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Friday February 15, 2013
Written by PEM Staff
A vegetable processing plant in Tecumseh, Ont., has been fined $65,000 after a worker was injured while cleaning a machine. On Sept. 20, 2010, a worker at the company's Tecumseh facility was cleaning a machine. Part of the machine consisted of a waste chute that contained a rotating vane to control the rate of debris falling onto a conveyor. The worker noticed debris in this part of the machine and reached a hand up through the bottom of the chute to clean the area. The machine was not equipped with a guard to prevent access to its pinch point, and the worker's arm was trapped. After a trial, on Dec. 18, 2012, Bonduelle Ontario was found guilty of failing to ensure that the machine was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point, for the safety of a worker. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Angela Renaud. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Wednesday February 13, 2013
Written by PEM Staff
Fire-Lite Alarms by Honeywell has hired Alex McAllister for the position of regional sales manager to provide dealers and security equipment distributors throughout Ontario and Western Canada with training, technical data and other sales support resources. McAllister joins Fire-Lite Alarms with more than 20 years of work experience within the electronic security industry. Following similar managerial positions with security systems manufacturers Chubb and C & K Systems, he feels this new role is a natural progression. “I like the fact that the systems I’m supporting are an open platform and sold at multiple distributors across Canada,” he says. “Training and product application support are going to be two primary focuses for me to help our customers get the most out of Fire-Lite and its products.” www.firelite.com
Monday January 21, 2013
Written by PEM Staff
Ontario will conduct three heightened enforcement blitzes at workplaces across the province this winter. Inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will visit: • Underground mines to check on diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality in January and February; • Industrial and construction workplaces to check for slips, trips and falls hazards in February and March; and • Health care workplaces to check on workplace violence and harassment in February and March. The blitzes will: • Raise awareness of health and safety in the workplace; • Prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices; and • Check that workplaces are complying with the law. During blitzes, inspectors will check on the condition and maintenance of safety equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries. Protecting workers on the job is part of the McGuinty government's continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy, while creating jobs. The blitzes are part of Ontario’s enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. This past fall blitzes also targeted supervision at construction sites, machine guarding hazards at industrial workplaces, infection prevention and control at health care workplaces and ore transfer in underground mines. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 47 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces. www.labour.gov.on.ca
Monday January 14, 2013
Written by André Voshart
The condition and operation of tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment continues to be a key concern in Ontario. The province’s Ministry of Labour has reported that a number of incidents involving cranes and concrete pumping equipment have resulted in death and serious injuries to workers in the past few years. Some of these incidents occurred when cranes overturned, contacted electrical conductors or when the cranes or the material being lifted struck or crushed workers when the load was dropped. Between July 1 and Aug. 31, 2012, ministry inspectors conducted a blitz of hazards involving tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment. And while the inspections were limited to Ontario, the takeaways are relevant to anywhere across the country. Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not notified in advance. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations. During the blitz, inspectors focused on the following key priorities: • Safe access and fall prevention: Inspectors checked for the required presence and adequacy of access ladders and guardrails or other access equipment. They also checked for required fall arrest equipment to protect workers who could fall from tower cranes. • Proximity to overhead energized power lines: Inspectors checked if the crane operator maintained the minimum distance of approach from overhead energized power lines, if the voltage of such power lines was identified and if a procedure was in place to maintain the minimum distance of the crane or its load from the overhead power lines. • Tower crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records at the construction site on the condition of tower cranes, before and after erection, including a professional engineer's design drawings for tower crane installation. Inspectors checked that tower cranes were properly inspected prior to first use, and regularly inspected and maintained afterwards. Inspectors also reviewed logbook entries to ensure operational functions (such as limit and overload limit switches) were properly tested. • Mobile crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records such as the crane operator log book and operator manual. Inspectors checked that cranes were inspected and maintained as required. • Training: Inspectors checked that mobile crane operators were certified to operate a crane at a construction site or were being instructed in crane operation and accompanied by a person who had the required certification. • Various other issues: Inspectors checked on the structural, mechanical and foundational integrity of cranes, safety systems, setup, proximity to people and safe hoisting practices. The inspectors visited many types of workplaces, including sewer and water main construction and repair; commercial building construction; asphalt paving and roadwork on existing streets; hydro utility installation, underground and above ground; underground tunnel construction; cable installation involving various types of telephone, electrical and fibre optics; and hydroelectric and nuclear power plants construction activity. Inspectors issued orders at a rate of 2.53 per workplace visit. During this blitz, inspectors visited 527 construction projects and issued 1,481 orders, including 149 stop work orders. The total number of visits was 608 because some of the workplaces were visited several times. Orders were issued for various violations of the OHSA and the Regulations for Construction Projects. In general, the blitz results indicate hazards involving failure to use personal protective equipment continue to be a at concern on construction projects. Maintenance of vehicles, tools and equipment also represents a major health and safety concern. Crane-related issues (such as use of outriggers, rigging methods and equipment records) represent areas where continued vigilance is also required. There is a need for a better understanding of the regulatory requirements for constructors and employers on construction projects, such as ensuring that the necessary controls for occupational health and safety are developed and implemented at construction projects. Employers should focus on raising workplace parties' awareness of key health and safety hazards involving traffic on construction sites and during roadwork projects and thereby promoting improved health and safety for workers on construction sites with traffic and road work projects. A health and safety culture requires all workplace parties to be vigilant and to give appropriate attention to workplace health and safety. In other words, the workplace must have a well- functioning internal responsibility system in which all workplace parties take responsibility for their own health and safety and that of their co-workers. A strong commitment by everyone in the workplace is needed to prevent injuries and illness and to reduce risk. Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control crane-related hazards found on construction projects. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 266,000 field visits, 40 inspection blitzes and issued more than 426,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
Monday January 14, 2013
Written by PEM Staff
IKO Industries Ltd., a Calgary-based roofing manufacturer, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. On March 24, 2011, at the company's Brampton facility, a worker was investigating a problem on one of the production lines that manufactures asphalt shingles. The worker placed a gloved hand on a sheet of asphalt that was being processed. The worker's hand was pulled into a roller and exposed to a pot of tar. The worker suffered third degree burns. IKO Industries Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the line's rollers were equipped with a guard or other device to prevent access to the pinch point. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Monday December 03, 2012
Written by PEM Staff
One of the largest mini-mill steel producers and recyclers in North America is putting a “wet blanket” on slag dust from ladle and tundish dumping, improving safety and cleanliness while preventing dust migration. The Gerdau Ameristeel facility in Cambridge, Ont., uses a specially-designed atomized mist system developed specifically for dust suppression, reducing potential hazards and improving visibility around the dumping pit and in the nearby service area. This facility has the capacity to produce 300,000 standard tons annually of low to medium carbon steel bars, primarily from feedstocks of recycled materials. “At the end of a casting sequence, several tons of slag can be left over that must be purged,” senior engineer John Andric explained. “When ladles and tundishes are dumped, the falling slag has the potential to create large quantities of dust.” In short, he said, “We needed something that could control the dust quickly as it was generated, at ground level.” After seeing a Dust Control Technology unit in action in another steelmaking facility, they opted to specify a DB-30 for the slag dump area, the smallest member of the DustBoss product family. Mounted on a movable carriage, the unit has a 7.5-horsepower motor that generates 9,200 CFM of airflow. The ducted fan design has an adjustable throw angle from 0º to 50° elevation and the standard unit oscillates up to 70º. When equipped with the new 359-degree oscillation option, the DB-30 can cover more than 30,000 square feet using just a standard 5/8-inch garden hose. According to Dust Control Technology CEO Edwin Peterson, there are typically three different opportunities for fugitive