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OHS FAQ

Regulations

Rights and Responsibilities

Training

Accident/Incident Investigations

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Safety Culture

Hazard Identification

Inspections


Regulations

Are e-cigarettes allowed to be used within the workplace?

No, e-cigarettes or other vapour products are not permitted to be used within the workplace. The Health Ministry put an end to the use of vapour products indoors. The effect applies employees and visitors on site. Refer to the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act which clearly restricts the use of an e-cigarette within the workplace.

If it is legal to use a hands free device while driving why does my company forbid their use?

Research has proved that there is little difference in the degree of distraction between using hands free and handheld devices. This is because the area of the brain used is the same and if it is engaged in a conversation it is not available for driving tasks. In fact recent research shows that even after hanging up the distraction can persist for up to 27 seconds or about 5 blocks at 60 km/hr. The only time it is safe to use an electronic device is when safely parked.

I have heard people refer to a “General Duty Clause” in the regulations. What does that mean and where is it found.

Most occupational health and safety legislation will have a catch all regulation that is referred to as a general duty clause. In the Canada Labour Code part two it is section 124 and under provincial Occupational Health & Safety legislation it is part 2.2. The purpose of this legislation is to provide regulatory oversight even in those areas that it would be impractical to mention specifically. In essence it is an employer’s duty to ensure the workplace is safe and that workers and others affected by the work are aware of hazards and how to deal with them.

I don’t haul dangerous goods so why do I have to have an emergency plan?

A) An emergency plan in this case deals with the general sorts of emergencies we could face. That includes how to get first aid or even summon an ambulance when there is an accident. Obviously, the best time to prepare for that sort of thing is long before it becomes necessary.

Other emergencies are things that are possible but may never occur. This is where you find earthquakes, floods and fires. That list could also include hazards present in your workplace or even near your workplace. An example would be having a chemical plant as a next-door neighbour. If they had a problem, it could easily become your problem too.

As you can see an emergency plan covers all sorts of things and is really just a way of ensuring that you have a pre-planned response to a bad situation so that it does not get worse or is handled in the best way possible.

If you would like more information you could check out our course offerings on emergency planning, or you could contact one of our safety advisors

The Canada Labour Code Part II wants me to inspect all parts of my operation annually. Does that include pick-up and delivery points?

No. The Canada Labour Code Part II requires inspection of all parts of an operation under the control of the employer. Where work takes place at another employer’s site the responsibility for inspection passes to them. This does not absolve you of the responsibility to do an adequate hazard assessment of the site before work begins.

Everyone says that it’s in the regulation that a truck must be chocked before loading and unloading may occur but I can’t find it.

This is not stated specifically within the regulation but is a part of the CSA Standard B335-94 (Standard for Mobile Operator Training). It states that it is the responsibility of the operator to check that the truck is immobilized before entering. Because this standard is named in the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation it has the force of law and must be followed.

Do I have to carry a first aid kit in my truck?

The BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Part 3.16 requires a medium hazard workplace of one employee to have access to a personal first aid kit. So yes you do. The contents of a personal first aid kit are found in the Part 3 guidelines here.

Does the Trucking Safety Council of BC enforce any of the rules in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation or National Safety Code?

No. The Trucking Safety Council of BC is not responsible for enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation or National Safety Code. We are a Certifying Partner for the Transportation and Warehousing sector’s Certificate of Recognition (COR). Our main purpose is education, guidance and assessment of companies on their way to a Certificate of Recognition. The services we offer are confidential and remain between the company and TSCBC.

Rights and Responsibilities

What does the right to know mean?

A worker’s right to know involves being informed of the hazards associated with their work and appropriate methods and procedures for safely performing that work. This would include the correct use of any protective clothing or apparatus required for the job.

What does the right to participate mean?

A worker’s right to participate involves worker participation in the development and function of a company safety program or safe work procedures. Worker participation is also expected in the safety committee where workers have a responsibility to review safety activities undertaken by the company such as inspections and investigations.

What does the right to refuse unsafe work mean?

You can refuse to do tasks and to work in conditions you think are unsafe, without being fired or being disciplined for refusing. You have the right to be supervised to make sure you are working without unnecessary risk to yourself or others.

Training

How can I become trainer for future commercial vehicle operators?

