Toronto Public Transit Workers Subject to Random Drug and Alcohol Tests

Public transit workers in Toronto will in the near future be subject to random drug and alcohol testing as the city's transit service was given permission to start testing employees in safety-sensitive positions, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
 
 
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was pushing for random testing to be added to the Fitness for Duty policy because the current policy, which came into effect in 2010, has been ineffective at deterring workplace intoxication, says Brad Ross, director of public communications for the TTC. (WCxKit)
 
 
The current policy allows for workers in safety-sensitive positions – operators, maintenance staff, supervisors and executives – to be tested for alcohol and marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP, using breathalyzers and saliva swabs, when there is a reasonable cause or testing post-incident, post-violation, post-treatment and pre-employment.
 
 
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents the majority of TTC workers, is already challenging the present policy, and random testing will be added to the grievance, commented Ian Fellows, the union's lawyer in the grievance litigation.
 
 
"It's an invasion of our members' privacy. It treats everybody as if they've done something wrong and it requires them to submit to an invasive procedure," says Fellows. "They've got to offer up a sample of their bodily fluid and their DNA. That's contrary to our agreement and we say the [Ontario] Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights."
 
 
While specifics regarding how the program would run have not yet been worked out, Ross notes the TTC would work with a third party to develop a testing protocol and it would be at least a few months before a system would be ready to implement.
 
 
"We need to figure out what percentage of employees we'd need to test on an annual basis, but in theory the way it works is you show up for work and the system tells us it's your turn for random testing," he says.
 
 
The saliva swabs, as opposed to the traditional urinalysis when testing for drugs, only show whether a person was impaired when the swab was taken based on a pass/fail threshold, not if they had used drugs in the past. The swabs would be tested by an outside lab, Ross says. "We're interested in ensuring that when you report for work, you're fit for duty, not what you did two days ago or two weeks ago, for that matter."
 
 
This is not the first time the TTC has tried to introduce random drug and alcohol testing. When it first brought the Fitness for Duty policy to its board of directors in September of 2008, random testing was in the policy, but the board refused to give it the green light. However, the board has changed since the policy was first introduced.
 
 
Ross reports that TTC staff felt the random testing policy was needed and would revisit the proposal at a later date. Ross also dismissed a recent incident, where a TTC bus driver was found with marijuana in his possession after a fatal accident, as the reason for trying to reintroduce random testing.
 
 
"There have been a number of public incidents over the last couple of years that have been cause for great concern, and there have been incidents within the organization that have not been public but are a concern as well," he says.
 
 
The number of incidents involving drugs and alcohol has not decreased since the policy was introduced, Ross added.
 
 
Though the TTC has data comparing the number of incidents from 2006 to 2008 and 2008 to present, they are part of the grievance litigation and are not being released to the public. Hearings began in 2011 and are scheduled throughout 2012.
 
 
Random testing brings the TTC, with its 1.6-million riders a day, more in line with public transit services in the United States, where random testing of all workers in the transportation sector is the law. "We are the third largest transit agency in North America after New York and Mexico City, and we feel that this element of the policy is necessary," Ross noted. (WCxKit)
 
 

Windsor's public transit service is the only one in Canada that has implemented random testing, but only for employees who drive routes that cross into Michigan.


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 
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©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Sand Bags and Piles of Blocks Are Makeshift Staircase on UK Construction Site

Two British construction companies were fined for "appalling" standards at a building site in the London Borough of Merton. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported it prosecuted principal contractor, Kubik Homes Ltd, and the subcontractor, Bellway Developments Ltd. after visiting the site in Wimbledon on several occasions. Kubik Homes Ltd. had already been served with four Prohibition Notices, one of which was actually breached while HSE Inspectors were on site.(WCxKit)
 
 
City of London Magistrates' Court heard there was no safe access to the first floor under construction at the St Mary's Road site. Instead, there was a makeshift 'staircase' formed from a bag of sand and piles of blocks, leading to the roof of a hut. The first floor was accessed from the hut roof via wooden planks, spanning the gap between them. There was no edge protection to prevent falls.
 
