Category Archives: Health & Safety

Health & Safety

B.C. wildfire smoke may have caused the ‘red sun’ in Ontario

By Isaac Phan Nay
The Toronto Star
September 15, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Those watching the sky in the evening may have noticed a unique sunset as smoke from wildfires in Western Canada wafted above parts of southern Ontario. Satellite imaging showed a plume of smoke from Western Canada move slowly southwards over the Golden Horseshoe area Wednesday evening, Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng said. …“As long as there’s smoke between your eyes and the sun, you could see the red sun,” Cheng said. Cheng added the smoke did not reach ground level as it passed high above southern Ontario, meaning it did not affect the air quality in the GTA. …Cheng said that at this time, there is no information to suggest any B.C. wildfires would affect air quality in southern Ontario in the coming days. But Cheng said the same pollutants that gave Ontario vibrant sunsets was affecting air quality in Western Canada.

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2021 APA Safety and Health Award Winners Announced

APA – The Engineered Wood Association
July 19, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, United States
 

APA – The Engineered Wood Association has announced the winners of its 2021 Safety and Health Awards. The APA Safety and Health Awards Program encourages and recognizes operational excellence with the goal of reducing injury and illness rates. …Resolute Engineered Wood and West Fraser won Safest Company Awards in their respective categories, while the coveted Innovation in Safety Award went to two winners: Tolko Industries Ltd. of Athabasca, Alberta, for the Equipment-Based Innovation Award, and Tolko Industries Ltd. of Armstrong, British Columbia, for the Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation Award. …“We are proud of our members’ commitment to developing systems and processes that improve worker safety,” said APA President Mark Tibbetts. …Besides the Safest Company and Innovation in Safety awards, other competition categories include Annual Safety and Health Award, Safety Improvement Award (2019-2021) and 3-Year Safety Award. 

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Analysis of deflagration isolation in wood pellet production for safe operation

By Kayleigh Rayner Brown
Canadian Biomass
July 20, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada in collaboration with Dalhousie University, BC Forest Safety Council and Canadian Biomassmagazine hosted a webinar. Organized by the WPAC Safety Committee, the focus of the webinar was the technical study Analysis of Deflagration Isolation in Wood Pellet Production for Safer Operation. In wood pellet plants, there is a risk of combustible dust deflagration propagation through interconnected equipment due to presence of ignition sources and generation of combustible dust. Deflagration isolation is the technique for interrupting pressure and flames between connected equipment. The purpose of the webinar was to enhance the ability of management and decision makers to effectively consider key areas of focus for deflagration isolation in wood pellet production.

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The 2022 Vancouver Island Safety Conference returns

BC Forest Safety Council
September 20, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West
After two years hiatus due to the pandemic, this free conference is back with forestry-related safety topics focussing around this year’s theme – Lead the Way | Resiliency, Opportunity, Engagement. This full-day, in-person conference includes refreshments and lunch for conference attendees and features a variety of speakers as well as a trade show with targeted safety products and services. This year’s keynotes speakers include former NHL goaltender, Corey Hirsch, leadership expert Hall of Fame speaker, Michelle Ray and “Brain-guy” Terry Small, master teacher and Canada’s leading learning skills specialist. Saturday, October 29th, at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo, BC

 

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Logging truck submerged in Penticton, B.C. after crashing through guardrail

By Doyle Potenteau
Global News
September 13, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A logging truck was submerged in Penticton Channel after crashing through a guardrail along the Channel Parkway in Penticton, B.C. RCMP say the overnight incident caused significant damage to the guardrail at the parkway’s end, and repairs are underway. According to police, the single-vehicle incident happened around 1:30 a.m., and there were no injuries. They also said alcohol and speed were not factors in the collision. “We want to alert drivers, cyclists and pedestrians that the guardrail has been seriously damaged on the south side of the bridge,” said Const. Dayne Lyons. The RCMP say the submerged truck remains in the channel while the province conducts transportation and environmental investigations.

