The traditional approach to prevention essentially asks the question: “What happened?”
Safety professionals share data from past incidents with employers to stop similar things from happening in the future. It’s valuable information that is communicated in many different ways, such as WorkSafeBC’s hazard alerts and bulletins, for example.
But now safety advocates are also asking a different question: “What could happen?”
You can find answers to this question online in these risk advisories from WorkSafeBC. Its Risk Analysis Unit is collecting and sharing information on risks that people may not be aware of or are difficult to detect.
“Not all of the health and safety risks out there are necessarily found in claims data. The idea is to start addressing health and safety risks before they result in an injury to a worker,” says Vincent Russell, director of the Risk Analysis Unit.
“It’s basically an evolution of our approach to prevention, and I think it’s a good one.”
Some of these risks come from new products, procedures, and technology. Carbon dioxide exposure in craft brewing and toxic fume exposure from 3D printers are examples described in the WorkSafe Magazine article “Staying ahead of the curve,” on page 16 of the March/April 2016 issue.
You can search the risk advisories to find information based on your industry or work activity. As I write this post, there are 31 advisories online, and WorkSafeBC will continue to add more, as they are created.
The information comes from many sources online and in-person.
“One of those sources of information are the actual workers and employers in the province who call us and say, ‘Hey, there’s this risk I think no one is addressing,'” Vincent says.
Please have a look – and share your concerns if you see any risks that others aren’t talking about. Contact your workplace safety committee, industry association, or call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604-276-3100 in the Lower Mainland or 1-888-621-7233 toll-free elsewhere in BC.