August 2015 IVES Update Newsletter

We’ll be covering: Employers Tout Distraction-free Zones. Newfoundland and Labrador OHS Regulations. New Virginia Training Location! A question on covering the Operator Reference Manual. What’s Wrong With This? Photo and answer. Interesting articles. Investigation report on a scissor lift operator fatality.

Thanks for joining us! In this August 2015 IVES Update Newsletter edition we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Our feature article: Employers Tout Distraction-free Zones.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador OHS Regulations available for download.
  • New Virginia Training Location!
  • Ask Bob: Our team answers a question on covering the Operator Reference Manual.
  • Don’t miss out on these last chance programs.
  • What’s Wrong With This? Photo and answer.
  • Interesting articles.
  • Investigation report on a scissor lift operator fatality.
  • Upcoming events schedule.
  • Testimonials from some of our incredible clients.

But first, check out all the places we delivered training this month…


Employers Tout Distraction-free Zones

By Helena Bryan, WorkSafe Magazine

Every year, the construction trades program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops turns out 40 young apprentices and journeymen. Spend some time watching these students learn their trade, and you’ll soon realize this isn’t your average apprenticeship classroom.

Despite these 20-something adults being part of a cellphone-dependent generation, no one is stopping to check for text messages — or dashing off a text in between bouts on the power saw. You won’t hear any blaring ring tones or noisy one-sided conversations either. In fact, nary a cellphone, iPod, MP3 player, or BlackBerry is in sight.

The absence of such devices is not by accident; it’s by design. “There’s a strict no-cellphone-use policy for the shop,” says Peter Poeschek, electrical senior lecturer for construction trades at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. “And, if students aren’t prepared to go along with it, they can’t work in the shop.”

“We talk at length to our students about digital distractions. Not only are we teaching the foundation of the trade, we are preparing them to work for employers that we know have less and less tolerance for cellphone use on the jobsite.”

Kamloops senior regional officer Vince Strain believes graduates like those from Thompson Rivers are the wave of the future. “It’s about encouraging safe behaviours before these students head out into the workforce.”

Companies — including those in the residential construction sector where injury rates and non-compliance are historically high — are beginning to recognize that cellphone use is not just a traffic safety issue.

What’s more, these employers are enforcing no-electronic-devices policies that have workers leaving their cellphones — and anything else digital — away from the worksite until break time.

Productivity and safety go hand in hand

Such policies might start as a productivity measure, but they end up going a long way to protect workers’ safety, Strain says. Cellphones are distracting, he points out, because they require attention to operate and because even a conversation engages a worker’s mind on something other than the job at hand.

“If you’re on a cellphone, you don’t have 360-degree awareness. And on a construction site, or in a sawmill or on an assembly line, you need that awareness to be safe.”

It’s no surprise that the employers he sees implementing no-digital devices policies start to see fewer trips and falls, as well as fewer incidents involving vehicles or mobile equipment like forklifts, excavators, and cranes.

Science supports fewer distractions

Extensive research on brain function shows why digital devices hamper safety, says WorkSafeBC human factors specialist Heather Kahle. “The notion that we can multi-task well is a myth,” she says. “The brain deals with information sequentially, switching between tasks so quickly that we’re given the impression that we can do two tasks at once, but each task suffers a little.”

What’s more, we only have so much attention capacity. “If there’s too much information to process,” Kahle says, “the brain starts to decide what to process and what to filter out. And what’s filtered out is not attended to. This applies to what we hear and what we see.”

On a busy, risk-filled worksite, this filtering-out process can present a hazard, where the amount of information the brain has to process is already at a maximum. “Throw in even a casual conversation on a cellphone, and there’s your tipping point,” Kahle says.

“Typically, much of your safety relies on what you can see or hear; so not being able to do either can get you hurt or even killed.”

Risks override perceived need

Southview Sorting Ltd. clearly recognizes the dangers of cellphone use on the job. “We apply the ban to mobile equipment and machinery for all the same reasons the Motor Vehicle Act bans cellphone use in motor vehicles,” says Scott Fortnum, health and safety manager for the Chilliwack-based lumber sorting yard.