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What employers need to know about winter driving

BC Truck Loggers Association and Shift into Winter
September 12, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Winter driving can be dangerous for logging truck drivers, no matter how much experience they have. The risk of being in a crash increases in poor weather and road conditions. Snowy or icy logging roads, steep grades, and new or unfamiliar routes are just a few of the potential hazards. That’s why it’s time for employers to start planning now to reduce the risk – before the seasons change. The annual Shift into Winter campaign recommends preparing drivers and work vehicles for what’s ahead. Tire and chain regulations for commercial vehicles take effect October 1 in BC. Keeping your people safe is good business. It’s also your legal responsibility. To help meet your responsibilities, develop or update your winter driving safety policy and procedures. Also review our Winter Driving Safety Tool Kit for Employers. …Shift into Winter’s training resources for employers include our Keeping Your Employees Safe During Winter Driving webinar and Winter Driving Safety for Employers and Supervisors online course.

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Western Canada: After summer wildfires in B.C., the province’s Alert Ready system still falls short

By Wendy Cox and James Keller
The Globe and Mail
September 3, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

At one point last month, more than 500 homes were on evacuation order as the Keremeos wildfire swept through an area in British Columbia’s Okanagan. None of those people received the warning to get out via Alert Ready, Canada’s direct-to-cellphone alerting system designed specifically to warn the public of natural disasters. In neighboring Alberta, 10 wildfire messages were issued through Alert Ready last year and two already this year. Apparently, British Columbia is not an early adopter. The province came under heavy criticism last year after The Globe’s Colin Freeze reported that despite last summer’s deadly heat wave and wildfires, followed by last November’s even deadlier flooding, British Columbia had never deployed the system.  …In response, provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth promised earlier this year the system would be available in time for this summer’s forest fire season. It was.

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West Kootenay logging company fined $6,500 for unsafe practices

By Sheri Regnier
The Nelson Star
August 24, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A West Kootenay logging business has been hit with a $6,500+ fine from WorkSafeBC after an employee was seriously injured at a job site earlier this year, just outside of Fruitvale. WorkSafeBC inspected the harvesting operation of Hlookoff Logging Ltd., located in Park Siding, in response to the March 2022 report of an injured worker. According to the WorkSafeBC report, a tree had been felled directly across a skyline (a stationary line), which caused it to jump at its other end, striking and seriously injuring a worker. WorkSafeBC says it determined that Hlookoff Logging Ltd. “routinely used uncertified workers and untrained fallers and did not adequately inspect their work.” Furthermore, WorkSafeBC reports, “The firm failed to ensure that workers who fall trees were certified and qualified to do so.

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WorkSafeBC amends rules on the refusal of unsafe work so workers can make more informed decisions

WorkSafeBC
August 22, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) are coming into effect on Aug. 22, 2022, that will strengthen worker protections on the right to refuse unsafe work. A worker’s right to refuse unsafe work is an integral element in ensuring work is carried out safely. All workers in B.C. have the right to refuse work where there is reasonable cause to believe it would create an undue hazard to their health or safety. Prior to the amendment, the regulation did not explicitly prohibit the reassignment of refused work, or require the disclosure that another worker had refused the task due to health or safety concerns. …Under the new rules, employers are required to notify workers in writing of any unresolved work refusal due to safety concerns. It also requires employers to tell the subsequent worker the specific reasons the first worker felt the task was unsafe.

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2022 Vancouver Island Safety Conference

BC Forest Safety Council
August 22, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

After two years hiatus due to the pandemic, this free conference is back with forestry-related safety topics focussing around this year’s theme – Lead the Way | Resiliency, Opportunity, Engagement. The full-day, in-person conference includes refreshments and lunch for conference attendees and features a variety of speakers as well as a trade show with targeted safety products and services. This year’s keynotes speakers include former NHL goaltender, Corey Hirsch, leadership expert Hall of Fame speaker, Michelle Ray and “Brain-guy” Terry Small, master teacher and Canada’s leading learning skills specialist. When: Saturday, October 29, 2022. Where: Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo, BC. Please consider sponsoring this year’s conference.  Sponsorship Letter and Form If you would like to contact the VISC steering committee, or if you have registration, sponsorship or other questions about the conference please email training@bcforestsafe.org or call 1-877-741-1060.

