Toolbox Talks

A Toolbox Talk is an informal group discussion that focuses on a particular safety issue. These tools can be used daily to promote your departments safety culture. Toolbox talks are also intended to facilitate health and safety discussions on the job site.

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Arc Flash

Arc flash is described by the National Fire Protection Association as “a dangerous condition associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc.” Arc flash is an accidental electrical explosion usually caused by a short circuit. It happens at higher-voltages (around 300 volts and above). It causes electrical conductors to melt creating an explosion of molten or even vaporized metal. Temperatures can be as high as 20,000 degrees Celsius.
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Bench & Pedestal Grinder Safety

Bench mounted and pedestal grinders equipped with abrasive stones, wire brushes and buffing brushes are used to sharpen, grind, strip and polish metal. They can be found in most industrial settings and in any facility maintenance shop. They are extremely useful tools but are also extremely dangerous tools if not used properly and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

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Carbon Monoxide

CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is both toxic and flammable. It is a by-product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and can be encountered anywhere where a fuel-powered engine is operating. The gravity of carbon monoxide is almost identical to normal air which means it can disperse easily throughout an area or collect in pockets where there is little air movement.
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Chemical Safety at Home

WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) was created to protect workers from chemical exposure in the workplace however many of the same chemicals used in the workplace are also found in our homes.

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Confined Space Safety

Recent fatalities involving confined spaces demand that these areas be given more attention to reduce risk of injury or loss of life. The three men died after entering a structure in an Abbotsford mushroom farm in September, 2008. Two were “rescuers”. They inhaled fatal doses of toxic fumes. Two other workers / “rescuers” were left with brain damage. Rescue workers were ill-prepared to offer the necessary response required in this confined space rescue.

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Electrical Safety

The majority of Canadians use electricity every day, both in the workplace and at home. There are very few places left in Canada that are not connected to a utility power grid or an onsite generator. However, we don’t often consider the hazards in our day to day activities associated with electricity or electrically powered equipment.

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Fire Extinguisher Basics

Fire extinguishers are everywhere, in public buildings, apartment blocks, and in all of our workplaces. Fire extinguishers have become part of the general backdrop of modern society. The BC Fire Code indicates specific requirements for the number and placements of extinguishers. In the workplace, fire extinguishers are tools and every worker who might be required to use one has to be trained in the safe operation of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are also a very good piece of safety equipment to have in the home, in a car and on a boat where they may be required by Canadian boating legislation.

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First Aid Reporting

First aid is defined as “in cases in which a person will need medical treatment, treatment for the purpose of preserving life and minimizing the consequences of injury until medical treatment is obtained”, and “treatment of minor injuries that would otherwise receive no medical treatment or that do not need medical treatment”.

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Forklift Operation

Forklifts are an under rated hazard that exist in most food processing and manufacturing companies. The reason that we have specific regulations for forklift training and certification is that forklifts have caused more fatalities than all other mobile equipment combined. The reason for the complacency around forklifts is that they are compact and their rear wheel steering make them very maneuverable giving them the feeling of driving a go cart. Unfortunately, the combination of their high lifting capacity and tight turning ability makes them extremely unstable. Even a small counterbalanced forklift will have a counterweight that weighs several tones.
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Hearing Conservation

“Noise” is unwanted sound. The psychological effects of noise is that it can startle you, annoy you, and disrupt your concentration. Physiological effects include loss of hearing. Severe exposure to noise can cause pain and even nausea. Noise can also affect communications which interferes with both job performance and your safety.
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Hot Work

Hot work is defined as a process where sources of ignition may be produced, including: Open flames, e.g. cutting, welding, burning, electrical, friction or impact sparks e.g. air gouging, riveting, drilling, grinding, chipping, sparks resulting from the discharge of static electricity, hot surfaces such as engine manifolds and exhaust systems, brakes, hot bearings, welding or cutting torches, coils and resistors, heated gases, and internal combustion engines.

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Incident Investigation

An incident investigation is a process that analyses an incident to identify the unsafe acts and conditions that lead to the incident in order to develop control measures to prevent the recurrence of the incident.

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Knife Safety

Cut injuries in the Manufacturing, food processing, wine making, brewing and distillery industries occur primarily through the use of knives, cleavers and slicing equipment. Cut injuries are one of the leading causes of injuries in abattoirs, fish, poultry and meat processing operations, as well as hospitality tasting rooms associated with the beverage industries.
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Ladder Safety

Ladders are useful pieces of equipment used in all industries, including food processing, manufacturing and retail/wholesale operations. They are safe if used as intended, however statistics continue to show ladders are not used properly in many instances. In BC, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Sections 13.2 – 13.6 and the accompanying guidelines apply to ladder use.

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Power Tool Safety

In the manufacturing sector, many serious injuries are the result of hand held power tools. The list includes portable circular saws, routers, hand grinders, reciprocating saws and jig saws. These tools are very versatile and as a result are frequently used in tight quarters, on ladders, and for shaping and sizing small pieces where the work piece is held by hand. Unfortunately, with the high cutter speed a slip or kick back can cause serious injuries to body parts.
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Safety Footwear

All workers must wear footwear suitable to the conditions and hazards in their workplace. This is usually enclosed footwear of leather or rubber with adequate ankle support. Many workplaces require “safety footwear” which has a protective toe cap and may have sole protection to prevent injury from nails or other sharp objects.

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Scissor Lift Safety

Scissor lifts are a relatively economical way to work at height safely and efficiently and as a result they are present on most medium to large workplaces, they are economical to rent so you even see them on small sites during projects. They are simple to operate, but because the operators are working at height, they are exposed to serious fall hazards if they do not clearly understand the safe operation procedures and inspections required.
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Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips and falls are the 3rd leading cause of recordable injuries across BC and accounted for 15% of recordable injuries in the food and beverage industry. In 2009, slips, trips and falls on the same level accounted for 235 reportable injuries in the Food and Beverage Processing industry sector and 6,275 for all BC workplaces.

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Working Alone

Working alone or in isolation means working where there is no readily available assistance in case of emergency, injury or illness.

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Workplace Roles & Responsibilities

The Internal Responsibility System (IRS) is the underlying philosophy of occupational health and safety legislation in Canada. The key to the IRS is that everyone in the workplace is responsible for his or her own safety, as well as for the safety of others in the workplace. To ensure a safe workplace, there must be a partnership between the employer and the employees.

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