State of Safety 2017 - Management Discussion
In 2017, we saw 11 fatalities (not including suicides) involving regulated equipment and work. One of those was a carbon monoxide incident where a family of four died, one instance was caused by runaway railway equipment which killed three workers, and another was an ammonia release incident which killed three workers. These tragedies remind us that safety is a shared responsibility and strengthen our resolve to mitigate safety risks.
- Wear-out failures contributed to more than 30% of incidents. These result when owners operate equipment beyond their useful life.
- Failure of users to follow established procedures was associated with approximately 20% of incidents.
- Ineffective servicing of regulated equipment was attributed as the cause of more than 15% of incidents. In these cases, owners or the qualified maintenance persons didn't complete the necessary tasks to keep equipment functioning properly.
- Less frequent but often associated with serious consequences are those cases where safety circuits are defeated by operators and, by consequence, unavailable to mitigate the impact of other failures.
To better understand safety risks and the best ways to manage them, Technical Safety BC continues to invest in information systems and analytics to complement our safety officers' technical knowledge. Some examples from 2017:
- One test we conducted in the electrical technology suggests that algorithms could help improve our safety officers' ability to find hazards by 85%. Of course, the skill, expertise and autonomy of our safety officers remain important, as do their relationships with the clients they work with.
- We introduced a new Safety Profile where clients can view the most common hazards, see the performance of their contractors and view their safety performance compared with similar companies in BC.
- We launched collaborations with BC Hydro to better coordinate risks around electrical connections.
- We worked with the refrigeration industry to raise awareness of the dangers of accidental ammonia release and are working with gasfitters to raise their awareness of situations where carbon monoxide could put individuals at risk.
Looking Ahead to 2018
In 2018, we will focus on three strategic priorities:
- Technical Safety Risk - detecting and mitigating emerging and known technical safety risks in the province.
- Advancing the Safety System - using information technology to increase focus on safety.
- Province-wide Technical Safety Insight - taking an integrated approach to technical safety in BC.