Category: Hazardous materials

Photo of a green bin filled with garden trimmings

Workers in compost processing facilities need PPE to avoid exposure to fungi, bacteria, and hazardous gases, and training to work safely in confined spaces.  The business of reusing green waste is expanding rapidly. Companies are processing these discarded materials into biofuel, fertilizer, and compost for gardening. “Companies have to consider health and safety hazards during […]

Photo of colourful empty, labelled bottles in a recycling bin

Today’s waste and recycling industry workers may be exposed to a variety of hazards as they collect and sort electronics, scrap metal, glass, and much more.  This is the first post in a series about workplace hazards in the (ever-growing) recycling industry. In the past, most of what our communities threw away went to landfills. […]

Photo of a hand pulling toilet paper from a roll on a wall next to an unseen toilet

Flushing toilets can release norovirus and other pathogens into the air. A study shows how UVC technology can prevent the spread of bacteria in hospitals.  You’ve likely heard that germs can be released into the air when a toilet flushes. Well, recently I learned a few more details about this unpleasant but interesting topic. (If […]

Photo of two propane tanks stored in a wire cage

Workers have been injured in fires after unsecured propane cylinders tipped over and ignited. Securing cylinders and other safe practices are essential.  In June 2019, two people were injured while pressure washing a poultry processing unit. The pressure washer was powered by an unsecured propane tank that fell over and released gas, which then ignited. […]

Photo of sawdust being blown off a board in a wood products plant

Dust from wood, metal, flour, and more can ignite. Free online training can help employers, contractors, and workers in manufacturing control the hazard.  Just about any substance can be combustible when it’s the size of a grain of table salt. “When we grind things up very small, almost everything burns,” says Lorne Davies, safety advisor […]

Photo of welding metal in factory

WorkSafeBC regularly revises Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for chemical substances. Manganese was one chemical substance discussed at the last review.  Potentially harmful chemicals are present in many workplaces. So how can employers know how much chemical exposure is too much? That’s where Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) come in. To learn more about OELs, I spoke […]

Photo of lab tech holding material with tweasers

Nanomaterials are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. A new test makes it easier to detect spills of nanomaterials in workplaces.  Engineered nanomaterials are used in the manufacture of many items, including cosmetics, sun tan lotions, toothpaste, fuel cell catalysts, and antimicrobial materials. They can enhance paint colours, for example, and […]

Photo of a cook in a food truck preparing a hotdog bun

Food truck operators need to know the hazards of working with propane. WorkSafeBC officers are reaching out to raise awareness and offer solutions.  Propane is the fuel of choice for food truck operators. It’s convenient and portable, but can be dangerous: if it leaks, it can build up and explode if it encounters an ignition […]

Photo of workers at a conveyor sorting materials for recycling

Propane tanks, chemicals, and lithium ion batteries can explode in recycling facilities. Employers and the public can help prevent this workplace safety hazard.  People need to be much more careful when they drop off hazardous materials at recycling depots. Paint cans, aerosol bottles, lithium ion batteries, and other flammable items can lead to serious safety […]

Photo of truck engine spewing diesel exhaust

Diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen. Employers must assess the risk it poses to workers, even though there isn’t yet an occupational exposure limit for it.  Workers in many industries are exposed to diesel exhaust. Long-term exposure can have serious health effects, including cancer. People most at risk are those who work with diesel-powered vehicles […]