Category: Hazardous materials

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 […]

Photo of HAZMAT team beside tanker railcars

What happens when a toxic substance is spilled? A specialized cleanup crew works to contain the hazardous materials. The WISER app can help them stay safe.  On November 28, 2017, emergency crews closed the Coquihalla Highway in both directions. A semi-truck had crashed, spilling about 20,000 litres of phenol formaldehyde resin onto the road and […]

Photo of gloved hand with paint sprayer pointed at repair on car

WorkSafeBC inspectors see too many manufacturing shop workers spraying paint in makeshift booths or other areas not designed to control the hazards.  Reading this new bulletin from WorkSafeBC, Reducing the risk of fires or explosions when spraying flammable products, made me think about a friend of mine who uses a lot of flammable substances at […]

Photo of person with crowbar in hand removing drywall

Not dealing with asbestos properly can result in fines or stop-work orders that can harm your professional reputation. A new WorkSafeBC video explains more.  It is really worth the risk? That’s what WorkSafeBC asks construction contractors in the video Asbestos: Why risk it? It’s a reminder of their obligation to manage asbestos safely and responsibly. […]

Photo of construction worker using saw to cut concrete

Silicosis is a disease that destroys lung tissue. A new online tool helps employers protect workers from exposure to dusts that cause it.  Whenever I hear about silica exposure, I’m reminded of the construction worker I wrote about in my post To mask or not to mask. He was in a café, covered in grey […]