OHS Services


As a CIH and CRSP qualified consultant, Peter can help you and your company become compliant to WorkSafeBC and CSA Standard Z1006-10 requirements.


OHS management system design and implementation
Hazard identification and risk assessment 
Confined space management
Respiratory protection programs
WorkSafeBC compliance plans
WHMIS programs and training
Occupational health and safety training
WorkSafeBC exposure registry
Wood dust explosion hazard assessment and control
Asbestos management plans




OHS Management System Design and Implementation

  
From financial and quality controls to security systems and procedures, every business relies on management systems to contain risks and maximize efficiency (and profit). Health and safety risks are no different. Ignoring risks needlessly endangers the success and viability of your company.


An OHS Management System is designed to control the risk of exposing your employees to hazards that lead to occupational injury or disease. Accidents at work can be tragic and costly, and they are preventable. In fact, WorkSafeBC (like other provincial safety regulators) requires that every employer must have an overall OHS program, as well as specific policies and programs to comply with OHS regulations so that work is carried out without undue risk of injury or occupational disease.


As a certified OHS professional, I can help your company develop and implement an OHS management system to control your risks, minimize the likelihood of occupational injury or disease and comply with your legal obligations.


Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment


Most workplaces expose workers to some level of risk, and all employers are required to ensure that work is carried out without undue risk. The first step in minimizing risk in your workplace is to identify all hazards and either eliminate them or control them. If that sounds easy, think again. Legislated demands are increasingly complex, and require a professional and well-documented approach to hazard identification, risk assessment and control.


Managing health and safety, identifying and controlling hazards and complying with legal requirements is increasingly complex, and the costs of workplace accidents can be enormous. Failing to comply with OHS legal requirements can not only increase your company’s exposure to the risk of accidents, but can result in citations, crippling fines and even prosecution. In 2012, WorkSafeBC imposed 260 penalties, totaling $2.9 million against employers for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers Compensation Act.


As a qualified OHS professional, I can help you assess your workplace hazards and implement controls and procedures to control the risks. You can’t afford not to. 



Confined Space Management 


Confined spaces are common in many workplaces, and millions of Canadians enter them routinely as part of their work. When they do, the result can be disaster if the work is not properly managed. In BC alone, 18 workers died between 1989 and 2004 while working in confined spaces; five of them were would-be rescuers. In a recent example where three workers died and two more suffered severe and permanent brain damage, fines totaled $350,000.


Confined space accidents can be prevented. The key is a confined space management system. WorkSafeBC requires that every employer must prepare and implement a written confined space entry program before a worker enters a confined space. Failure to do so can not only lead to serious injury or death, but can also result in substantial fines or even prosecution. The program must be prepared by a qualified person with experience and with professional qualifications that include CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) and CRSP (Canadian Registered Safety Professional). Those qualifications are not easy to come by.


Representing WorkSafeBC, I helped create Canada’s first confined space standard - CSA Standard Z1006 (Management of Work in Confined Spaces). As a seasoned OHS professional with CIH and CRSP qualifications, I can help your company prepare and implement a comprehensive written confined space entry program that complies with WorkSafeBC requirements, and with CSA Z1006.


Respiratory Protection Programs 


When work conditions involve harmful air contaminants, the best solution is to engineer the problem out. Sometimes though, exposure to airborne hazards can’t be avoided, and the only effective way to control the risk is respiratory protection. But it’s not that simple. Investing in the wrong type of respirator or using or maintaining it improperly will be a zero return on investment with no impact on risk control.


A professional respiratory protection program that ensures proper selection, maintenance and use of respiratory protection is critical in controlling exposure to risk. In fact, when respirators are needed in the workplace, WorkSafeBC requires them to be selected in accordance with CSA Standard Z94.4 (Selection, Use and Care of Respirators). And the employer must have an effective program that includes written procedures for selection, care and use, as well as instruction and training, fit-testing and written documentation. This program must be reviewed annually. Failure to implement an effective program not only places your employees at increased risk, it increases your company’s risk of WorkSafeBC citations and substantial fines.


As WorkSafeBC’s representative, I helped develop the current edition of CSA Standard Z94.4, so I know what an effective respirator program entails. I can help your company develop and implement an effective respirator program that complies with WorkSafeBC requirements, and with CSA Standard Z94.4.


WorkSafeBC Compliance Plans


A WorkSafeBC prevention officer can enter a workplace at any reasonable time, without advance notice, to carry out an inspection. The officer may tour the worksite, observe work practices, speak with workers, inspect equipment, review records and collect samples, to determine compliance with the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and
Safety Regulation. At the conclusion of the inspection, the officer will deliver an Inspection Report listing any observed infractions and ordering corrective measures that must be obeyed within a specified time.


Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself facing a WorkSafeBC Inspection Report that cites your company for one or more violations. When that happens, you will need a plan to comply. In fact, you may be ordered to submit a written “Notice of Compliance” within a specified time, often 30 days or less. WorkSafeBC follows up aggressively on most if not all orders they issue, so you can expect to be held accountable. Failure to comply with orders will result in repeated citations, warning letters and fines which can severely impact your bottom line.


With extensive experience as a WorkSafeBC Prevention Officer and Regional Prevention Manager, I know what is expected. I can help you prepare a comprehensive action plan to comply with WorkSafeBC orders, including orders to submit a Notice of Compliance. You can’t afford to ignore WorkSafeBC orders.