 
On a visit to the site, HSE inspectors found a wooden gangway built the day before to provide access to the first floor to be inadequate. There was also a 2.5 meter-deep excavation with no precautions taken to prevent people falling into it or the sides of the excavation collapsing in on anyone working within it. The work areas around the site were uneven, littered with obstructions and trip hazards. Building materials were stacked excessively high and stored haphazardly. Welfare facilities on-site were also extremely poor. The toilet was filthy and had a leaking cold water supply.
 
 
HSE served three Prohibition Notices to Kubik Homes ordering all work on site to cease until health and safety standards were improved. On returning to the site, HSE Inspectors found an attempt was made to erect edge protection around the first floor, but it was inadequate. Representatives of neither company had sufficient training, experience, or a recognized qualification in site management.
 
 
While inspectors were on site, two men were seen walking on the first floor in breach of one of the Prohibition Notices. It became clear work was still continuing in an unsafe manner, so another Prohibition Notice was served. This ordered all work on the site to stop until competent site management was put in place.
 
 
Kubik Homes Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc at Work Act 1974. The firm was fined £8,000 ($12,964) and ordered to pay costs of £2,426.50 ($3,932.14) (WCxKit)
 
 
Bellway Developments Ltd, of Coniston Road, Bromley, Kent, also pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Act 1974. It was fined £8,000 ($12,964) and ordered to pay costs of £2,384.50 ($3.864.08).

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:
www.wcmanual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Stats Show Drop in Offshore Leaks and Injuries

The number of offshore oil and gas leaks that could potentially lead to a major incident has fallen, according to new safety statistics released by Great Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
 
 
Figures from HSE show there were 73 major or significant hydrocarbon releases associated with offshore installations in 2010-11, compared with 85 the previous year. There were 61 recorded in 2008-09 – the lowest since HSE began regulating the industry. Overall, there continues to be a downward trend in the total of all reported hydrocarbon releases offshore.(WCxKit)
 
 
For the fourth year running, no workers were killed during offshore activities regulated by HSE and 2010-11 also saw a fall in the number of major injuries. There were 42 reported compared with 50 the previous year, bringing the total in line with the average of the previous five years.
 
 
The combined fatal and major injury rate fell to 151.8 per 100,000 workers in 2010/11, compared with 192 in 2009-10. There was also a continued fall in the number of minor injuries that led to three or more days off work, with 106; down from last year's 110 – which represents a new low in the over three-day injury rate.
 
 
There were 432 dangerous occurrences reported in 2010-11, 11 fewer than the previous year. More than a third were hydrocarbon releases (38.9 percent) and just over a quarter (25.9 percent) related to equipment failures.
 
 
Steve Walker, HSE's head of offshore safety called the statistics a step in the right direction. “It is encouraging that this is the fourth consecutive year with no reportable fatalities and a reduction in major injuries. But there is still much work to be done. Hydrocarbon releases are a key indicator of how well the offshore industry is managing its major accident risks, and the industry still hasn't matched or exceeded the record lows of two years ago. I welcome the industry's recent Step Change target of halving the number of hydrocarbon releases over three years. However, although there has been a reduction in oil and gas leaks, the industry needs to pick up the pace of improvement if it is to meet its own target. I expect all operators to be drawing up and implementing plans to achieve that goal.(WCxKit)
 
"The Gulf of Mexico disaster should continue to be a stark reminder of what can go wrong offshore. HSE will remain tough on companies that fail to protect their workforce by not investing in the fabric and workings of their installations or neglecting to implement effective management systems or workforce training" he said.

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.wcmanual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR: www
.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Failure to Monitor Radiation Increases Cited at Ohio Nuclear Plant

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), four workers were retracting a radioactive source range monitor from the reactor core while the plant was shut down for a refueling outage. They detected a rapid increase in radiation levels, stopped the procedure, and left the area immediately.
 
 
"Even though there was no overexposure to the workers, no impact on the safety of the plant or the public, plant staff failed to conduct an adequate radiological evaluation of the activity and to implement necessary controls to eliminate a potential for overexposure," said Region III Administrator Mark Satorius. "We have inspected the plant's actions to make sure plant staff are prepared to conduct activities in accordance with safety requirements, and we will conduct additional inspections to ensure plant activities continue to be performed safely."
 