slag particle emissions to emerge during steel processing. “The first is from the initial fall of material, and is usually of short duration,” he said. “The second occurs during subsequent tempering and cooling operations, when vapor from the cooling water rises and carries particulates into the air. Dust can also be released any time a particle’s terminal settling velocity (from gravity) is lower than the thermal updraft velocity (from heat), which causes it to rise and potentially migrate.” Unfortunately, slag dust is made up of a number of different-sized particles, some of which are extremely small and lightweight, therefore mobile. DustBoss equipment has been extensively tested at a number of slag processing sites, with various modifications and configurations evaluated in a range of combinations to gauge their effectiveness. One of the keys to the equipment’s success has been the ability to automate operation, allowing slag processors to control on/off cycles, direction, oscillation arc and other features from a remote location or via hand-held wireless control. Fully integrated systems can be operated entirely by remote control whenever a slag dump is underway. At Gerdau Cambridge, the DB-30 is mounted in an elevated location above the dump area and direct wired to 575 volt, 3-phase service. The company uses the city water supply, delivered through a heat traced and insulated line, so pressure remains at a fairly constant 40-60 PSI (2.76-4.14 BAR). Andric says he’s pleased with the results from the DustBoss: “It does just what it was designed to do, delivering the mist over a wide coverage area.” This is an edited article provided by Dust Control Technology. For more information, visit www.dustboss.com.
Tuesday November 20, 2012
Written by The Canadian Press and PEM Staff
A special fund will be created to help the families of victims in a plant explosion last week that killed three people, sent 19 to hospital and flattened an industrial facility — and the Quebec environment ministry has handed the company two notices of non-compliance. The company that owns the plant, Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, said the fund would pay for psychological help and offer financial assistance to families of workers who were killed or remained in hospital. It did not disclose financial amounts Monday but said more details would be released soon. “There are few, or no, words to convey the pain, sadness and anger in each of us,” said Henri Harland, the company founder and CEO. “Of course, none of these measures can make up for the loss of three measures of our family. But I hope these measures at least help reduce some of the unfair pressure created by this incident.” An explosion and subsequent fire destroyed the company’s production plant in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The explosion could be heard for kilometres, and the subsequent fire reduced the plant to heaps of charred rubble. The company, which produces health products from marine life, saw its shares plunge more than 10 per cent in the moments after the disaster and has had trading on its shares suspended last week. Initially, the cause of the blast had not yet been determined. Harland said he is hoping to reopen the plant, “in the very short term,” in Sherbrooke. According to the Montreal Gazette, “the Quebec environment ministry has handed the company two notices of non-compliance to do with the amount of acetone on the premises and the company’s lack of permit to expand its production facilities.” The explosion is believed to have started in one of the reservoirs containing highly flammable acetone, commonly used as paint thinner or nail polish remover. The provincial workplace-safety board is investigating and the company said it is co-operating with the investigation. It has also asked its insurance company to create a dedicated unit to help Neptune employees process their claims quickly. It was one of two similar incidents in Quebec within a 24-hour period. Several hours later, an explosion rocked a plant in the same region belonging to Bombardier Recreational Products. Bombardier announced Monday that one of its employees, who was in hospital, had died from his injuries. The company said Sebastien Tardif, a 38-year-old father of two, died from injuries sustained in the explosion at the Valcourt, Que., research facility. A second person who was injured in the blast, a security guard, remained in intensive care in the burn unit of Quebec City’s Enfant-Jesus hospital. Tardif was a dynamometer operator, an instrument that is used to measure torque, power or force. The company said an investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the blast during the night shift at the facility. The research centre is closed but the company said manufacturing operations have not been affected. The company said in a statement that its thoughts were with Tardif’s family and friends and it offered support to the family and Tardif’s fellow employees. BRP was spun off by Bombardier Inc. in 2003. It is half-owned by Bain Capital, with the founding Beaudoin family holding a 35 per cent stake and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec owning the rest. The Valcourt plant produces Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo jet skis and Can-Am all-terrain vehicles and is located about 130 kilometres east of Montreal. Quebec’s workplace health and safety commission is investigating both explosions to try determining a cause.
