Safety Advisor Corner: Top 3 Safety Tips for Spring 2017

Tip #1 – Document Management
OHS Program administration can be a daunting task, especially when resorting to binders and bookshelves full of forms, policies and paper. Cloud based applications, like Xilo, help keep track of job descriptions, physical demands analysis, standard operation procedures, safe work practices and much more. If you are still putting pencil to paper, perhaps now is the time to look into software solutions.

Xilo: Think Safety, Think Xilo earatech.com

Tip #2 – Biometrics in Safety
The future of technology in safety include PPE that will measure heart rate, body temperature and other critical metrics that can be reported back to a central location. These new technologies can sound alarms before an incident, assist individuals who are working alone and when necessary disable equipment that could put a disabled worker in danger.

Tip #3 – Online Learning
Training and education in the health and safety world has been transformed in recent years due to the accessibility and user friendly approach to computerized, online training. Although the days of instructor-led classroom training are not over, online learning is quickly becoming the preferred choice of companies who want to train their staff in an affordable, non-disruptive way.

Did you know the Alliance has just launched FREE on-line Combustible Dust courses?

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is pleased to offer three FREE online Combustible Dust training courses for:

  • Workers
  • Contractors
  • Employers & Managers

Accurately identifying, assessing and controlling combustible dust is an essential part of a properly functioning OHS program. These courses are designed to help participants understand the properties of combustible dust, and how these properties need to be managed to mitigate possible fire and explosion hazards in the workplace. As a result of these courses, participants will be better prepared to control combustible dust hazards, develop safe work procedures and prevent incidents and injuries.

Course Description
Each course will provide participants with the key principles and concepts for recognizing the hazards, unsafe conditions and preventive actions associated with combustible dust.

Course Length
3 hours to complete each course, including quizzes.

Delivery Format
Online Learning Centre.

Pre-requisites
Previous health and safety education and/or experience is an asset, but not a requirement to enroll.

Course Topics

  • Characteristics of Combustible Dust
  • How an Explosion Occurs
  • When Does Accumulation Become a Hazard?
  • How To Control Ignition Sources
  • Controlling Explosion Risk
  • Controlling Dust Accumulation
  • Explosion Protection
  • Physical Site Inspection

Register for FREE safetyalliancebc.ca/online-learning

This story appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Make It Safe, the Quarterly Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter for BC Manufacturers

First Law of Robotics

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm – First Law of Robotics, Isaac Asimov, Author of ‘I, Robot’

by Gladys Johnsen – Over the last several decades, the introduction of automated production lines and robotics has become commonplace in most food processing and manufacturing facilities. From basic conveying systems, to complex robotic cells, the ability to produce goods at high speed and accuracy have allowed North American companies to compete in a world of global trade.

Rick Gibbs, President of Neutron Factory Works, believes that automation allows companies to grow through increased production and consistent quality while improving the health and safety of the workers.

Neutron specializes in the installation and maintenance of equipment in manufacturing, processing and warehousing facilities.

The implementation of robotics has decreased worker exposure to hazardous environments and shielded operations staff against unsafe or repetitive tasks, such as welding and heavy lifting. Automation may initially reduce the number of entry-level, low-skilled jobs, however, over the medium to long-term, automation creates new demand for technically-competent operators, maintenance, inspection, and logistics roles.

“Generally, after companies automate, they employ more staff than when they started due to an enhanced competitive position overall” says Gibbs.

