Category: Hazardous materials

Photo of technician spraying foam insulation using plural component gun for polyurethane foam, inside

If you work with spray foam insulation or finish coatings, you may be exposed to isocyanates, and should know the health effects of working with them.  Exposure to isocyanates — chemicals released into the air by varnishes, paints, coatings, and insulating spray foams — is often a silent exposure. Recently, I noticed on Twitter that […]

Photo of a person washing their hands as part of communicable disease prevention

It’s no longer mandatory to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan available for review, but employers still need to assess the risk of all communicable diseases.  B.C. is now in Step 3 of the provincial government’s four-step Restart plan. This means that employers are no longer required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and can transition […]

Photo of a person wearing a mask serving a customer at a food truck.

New videos share propane safety tips for operators of food trucks and mobile kitchens.  Food trucks were growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that dining and food service has moved primarily outside as part of B.C. health orders, food trucks are more popular than ever. These meals on wheels appeal to […]

Photo of person wearing gloves while cleaning and disinfecting a door handle

A costume studio shares its enhanced disinfecting and sanitizing protocols, and explains how it minimizes the potential chemical hazards.  Enhanced cleaning procedures are an important part of preventing COVID-19 transmission at work. I spoke with a friend about how his workplace is carrying out the extra measures. He is a shop foreman at a company […]

Photo of dentist in protective workwear checking teeth of girl with dental mirror and carver during COVID-19 pandemic

Dentists have been using enhanced hygiene protocols since the 1980s, so they have processes in place that are helpful during the current pandemic.  Dentists are well experienced in infection control. Recently, I spoke with Dr. Alastair Nicoll, chair of the B.C. Dental Association’s Back to Work Task Force, about how this expertise helps dentists to […]

Photo of cars driving in dense smoke, with tail lights on

Here are some tips for employers and workers about how they can minimize exposure to wildfire smoke outdoors and in vehicles.  Apple farmer Steve Brown is one of many B.C. employers concerned about the safety of his workers exposed to forest fire smoke. They’ve been trying to harvest the crop of 2020, but it’s taking […]

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. […]