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Helicopter TEAAM touches down on Island, offers new solution for remote rescue

By Andrew Duffy
The Times Colonist
August 21, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

With its goal of bringing advanced life support medical care to the most remote settings in the province, Squamish-based Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical has expanded its services to Campbell River. The non-profit organization, which also has centres in Squamish, Prince George and Fort St. John, has set up shop on the North Island to provide helicopter-centred, pre-hospital care in remote sites where ambulances either can’t go or take too long to access. …Randell said the forest industry in particular needs this kind of service, which is able to reach into the most dense brush and access injured workers, start applying medical treatment and get them to advanced care centres in a fraction of the time other services can. He cites an example of a forest worker who broke a leg in a remote part of Haida Gwaii in 2014. It took 11 hours to get the worker to a hospital.

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Newly-launched Island-based air rescue team has few equivalents in North America

The Northern View
August 18, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Miles Randell

Campbell River’s Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) base is up and running, with crews ready to respond quickly to emergencies in hard-to-reach places on Vancouver Island and the North Coast. “What we do is different than search and rescue and different than ambulance,” said Miles Randell, president of TEAAM Aeromedical. “It’s called ‘medically directed rescue.’ We marry the level of medical care with the ability to rescue someone. …The placement in Campbell River means that TEAAM can make good use of their two-hour-and-20-minute flight time before refuelling. Randell said their response time is about “a tenth of the time frame that it would take an ambulance to get someone out of those situations.” …The base launched on August 10. An open house was attended by supporters like the Truck Loggers Association, Interfor, and Western Forest Products.

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New medivac team providing quicker hospital link for remote Island workers

Nanaimo News Now
August 16, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

NANAIMO — An expanding medivac service has set up shop in Campbell River, creating a more stable and quicker response time for injured people on Vancouver Island. Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical, or TEAAM, began operations in 2018 in Squamish and quickly expanded out to Prince George and Fort St. John. Miles Randell, TEAAM president, said their most recent development is a new, permanent base in Campbell River which officially opened Aug. 1. “It’s a faster response time for North Island. We are able to access the Campbell River area from Squamish…but it’s probably another 40 minutes faster if we’re accessing it from the Campbell River area.” …Among many other collaborations, TEAAM has worked with the BC Truck Loggers Association, the City of Campbell River and the Strathcona Regional District to make the Island base a reality.

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Free Webinar: Tips to successfully transition into supervision

BC Forest Safety Council
August 15, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thursday, November 17, 2022 2:00pm – 3:00pm PST
Register Today: go to our website – under NEWS to get the registration link
________________________________________
The path to supervision isn’t always planned or intentional. Many forestry supervisors are quickly promoted to the role – they’re a crew worker one day and responsible for the whole crew the next day. This webinar is intended for workers transitioning into a supervisor role as well as seasoned supervisors. We’ll cover the key principles of leadership, regardless of position or experience level, and help participants build their leadership skills and understand the supervisor’s role. Join us for this presentation hosted by facilitator Shannon Overland, Principal Consultant at Dekra Insights.

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Environment Canada issues heat warning for most of B.C.

By Aaro Schulze
CFJC Today
July 25, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — A heat wave is going to impact B.C. this week. In a public alert issued Monday morning, Environment Canada says B.C. will reach daytime high temperatures between 35 to 40 degrees Celsius and early morning lows of 18 to 20 degrees. The heat warning is expected to begin Tuesday and last until Saturday. According to the weather agency, the heat wave is due to a strong ridge of high pressure. The peak daytime high temperatures are expected from Wednesday to Friday, then a slow cooling trend is likely next weekend to early August. …While extreme heat affects everyone, Environment Canada says the risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, and people working or exercising outdoors. Effects of heat illness include swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and the worsening of some health conditions.

