Proper safety should be a priority for everyone and every organization. Sadly, this is not always the case, we constantly hear of companies being fined for safety violations or employees being injured due to unsafe work environments.
Most recently two companies in British Columbia have been fined for not providing workers with the proper " information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety" ("Logging Company", 2019).
A hydro company received a fine when a worker was injured due to an electrical shock ("Peace River", 2019). In this case, the equipment was not up to safety standards and "the main electrical breaker extensions …were not functioning, the de-energization switches had been circumvented, and the main breaker switch-box isolation covers were in disrepair" ("Peace River", 2019). In addition on this site workers typically "access[ed] the main circuit breaker without following lockout procedures" ("Peace River", 2019). The company ultimately failed to do their due diligence and provide their employees with a safe work environment.
Similarly, a logging company was fined after an inspection found they "failed to ensure its workers had alternate means of escape from mobile equipment, and that equipment windows were maintained to provide clear vision to the operator" ("Logging Company", 2019). This is very concerning and reinforces the notion that proper training and active participation by employees is necessary in keeping a safe work environment.
Employees 'have the right to know, right to refuse unsafe work and the right to participate in identifying workplace hazards' ("Workplace Rights, 2014"). This means you need to report hazards, injuries and 'do not attempt something you can't handle'("Workplace Rights, 2014"). If you enter a worksite and feel unsafe because you have not been trained properly, you notice a broken piece of equipment or you see unsafe practices speak up! Bring your concerns to your employer or the Ministry of Labour.
There are a multiple things you can do as a worker to avoid injury and maintain a safe work environment. The first thing you can do is ensure you get the proper training, follow safety rules, wear the proper PPE and be supervised to ensure you are performing your work safely ("Workplace Rights, 2014"). You also need to be aware of the hazards in the environment before you start work and report unsafe practices and situations. If you are not sure how to perform a task you need to ask for clarification and do not do anything you are unsure or have not been asked to do ("Workplace Rights, 2014").
Canada Heavy Equipment College
"Logging Company Fined $27,000". Canadian Health and Safety: The Safety Standard Magazine, www.cos-mag.com. Publish date 2019-09-24, < https://www.cos-mag.com/convictions/41141-logging-company-fined-27000/?utm_source=GA&utm_medium=20190926&utm_campaign=COS-Newsletter&utm_content=729B5F94-CCC3-447C-88B5-9798D5693B08&tu=729B5F94-CCC3-447C-88B5-9798D5693B08>. Accessed 2019-09-26.
" Peace River Hydro Partners Fined More Than $662k". Canadian Health and Safety: The Safety Standard Magazine, www.cos-mag.com .Publish date 2019-09-24,
. Accessed 2019-09-26.
"Workplace Rights". Ontario Ministry of Labour, March 2014 (Online) . Accessed 2019-09-26.