Nonetheless, a movement to automation alone is not a guarantee of a safer workplace. One of the biggest challenges Rick and his team see for companies importing automated equipment into Canada is related to Safety;

It can be very costly to upgrade equipment to Canadian standards, which are some of the highest in the world. Safety is the centrepiece of these standards. While the low sticker price of imported equipment may seem like an attractive choice, the liability, safety hazards and subsequent costs to bring the equipment up to domestic standards can quickly outweigh any perceived windfall.
– Rick Gibbs, President, Neutron Factory Works

The primary hazard from automated and robotic equipment is motion. Whereas humans can always maintain an awareness of surroundings, robotics simply follow a preprogrammed routine. Without effective safety integration and design, these robotic systems can start and continue to run, creating a dangerous, or even lethal environment to humans. Consequently, the human operator needs to understand how to safely stop and restart machinery, as well as knowing where to stand to avoid injury or exposure. “Including your company’s health and safety representative in the planning stages for new equipment ensures policies reflecting the new process are updated and workers are appropriately trained,” says Rick. “Involving your team in the decisions to introduce robotics and automation is always a good idea.”

Good planning and training will ensure that new production processes will meet the needs of the company, its workers and clients.

This story appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Make It Safe, the Quarterly Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter for BC Manufacturers

Leaders in Aerospace Safety: AITCA on the Journey to OSSE/COR Certification

by Gladys Johnsen – Advanced Integration Technology Canada (AITCA), is the world’s largest provider of automation, factory integration and tooling solutions dedicated to the global aerospace, defence, and space launch vehicle industries. It has over 200,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space in its Langley, BC facility and employs 125 highly-skilled workers.

Debbie South-Mitchell, Manager Human Resources, shares responsibility for the management of AITCA’s health and safety management system with all managers and employees. Debbie says, “From the factory floor through management we understand we each have a role to play.”

In 2016 there was an emphasis on enhancing the AITCA safety management system that included;

    • A glove trial to drive down cuts
    • 6S initiatives for improved housekeeping
    • Five whys for all first aid incidents
    • The addition of safety prescription glasses to the group benefits program

Overall, AITCA experienced a significant reduction in claims costs and incident and lost time rates over the last three years.

One recent safety initiative for AITCA was an interest in understanding what it took to fully comply with WorkSafeBC’s regulations for welding fumes. With new legislation on the horizon for weld fume extraction and control, AITCA reached out to the experts.

The AITCA fabrication shop is an open, well ventilated space where respirators were optional. AITCA engaged the services of a consultant with years of experience in welding environments. With his assistance, education of both management and workers on current welding fume regulations was initiated. Further, an appreciation of WorkSafeBC targets both immediate and long term was explored.

All workers were immediately fit-tested and are now diligently wearing respirators. Education goes a long way in gaining acceptance from the employees as to why certain safety protocols are put into place.

With the assistance of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, AITCA is working towards receiving OSSE (Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence) certification, a comprehensive health and safety management system.

According to Debbie South-Mitchell, Manager, HR at AITCA,

The primary benefit for AITCA is the logical step-by-step approach in having a complete and current safety management system. After the GAP analysis was completed, we knew exactly
what needed to be done, and regular meetings with our advisor keep us on track.

Achieving OSSE certification will set in place a plan for the continuing safety of all employees and people who visit AITCA.

Injury rates in BC Aerospace compared to Injury rates in all of BC Manufacturing

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC works with multiple Classification Units (CUs) related to aviation, including 712027 (Manufacture, or Manufacture and Installation of Structural Metal Products) and 712001 (Aircraft, Automobile or Truck Assembly).

The injury rate, a calculation of injuries per 100 workers, for both CUs has seen an improvement outpacing the provincial average over the past four years.

This story appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Make It Safe, the Quarterly Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter for BC Manufacturers

Radiation Safety: Industrial solutions for public and worker safety

by Gladys Johnsen – Radiation has increasingly become an integral part of food processing and manufacturing. In February 2017, Health Canada announced changes to Food and Drug regulations to allow irradiation of ground beef. On the manufacturing side, radiation is now routinely employed for detection of hairline cracks and weaknesses in pipelines, process control and weld inspection.