In order to train drivers in BC, a trainer must obtain an instructor license from ICBC. There is a specific set of requirements which includes, but not limited to, a valid driver’s license, fewer than 10 points within the last 2 years, and a completion of an instructor training course. A full list of requirements and additional information on the application and instructor training course can be found by visiting the ICBC Become a Driving Instructor page.

How can I make certain that I have the right type of training and workers know the appropriate information?

Depending on whether you are federally or provincially regulated the specific elements will be slightly different, but employees must be aware of the hazards involved in the job and be able to safely do the job after training.

How often should employees be trained in most workplaces?

It’s not how often but when. Anytime your employee takes on a new role or task they need to be trained to do so safely.

Can you give me some examples of when I would need to train?

There is always the initial orientation and when employees return after an extended leave. An example of a new task is moving from a van style trailer to a flatbed where training would be needed on load securement and tarping

What is the best way to get started with employee training?

Start looking for those areas where damage or injury risks are greatest and see if you are training your employees to safely handle those hazards.

How can SafetyDriven help me set up my training program?

SafetyDriven provides guidance and assistance in setting up your training all of which is free for SafetyDriven members.
You can contact a safety advisor at ohsadvisor@safetydriven.ca for assistance or check our resources page on this website

What is a Safety Evaluation?

A Safety Evaluation is a free, non-judgemental evaluation of your safety management system that tries to determine if you are ready for the Certificate of Recognition. When the evaluation is complete you are provided with a confidential report of our assessment. If some areas are in need of attention you will be given an action plan to help you make corrections and better prepare for the Certificate of Recognition.

What is the Learning Academy?

The Learning Academy is a portal to our training resources. This is where you can sign up for both online and classroom courses. While all the courses are available at cost please note that most courses are free for members. In addition to providing the training the system is also capable of tracking the training for your records.

I have never been trained on air disc brakes. How do I deal with them?

A query to the CVSE obtained this response:

With regard to disc brakes. I cannot see any roadside requests coming from enforcement staff to demonstrate any adjustment type procedure. Disc brakes do not have any manual adjustment capabilities.

With that stated…. Rockwell disc brakes from the 90’s utilized slack adjusters and would have been subject to the same inspection standards and push rod values.  This style of brake is pretty much obsolete in fact Rockwell made a conversion kit to return vehicles fitted with that style of disc to drum brakes.

There was also a disc brake that used and actuator/bell crank to move the caliper it was called Cam master I think it was Freightliner who used it for a short time before it too fell out of favor.

The Cam master brake had no means of Driver adjustment.”

So really the inspection of brake components still comes down to

  • Rotor condition – if visible
  • Hub leaks and contamination
  • Brake hose condition
  • Brake chamber mounting

Essentially, these are the main mechanical conditions that a good pre-trip will pick up.  If you are doing a good pre-trip then you are already doing what needs to be done.

Accident/Incident Investigations

What materials should I put together for my accident investigation kit?

The accident investigation kit is a collection of items that make your job of investigating easier and better organized. The complexity of your organization will dictate how sophisticated your kit will become but it is easy to see how many of the following items are common sense.

  • Pencil and paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Report forms
  • Flashlight
  • Marking tape and/or cones
  • Contact numbers of company management and regulators
  • Chalk or lumber crayon
  • Camera – this item is becoming obsolete as cell phones are now all equipped with good quality cameras

Other materials would include safety gear such as high visibility clothing, work gloves, hearing protection, and safety glasses. The more complex the investigation the more material you should assemble but remember the purpose behind the kit is so you do not have to go looking for a pencil in the middle of an investigation.

How to do a Preliminary Investigation?

A preliminary investigation is only a portion of a complete investigation process. This Tips & Tricks is developed to help you understand what type of investigation require a preliminary investigation, when it must be completed by, how to do one, and who should receive a copy.

What type of an incident requires a preliminary investigation?

A preliminary investigation must be completed when an incident occurs that causes or had the potential to cause serious injury. Incidents that require an employee to seek medical treatment or reported to WorkSafeBC must also be investigated.

When should a preliminary investigation be completed by?

A preliminary investigation must be completed within 48 hours of the occurrence of an incident. A preliminary investigation report is not as extensive as a full investigation report but gives the employer the opportunity to collect information immediately after the incident which is often the most accurate.

How is a preliminary investigation completed?

To complete a preliminary investigation, refer to the Employer Incident Investigation Report. The first three pages of the report apply to the preliminary investigation. The remaining page can be completed with the full investigation report.

You can find the Employer Incident Investigation Report and the Guide to Completing an Employer Incident Investigation Report by clicking the respective links.

Who should receive a copy of a preliminary investigation?

Once completed, a copy of the preliminary investigation must be given to the joint committee (large employer) or the worker health and safety representative (small employer). A copy of an investigation does not have to be submitted to WorkSafeBC unless an officer directs you to provide one.

What is the purpose of doing an investigation?

An investigation gives you an opportunity to determine the root causes of the incident. This lets you see exactly how it developed, usually over a period of time, and lets you put corrections in place that prevent a repeat of the same thing again and again.

What is required to ensure an investigation is adequately carried out?

Proper preparation starts well before an incident occurs with assembling a team and the materials to enable them to collect information about any incident. The team needs training in how to perform the incident investigation and a clear understanding of the purpose of the investigation. Of course if there is an incident you must make the team available to do the investigation

What are some common mistakes made when conducting incident investigations?

Probably the worst error is when the investigation assigns blame to individuals rather than looking for root causes. This is short sighted and prevents any meaningful corrections from being made. The second type of mistake is when investigation is carried out without being documented. Without records you have no proof of your safety activities.

The third type of mistake is when recommendations are not developed from the findings. Why do the investigation if you are not going to learn from it?

And finally, the last type of mistake is when results of investigation are not communicated to staff. When you have made changes you also need to let everyone know what they are so they can be part of the new safer system.

What resources are available to learn more about incident investigations?

SafetyDriven has developed an online investigations course that will certainly get you started. Like all our resources it is free for members and can be accessed at www.safetydriven.ca/resources.
You can also contact a safety advisor at ohsadvisor@safetydriven.ca

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

How often should JOHSC meetings be held?

Frequency depends on the jurisdiction you fall under. Provincially regulated employers are required to carry out 12 joint committee meetings each year and federally regulated employers are required to carry out 9 each year.

Who should attend the JOHSC meetings?

Meetings must have representation from both employees, management and union reps (if applicable). The exact number of attendees is outlined in legislation. Contact a Safety Advisor to find up to date information on legislative requirements.

Do I need to keep a record of JOHSC meetings?

Meetings must be documented to list topics discussed and issues that must be resolved in upcoming meetings. Contact a Safety Advisor to determine the information that must documented.

How to create an JOHSC agenda and document meeting minutes?

Click here

I have a large part time workforce. Does this mean I still need to have a safety committee?

Yes. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation if you have 20 or more employees you must have a safety committee. There is no difference noted between full and part time workers and the Prevention Policy does not provide any further clarification. Looking at the WorkSafeBC guidelines they indicate that cyclic workers are to be considered when counting the number of employees at a given location.

Under the Canada Labour Code Part II section 135.1, if there are twenty or more employees in the workplace then a workplace health and safety committee must be established. There is no differentiation between full and part time in the code and regular part time employees could be counted in the number of employees regularly on the work site.

Safety Culture

What does management leadership and commitment mean when speaking about an employer?

Leadership and commitment are foundations for the employer’s health and safety program. It demonstrates the employer’s commitment towards health and safety. Start by establishing clear policies around how the company is expected to function safely. Policies are both your promises to your employees as well as your expectations of performance from them. Once established make sure you communicate the policies to your employees so they know the rules and then comes the hard part. You have to follow the policies yourself.

What are some of the common mistakes made around management leadership and commitment?

Common mistakes for management leadership and commitment include having unwritten rules, not following the policies you have written, failing to communicate expectations of performance, and not holding employees accountable for their actions. Your company’s health and safety program will perform much better if policies are clearly communicated and employees take responsibility for ensuring their safety.

What are some best practices to get started with management leadership and commitment?

Employers should establish clear written policies that only include things that you plan to do. Be certain to sign and date the policy when created. Make sure they are available for review by all employees. Review them annually to see if they are still appropriate. When reviewed make sure you update the signature and date. And always be sure to follow them yourself since this is the mark of a leader.

