Northern Ontario firms share best practices
Last month in Thunder Bay, health and safety managers and Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) members from pulp and paper firms in northern Ontario along with Workplace Safety North (WSN) staff participated in a one-day pulp and paper safety forum to share best practices and learn from each other.
Tom Welton, Director of Industrial at WSN, made a presentation on injury and illness trends in the paper, printing and converting sector. The top three lost-time injuries in the sector were musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), contact with objects or equipment, and falls. Also, between 2009 and 2013, 225 noise-induced hearing loss claims were allowed by Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in the pulp and paper rate group.
Welton also provided an update of WSN training program initiatives:
- JHSC Certification training courses (Part 1 and Part 2) have been upgraded to meet new provincial training program standards and provider requirements
- Safe Use of Machinery safety training program has been updated to assist in addressing concerns related to injuries caused by contact with objects and equipment
- Working at Heights training program is currently being finalized, and will meet the new provincial training program and provider standards
Ministry of Labour inspector Doug Cettina and engineer Jeff Rivard provided an overview of the machine guarding inspection blitz underway from November 3 to December 14, 2014. Cettina mentioned inspectors also will look at a company’s internal responsibility system, MSD program, and to see if workers are exposed to chemicals such as metal working fluids and degreasing solvents. Cettina also reviewed statistics, duties of the workplace parties, and types of guarding and energy sources. Rivard discussed machine guarding requirements and touched on the importance of pre-start health and safety reviews.
Updates to JHSC Certification training
Jerry Traer, WSN Training-Program Specialist, discussed updates to the two and a half day JHSC Certification Part 2 training program specific to the pulp and paper sector. Topics for pulp and paper workplace-specific hazards include:
- Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders
- Chemical safety
- Heat stress
- Electrical hazards
- Basic machine safety
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Mobile lifting equipment
- Confined spaces
The following are best practices that were shared with the group.
Dashboard reporting tool
Bob Ormerod from AV Terrace Bay explained the advantages of the dashboard tool they use throughout the workplace. Key performance indicators are identified and trends are posted. Departments can also identify areas of concern and equipment failures.
Personal heat monitors, chemical safety, peer-to-peer tours
Ted Priddle from Domtar Espanola shared the following best practices:
- Personal heat monitors to protect employees from heat stress related illness
- Use of Diphoterine – a solution designed to neutralize acids, bases and irritants – to create a reverse absorption effect should employees get these toxic substances on their skin or in their eyes.
- Peer-to-peer tours where employees share health and safety information and encourage co-workers to get involved with safety initiatives in the workplace.
Three pillars of safety
Robbin Lavoie from Resolute Thunder Bay shared the following ‘Three Pillars of Safety’ best practices:
- One-on-one safety performance interviews with all staff
- Mandatory pre-task analysis before all jobs are started
- Ongoing hazard recognition by reporting hazards through the near-miss database.
Upgrades to machine guarding
Yasir Zelaya from Tembec, Kapuskasing shared numerous guarding upgrades that have taken place throughout the workplace.
Pre-Start Health and Safety Reviews: Simon Fridlyand, PEng from SAFE Engineering in Toronto provided the group with a session on pre-start health and safety reviews (PSHSR) focusing on why and when PSHSRs are required, as well as the liabilities of the professional engineer who conducts the PSHSR.
Ergonomics: Sabrina Francescut, WSN Ergonomic-Health Specialist, provided attendees with stretching techniques that could be used in the workplace, and presented information on the ergonomic-health services member firms can access from WSN.
Plans to meet again
Participants found the day’s session valuable and would like these types of events to continue – perhaps two or three times per year to keep the momentum flowing within the group. A conference call, webinar or video conference call was suggested during the year to help save on travel costs. Other suggestions for pulp and paper health and safety professional development include medical response, Emergency Rescue and Response Team, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board audit talks, and updates from the Ministry of Labour.