Irradiation in the food industry is a process that blasts food with a low level of ionizing radiation. Steve Horvath, President of the Radiation Institute of Canada, which promotes radiation safety and awareness through sharing science and best practices, says, “Food processing is one of the largest users of radiation for producing a more consistent, safer product.” Radiation sources are commonly used in industry for quality assurance and public and worker safety.

Nuclear gauges commonly examine product flowing through a pipe into containers for contaminants and can ensure that the same amount is put into each jar or package.

Steve said, “the oil and gas industry use radiation sources for drilling and refining processes and the examination of pipelines where x-rays are used to determine the security of welds or the thickness of the pipeline wall.”

Depending on the type of work, the installation and use of radiation products is highly regulated to ensure worker safety. The federal government is responsible for regulating the use of nuclear materials and energy. This would include radiation sources, nuclear gauges, irradiators, cancer treatment using nuclear sources or high energy x-ray systems. Provincial governments regulate uses of radiation not included in the federal regulations. This would include industrial and medical radiation and x-ray applications and the use of lasers. In BC, the responsibility for worksite safety is delegated to WorkSafeBC.

Any company that has made the decision to introduce radiation into a process to increase quality and speed up production needs to be completely aware of the workplace hazards and create a plan to mitigate them.

A good way to start the plan is to include the company’s health and safety team from the beginning. Being part of the planning and implementation allows the creation of a policy, including appropriate training. – Steve Horvath, President of the Radiation Institute of Canada

Exposure to radiation can cause harmful effects, which makes it critical to understand the hazards and have radiation included in the core of the health and safety program that is developed. The primary goal of any health and safety policy related to exposure control is to keep any contact to as low a level as is reasonably achievable by using control measures.

Engineered design and construction, administrative policy or procedures and personal protective equipment address the three fundamental principles of dose reduction:

Time: Spend the shortest possible amount of time close to the source

Distance: Increase the amount of space between the worker and the source

Shielding: Have material between you and the radiation source that can reduce or eliminate the radiation intensity

Depending upon the kind of radiation process which is being introduced the company may have to be licensed by the appropriate federal or provincial regulator. All workers who will be working with or near the radiation source must be trained to the standard included in their licence. Additionally, federally regulated users require that refresher training be done at a defined frequency. Provincial regulations don’t generally indicate any particular requirement for refresher frequency. However, best practice is to have refresher training every three to five years.

The health and safety professional in a company that uses radiation has a constantly evolving job. There is a need to be aware of any changes to federal or provincial regulations and of updates from the manufacturer of the machinery, and they must ensure that all workers as well as contractors entering the space where the radiation is present understand the company safety standard. For more information on radiation in the workplace or at home go to the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada’s website: www.radiationsafety.ca

This story appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Make It Safe, the Quarterly Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter for BC Manufacturers

The challenge of automation for manufacturing

by Lisa McGuire, CRSP – CEO of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC – Advancements in the manufacturing sector are occurring at an unprecedented rate and with the dynamic evolution of technology have created new health and safety risks to the manufacturing industry. This newsletter provides insight on the safety rewards, risks, and challenges that come with technology, including automation and robotics.

Whether large or small, manufacturing firms face similar issues – how to grow market share, manage costs, and safely enhance worker productivity. These issues are impacted by globalization of the production chain, automation of processes, and recognizing and managing international standards of production.

The increased use of robots and automation for repetitive or dangerous tasks positively impacts these issues, while improving worker safety and product quality. Claims resulting from repetitive tasks are the most common injury type in the manufacturing sector. Reducing injuries has a positive impact on WorkSafeBC premiums and may also increase worker productivity by reducing “down-time” as a result of a work stoppage caused by an incident or its resulting investigation.

With its focus on how much product it can sell in the next quarter or year, manufacturing can be defined as an industry of the future. Through the appropriate use of automation, companies can better meet those goals. At the same time, health and safety professionals must understand new hazards that may be created, while developing and updating current procedures. As part of the team designing, developing and implementing new technologies, health & safety professionals will play a critical role in their company’s successful introduction and integration of automated production.