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WorkSafeBC’s preliminary average premium base rate to remain unchanged in 2023

WorkSafeBC
July 15, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC announced today that the preliminary average base rate for 2023 will remain unchanged at 1.55 per cent of employers’ assessable payroll. This will be the sixth year in a row that the average base rate has remained at this level, consistent with WorkSafeBC’s goal of keeping rates stable. Annual base premium rates are driven by provincial injury rates, return-to-work performance and the resulting cost of claims, as well as investment performance relative to required rates of return. Each year, the costs in some industries go up, some go down and others stay the same. In 2023, 50 per cent of employers in B.C. are projected to experience a decrease in their industry base rate, 37 per cent will see their industry base rate increase, and 13 per cent will see no change. …The Workers Compensation Act requires WorkSafeBC to set premium rates annually for employers in order to pay for the workers’ compensation system.

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Driver airlifted to hospital after logging truck rollover near Campbell River

Chek News
July 6, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A logging truck driver was airlifted to hospital after his vehicle rolled over on a logging road south of Campbell River, spilling its load and pinning him inside. Campbell River Fire Capt. John Vaton said crews were called to the logging road, approximately 10 kilometres from the Cranberry Island Highway intersection, at around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. They arrived to find the logging truck on its side near a bank. …firefighters were able to make their way inside the cab and make contact with the driver who was conscious “but in a great deal of pain,” said Campbell River Fire Capt. John Vaton. They extricated him from the truck and paramedics transferred him to an air ambulance that landed on the logging road. He was flown to Victoria General Hospital in unknown condition.

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Balsam fir needles can kill ticks that cause Lyme disease, Dalhousie researcher finds

CBC News
August 18, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada East

Shelley Adamo

When Nova Scotia scientist Shelley Adamo noticed ticks avoid balsam fir trees, her professional instincts kicked in. Adamo, a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said she noticed ticks often didn’t survive winter on her South Shore property which has thick stands of balsam fir trees. Adamo said she had a “realistic hunch” that she should study the effects of balsam fir trees on Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick that is a vector for Lyme disease. First discovered in Lyme, Conn., in the 1970s Lyme disease is now a common tick-borne disease that can cause fever, joint pain, rash and other longer-lasting effects. The results of a three-year study into how balsam fir needles could help control tick populations was published on July 29 in Scientific Reports. Adamo spoke to Emma Smith of CBC Radio’s Mainstreet NS about what she discovered. 

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Northwestern Ontario pulp & paper mills named safest in Canada

Northern Ontario Business
July 11, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada East

A pair of northwestern Ontario sawmills has been deemed the safest in Canada. In 2021, Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay facility and Domtar’s Dryden operation had the fewest recordable incidents amongst their peers. The finding was reported in the spring edition of the industry publication Pulp & Paper. Resolute Forest Products earned the top spot in Category A, for mills that record more than 80,000 worker hours per month. The facility had five recordable incidents in 2021, with a total of 1,001,259 total hours worked and a mill frequency of 0.998. Domtar came out on top in Category B, for mills that recorded between 50,000 and 80,000 worker hours per month. The Dryden operation reported one recordable incident in 2021, with a total of 741,079 total hours worked and a mill frequency of 0.269. The top spot in Category C, for mills with fewer than 50,000 worker hours per month, went to Cascades Containerboard Packaging in Mississauga.

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How stored wood pellets can set off a carbon monoxide alarm

By Calvin Cutler
WCAX
September 20, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

WILLIAMSTOWN, Vermont – Fire crews in Williamstown say a smoke alarm warned a homeowner about a bag of wood pellets that almost spontaneously combusted. The Williamstown Fire Department was called to a home on Falls Bridge Road for a chirping carbon monoxide detector. After struggling to find the source of the odorless gas, they noticed a stack of wood pellet bags was heating up. Like wet stacked hay, the bagged wood pellets in the bags began to oxidize and heated up to 125 degrees. So officials are reminding people to store them safely and check their smoke alarms. “The best thing if you do store them inside is to make sure you have a working smoke detector or CO detector to give that quick awareness that something isn’t right,” Williamstown Fire Chief William Graham said.

