combination of convex mirrors, 360-degree radar, and better walkway definition for pedestrian traffic in raw material storage areas has greatly reduced the potential of hazardous worker/forklift interface. Radar detection alone lacked 100% accuracy, so convex mirrors supply an additional layer of safety.
Other adaptations included blue lights projecting 4-5 metres in front of active forklifts and stop signs at critical intersections. Solutions managing human/machine interactions have resulted in a dramatic reduction in time-loss incidents.
Cermaq Canada’s multi-faceted safety program keeps workers safe, healthy, and proactive in preventing workplace injuries
by Gladys Johnsen – Cermaq Canada and Cermaq Canada Processing produce farmed, fresh salmon on the rugged coast of Vancouver Island, BC. The company employs approximately 250 people who grow fish from egg to harvest in four hatcheries and 28 sea sites, and who prepare top-quality Atlantic salmon in two processing plants (one under contract) for sale in North America and Asia.
Many jobs are physically demanding, and working on the ocean is still one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. To manage those risks, Cermaq Canada has developed a multi-faceted safety program to keep workers safe, healthy, and proactive in preventing injuries.
“The work at all of these sites is physical and repetitive, so there were a lot of MSIs (musculoskeletal injuries) when we first started our Ergonomics Program, but with dedication from our employees we have, for the second time in three years, gone a full calendar year without a lost time injury. Everyone at Cermaq is justifiably proud and looking forward to continued success. ” – Shannan Brown, Cermaq Canada’s HR manager
A good safety record has not always been standard fare at Cermaq. Indeed, until recently, the company was in a penalty position with its WorkSafeBC experience rating. In 2011, a total of 58 incidents, with 19 lost-time injuries, resulted in 1,462 lost days. As new safety initiatives took root, 213 days were lost in 2013, then down to seven in 2016. These improvements have moved Cermaq to a discount position.
Dave Samson, Cermaq’s Safety Officer, and the safety team examined the entire process of growing salmon from a safety perspective, from the time a fish enters a sea site, until it leaves a processing plant on its way to market. The safety plan had to accommodate a 24/7 workforce in all weather conditions.
A major issue identified by the safety review was the risk of slipping and falling. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires plant floors be smooth to prevent pathogen settlement; but they become slippery with nightly cleaning and sanitizing. Slips and falls are prevented by company supplied boots equipped with special traction. Tracking near-misses has shown the boots to be effective.
Ramps have steel plated mesh on the slopes to eliminate the risk of the forklifts losing traction while ascending or descending the ramp.
Another common issue was repetitive stress injuries, especially in processing plants where workers repeat motions throughout the day on the processing line, and while lifting and moving boxes of fish. As a solution, workers now stretch regularly and rotate each hour to another job not requiring lifting. Specific stretches were developed to increase a worker’s ability to engage in repetitive lifting.
“The impact of regular stretching has been dramatic.” says Dave, “Reducing the time lost because of MSIs has been a major driver of our lower injury rate.”
A third common issue that was identified was the risk of people working alone in remote locations, sometimes in areas with no cellular phone coverage. As a solution, the company has purchased and installed remote monitoring devices that connect employees to a third-party contracted company via satellite. A worker attaches and turns on the device at the beginning of a shift. Every half hour the worker receives a “beep” and touches a response button to indicate all is well. If there is no response, a checking protocol begins. The monitoring device can even detect a fall, or the worker can activate it to request immediate assistance.
To address high injury rates in the industry, aquaculture companies share health and safety history, knowledge and success through quarterly meetings of the Inter-Company Safety Group. As a result, together the entire Safety Group benefits from a lower joint base rate.
“Working with the Alliance through the OSSE certification process helped Cermaq look at itself objectively and really got us going. While the company saved money on its WorkSafeBC premiums, the primary benefit is the uniting of our workers and managers in a common safety goal.” – Peter Harper, Finance Director and head of HR & Safety Cermaq Canada
by Gladys Johnsen – Established in 2014, the Transportation Initiative Committee (TIC) was given a three year mandate by the Board of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (the Alliance) to develop prevention strategies for injury and loss specific to loading docks, material handling tasks, motor vehicle incidents and musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs).
TIC developed world-class, sustainable health and safety tools and resources based on the best evidence available.
Lisa McGuire, the Alliance CEO says,
These solutions are the result of TIC members combining their corporate health and safety experience with best practices from around the world. By integrating these with their current programs, Alliance Members will be well prepared to meet future worksite or Regulatory changes.
Through the Online Learning Centre, Members can access the Hazard Identification Toolkit which assists with the establishment of standard operating procedures on loading docks; a Five-Step MSI reduction plan specific to warehousing and material handling operations; and, for the first time, a template to address grey fleet risks.
A Whole-Body Vibration (WBV) initiative was included in the TIC’s original mandate but has been deferred due to lack of available studies. Along with WBV, strategies to support industry around warehouse racking will also be examined in the next three years.