Tuesday November 13, 2012
Written by The Canadian Press
VALCOURT, Que. — A special fund will be created to help the families of victims in a plant explosion last week that killed at least one employee, sent 19 to hospital and flattened an industrial facility. The company that owns the plant, Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, announced its plan to set up the fund Monday. It said the fund would pay for psychological help and offer financial assistance to families of workers who were killed or remained in hospital. It did not disclose financial amounts Monday but said more details would be released soon. “There are few, or no, words to convey the pain, sadness and anger in each of us,” said Henri Harland, the company founder and CEO. “Of course, none of these measures can make up for the loss ... But I hope these measures at least help reduce some of the unfair pressure created by this incident.” An explosion and subsequent fire destroyed the company’s production plant in Quebec’s Eastern Tornships. The explosion could be heard for kilometres, and the subsequent fire reduced the plant to heaps of charred rubble. The company, which produces health products from marine life, saw its shares plunge more than 10 per cent in the moments after the disaster and has had trading on its shares suspended since Thursday afternoon. The cause of the blast has not yet been detemined. Harland said he is hoping to reopen the plant, “in the very short term,” in Sherbrooke. The provincial workplace-safety board is investigating and the company said it is co-operating with the investigation. It has also asked its insurance company to create a dedicated unit to help Neptune employees process their claims quickly. It was one of two similar incidents in Quebec within a 24-hour period. Several hours later, an explosion rocked a plant in the same region belonging to Bombardier Recreational Products. Bombardier announced Monday that one of its employees, who was in hospital, had died from his injuries. The company said Sebastien Tardif, a 38-year-old father of two, died from injuries sustained in the explosion at the Valcourt, Que., research facility. A second person who was injured in the blast, a security guard, remained in intensive care in the burn unit of Quebec City’s Enfant-Jesus hospital. Tardif was a dynamometer operator, an instrument that is used to measure torque, power or force. The company said an investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the blast during the night shift at the facility. The research centre is closed but the company said manufacturing operations have not been affected. The company said in a statement that its thoughts were with Tardif’s family and friends and it offered support to the family and Tardif’s fellow employees. BRP was spun off by Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) in 2003. It is half-owned by Bain Capital, with the founding Beaudoin family holding a 35 per cent stake and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec owning the rest. The Valcourt plant produces Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo jet skis and Can-Am all-terrain vehicles and is located about 130 kilometres east of Montreal. The complex was closed to employees on Friday but investigators from the provinces’ workplace health and safety commission and the fire department were investigating. Employees were notified of the explosion early Friday and an information telephone was established to offer support to employees and their families. Vincent Morin, vice-president development of Can-Am products, said it incident was a shock for everyone. “Today our thoughts and resources are to support the families,” he told reporters. Without knowing the cause of the incident, Morin said it’s difficult to say when work will resume.
