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Safety Update #4

In this issue:

  • Reminder - HSA OH&S Conference – June 16-17, 2014
  • BC health employers ’application to reduce frequency of N95 respirator fit-testing is denied
  • Domestic violence survey: Can Work Be Safe When Home Isn’t?
  • Have you recently evaluated the effectiveness of your JOHS committee?
  • BC Injured Workers Forum – Working Together for Full Compensation.
  • Have you been exposed to a harmful substance at work?
  • OH&S Joint Committee Minutes

Reminder - HSA OH&S Conference – June 16-17, 2014
This OH&S conference is open to any HSA member sitting on a joint occupational health and safety committee. Registration cut off is coming up in a few weeks and space is limited so please register soon.  More information available here…
 

BC health employers ’application to reduce frequency of N95 respirator fit-testing is denied
Last September, B.C. health employers applied to WorkSafeBC for an exemption under the rules requiring annual fit testing of N95 respirator masks.

The HSA opposed the application on the grounds that the employers’ attempt to move to biennial fit testing  would weaken current safety standards and would place healthcare workers at a greater risk of exposure to airborne pathogens. (The Report – December, 2013, Pg. 12)

Last month, the employer’s application was denied on the basis that the proposal does not afford protection for workers equal to or greater than the protection established by BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. This decision is good news for health care workers because it means that the current requirement to conduct annual N95 fit testing will continue.

Ask for N95 fit testing reports: There’s a lot of evidence indicating serious gaps in current N95 fit testing procedures in many locations.  JOHS committee members at sites with workers who may be exposed to air borne pathogens should be asking employers to report on the status of their fit testing programs.

Details about respirator fit testing requirements are available on the WorkSafeBC website or through the following link:  Part 8 Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment
 

Domestic violence survey: Can Work Be Safe When Home Isn't?
You have until June 6, 2014 to complete your survey.
Help us learn more about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. Fill out a 10-30 minute, anonymous online research survey at:  http://fluidsurveys.com/s/DVatWork/
 
You are eligible to participate in this research study whether or not you have personally experienced or witnessed domestic violence, as long as you are 15 years of age or older.

Have you recently evaluated the effectiveness of your JOHS committee?
It may be time to conduct an evaluation of your committee. The BC Federation of Labour’s OH&S Centre has produced this eight page Committee Checklist which is a handy tool to assist in a review of how your committee functions and to help improve effectiveness.
 
If you have any questions about committee functions or your role on the committee, please contact HSA’s Occupational Health and Safety Officer, David Durning.

BC Injured Workers Forum – Working Together for Full Compensation.
The B.C. Federation of Labour and the Workers’ Compensation Advocacy Group are co-hosting an event for injured workers and advocates on May 30, 2014: BC Injured Workers Forum – Working Together for Full Compensation.
 
We need your help to spread the word! Please circulate the attached poster to your email contacts or print and post it on your workplace bulletin boards. Pre-registration is mandatory. Space is limited!
 
For more information and a link to your free registration, please go to the BCFed website: http://bcfed.ca/events/bcfedinjuredworkersforum/
 

Have you been exposed to a harmful substance at work?
Visit the WorkSafeBC Exposure Registry to find out more.

OH&S Joint Committee Minutes
This is a friendly reminder to make sure your monthly JOSH Committee minutes are sent to the HSA at: ohsminutes@hsabc.org.

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