 
NCR issued violations of low to moderate safety significance to the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, located in Ohio, and said oversight will be "significantly increased." The plant is operated by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. in NRC's Region III. (WCxKit)
 
 
The power plant operates under a license issued in 1986 and is a boiling water reactor, according to NRC's online data. NRC issued details regarding the violations saying the alleged occurrences happened last April.

 

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
 

 

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Employee Electrocution Results in Heavy Fine

Following the electrocution death of an employee, an employer participating in the federal government’s subsidized home insulation program was fined $100,000 for unsafe workplace practices Queensland (Australia) Workplace Health and Safety.
 
 
Mitchell Sweeney, 22, died in February 2010 while working on the ceiling of a home at Millaa Millaa, south of Cairns. He was electrocuted when he stapled a metal fastener through the foil and into a live wire. (WCxKit)
 
 
Sweeney was working for Gold Coast Company Titans Insulation, a participant in the federal government’s subsidized home insulation program. Following Sweeney’s death, the company was charged with failing to conduct its business in an electrically safe way.
 
 
After initially indicating it would defend the charge, the company pleaded guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court in Brisbane.
 
 
The court heard the company did implement a number of strategies aimed at employee safety, including distributing plastic staples to workers. However, the court said these strategies did not go far enough to mitigate risk of death or serious injury to employees because, for example, the employer failed to ensure the plastic staples were actually being used.
 
 
Prosecutor Andrew Herbert, representing Queensland Workplace Health and Safety, said it was true Titans provided some training to staff and gave a number of directives that they were not to use metal staples. (WCxKit)
 
 
‘‘There was a complete absence of a system for detecting and understanding whether the workers were in fact complying with the directions,’’ Herbert said. ‘‘Any cursory inspection of their work by Titans would have revealed exactly what was going on.’’

 


Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  
www.WCManual.com
 
 

 

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Scottish Employer Fined after Worker Death

 

Whiteinch Demolition Limited, a Glasgow demolition contractor, was fined after a worker was killed.  The worker died apparently when a weight from a face shovel machine fell on him, according to a report from the Health and Safety Executive.
 
 
Sixty-eight year old Bernard McCarroll, of Croy, was dismantling a hydraulic excavator by the process known as burning, using a flame torch at the Glascow company’s yard. The machine weighed seven tons (7,080 kilograms) and had a rear weight to assist stability. While flame cutting the bolts holding this weight to the frame of the machine, part of it fell onto McCarroll causing fatal injuries.
 
 
An HSE investigation found the dismantling operation had not been properly risk assessed or planned by the company. The court was told that a safe system of work was not provided to those workers designated to dismantle the excavator. It was also found insufficient assembly information and instructions were made available by the company.
 
 
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Russell Berry noted, "The dismantling operation had not been planned sufficiently and it was left to Mr. McCarroll to decide how to carry out the task as it progressed.”
 
 
"In failing to carry out a risk assessment for this job and failing to plan a safe method of carrying out the work, Whiteinch Demolition Ltd failed to protect Bernard McCarroll and it cost him his life.”
 
 
"This incident was entirely foreseeable and could have easily been avoided. If straightforward steps had been taken then Mr. McCarroll would undoubtedly be alive today."
 
 
At Glasgow Sheriff Court in late August, Whiteinch Demolition Ltd, of Centurion Works, Balmuildy Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974. It was fined roughly $24,000 (£15,000).

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:
www.WCManual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Texas Employees Exposed to Falling Hazards Costs Employer $50K in Fines

 
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Roma Construction with six safety violations after an inspection of the company's work site on Wild Basin in San Antonio found employees exposed to scaffolding hazards while applying stucco to the exterior of a home.
 