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Dust Explosions: Different Standards, Different Properties, and Different Precautions

Occupational Health & Safety Magazine
September 2, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

If you are handling or processing combustible dusts, you will have heard of National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts. …By now you should have completed the mandated DHA (Dust Hazards Analysis) and acted on the findings, but what if your powder is non-standard? Does it have a broad particle size distribution? Maybe it is a mixture of other powders or you’re handling multiple powders such that testing becomes factorially uneconomic? And what if your industry has its own NFPA combustible dust standards? There are some five industry and/or commodity-specific dust explosion standards; which one should you use when there is contradiction? This FREE WEBINAR presentation sets out a path to gaining a proper understanding of your dust explosion risks, even when the risks presented by your powders are more complicated or difficult to ascertain than usual. Date: October 13, 2022

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How to Make Sure Wildfire Shelters Save Firefighters’ Lives

By Lou Dzierzak
Scientific American
July 25, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

Wildfires burn hot, fast and unpredictably. Although wildland firefighters receive extensive training to keep themselves safe, they sometimes become cut off by flames that can reach temperatures of 1,600 to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To protect themselves in these extremely dire situations, each carries a portable fire shelter (essentially a small, specially formulated foil tent) that can be deployed to shield them from flames and hot gasses. But this technology has serious limits, and researchers are now exploring new materials and designs—and putting prototypes through a gauntlet of fiery tests. …The need for better shelters will only become more crucial as fire seasons continue to grow more severe. …the new emergency fire shelter prototypes focus on other ways to improve heat resistance. …Although the prototypes proved promising, they failed to dethrone the M2002 as the model wildland firefighters carry into the field. But the quest for better fire shelters still continues.

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More than 90 million in the US endure alarmingly high temperatures as heat wave persists

By Aya Elamroussi and Samantha Beech
CNN Weather
July 24, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

The deadly heat wave scorching much of the US will continue Sunday, when the Northeast and mid-South regions are likely to be suffocated by temperatures feeling as hot as 105 degrees. More than 90 million people across the country are under various heat alerts for dangerously high temperatures. Sunday is expected to bring the hottest temperatures to the Northeast. …The extreme conditions — which experts note are becoming more common around the globe due to climate change — have led local officials to issue heat emergencies to allow for resources to aid in confronting the heat millions have been enduring. Officials are also imploring people to practice extreme caution when spending time outdoors, stay hydrated and check on vulnerable communities and neighbors. In the US, excessive heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths.

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Weedkiller ingredient tied to cancer found in 80% of US urine samples

By Carey Gillam
The Guardian
July 9, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

More than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in a US health study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer, a finding scientists have called “concerning”. The report by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that out of 2,310 urine samples, 1,885 had detectable traces of glyphosate. This is the active ingredient in herbicides sold around the world, including the widely used Roundup brand. …The CDC has only recently started examining the extent of human exposure to glyphosate. …Monsanto maintains that glyphosate and Roundup products are safe, and that residues in food and in human urine are not a health risk. They are at odds with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a unit of WHO, which classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. …The US Environmental Protection Agency has taken the opposite stance, classifying glyphosate as not likely to be carcinogenic.

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Second wildland firefighter dies in Oregon this month, fourth at least since 2020

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
August 19, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

A wildland firefighter died while battling a wildfire in southern Oregon on Thursday, the second firefighter to lose their life on an active blaze this month in Oregon. No details about the death were released other than that the incident took place on a fire in Josephine County, where both state and federal firefighters are battling multiple lightning-ignited fires from a thunderstorm that hit the area earlier this week. The individual’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, officials said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” a statement from the Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management said. “The cause is under investigation and more details will be released as they are confirmed.”