Hazard Identification

Why do I have to do a ‘Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment’ of my workplace.

This always seems to be a make work project for most people but the hazard identification as simple as it is does give you some good information. Most of us operate knowing that we will see the danger and therefore be able to avoid it. That is true, if you have experience and are aware of EVERYTHING around you, but how about the person just starting? They may look right at the hazardous bits and not understand how dangerous it really is.

Creating a list of hazards gives you a start on what you need to tell that inexperienced person who is just starting. That’s the beginning of an instruction or orientation list. Going further, by making that list you are now examining the hazards in your workplace and thinking about how you control them. You wouldn’t be the first person to say, “Why are we still doing things this way?

One more benefit if the hazard identification is to give written proof that you have really looked at what you are doing and have made real effort to deal with the hazards before they become accidents.

If you would like more information on how to perform your own hazard assessments you can check our online courses, or even better, why not contact one of our safety advisors to come out and help you evaluate your worksite.

When you say hazard Identification do you mean something specific? What should I consider a hazard and what should I do about it?

A hazard is anything that could cause injury or property damage. To be practical you are looking for things that are real hazards in your workplace for example falling from the load while tarping, or being struck by moving equipment in the yard.
The best way to document the hazards in your operation is to use a job safety analysis.

What is a job safety analysis?

A job safety analysis (JSA) is a formal way of prioritizing hazards and developing controls. By carrying out a JSA you be certain that hazards are prioritized ensuring hazards with the greatest risk to employees’ safety are mitigated. Documenting the JSA also ensures a method to review the effectiveness of controls on a regular basis.

What are some common mistakes made when doing hazard assessments?

One common mistake is not engaging the frontline staff in the process. Employees doing the job are experts so it is important to use them. Another common mistake getting too specific with hazards. Look at real hazards and try to be practical. You are not looking for death by paper cut hazards but if it could cause a time loss, it needs to be recorded.

Where can I go to get more resources to get started on the hazard assessment process?

Employers will have two options to get started with their hazard assessment process

  • Check our website templates and tools under resources
  • Contact us to work one-on-one with one our Safety Advisors

What is the ‘hierarchy of controls’ that I keep hearing about?

Using the hierarchy of controls is just a fancy way of saying, select the most effective control first, and there are good reasons for using it. The most common response people have when dealing with a workplace hazard is to purchase and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, hardhats, or goggles. The problem with these is they do nothing to reduce the hazard and should they fail there will be an injury.

It is far more effective to reduce the level of hazard and with that in mind you can see how this ordered list works.

  • Eliminate the hazard. Great idea! No hazard, no problem, but can any of us stop work and stay in business. While elimination is the most effective it is usually the least possible to implement.
  • Substitute something less hazardous. This would be replacing a highly toxic or flammable solvent with one that has much lower hazardous properties. By reducing the hazard at the source, we improve the overall safety of the workplace.
  • Engineered controls. These are things like the bolted on guard around a gear train or belt drive. They don’t need any thought by workers but keep the hazard contained and unable to cause damage or injury.
  • Administrative controls. Workplace rules and safe work procedures are good examples. They are very effective controls and often the only practical solution. Unfortunately, they are also seriously flawed in that they require worker participation every time for them to work correctly. Any time we depend on people to use the correct procedure as our only control, we will have lapses which do result in accidents.
  • Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. As stated above this is the last resort not the first. PPE should only be used when there is a hazard that cannot be totally dealt with by a more effective method.

Inspections

Are there any other inspections other than equipment inspections?

Yes! If you have mobile equipment it needs to be included in your inspection program and site inspections are a necessary part of your safety program

Why are site inspections required for trucking companies?

Inspections are a preventative step towards workplace safety. Done properly an inspection detects unsafe conditions before they develop into an accident

What is involved with a site inspection?

Determine what areas should be inspected. This would be anything essential and includes things like fire exits and general housekeeping and develop a form that lists critical elements so that none are missed.

Document any new hazards or deficiencies that you find and assign responsibility for their correction.
Try to inspect on a regular schedule, usually monthly but that may vary as the hazard level dictates

Who should take part in the site inspection?

It is always good to involve management as well as employees. If you have a safety committee they should participate as employee representatives. Those responsible for performing inspections should also receive training in the process.