 

This editorial appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Make It Safe, the Quarterly Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter for BC Manufacturers

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 safetyalliancebc.ca/small-employer-webinar-series

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.

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 research@safetyalliancebc.ca.

BC PROVINCE AND INDUSTRY PARTNER TO MEET LABOUR AND SAFETY NEEDS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

October 28, 2016 – The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is excited to be the lead organization for a Sector Labour Market Partnership project that brings together key partners to study the labour market needs associated with occupational health and safety (OHS) workers in B.C.’s manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing has been identified as a key sector within the BC Jobs Plan, with advanced manufacturing highlighted as a new sector where British Columbia will see immense growth opportunity at the BC Jobs Plan Five Year Preview this past August. A wide range of high-value products and components are produced in B.C. for international and domestic markets, and the sector creates desirable, high-paying jobs in communities throughout the province. As BC’s manufacturing industry is growing, the nature of manufacturing work is changing and workforce is becoming more diverse. Ensuring there is enough qualified health & safety professionals to support this growth will be important for industry.

The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in BC are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.

Each year, the government invests more than $7.5 billion in education and training. Over the next 10 years, the province plans to redirect $3 billion of its training investment to focus on skills and programs for in-demand jobs.

“We’re working with the manufacturing industry to achieve cultural change that ensures safe workplaces for all workers. To achieve this we will need more skilled health and safety professionals, especially with the expected future growth in our industry and the influx of less experienced workers as current workers retire. This opportunity with the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program will help us bring key stakeholders together to determine what the industry’s health and safety labour needs are over the next five years.” said Lisa McGuire, CEO, Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of B.C. began engaging with partners in February 2016 in order to gain a better understanding of the specific OHS labour needs in B.C.’s manufacturing sector. Phase 1 consultations underscored the future need for systematic, standardized training of OHS professionals who not only possess a detailed understanding of the manufacturing context, but also have the technical and ‘soft’ skills required to take the lead in the development of effective injury prevention and health and safety promotion initiatives.

“The B.C. manufacturing sector’s diversity, focus on export markets and innovation are supporting job growth across every sector of the Provincial economy, and exporting billions of dollars in goods each year to countries around the world. We will continue to work with our industry partners to address their labour market needs, so we can further develop a safe, productive and growing sector in B.C.” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

Learn More:

For media related inquiries please contact: Jennifer Proby 604-795-9595

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Sector Labour Market Partnership - Phase 1 Final Report

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62% of Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC members say workplace safety is improving

According to a survey done by WorkSafeBC, 3 out of 5 manufacturing company’s feel that workplace safety is improving in their industry. The survey, conducted in February of 2016, was sent to 1,623 member companies of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC and resulted in 192 completed surveys. The largest audience represented in the results were small employers, making up 71% of the 192 responses. Of those who were aware of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, 98% were satisfied or had a neutral position on the organization’s performance on promoting health and safety.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is a not-for-profit health and safety association with the goal of reducing the injury rates in the manufacturing sector and transforming the culture of organizations with an emphasis on making safety a business priority.

Other survey questions covered topics including the general perceptions around safety in the Food Processing and Manufacturing industry, the awareness of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC among manufacturers and their satisfaction with the services provided.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC’s most preferred resources, as determined by the survey, are occupational health & safety (OHS) resources such as booklets, videos and manuals. Members also appreciate and find value in receiving OHS news, regulatory changes and other industry relevant updates from the organization. Although a less common form of engagement for their members, 8 out of 10 companies who received an in-person visit from a safety advisor stated their needs were met by the service.

In addition to manual resources being the most utilized out of all the available options, members reported that resources like booklets, videos and manuals was their top choice for what they needed out of their health and safety association. The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, in response to the needs of its members, has produced new resources including the MSI Prevention Guidebook, 5-Phases of OSSE guide and has expanded its online learning centre to include a free resources section available to all members.