Tuesday November 13, 2012
Written by PEM Staff
A startling number of workers may be putting their health at risk by not practicing good hand hygiene. When asked about their specific handwashing habits, a vast majority of adults (71%) say they regularly wash their hands, but that number may be grossly exaggerated. Nearly six in ten (58%) admit that they have witnessed others leaving a public restroom without washing their hands. More than a third (35%) have witnessed co-workers leaving facilities without washing, and one in five consumers surveyed (20%) have witnessed restaurant employees not washing their hands at all. The worst offenders seem to be men by a significant margin. These survey findings were released today by SCA, a global hygiene company and maker of the Tork brand of away from home paper towels, skin care, napkins, tissue and wipers, to commemorate Global Handwashing Day on October 15. The company conducted the survey to gauge consumer awareness of proper hand hygiene but found that while many Americans recognize that handwashing is an important step to staying healthy, awareness does not necessarily translate into practice. Sixty percent of adults describe handwashing as being critical to their health, and over half (53%) consider washing their hands thoroughly and regularly to be the most beneficial practice for staying healthy. Yet, respondents also admit to skimping on personal hand hygiene after coming into contact with a number of germy environments and objects. Nearly four in ten adults (39%) admit to not washing their hands after sneezing, coughing or after blowing their nose. More than half do not typically wash their hands after riding public transportation (56%), using shared exercise equipment (51%) or handling money (53%). “The average human hand has millions of bacteria, many good, but also sometimes some that can harm health. In addition, we can also carry viruses from touching surfaces that are contaminated,” said Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and a member of SCA’s Tork Green Hygiene Council. “While over half of SCA’s survey respondents believe that handwashing is important, there are still clear gaps in the relationship between beliefs and practices.” It seems men could learn a thing or two about hand hygiene from their female counterparts. The SCA handwashing survey found a dramatic disparity between the sexes when it comes to personal handwashing habits. More than a third of men (33%) admit they do not wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the public restroom compared to just one in five women (20%). Men are also more likely than women to witness others leaving public restrooms without washing their hands (67% of men compared to 48% of women). In fact, men lag behind women in terms of whether they say they wash their hands in almost every scenario surveyed by SCA. Men are less likely than women to typically wash their hands after handling garbage, touching an animal, or sneezing or coughing. In addition, two-thirds of women (65%) describe handwashing as being critical compared to just over half of men (54%). Men, on the other hand, were more likely to describe handwashing as being a necessary hassle (36% of men compared to 26% of women). The Tork Green Hygiene Council recommends the following steps to thoroughly wash your hands: Wet hands with warm water.
 Get an adequate amount of soap to build a lather that will last for at least twenty seconds.
 After lathering your hands, fingers and wrists for twenty seconds, rinse hands until all the soap is removed. Dry hands thoroughly with a paper towel, as the friction from wiping with a paper towel removes any residual bacteria from your hands, and damp hands spread up to 500 times more germs than dry hands.
 Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door as you leave the bathroom. Consistently consider all the right times to wash: Be more conscious of times when you should be washing your hands, especially when encountering shared surfaces, including after taking public transportation, before and after a meal, before and after preparing food, after handling money, garbage, or touching an animal, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. On average, you come in contact with 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing you to 840,000 germs, so wash more often than just around bathroom breaks. Encourage healthy habits around you: Little things can go a long way to encourage good hand hygiene habits. The SCA survey found that respondents are encouraged to wash their hands in a public restroom by clean and tidy facilities (61%), as well as other small restroom upgrades, such as hands-free faucets (61%), hands-free soap dispensers (58%), and paper towels as an option for drying hands (58%). The survey was conducted for SCA by KRC Research and involved over 1000 Americans, ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted between October 4 and October 7, 2012 via an online survey.
 www.torkgreenhygienecouncil.com
 www.sca.com/us
Monday November 05, 2012
Written by PEM Staff
Kitchener, Ont.'s Maple Leaf Foods Inc., a Toronto producer of frozen and prepared foods, was fined $200,000 for two violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured in two separate incidents. On July 26, 2010, a worker at the company's Kitchener factory was operating a machine that folds and glues cardboard into boxes. The machine jammed and the worker opened its gate and reached in to remove the jam. Once the jam was cleared, the machine activated and crushed the worker's arm. An investigation found the machine's moving parts had not been stopped and blocked prior to the worker removing the jam. Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the jam was removed only when motion that could endanger the worker was stopped and the machine's moving parts were blocked. On Dec. 29, 2010, at the Kitchener factory, a worker was checking a machine to make sure sanitary standards were met before work began for the day. The worker saw a piece of plastic wrap stuck in the machine's conveyor system. The worker reached in to remove the plastic wrap and the conveyor activated when the debris was dislodged. The worker's glove got caught in the conveyor and the worker's hand was pulled into the equipment. The worker had not been instructed on the proper procedures for removing debris from the machine. The worker was also not taught how to effectively lock out power to the machine. Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the worker was provided information, instruction and supervision on the safe procedures for cleaning and locking out the machine. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour