U.S. Steel Lake Erie Works
Safety Report May 2017
1. April 28 marked the day of mourning. A day when we pause to honour and remember all people who have been killed or injured on the job. As in past years, members of the Plant Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), Plant Management representatives and Union Executive members handed out armbands at the gate in the morning when people were coming into the plant for their shift. Later that night at 5:30 pm, I and some of the committee attended the Hamilton District Labour Council Day of Mourning Ceremony at Hamilton City Hall. It was a very moving event.
2. There still seems to be confusion in the plant with both management and workers as to what it means to be training and what it means to be qualified. This statement is from the Plant Safety Department Manager. “There have been a few questions regarding the level of supervision a trainee must receive while working. Employees training on the job must be physically with the trainer during work until the trainee is qualified on the task. This includes completion of applicable checklist items and signatures. To have a trainer in the general area that is expected to observe and/or participate in several different jobs simultaneously is not acceptable. The trainer can be part of a working crew but must be in a position to be able to visually see what the trainee is doing and verbally instruct him/her to stop the job if necessary. In some cases, such as with mobile equipment operator trainees, this verbal communication can be via radio but the trainer must still maintain a visual line of sight with the trainee.”
3. As discussed in previous month, clothing requirements in the Mines and Mining Plants changed as of July 1st, 2016. The Union H/S Committee had informed the company of these changes prior to the changes. Over the last month, the company received a limited number of coats that meet the regulation. The company has been changing out the CO Production Department’s coats and will moving on to others areas as coats allow. The CO Production Department’s old coats will be reused in the rest of the plant due to the shortage that exists. On top of that, the company is also in the process of changing to a different material plant wide of clothing in the next few months. They are meeting with 3 different companies today and will decide and move forward with the best choice.
4. Terry Barnard and I attended the 25th Anniversary of the Westray Explosion last week. This explosion was not an accident but actually murder. Because of this explosion, USW pushed the Federal Government, which took 12 years, to enact Bill C45 which is aimed at corporations that blatantly ignore the OHSA. Kill A Worker-Go to Jail.
Rick Beale Co-Chair Health and Safety Committee USW Local 8782
Safety Report February 2017
1. The BOSC Pumphouse was location for the Plant Manager Tour in February. On this tour many items were found that required attention. Because of this, Safety Department and Union H/S Committee have returned to follow up on these issues almost weekly. As of today we are very satisfied with the improvement they have made and we hope they keep this up in the future.
2. MOL was in to see us in February and early March regarding an incident in the HSM Roll Shop. A worker was injured and it was thought to be a critical injury. The department has made some changes and improvements so this incident does not happen again.
3. Clothing requirements in the Mines and Mining Plants changed as of July 1st, 2016. The Union H/S Committee had been informed the company of these changes prior to the changes. The company has a number of coats that meet the regulation coming in in late March. The company will be changing out the CO Production Department’s coats first and then move on to others areas as coats allow. The CO Production Department’s old coats will be reused in the rest of the plant due to the shortage that exists. On top of that, the company is also in the process of changing to a different material plant wide of clothing in the next few months. They are meeting with 3 different companies soon and will decide and move forward at that time.
4. There seems to be some confusion regarding hard hats with reflective stickers. In the Mines and Mining Plant Regulation, all hard hats require reflective stickers on 360 degree’s of the helmet. In the rest of the plant the company requires them on 3 sides and be visible at all times. This would include not covered by anything including a helmet headlamp. If your hard hat does not have these reflective stickers or they are no longer reflective you are in contravention of the regulation or company policy depending on where you are in the plant.
5. As mentioned last month, the Safety Department has issued a letter to Divisional Managers that the old USS slogan stickers ”No One Hurt On My Shift” that have been recently handed out with the Canadian flag on it can be removed from employees helmets. We are still seeing a lot of hourly workers with them still on their hard hats. Maybe the Divisional Mangers forgot to forward this info on. The Safety Department and Union H/S Committee are working together to come up with a new slogan.
6. Mark Lombardo from the H/S Committee has recently attended the WHSC Health and Safety Level 2. Mark felt that this was a very informative course which will help him as a H/S activist in years to come.
Rick Beale Co-Chair Health and Safety Committee USW Local 8782
International Health and Safety Conference.
If not for the courageous actions on July 10, 2014 of Dan MacDonald, Shawna Shepherd, and help from Paul McCrae, Larry Ecklund an electrician in the BOSC likely would have been a tragic fatality. The International USW recognized these works on September 15, 2016 with the I.W. Abel Award for Industrial Valor.
USW Local 8782 H/S Co-Chair
Vale, supervisors and worker charged under health and safety act
A total of 17 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act have been laid against Vale, two supervisors and a worker after the death of an employee last year, according to the Ministry of Labour.
Paul Rochette, 36, died of severe head trauma on April 6 while working at the Copper Cliff Smelter.
A 28-year-old man was also injured in the same incident at the site.
The men were working on industrial machines in the crushing and casting area, where hot metal is poured, cooled and then crushed.