Second in priority for Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC members is training. The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC has responded to these needs with an expanded course offering, including courses on confined space awareness, workplace inspections and combustible dust. These courses complement the existing offering bringing the total number of in-person and online training courses offered by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC to 9.

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC continues to strive to meet the needs of its members and is in a position to adapt to the changing needs of their membership. New strategies to provide members with maximum impact, including the small employer engagement program launched in 2016, offers a blended approach to building an occupational health and safety program through advisor visits, training in-person and online and access to the SPS (Safety Support System) program to fast-track a company to a safer workplace.

Quality assurance is a key priority of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC. Members who have engaged with the organization through an advisor, training or an event are given opportunities to provide feedback that will be used to further shape the resources and engagement strategies of the organization.

For more information on the results of the Sentis research survey on the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, go to https://safetyalliancebc.ca/about/board-governance/research-and-reviews/.

Accident leads to a career in safety

Summerland, BC, by Susan McIver– A work-place welding accident set Sheldon McKee on the path to a career in safety helping other workers stay alive and healthy.

“I had a head injury which permanently affected by balance and I couldn’t weld anymore,” McKee said. “What do I do now?” he recalled asking a friend involved in safety work.

Today, McKee is a safety advisor specializing in confined spaces for the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC. The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is an industry-driven and funded association dedicated to setting health and safety standards for manufacturers and food processors. Recently, the Chilliwack-based association opened a satellite office in Summerland.

“We decided on Summerland because most of our Okanagan clients are in the south,” said McKee.

Wineries account for the majority of his clients followed by breweries and a few manufacturing firms. Agriculture is relatively safe with 29 out of a total of 1,508 work place related deaths for the period of 2005-2014, as reported by WorkSafeBC. However, many South Okanagan residents will recall at least two deaths from tractor rollovers and two from winery workers who had fallen from a ladder into a fermentation tank.

“Tractors are not all terrain vehicles. Be careful operating them and read the manufacturers specifications on proper maintenance and safety features,” McKee said. This includes garden tractors. More than one small tractor has regretted disabling the safety switch which turns off the engine while the operator is out of the seat.

“It’s a common mistake for people to think of safety as belonging only to the work place,” McKee said.

Protection equipment such as safety glasses, sturdy footwear and face shields should be used when operating all power equipment even home weed and brush trimmers.

“I still treat a chain saw with the utmost respect,” McKee said.

Regarding the winery deaths, McKee said, “The men most like lost consciousness when they inhaled carbon dioxide gas, a fermentation by-product, which was released when they opened the hatch.”

He recommends that wineries have gas monitors capable of detecting carbon dioxide. Confined space hazards include too little or too much oxygen, toxic gases, and entrapment or engulfment in bins and hoppers.

“Think outside the box about confined and partially confined spaces—engine spaces in large tractors and trunks, irrigation pump stations, and crawl spaces,” said McKee.

Consider ways to prevent or minimize entry and how to facilitate a rescue if necessary. Potential hazards can also be found underground. Buried electric and gas lines can be a danger in vineyards when excavating for the installation of water pipes or new gas lines. “You may have no idea of existing lines that were put in years ago,” McKee said.

Proper training in use of equipment is essential, for example, how to keep orchards girettes from tipping over.

Common problems in this area include dehydration from heat and wildlife. “Many of our foreign workers don’t understand that bears can be dangers,” McKee said.

Workers and home owners alike tell McKee, “I’ve been doing this for ages and never had a problem.”

“The sad truth is one day you may have a big problem” he said.

Safety saves employers money through the elimination of the need to pay wages for injured and replacement workers, lower WorkSafeBC rates and decreased damage to tools and equipment.

“I’m here to help identify potential problems and what can be done to eliminate or reduce them,” said McKee, who can be reached at (250) 808-4079.

Susan McIver is The Penticton Herald’s Summerland reporter and agricultural columnist.