“A distraction in a car will be a distraction in a skidder, rock truck, or excavator. You can’t safely operate one and text your wife about dinner at the same time. Distracted machine operation is dangerous. And most of the people working the tools here are smart enough to know a no-cellphone policy is reasonable.”

To weed out those resistant to putting away their phones, all new machinery operators and drivers for Southview must sign off on the company’s policy before they step foot in a vehicle or piece of machinery.

Kamloops construction company Homex Development Corp. implemented a no-cellphone and a no-smoking policy at the same time two years ago. Superintendent Pete Hoefner introduces both policies to prospective employees at the interview stage. “That way, we weed out the people who won’t want to comply before they even step on site,” Hoefner says.

Even long-term employees have been receptive, he says. “When we first implemented the policy, I said, ‘Hey, would you want your dentist to be on his cellphone while he’s drilling your teeth?’ It must have made sense to them, because so far nobody has had any complaints about either policy, and two employees have even quit smoking.”

Employers have right to enforce

Strain would like to see more companies implement such policies, but some employers are under the false impression they don’t have the right to tell employees what to do with their personal property. And while electronic devices are not specifically covered in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, under the general duty clause, an employer has an obligation to guard against known risks, Strain says. “As such, they can assess digital devices as a hazard and take measures to control those hazards.”

Fortnum explains Southview’s policy to employees this way: “You don’t have the right to be on a personal device on the job. What you do have the right to is a safe workplace. And that’s what this is all about.”

Source: July/August 2015 WorkSafe Magazine

New Documents for Download!

We have now posted the following documents on the Member Dashboard under Downloadable Materials & Updates:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador OHS Regulations SUP-038

Visit the Member Dashboard to download this and other documents now!

New Training Location!

We are excited to announce our new partnership with ITAC Engineers & Constructors in Chester, Virginia! ITAC is a leading industrial services firm which unites design/build engineering and construction services with vertically integrated self-perform construction and sub-contracting services.

We will be offering Train the Trainer programs at ITAC as of this fall! Here’s our schedule:

  • Premium Forklift Trainer Certification Oct 5-9
  • Trainer Recertification Oct 10
  • Premium Combo Trainer Certification Dec 14-18

Register online or call us at 1-800-643-1144.

Ask Bob

Q: Do I have to cover everything that’s in the operator workbook even if it doesn’t apply where I work? I’m mostly thinking of propane, as we just don’t use it here.

A: If a particular subject does not apply at your site then technically, it does not need to be covered, just be absolutely sure that it doesn’t apply! You could still cover off the answers to the questions in the book without going in to great detail and save the detailed instruction for things that actually apply on site. That’s what I usually do… time permitting.

Remember that no matter what the fuel of choice is on site, there are always common things that apply. Items such as personal protective equipment (PPE), securing the machine for fueling (parking and shut down), where the fuel actually goes, and observing the rules about ignition sources in refueling and battery recharging areas (where ventilation is significant) plus any site policies that may apply. All of these items will apply to any situation and must be conveyed to operators.

Last Chance Programs!

There are lots of programs to choose from, but seats available are limited!

U.S.A. Programs

Bismarck, North Dakota
Aerial Lifts Trainer Aug 25-27

Sacramento, California
Loader Group Trainer Sept 28-Oct 2

Tukwila, Washington
Premium Forklift Trainer Sept 14-17
Rough Terrain Forklift Trainer Upgrade Sept 18

Rancho Cucamonga, Southern California
Premium Combo Trainer Sept 21-25

Irving, Texas
Express Forklift Trainer Sept 21-22
Aerial Lifts Trainer Sept 23-25

Salt Lake City, Utah
Premium Forklift Trainer Sept 28-Oct 1

Richmond, Virginia
Premium Forklift Trainer Oct 5-8
Trainer Recertification Oct 9