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Timber harvest operations limits public traffic on Gravina Island

KINY Radio Alaska
August 15, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Ketchikan, Alaska – With deer hunting activity increasing in the region, the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection is reminding the public about vehicle restrictions on Vallenar Bay Road on Gravina Island near Ketchikan. The road is currently restricted to commercial and administrative traffic associated with active timber harvest operations. The public is discouraged from using the road during periods of road construction, log hauling, cutting, or logging occurring on or near the road, to protect public safety, equipment, and timber value. Restrictions are intended to help ensure the safety of both the public and a contractor conducting timber harvests… Logging trucks have limited maneuverability on the narrow, one-lane road and encounters with public traffic pose a risk to all involved.

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Wildland firefighter dies after being struck by tree in Oregon’s Willamette Natl. Forest

KATU News
August 11, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

OREGON — A firefighter died Wednesday after he was struck by a tree while fighting the Big Swamp Fire in the Willamette National Forest. Collin Hagan, 27, of Toivola, Michigan, was a Bureau of Land Management firefighter with the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew in Colorado. He was assigned to help fight the wildfire which is burning to the southeast of Oakridge, Oregon. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said a 9-1-1 call came in shortly after 12:30 p.m. reporting that a wildland firefighter was critically injured after he was struck by a tree. Both ground and helicopter ambulances were sent to the scene, but despite getting medical aid from EMS personnel assigned to the fire, Hagan died of his injuries. A REACH Air Medical Services helicopter flew his body to the Roseburg Regional Airport, where firefighters from the BLM, USFS, and local agencies “stood together to honor Hagan.”

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Career fire lookout dies in McKinney Fire, Forest Service says

By Zoe Christen Jones
CBS News
August 8, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Kathy Shoopman

A longtime fire lookout at Klamath National Forest was identified Monday as one of the four killed in the ongoing McKinney wildfire in California. The fire, which began on July 29, is 40% contained and has burned more than 60,000 acres, according to CalFire. Kathy Shoopman began her lookout career as a Baldy Mountain Lookout in 1974, according to the National Parks Service. Throughout her career, she worked at Lake Mountain Lookout and held a position at Buckhorn Lookout since 1993. The Parks Service said she had lived in her Klamath community for more than five decades and enjoyed gardening and creating art. She was also described as an avid animal lover. …At least three others have been killed as the McKinney fire continues to burn through California. Now the state’s largest fire, the McKinney wildfire is one of several blazes currently threatening the Klamath National Forest, which extends slightly over the California border into Oregon. 

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Two pilots killed in firefighting helicopter crash near Salmon, Idaho

By David K. Li
NBC News
July 22, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

SALMON, Idaho — Both pilots on board a helicopter that crashed Thursday afternoon in Lemhi County died, the sheriff confirmed Friday. The U.S. Forest Service said the CH-47D Series Chinook helicopter crashed at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, and came down in the Salmon River. The pilots were helping fight the Moose Fire, which has burned about 37 square miles southwest of North Fork. The pilots have been identified as 41-year-old Thomas Hayes of Post Falls, Idaho, and 36-year-old Jared Bird of Anchorage, Alaska. Lemhi County Sheriff Steve Penner said both the pilots were highly experienced and both were veterans. The pilots were employees of ROTAK Helicopter Services, which is based in Anchorage. “Company leadership asks for prayers and privacy on behalf of the involved families at this time,” the company said Thursday night in a written statement. …the pilots were extricated from the helicopter and taken to medical facilities, where they died from their injuries.

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Protecting Yourself from the Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke

By Sarah Bardeen
Public Policy Institute of California
July 11, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Lisa Patel

Wildfire season is upon us, and many Californians are wondering how to prevent health impacts from all that smoke. Dr. Lisa Patel, a pediatric hospitalist and assistant professor at Stanford, is an expert in the connections between children’s health and the environment. We asked Dr. Patel about wildfire’s impacts on human health—and what Californians can do to protect themselves. …Smoke affects the upper respiratory system—causing itchy eyes and throat—and the lower respiratory system—causing asthma and pneumonia. Over time, it can increase the risk of lung cancer. Wildfires also affect mental health: studies have found that being exposed to fires as child can have mental impacts down the line. And if you’re caught in a fire, of course there are immediate issues with burns and smoke inhalation. …we recommend N95 masks. …Close off a room with a portable air cleaner and stay inside.