MSI Prevention Guidebook: safetyalliancebc.ca/msi-prevention
Hazard ID Tool Kit Screencast: safetyalliancebc.ca/hazard-id-cast
Grey Fleet Program Model: safetyalliancebc.ca/grey-fleet
by Gladys Johnsen – Wallace and Carey serves more than 6000 customers across Canada and has over 200 teammates operating in a 100,000 square-foot facility on Annacis Island.
In 2007, Wallace & Carey decided to augment its existing program with the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) certification under the guidance of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (the Alliance).
Gordon Yee, Wallace & Carey’s safety officer explains “this decision gave us a plan which measured the program against BC legislation and addressed the types and sources of injury and created resources and audit tools to help us meet our health and safety targets.”
The company’s warehouse software WORCS (Warehouse Operations Real-time Control) system also emphasizes safety. It tracks the products sold with the push of a button, allowing managers to slot items according to volume.
This reduces the musculoskeletal injuries from the bending and reaching by placing slower sellers lower or higher and keeping the best-sellers within optimum picking range.
The system also has a history function allowing managers to determine responsibility for placing dangerous loads in the air, rendering operator accountability a reality. Wallace and Carey also utilizes GPS trackers on their entire fleet to track harsh cornering, or braking and emails the delivery manager if the driver is speeding. Such issues are addressed instantaneously, reducing speeding and the risk of accidents.
The best part of the certification process was the availability of the Alliance to help us identify our shortcomings, help create solutions then give us the tools to ensure that we kept to the plan. It means safety is top of mind and is taken into account for everything we do – so everyone goes home safe.
by Gladys Johnsen – On January 1st, 2018 WorkSafeBC’s amendment defining specific safety requirements for the proper installation, inspection and maintenance of steel storage racks will come into force. The amendment aligns WorkSafeBC with building code requirements as well as CSA standards. This change will bring consistency throughout BC. Previously only those installations done with a local building permit had posted standards for safe working loads.
These requirements will also have an impact on existing warehouses. Repair or replacement of pallet racking that does not involve altering the as-is initial build of the system must be completed by qualified personnel, whereas changes that involve altering elevations of load beams from the initial build will require an engineering review to ensure that the building code is met.
Arpac Storage Systems is an integrated supplier of material handling products, including pallet racking systems and other warehousing equipment. Arpac’s President Art Wuschke, said:
We encourage readers to understand the new regulation, as well as building code changes, when they are considering a new or reconfiguration of an existing pallet racking system.
Meeting the seismic standard will require companies to work with the pallet rack manufacturer and /or use a professional engineer, post safe working loads for the system as designed as well as follow and post regular inspection and maintenance updates.
After the new regulations come into effect, WorkSafeBC officers conducting an inspection will be looking for the as-built engineering drawing posted in the warehouse as well as any visible damage to the system and the records of repair. They will need to see that the inspections and any upgrades were approved by “qualified persons” as defined by the amendment.
To assist employers, WorkSafeBC has developed a draft Storage Rack Form and draft post standards for Qualified Person for the Inspection of Storage Racks and Qualified Person for Installation/ Uninstallation of Storage Racks. As public consultation with those impacted by the changes occurs, these drafts will be finalized and posted as part of the OHS Guideline.
Details of the proposed amendment can be accessed at: safetyalliancebc.ca/wsbc-racking
Lisa McGuire CRSP, CEO of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC – The solutions to the health and safety issues in manufacturing are as diverse as the industry itself. Yet the challenges are similar: MSIs, injuries resulting from forklift collisions with workers or racking, and slips and falls.
In this issue, we examine how companies adopting changes in warehousing and inventory control create safer work environments. As improvements reshape the internal organizational landscape, the number and frequency of injuries have fallen, lowering WorkSafeBC premiums and positively impacting workplace culture. The organizational environment saw real changes in worker/management relations as hourly staff recognized management commitment to safety.
This Edition also explores companies who apply Lean manufacturing, engineering and administrative solutions to health and safety issues.
Computers are improving forklift operator safety. Smaller, lighter arm-worn radio frequency identification tagging systems are reducing back strain compared to previous heavy waist-worn units.
Ergonomic solutions have introduced strategies such as regular job rotation to increase the diversity of tasks and reduce the potential for muscle strain. Other elements include frequent stretching breaks and the use of non-skid boots on slippery floors.
As companies move forward in their safety journey, they employ Kaizen to empower employees to implement continuous improvement in health and safety as well as productivity. Lean manufacturing best practices can be shared with peers on various Alliance committees to improve industry health and safety performance.
The positive actions taken are demonstrating results. According to WorkSafeBC statistics, manufacturing injury rates have trended down over the past 5 years.
The Alliance is proud to share the best health and safety practices of Member companies. While the Alliance can lay out a path for improvement, it is the commitment of Member companies and their employees that ultimately create successful results.