Canadian Programs

Abbotsford, British Columbia
Aerial Lifts Trainer Upgrade Aug 21
Express Skid Steer Loader Trainer Aug 24-25
Express Forklift Trainer Sept 9-10
Trainer Recertification Sept 11
Premium Combo Trainer Sept 14-18
Loader Group Trainer Sept 28-Oct 2
Excavator Trainer Upgrade Oct 5

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Premium Combo Trainer Sept 21-25

Prince George, British Columbia
Express Skid Steer Loader Trainer Oct 19-20
Express Forklift Trainer Oct 21-22

Oshawa, Ontario
Aerial Lifts Trainer Oct 27-29
Trainer Recertification Oct 30

Looking for more program dates? View our program calendar!

What’s Wrong With This?

This month we are sharing’s picture! Do you know what’s wrong with this photo? Share your comments here!

Answers to Last Month’s WWWT

Thanks to Carl Sam for submitting last month’s photo! He even had someone speak to the operator and suggest he find another way to complete his task. Way to go, Carl!

There are so many things going wrong in this photo, including:

  • There was no operator at the controls of the machine.
  • The worker is being lifted on a loose pallet, which is not an approved work platform.
  • The worker wasn’t using any kind of fall protection.
  • The worker has the ladder leaned against the building and only has one foot on it.
  • The area isn’t secured against vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

Have something to add? Share your comments here!

Interesting Articles

  • Bucket truck worker suffers fatal fall in California… more
  • Man claims severe injuries after employee ran forklift into car… more
  • OSHA investigating incident where worker was ran over by forklift… more
  • Avalanche of sand crushes front-end loader, kills worker… more
  • Man electrocuted while trimming trees from scissor lift… more
  • Pipeline explosion caused by front-end loader, state report says… more
  • Man killed in forklift accident in lumber yard… more

Investigation Report

Two power-line workers were seriously injured when the self-propelled boom-supported elevating work platform (the lift) they were working from tipped over. The workers were elevated about 50 feet off the ground, and operating the lift in an unstable configuration on uneven and soft ground. The workers were poorly trained, the lift had not been properly inspected, and the safety devices on the lift, which would have warned the workers of the unsafe operating conditions, had been disabled.

Investigation Conclusions


  • Use of the lift in rough terrain resulted in tip-over: The lift was operated on very rough, sloped terrain, contrary to the manufacturer’s instruction. As a result, it tipped over, and the two workers were seriously injured.
  • Incorrect choice of lift for the work: An adequate risk assessment was not undertaken to choose a lift for the work. The employer could have selected more appropriate equipment or work methods, based on a consideration of the rough terrain at the worksite.

Underlying Factors

  • Lack of worker training: Workers were not trained in the lift’s operational limitations, especially the requirement for using the lift only on a level, stable surface. They were not trained to understand the operation, function, and testing of the safety devices. The workers were not trained how to inspect the lift before operating it to ensure that the controls worked properly.
  • Lack of equipment inspection: A complete inspection of the lift would have determined that the safety devices intended to warn workers of an unsafe operating configuration did not function.
  • Lack of supervision: Supervisors did not ensure that the lift was used safely, and did not ensure that workers were adequately trained to inspect and operate the lift.

Source: WorkSafeBC

Upcoming Events

We will be exhibiting at the NSC Congress & Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia Sept 26-Oct 2.

The NSC Congress & Expo is the world’s largest annual “must attend” event for safety, health and environmental professionals. For more than 100 years, professionals have turned to this event for industry-leading technology, education, networking opportunities and the tried and true products and services needed to stay at the forefront and remain competitive within the industry.

Make sure you stop by and say hi to our safety exhibit team at booth #1932!

Client Testimonials

“A very thought out program with a very knowledgeable instructor! Had a great time and learned a lot.” Ken, Jacobs Technology.

“Out of every course I’ve ever taken, this one was by far the most knowledgeable and exciting.” Jared, ABS Health & Safety Inc.

“Keep doing what you are doing, it works well!” John, PepsiCo North American Beverages.

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