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Missouri Presents McClain Forest Products with Second Prestigious SHARP Award for Workplace Safety

By Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
State of Missouri
September 7, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

Alton, MO – The Missouri Department of Labor’s On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program announced the Alton, Missouri, facility of McClain Forest Products LLC as the newest member of the state’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). “The SHARP program is dedicated to promoting a culture of safety for workers at Missouri businesses,” said Anna Hui, Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. “Once again, we congratulate the team at McClain Forest Products for achieving their workplace safety goals, and to the Alton facility in joining an elite group of Missouri businesses that includes their Van Buren location.” The company, a leading supplier of kiln dried hardwood lumber and flooring products, was honored for its achievement during a ceremony on Sept. 7, at its place of business in Alton.

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Four injured from steam release at WestRock Roanoke Rapids paper mill

Nip Impressions
August 29, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

 — Four people were injured, including one critically, from steam released from a valve at a Roanoke Rapids paper mill. The incident happened at WestRock around 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 25. “Just to make you aware, we had a machine blow up at 100 Gaston Road,” radio traffic reported about the incident. United Steel Workers said two of the employees had to be airlifted from WestRock. The union also has a team helping the employees’ families. Roanoke Rapids police said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will likely be investigating. The cause of the incident remained under investigation, the spokesman said.

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University of Tennessee researchers receive $2.75 million grant to investigate movement of amphibian pathogens

By University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
EurekAlert
August 12, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

The evolution, emergence and spread of novel pathogens has been widely discussed even before the first case of COVID-19 was reported in 2019. A team of researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has received a $2.75 million grant to identify disease mitigation strategies that will minimize the risk of amphibian pathogens spreading from captive pet populations to wild populations and negatively impacting biodiversity. The project, “Socioeconomic and Epidemiological Drivers of Pathogen Dynamics in Wildlife Trade Networks,” is being funded by the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program… The goal of the study is to identify how socio-economic decisions and pathogen dynamics impact each other in a wildlife trade network. …Many infectious outbreaks, like that of monkeypox, chronic wasting disease and COVID-19, have been linked to wildlife trade. These outbreaks cost economies trillions of dollars, cripple biodiversity and result in substantial loss of human life.

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Long-standing Antlers millwright has perfect safety record

Teal Jones Group
August 11, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

Alfred Jones

Alfred Jones has a simple safety philosophy – know what you can do safely, always ensure equipment is locked out, and watch for people working around you. Alfred has worked at Teal Jones Lumber in Antlers, Oklahoma for more than fifteen years without a recordable or lost time accident! Currently a millwright, his safety philosophy is simple. “You need to know what you can and can’t do without getting hurt by making sure that everything is locked-out properly when working on equipment.”  Alfred said that being safe is also about “watching other people… sometimes they can do things that could cause others to get hurt.”  He said that if he sees someone doing something unsafe, he will say something to them to hopefully prevent them from getting hurt. …Alfred is a great example of working safely.  We are proud to have Alfred on our Antlers’ Team!

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North Carolina State University forestry and textile experts develop new prototype fire shelters

WRAL.com
July 4, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US East

— N.C. State textiles and forestry experts developed new “Fire Shelters” to protect firefighters caught in the middle of fast moving wildfires. July and August are the two most active months for wildfires, mostly in western states but they can occur anywhere, including the south east U.S. which includes North Carolina. …Joseph Roise, an NC State University professor of forestry and natural resources, says no such shelter is fire-proof. “But what we can do with material combinations is give more time to the person underneath the shelter,” he said. The new prototype shelters are different from many earlier fire-resistant shelters that looked more like pup tents. …Longer protection means more time for rescue efforts before flames engulf the shelters. They were tested inside NC State’s “Pyro-Dome” chamber. Inside the “Pyro-Dome”, the fire-shelter is surrounded by propane burners with flames reaching up to 302 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The Influence of Material Flow on Pellet Mill Performance