WHMIS Programs and Training


Under “right-to-know” legislation, workers have rights to information about harmful substances that they may be exposed to at work. The “Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System” (WHMIS) has been in force since 1988, requiring employers and suppliers to provide readily accessible information to workers in the form of labels, placards, signs and symbols, as well as “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDS). In addition, employers must ensure that workers are adequately trained to understand the hazards they face and the controls necessary to protect them.


The WHMIS system is expected to be replaced by the “Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (GHS) that is being implemented in Canada. Health Canada expects to have the final GHS requirements in place in early 2014 and fully in force in 2015. This change in right-to-know legislation will make it more important than ever that suppliers, employers and workers understand the new requirements.


As a certified industrial hygienist, I can help suppliers and employers comply with current WHMIS requirements and prepare for changes expected when the GHS is implemented. From designing your WHMIS/GHS compliance system to providing education and training for your supervisors and workers, I can help decipher complex health and safety information to ensure that your workers are adequately informed and that you comply with your legal requirements.



Occupational Health and Safety Training 


All workers need sufficient training to do their jobs properly, and that includes working safely. Workplace accidents and disease are not only unfortunate for affected workers, they can be extremely costly. It is well known that with a better trained workforce, workers who are aware of risks and trained in how to deal with them have fewer injuries and lower accident-related costs.


WorkSafeBC, like all provincial safety regulators, requires employers to provide workers with information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety. There are general and specific training requirements in many sections of the regulation, and that includes training supervisors. From orientation for new and young workers to annual training for health and safety committee members, training is required and expected.


As an experienced OHS professional, I can help you provide training for your workers and supervisors in general and specific topics, including:

Confined space work
Respiratory protection
WHMIS
Accident investigation
Supervisor training
Joint health and safety committee member training


WorkSafeBC Exposure Registry​


Some substances can cause serious or fatal disease long after a worker is exposed. For example, exposure to asbestos can result in lung cancer many years or even decades after exposure. Yet WorkSafeBC claims are only accepted for injuries and disease, not for exposure to substances that can cause disease later in life.


For this reason, WorkSafeBC has created a new exposure registry that allows workers, employers, unions or other persons to register a worker’s exposure. This registry forms a permanent record of exposure that may help establish a claim for compensation if an occupational disease develops in the future. Exposures that can be registered include:

Asbestos
Formaldehyde
Hepatitis
HIV
Isocyanates
Lead


As a certified occupational hygienist, I can help you determine when and how a workplace exposure should be registered with WorkSafeBC.


Wood Dust Explosion Hazard Assessment and Control


Explosions at two BC sawmills in 2012 resulted in four fatalities and at least 20 injuries. Wood dust was thought to be a potential fuel source that contributed to these tragic incidents. In response to those incidents, WorkSafeBC ordered all sawmills to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of combustible dust hazards, and to implement an effective combustible dust control program.


Combustible dust hazards are not restricted to sawmills. Explosions involving combustible dust have occurred in many other industries, including: 

woodworking and wood processing facilities
pellet and planer mills
food production
chemical manufacturing (e.g., rubber, aluminum, sugar, plastics, pharmaceuticals)
metal processing (e.g., zinc, magnesium, aluminum, iron)
recycling facilities (e.g., paper, plastics, metals)
grain elevators


The BC Safety Authority recommends that “Industry professionals with the appropriate knowledge and experience necessary to evaluate the combustion risk of a potentially hazardous location, should be consulted to confirm the classification as hazardous, or not, and to evaluate the effectiveness of hazard management techniques.”


At WorkSafeBC, I was responsible for coordinating regional efforts to ensure sawmills properly managed their combustible dust hazards, and I received specialized training in assessing and controlling combustible dusts. I can help you proactively manage your risks before a WorkSafeBC inspection, and I can help you comply if orders are issued. I know what is expected and what to look for.


Asbestos Management Plans


Exposure to asbestos in the workplace can cause serious and fatal disease, often years after the event. Although too small to be visible to the naked eye, when airborne asbestos fibres are inhaled, they lodge deep in the lung and remain there, causing damage that can cripple and kill. Unfortunately, asbestos is present in many workplaces because it was commonly used in many products, including:

Insulation, including asbestos-contaminated vermiculite
Vinyl floor tiles
Ceiling tiles
Drywall joint compounds
Asbestos cement (transite)
Gasket materials
Roofing
Brake and clutch friction materials


Because it is so dangerous, employers need to know where asbestos-containing material (ACM) is present in their workplaces. This requires sampling suspect materials (a specialized procedure that requires training to avoid contaminating the work area), maintaining an up-to-date ACM inventory, identifying all ACM by labels or signs, conducting a risk assessment to determine appropriate controls options and implementing an asbestos exposure control program when necessary. WorkSafeBC requires that the identification, inventory and risk assessment must be conducted by a qualified person with education, training and experience in the management and control of asbestos hazards.


As a certified industrial hygienist with extensive experience in asbestos management and control practices, I can help you identify and inventory ACM in your workplace and prepare a professional, documented asbestos risk assessment and exposure control plan. I know what WorkSafeBC requires.

Peter Gilmour, CIH - Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Consultant

Advanced OHS Solutions​ Inc

CALL Peter (250) 734-3344