At the time, the company said the workers had about 20 years of professional experience between them, although they were relatively new to Vale.
The Ministry of Labour said nine charges have been laid against Vale.
A total of five charges were laid against two supervisors and three charges have also been laid against a worker.
The Ministry of Labour said the two supervisors who have been charged are Eric Labelle and Glenn Munro. The worker charged is Greg Taylor, the ministry said.
The ministry said a first appearance is scheduled at the Ontario Court of Justice in Sudbury on June 12.
In a statement, the company said it is reviewing the charges.
It added following the tragedy, a joint team of representatives from Vale and the workers' union completed a comprehensive investigation to try and understand what went wrong.
Based on the findings, the company said 58 recommendations were put forward with a view to preventing a similar incident from happening again. Vale added most of the short to medium-term items have been addressed and completed, and work is underway regarding longer term systemic solutions.
The union for Vale workers said it is not surprised by the charges.
"The workers believe that they were doing what they could to make things better and it was falling on deaf ears. I don't believe workers will ever forget what happened," said Mike Bond, the health and safety chair of Steelworkers Local 6500 who was also part of the investigation.
Stelco Lake Erie
ACCIDENT & NEAR MISS INVESTIGATIONS
The Joint Health & Safety Committees agree that the following will apply with respect to accident investigations, near miss investigations or incident investigations:
1. The purpose of these investigations is as follows:
Identify the action that caused the accident, near miss or incident;
Make recommendations to ensure such action does not happen again.
2. The definition of an “Accident will be:
Where any action occurs that results in any injury.
3. The definition of a “Near Miss will be:
Where any accident occurs and the potential to cause injury exists.
4. The definition of an “Incident will be:
Where any action occurs resulting in property damage and no potential to cause injury exists.
5. An investigation shall occur when an action fitting the above definitions takes place.
6. The following persons shall attend investigations:
(1) The injured person(s);
7. The minutes shall be recorded listing:
8. The minutes of the investigation shall be jointly signed by the Supervisor and the Area Health & Safety Representative. Copies of the minutes shall be sent to:
9. It shall be the responsibility of the Department Superintendent, the immediate supervisor and the Area Health & Safety Representative to ensure that recommendations listed in 7(4) which are determined to be feasible are implemented.
10. It will not be necessary to conduct an investigation into incidents causing minor injuries such as foreign bodies, minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions, etc. unless the incident had a potential to cause more serious injury. However nothing prevents a department from determining that an investigation will be conducted into any or all of the above exemptions.
11. Accident/Incident/Near Miss Investigation form is also available on Public Folders in the Health, Safety & Hygiene folder. See the “Administration? Section for information on how access the Public Folder.
Cell Phone Safety Talk
WE NEED TO DO NEAR MISS INVESTIGATIONS
Close Calls Are Wake Up Calls!
Close calls or near misses are very common in the workplace. They are incidents that don't cause an injury or some other kind of property damage only because there was nothing in the way to be damaged, or no one close enough to be injured.
Why talk about accidents that didn't happen? The following story might make it a little easier to understand by bringing a close call incident a little closer to home.
Your neighbor's son runs into your house in a panic because he has just come within a few inches of running over your two-year-old daughter who was playing in the driveway. Your first reaction might be "why didn't you circle check your vehicle before getting in?" However, because it was promptly reported to you, you will now have the opportunity to investigate immediately for its causes.
Upon investigating you discover there is a faulty gate latch on the fence in your back yard play area. If your neighbor's son had neglected or ignored reporting this near-accident to you, you may never have known and this faulty gate could have eventually cost your daughter her life.
The sequence of events which lead up to an accident is like a series of errors that fall onto one another like dominoes. The close call incident is simply this same sequence of events with one of the dominoes missing.
Close call incidents trigger the fact that something is seriously wrong. They allow us the opportunity to investigate and correct the situation before the same thing happens again and causes an injury or death.
Experience has proven that if the causes of accidents are not removed, the potential for an accident will occur again and again. Unfortunately, a typical story told after many accidents is; "Yeah, that happened to Jim as well - just last week!"
Why are close call incidents not reported? Typical reasons are: fear of reprimand or repercussions, red tape, not being aware of their importance in controlling future accidents, embarrassment, the spoiling of a safety or production record or lack of feedback when similar issues have previously been raised.
If you keep silent about a close call - you may avoid having to deal with it. But try to explain that to a co-worker who ends up in a wheelchair because of a hazard that you knew existed but were too proud to talk about.
Controlling close call incidents is really the secret to reducing the overall frequency of accidents. One survey of 300 companies discovered that for every 600 close call incidents, they had 30 property damages, 10 minor accidents and 1 very serious accident.
Close call incident reporting is a very valuable tool in helping us all manage an effective safety program. But the vital part is to apply corrective action immediately. The only way this can be done is if a close call is reported immediately after it has occurred. This way we can learn as much as possible - as soon as possible.A wise man once said: A fool is not a man who makes no mistakes - we all do that. The fool is the man who refuses to learn from them.
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