Safety Consultation

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We hired a safety consulting company to come in and give us an overview of our space. Ifny and Mike M. met with them on April 14, 2009. The recommendations and results of the consultation are below.

These recommendations were accepted by the Operations workgroup on April 29, 2009. They should be considered part of Free Geek's Safety Policy and will be implemented as soon as possible. They will also be fed into the Safety Manual currently under development.

Occupational Health and Safety Policy Articulation

Elements of the Safety Manual

These are generic sections for a safety manual. We might tweak the vocabulary a bit.

Sample provided by consultants:

Safety Manual
The most important component of the safety program is the actual integration of the
policies, practices, and procedures contained in the manual into all aspects of day-today
management and operation of the company.
Elements of the Safety Manual
The specific contents of a safety manual will vary from company to company. However,
there are standard types of information or elements, which go into any safety manual.
They may appear in different formats or combinations, but all are present.

Sample Table of Contents:

  1. Statement of Intent
  2. Corporate Health and Safety Policy
  3. Workplace Hazard Assessment and Control
  4. Safe Work Practices
  5. Safe Work Procedures
  6. Company Rules
  7. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  8. Maintenance Program (e.g. lighting)
  9. Training and Communication (e.g. records)
  10. Inspections (e.g. monthly self-audit, checklist)
  11. Investigations
  12. Emergency Preparedness (e.g. firedrills, where to find posted emergency numbers)
  13. Statistics and Records (e.g. nearmisses, stats on accident/nearmiss investigation by Joint OHS)
  14. Legislation (that applies to our activities; are we following it?)
  15. Safety Meetings and Planning
  16. Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Opening statement of intent

This is an over-arching statement that prefaces the Safety Manual.

  • Directors will sign it, others as we see fit

Sample statement of intent (provided by consultants):

Company Safety Policy
This company is committed to a strong safety program that protects its staff, its
property and the public from accidents.

Workers at every level, including management, are responsible and accountable
for the company's overall safety initiatives. Complete and active participation by
everyone, every day, in every job is necessary for the safety excellence the
company expects.
The management supports the coordination and cooperation of all workers
concerning safety on the job site. The management encourages all workers to
participate in the program and provides proper equipment, training and procedures.
Workers are responsible for following all procedures, working safely, and, wherever
possible, improving safety measures. An injury and accident-free workplace is our
goal. Through continuous safety and loss control efforts, we can accomplish this.
· The safety information in this policy does not take precedence over
applicable OH&S requirements, with which all workers should be familiar.
Signature:(xxxx) Date: (xxxx)
Assignment of Responsibility and Accountability for Safety
Manager’s Responsibilities:
1. To provide information, instructions, and assistance to all supervisory staff in
order to protect the health and safety of all the workers.
2. To understand and enforce the accident prevention policy as well as the
Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
3. To provide all supervisory staff with an understanding of our accident prevention
program as well as relevant Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
4. To provide all supervisory staff with proper, well maintained tools and
equipment, as well as any other special personal protective devices that may be
5. To provide ongoing safety education programs and approved first aid training
courses as required.
6. To monitor departments and projects and hold them accountable for their
individual safety performance.

Supervisor’s Responsibilities:
1. To know and apply the firm’s safety policy and relevant Occupational Health and
Safety legislation.
2. To ensure that all workers are educated to work in a safe manner and that they
use all protective devices and procedures required by this firm and by
legislation to protect their health and safety.
3. To warn all workers of any potential or actual dangers and to advise them how to
isolate, prevent, or remove such dangers.
4. To arrange for medical treatment when required, in the case of injury or illness,
including transportation to a doctor or hospital when necessary.
5. To report all accidents immediately, to investigate all accidents fully, and to
advise management on how to prevent similar accidents in the future.
6. To carry out regular inspections of the work place to ensure a safe and healthy
Worker’s Responsibilities:
1. To read, understand, and comply with this firm’s safety policy, safe work
practices, procedures, and rules.
2. To wear the safety equipment and personal protective devices and clothing
required by the OH&S Regulation and their employer.
3. To notify their supervisor(s) of any unsafe conditions or acts that may be of
danger to other workers or themselves.
4. To report all accidents and injuries to their supervisor(s) as soon as possible.
5. To take every reasonable precaution to protect the safety of other workers and


  • Staff will sign a document saying that they understand it is their responsibility to uphold FG safety policies, that they have read them, and that they understand they are responsible for staying up-to-date regarding changes to policies.
  • Staff contract could include this.
  • Staff get interviewed at least every 3 years in regards to safety


Volunteer contract

We will create a volunteer contract (or include one in the induction form)

  • volunteers will agree to abide by Free Geek safety policies and procedures at all times
  • volunteers will agree to notify staff immediately if they are injured
  • volunteers will agree to follow staff instructions regarding safety in the workplace at all times
  • Behaviour that will get you banned (e.g. violence)
  • volunteers who do not abide by these conditions may be asked to leave the premises, and may be prohibited from volunteering at Free Geek.
  • Date, Name, Signature

Volunteer waivers

We will expand the volunteer induction sheet to include waivers and specifications. Those sheets will be kept on file.