By Holger Streetz
Biomass Magazine
August 25, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Wood dust is a byproduct of all wood manufacturing. Thus, all wood processors have dust management for safety reasons in common. For a dust explosion to happen, all that is required is a single spark from a hot surface or an electrical device. When the dust disperses and mixes with atmospheric oxygen, ignition in an enclosed or contained area causes an explosion. However, it is often not the first reaction that is devastating, but the much larger amount of dust aroused by the blast wave. This can ultimately lead to a chain reaction that can potentially destroy a whole plant. If there is a risk of accumulating wood dust, the main hazard control measures are good housekeeping, well maintained equipment to reduce any ignition risk, and existing controls to reduce the effects of an explosion, such as vents or dust collectors. 

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Understanding wildfire weather to increase safety in aerial firefighting

By Ed Brotak
Vertical Magazine
August 15, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

As wildfires begin to be something of a year-round hazard for hotspots around the world, the spotlight on safety in aerial firefighting operations is increasing in intensity. Understanding wildfire behavior is a key element to safe operation, and to best understand wildfire behavior, you need to know how various weather conditions impact wildfires. Specific wildfire weather elements are provided by government meteorological services. Helicopter pilots working a wildfire will check these wildfire weather forecasts, as well as following their own individual routine for getting weather information prior to takeoff. …Significant fires require a multifaceted response directed from a command center, typically located close to the fire site. In an almost military-type operation, both land crews and aerial support will be engaged in the control effort. …Aerial operations (or air ops) will have their own briefing, with special emphasis on the weather conditions that will affect aircraft assignments.

 

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Stinging tree may reveal new ways to treat chronic pain

By Katherine Bucko
Earth.com
July 29, 2022
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

A New Zealand stinging tree produces toxins that could hold clues for future pain medication, according to researchers at The University of Queensland. In a quest to find new molecules that affect pain pathways, Dr. Thomas Durek, Dr. Sam Robinson and a team from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience studied toxins from tree nettle – one of New Zealand’s most poisonous plants. This nettle species causes painful stings that can be fatal. The tree nettle toxins were found to activate pain receptors in a new way. …Fossil remains show that a large flightless bird known as the Moa would frequently eat the tree nettle. It’s likely that the strong toxins evolved to fend off the now-extinct bird. …Around the world, there are hundreds of tree nettles with stinging hairs. The researchers intend to study as many as possible to find new treatments for common pain. The goal is to tackle pain more effectively without side effects and addiction.

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Power of Pellets: Innovating our way to a safer better product

By Gordon Murray, Executive Director
Wood Pellet Association of Canada
September 30, 2022
Category: Health & Safety

Wood Pellet Association of Canada members never stop working and looking at innovative new ways to make our industry safer and stronger. The latest video in the Power of Pellets series, Innovating Our Way to a Safer Better Product highlights some of the pioneering safety initiatives underway over the past two years. The video focuses on four main areas: combustible dust, deflagration isolation, belt dryer safety and off-gassing in transportation. These are the stories from the people on the ground who are passionate about keeping each other safe so they can all go home to their families at the end of the day in the same condition as they came to work. …Premium Pellets in Vanderhoof is one of the Sinclar Group of Forest Products plants that manufactures quality wood pellets for both domestic and global markets. As Dave Herzig puts it… “It’s safety by choice, not by chance.”

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Excessive heat warning begins Monday, Portland temperatures near 100 likely through Thursday

Oregon Live
July 25, 2022
Category: Health & Safety

Hot, dry air moving westward from east of the Cascades along with a strong high pressure ridge will combine to keep Portland’s high temperatures searing through much of the week. While daytime highs likely won’t set any records, Portland will see some of the hottest temperatures so far this year, and a fairly long string of them as temps near 100 are likely Monday through at least Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning from noon Monday through 9 p.m. Thursday. Temperatures from 98-103 are possible. …Multnomah County and the City of Portland have issued emergency declarations ahead of this long stretch of high temperatures and are planning to open overnight cooling shelters as soon as Tuesday, in addition to providing other cooling options.

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