Category: Hazardous materials

“Only use brake pads that do not contain asbestos. When ordering aftermarket replacement brake pads, check to confirm that the product identifies or confirms that it does not contain asbestos,” warns the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Let’s put the spotlight on exposure to silica dust in stone, bricks, tile, and gravel. Workers who grind, cut, and haul these materials are at risk of developing silicosis – a lung disease that destroys lung tissue and restricts a person’s ability to breathe.

Since 2000, 14 workers in the US have died while refinishing bathtubs. All the deaths involved the use of paint-stripping products containing methylene chloride: “a highly volatile, colorless and toxic chemical that is widely used as a degreaser and paint stripper.”

“… inhaling too much of it can result in suffocation due to insufficient oxygen,” reads a new safety alert issued by WorkSafeBC after a BC farmer was exposed to elevated methane levels while moving manure. This is a known hazard – but reminders are still needed.

I recently visited the CanSav website and read a number of tributes to people who died from asbestos-related illness. Bob Katzka – founder of the Canadian Society for Asbestos Victims – emailed a link to the site when he introduced himself after finding my blog. His father died of asbestos-related illness in 2007 and he’s sharing his story so others will know they aren’t alone.

Check out these asbestos resources offered in honour of Global and National Asbestos Awareness Week Apr. 1 to 7.

It could be months before investigators know what started an explosion and fire that killed two workers and injured 19 on Jan. 20 at the Babine Mill in Burns Lake, BC. One possible cause is combustible dust explosion, but it’s still too early to know for sure. The CCOHS says things that may “seem like harmless substances” – including sugar, coal, wood dust, flour – can “become the fuel for an explosion.”

Jennie Inkster, safety coordinator for the City of Kamloops, completed a set of written emergency procedures for dealing with chlorine leaks. Then she tested them with the local fire department during NAOSH Week 2011. Kamloops earned three NAOSH Awards: in Best New Entry at the national level and in BC’s Local Government category and Best Presentation of Theme.

Her husband came home from work every day at the asbestos plant, covered in “fairy dust” and hugged her and the kids. Now she lay dying of mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. She wanted to prevent others from suffering as she had, without realizing her risk until it was too late.