Questions to add:

  • Are there any health issues you want us to know about?
  • Are there any allergies you want us to know about?

Volunteer sign-in sheet

We will expand the time-sheet to include questions about injuries:

  • Were you hurt today?
  • If yes, did you report it?
  • If yes, how did you feel you were treated by first aid?
  • Sign in sheet could also have "If this question is blank it's assumed to be 'NO'" or we could only have a 'yes' tickbox so that if they don't tick it, the answer is assumed to be 'no.'

Misc policy development

  • there should be specific policies/procedures for lifting, repetitive work, etc. These policies should be posted at relevant stations.
  • We will write up a policy for what to do if someone needs to be removed from the premises (e.g. if someone needs to be removed, 2 staff deal with it)

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

The OHS workgroup would fulfill this role.

  • should consist of at least 2 directors, 2 workers
  • meet every 2 weeks
  • monthly safety event (group meeting, one-on-one meeting, safety worker of the month, send out a safety memo)
  • site inspection at least once per month. custom checklist should be made for FG
  • should hold annual safety meeting
  • maintain and check a suggestion box publicly posted for everyone to submit safety feedback
  • hold safety drills (e.g. fire)
  • Ensure regular internal audits

Safety Info at Phones

We must have the following safety information posted at each phone:

  • emergency # posted (fire, police, ambulance)
  • address & directions to nearest hospital and walk-in clinic
  • gas, hydro, poison control numbers
  • instructions how to call out for first aid (specific word to say, or siren to hit). We could get an alarm button that people could push
  • emergency instructions (where to congregate, map, how to evacuate). Back parking lot is a possible congregation area.

First Aid

  • we must have a first aid-attendant on site at all times
  • We are Level 1 since we have less than 20 employees
  • there is a 4 hour grace period in which it's excusable for the first-aid attendant to be off-site (e.g. if first aid attendant has gone for lunch or had to take a sick kid to the doctor, we have a four-hour grace period to be without an attendant)
  • all first-aid attendants need to keep their original tickets on-site at Free Geek
  • if someone sustains a minor injury on the work site (e.g. cut finger), the first aid attendant should administer treatment and then give them a relevant handout, as well as instructing them to come back for treatment (e.g. if the cut gets infected)
  • If someone is injured enough (bad sprain, hit their head, etc) the person injured should be given directions to the nearest medical treatment facility (walk-in or hospital). We should not sent them to the walk-in clinic alone -- we should drive them or send them in a taxi
  • fill out accident report & near miss reports. Keep log book up-to-date
  • accidents and near-misses must all be recorded
  • accident and near-miss reports will be discussed by the OHS workgroup so that they can be avoided in future
  • accident and near miss reports are to point out causes, not point blame
  • staff should be easily identifiable, first aid staff should be easily identifiable. Buttons would be good.
  • Volunteers should know the name of the first-aid attendant/s, and how to identify them.

First Aid Station

Besides first aid supplies, the First Aid station should contain:

  • first aid manual
  • record book
  • directions to nearest walk-in clinic & hospital
  • accident report forms
  • name & picture of first aid attendants
  • near miss forms

Eye wash station should be mounted outside the warehouse washroom, on the wall that intersects with where the first-aid kit currently lives.

Signs that are needed

  • More EXIT signs, red letters on white above all doors. Arrows in stairwell with exit signs
  • first aid station signs as noted
  • Specific safety sheet posted at each station
  • Signs should be laminated to last longer
  • Identification sign for all-in-one Macs so they are handled differently
  • 'Watch for Geeks' in the lane
  • 'Watch for vehicles'
  • Hazard sign: broken CRTs
  • Toner warning
  • Ergonomic signs

It would be good to have a nice big safety board, with safety info, memos, updates, safety worker of the week, warnings, tip of the week, who are staff and first-aid attendants, etc. This could be posted near the first-aid station.

Stairs and paths

  • pathways must be 3 1/2' in width (this is measured from the back of the chair pushed up to the desk, or between objects on either side)
  • keep stairways and landings clear at all times
  • There should be nothing at top of stairwell

More info

OHS Regulations and Related Materials on cd (this can periodically be downloaded as a pdf as well). I've got this on order and it should arrive next week. Ifny 16:11, 2 May 2009 (PDT)

Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee Workbook

Effective Safety and Health Programs: The Key to a Safe Workplace and Due Diligence

Emergency Response Guide

First Aid Notice (to be posted conspicuously by first aid station)

How to Implement a Formal Occupational Health and Safety Program

General health in the workplace

General safety