 
According to an OSHA report, a July 20 inspection was conducted as part of OSHA's regional emphasis program to prevent occupational fatalities and injuries from falls, electrical hazards, and "struck by" and "caught by" hazards. Proposed penalties total $50,820.(WCxKit)
 
 
"This is not the first time Roma Construction has jeopardized the safety of its employees," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in San Antonio. "Exposing workers to possible falls is unacceptable and can have tragic consequences."
 
 
One serious violation was cited for failing to ensure that employees erecting, dismantling, moving, repairing, maintaining or inspecting scaffolding were trained by a competent person to recognize the hazards associated with working on a scaffold. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
 
 
Five repeat violations include failing to ensure that working levels of scaffolding were fully planked with safe means of access and egress, ensure that scaffolding was inspected by a competent person for visible defects and protect employees from falling by providing guardrail systems or other means.(WCxKit)
 
 
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company in February and March of 2009 for similar violations with proposed penalties of $4,050 and $3,450, respectively.

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


Our WC BOOK:  
www.wcmanual.com
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

4 Additional Ways to Reduce Claim Exposure During Business Peak Times

No matter what season whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, it is some company's “busy” or peak season somewhere. Unfortunately for niche businesses, this peak time can also be a prime time for workers compensation injuries.  
 

New staff is hired to meet the upcoming demands, and the company employees are working longer hours to meet the demand. The equipment begins to require more maintenance and repair during this “busy” period. It is imperative not to forget about workplace safety during this time. Here we discuss a few ways to curb the exposure to injuries.
 
 
1. Solid hiring practices
When demand is high for the work product, it is easy to forget focusing on important aspects of the business. The peak time of year means hiring new full time and part time employees. These employees may be referrals from other employees or simply walk in with little to no experience. 
 
 
Evaluating the job candidates is critical. On average, first-year employees have a higher incidence of injuries than more experienced or tenured employees. This may sound obvious, but hiring practices are key in preventing workers compensation injuries. Workplace safety must be part of the screening process as well as physicals and drug screens prior to hiring. Monitor the potential employee’s attitude toward safety during the interview process and while touring the workplace. The way the employee behaves during this time could be a sign of carelessness that could lead to a workplace injury. (WCxKit) One company had 80% of injuries occuring to employees with less than one year's tenure.
 
 
2. Proper orientation and safety training
Safety comes first and the facility should maintain safety at all times of the year. Focusing on safety only during a peak time is ineffective and potentially hazardous. Protocol for repairs, maintenance, and inspections should happen consistently throughout the year.
 
 
Employees should be reminded about safe work practices and be trained in proper safety techniques. Emergency procedures, safe work practices, protective equipment are key to preventing injuries during the peak time and anytime of the year. Mock injury set ups can be educational and reveal how employees will respond in an emergency situation. Having a plan in place will help employees know how to respond properly and effectively should an injury occur.
 
 
3. Proactive and involved supervision
Supervising and enforcing safe work practices is a key component to reducing the risk of injuries. Every employee is responsible to work safely, even if it is not the easiest and fastest way. Managers and supervisors onsite should be aware of an employee's every move. Operational guidelines such as proper guards for saws and safety glasses are crucial. If a supervisor catches an employee working unsafely, the employee must be disciplined. Employees will only take safety seriously, if there are serious and automatic consequences. 
 
 
The employee should be allowed to provide feedback keeping the lines of communication open. Employees are not prisoners, and employees most likely has ideas on how to change workstations to increase safety standards. Providing incentives like raffles for free gas cards is an easy option. A supervisor can implement a new safety technique and the results will travel to senior level management. By giving the employee a chance to weigh in, work safety techniques will be more successful overall.
 
 
4. Super fast accident response
As mentioned above, employees must understand what to do should an accident occur. If an employee using a saw cuts a hand and tells a supervisor about the accident, the supervisor will then tell the HR person and take the employee to receive medical care. The first report of injury is completed and called in to the insurance  carrier. The employee returns to the shop bringing the medical slip to the HR person, who then faxes or emails the adjuster. Within 24 hours, the adjuster already has the injury report, statements from the supervisor and HR, and the medical slip. These items are crucial to a claim being handled properly after an accident.
 
 
This example may sound like workers compensation 101, but it is surprising how many employers do not stick to this process.   Having a proper procedure in place following an injury prevents a delay. And any delay affects wage payments, medical coverage, and a return to work. Take time to have a step by step process and mock injuries, so that when an actual injury occurs, everyone knows exactly what to do. (WCxKit)
 
 
Summary
Peak work seasons elevate the exposure on many levels. With proper hiring practices, solid orientation, thorough training, proactive supervision, and fast accident response, and reporting everyone knows how to respond to an injury in the workplace. It sounds simple, but practice makes perfect. Do not wait until an injury happens to figure out how to handle it.  


Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 


Our WORKERS COMP BOOK: 
www.wcmanual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR: www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Australia Fire Fighters Say Random Drug Alcohol Testing Invasion of Privacy

 
Firefighters describe Australian State Government’s move to introduce random drug and alcohol testing across the brigade as an unnecessary invasion of personal privacy, according to a report from their union.
 
 
Fire Brigade Employees Union State Secretary Jim Casey said the State Government move was unwarranted, given there is no established problem with drug and alcohol abuse among firefighters. (WCxKit)
 
 
“There is absolutely no evidence to suggest firefighters have a problem with substance abuse and, on that basis, we see this as a gratuitous invasion of personal privacy. Nobody asks Mike Gallacher, the NSW Cabinet or their staffers to submit to random drug and alcohol testing,” Casey said. “StateGovernment ministers make multiple-billion dollar policy and investment decisions all the time. How do we know their judgment is not impaired by substance abuse?” he added.
 
 
Casey went on to say the brigade already has effective drug and alcohol protocols in place that are supported by the union. As he sees it, random drug and alcohol tests represent nothing more than a waste of time and money. (WCxKit)
 
 

Firefighters run into burning buildings every day; they’re highly aware of the need to remain sober while on the job,” Casey added.

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


REDUCE WORKERS COMP 20-50%:
www.wcmanual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Severe Burn Injuries of Ottawa Worker Under Investigation Possibly Caused by Dust Explosion

 
A worker suffered severe burn injuries after a drum explosion and fire at a manufacturing facility in Ottawa according to a report from the Canadian OH&S news.
 
 
A  worker at Masterloy Products Company was moving items on a forklift when one of the drums fell off and exploded and, in turn, caused the forklift's propane tank to explode according to Matt Blajer, a representative for Ontario's Ministry of Labour (MoL). The driver of the forklift suffered life-threatening third-degree burns to his forearms, legs, and back. (WCxKit)
 
 
The day after the accident, Blajer adds, the worker's injuries were upgraded to non-life-threatening, with second-degree burns to 30% cent of his body and third-degree burns to his back.
 
 
The 46-year-old man was transferred to the trauma centre at the Ottawa Hospital, rather than a burn unit, due to the possibility of internal injuries, Stephanie Logan, a representative with the Ottawa Paramedic Service) said.
 
 
Marc Messier, public information officer with Ottawa Fire Services, says firefighters originally believed there might have been a dust explosion in or around the dust collection unit at the site as there was fire damage in the dust collector.
 
 
"There was mention of some drums containing aluminum powder; however, there was no indication these drums were involved," Messier said at the time.
 
 
The fire department's preliminary estimation of fire damages is $50,000 to the building, $50,000 to contents, and $10,000 to the destroyed forklift.
 
 
The exact cause of the explosion remains under investigation as MoL officers are still gathering information, Blajer said, but four orders were issued to the company on August 25 as follows:
 
 
1.     Stop handling barrels of re-burn dust until a procedure is in place to prevent danger or a hazard to the safety of a worker.
2.     Ensure that workers are trained in the developed procedure.
3.     Ensure drums of re-burn dust are lifted, carried, or moved in a way that does not endanger the safety of any worker. (WCxKit)
4.     Have a professional engineer assess the existing re-burn dust collection system to ensure that it meets applicable standards and provide, in writing to the MoL, a report from the engineer.
 
 
Blajer added the MoL sent an inspector and engineer to the facility, as it falls under the Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


WORKERS COMP MANUAL FOR EMPLOYERS:
www.wcmanual.com

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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