January 2022 Divisional Health and Safety Report

Season’s Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

As 2021 ends, I reflect on concerns for safety in the workplace. During this past year, while dealing with the ongoing pandemic, work has been changing, evolving and to say the least frustrating.

In 2021 there’s been significant incidents that have uncovered deficiencies in work performed. These deficiencies included training and qualifications required to perform work. Other deficiencies included divisional policies, departmental policies and SafeWork procedures that were outdated or nonexistent.

During investigations, employees often after an incident have remorse like it was their fault an incident occurred. When discussing their training, the associated hazards and risks in performing the work the picture often changes for them. The discussion after an incident reflects on how the holes in the Swiss cheese lined up for the incident to occur.

Investigations have found that work is being performed with experience and often using common practices, instead of having a written SafeWork procedure. Experience is not the same for everyone. When performing work, an incident occurrence may not be understood as it is deemed as part of the regular work. I’ve heard during investigation interviews “It happens all the time” but results in minimal or no consequences to employees so they go unreported.

If an incident occurs again and no controls have been put in place to prevent a reoccurrence, the root cause may not have been understood or determined. The actual consequences of incidents appear to cloud the potential consequences contributing to not determining the root cause.

How do you move forward safely as a worker? What can you do to start your day? Ask yourself, what you know about safety and the work you’ve been assigned to do? Do you know the hazards and risks associated with this work? You have the “RIGHT TO KNOW” as a worker. Unfortunately, you don’t know what you don’t know, until it’s too late.

What are your qualifications? Do they pertain to the work you have been assigned? If it is work you’ve previously done, but do not do every day ask if you’re current in your training. Ask for any policies and SafeWork procedures relating to the work you are about to perform. Trust your gut! If it’s telling you something doesn’t feel right, often its right. Stop and talk to a competent supervisor for guidance when unsure. We’ve seen too often that lives were lost by inches and seconds. The last line of defense for you the worker is your “RIGHT TO REFUSE” unsafe work!

All work must be planned with risk assessment and controls in place for the associated hazards and risks to workers doing the work. Now this is with your everyday routine work as well. When there’s an abnormal job or condition a JHA is done.  These are developed with you, the worker performing the work, discussing the hazards and risk using controls to protect yourself and other workers.

SAFETY is not a one-person job. It requires everyone to be engaged to ensure everyone returns home safe at the end of the day.

The JHSE Committees are always looking for new members reach out and join now! You have the “RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE”.

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and let’s strive for a safer 2022!

In Solidarity,

Todd Burnside