Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Wood Products Companies Addressed by WorkSafeBC Process Safety Initiative

"We are looking at the types of hazards and the risks they pose that are specific to each employer, and how they are managing and controlling those risks," said Gordon Harkness, manager of the Risk Analysis Unit. "We want employers to manage the risks that are created through their processes."

WorkSafeBC has a process safety initiative under way, one that aims to stop low-frequency, high-consequence events such as catastrophic fires, explosions, hazardous chemical releases, and structural collapses. Launched earlier this year, the initiative is focused on employers in the following industries: chemical manufacturing and processing, oil and gas, and wood products manufacturing.

The agency's team consists of prevention officers and managers, engineers, risk analysts, and human factors specialists. In the first year, they are inspecting and engaging with at least 50 employers across the province. In the pulp and paper sector for instance, the risk of chlorine dioxide is present, and the team is working with those employers to assess the risk and evaluate their critical control measures. "We are looking at the types of hazards and the risks they pose that are specific to each employer, and how they are managing and controlling those risks," said Gordon Harkness, manager of the Risk Analysis Unit. "We want employers to manage the risks that are created through their processes."

In addition to inspections related to process safety, two information sessions for employers have been held in 2018 – one in Prince George and one in Richmond. Another session organized in co-ordination with the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is scheduled to take place in November in Richmond.

"We see process safety as the next logical step in the journey that we've been working on with health and safety in the province," said Budd Phillips, manager of Prevention Field Services. "We're now going beyond the idea of what is hurting you today — the day-to-day occupational hazards and exposure issues — and into the catastrophic potential of different industrial processes."

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