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Category Archives: Health & Safety

Health & Safety

The who, what, when and why of Dust Hazard Analysis

By Jeremy Slaunwhite
Canadian Biomass
June 25, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Many industrial facilities handle combustible particulate material, which pose fire and explosion hazards. Managing combustible dust hazards is critical to ensure the safety of the plant personnel and operations. In order to effectively manage combustible dust hazards, they must first be identified and understood. A dust hazard analysis (DHA) is a systematic review and assessment of a process and/or facility led by someone with knowledge and experience in understanding and identifying combustible dust hazards. A DHA is a tool to help plant managers and operators address and manage hazards that may not have been otherwise obvious. It is also a documented record of awareness that places a diligence and duty on the plant manager/owner to address the hazards.

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2019 APA Safety and Health Award Winners

APA – The Engineered Wood Association
May 20, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, United States

APA – The Engineered Wood Association has announced the winners of its 2019 Safety and Health Awards. The program celebrates safety and operational excellence in the structural panel and engineered wood industry. Resolute-LP Engineered Wood and LP won Safest Company Awards in their respective categories, and Resolute-LP Engineered Wood and Roseburg Forest Products Company topped the competition for the innovation awards. …The Equipment-Based Innovation in Safety Award went to Resolute-LP Engineered Wood in Larouche, Quebec, for its I-joist clamp for web flange separation. …The Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation winner was Roseburg Forest Products Company in Coquille, Oregon, for its Laser Walkway. Pedestrian-forklift congestion is an ongoing concern at almost any manufacturing site. 

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Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day of Mourning

By Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
Government of Canada
April 28, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Prime Minister Trudeau

Today, flags across Canada will be flown at half-mast as we pause to remember those who died, were injured, or became ill from their work. On the National Day of Mourning, we pay tribute to these Canadians, and remind ourselves of the need to do all we can to protect workers. The Government of Canada is committed to helping prevent further tragedies and protect the health and safety of Canadians in the workplace. This year, we recognize the thousands of Canadians who continue to provide essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They go to work so that we can put food on the table for our families, get the prescriptions we need to stay healthy, and access the services we need to be well – and we will continue to do everything we can to keep them safe and healthy. …On behalf of the Government of Canada, I encourage all Canadians to take a moment today to pay tribute the workers who have lost their lives, been injured, or fallen ill on the job. 

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Day of Mourning Ceremonies 2020

Canadian Labour Congress
April 28, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

April 28th is the labour movement’s most solemn day, but also one to refocus our commitment to prevent future workplace injuries and deaths. Every year, thousands of workers, friends and families of fallen workers gather at ceremonies across Canada to recognize the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. Those activities must look very different now as we all do our part to limit the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable to serious health impacts. This year, we will come together online from inside our homes in communities across the country. As we mourn for the dead, the Canadian Labour Congress continues to fight for the living. Find a virtual event near you…

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B.C. doctor warns of deadly ‘double whammy’ if coronavirus persists into wildfire season

By Simon Little
Global News
March 30, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, United States

The head of respiratory medicine at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital says B.C. could face a deadly “double whammy” if the novel coronaviruspandemic drags into a smoky wildfire season. Respirologist Dr. Don Sin said the presence of wildfire smoke would likely increase the death rate from the virus “It will affect … all aspects of COVID-19, from the mild to the most severe,” said Sin. “Right now the most cited mortality is between one to two per cent from COVID 19 — that is likely to escalate during the wildfire season.”Sin added that while COVID-19 disproportionately affects older people, the combination of the virus with wildfire smoke would have an impact on everyone regardless of age. …That’s an impact Sin warned could be particularly challenging for rural hospitals, which tend to have fewer resources but be located closer to the fire zones.

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The Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at the MDF plant

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
June 29, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Training Officer Bart Schneider was one of those on scene at West Fraser’s MDF Plant on Carradice Road. “We responded to a fire inside their … material storage area.   When we got on scene they had a fire up on top of a bunch of their sawdust and chip piles, so we set up our ladder truck and made entrance into the top catwalk area of the RMS building and managed to put out the kind of creeping fire along the top of the chip pile there.” Schneider says there was no real damage to the MDF plant as the fire was contained to that one area. … No one was hurt and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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No injuries reported after partial building collapse in Saskatoon

CBC News
June 17, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

No injuries were reported after part of a building under construction in Saskatoon’s Eastview neighbourhood collapsed on Wednesday. Lumber was scattered throughout the site, which is operated by Dura Construction Ltd., on Wednesday. Large parts of the structure were piled in the middle of the building in a tangle of wood and equipment. …Len Protz, a battalion chief with the Saskatoon Fire Department, said that while he doesn’t know what caused parts of the building to collapse, it’s possible that recent wet weather and high wind were factors in the incident. …He said… pedestrians will be asked to find an alternative route, as the contractor is expanding fencing around the site as it stabilizes the building and cleans up. 

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Logging truck collides with train north of Quesnel

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
June 10, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

RCMP were called to the scene of a collision between a logging truck and a train north of Quesnel earlier today. Sergeant Richard Weseen spoke to us from the scene and said it happened just before noon on Naver Creek Road, off Highway 97. “A fully loaded logging truck, was heading east and came to a marked train crossing.    There was a collision between a freight train and the logging truck, which caused the logging truck to flip over on its side.   The driver of the logging truck has been transported to the Quesnel hospital with minor injuries, and there is minor damage to the train.” Weseen says the crossing was closed briefly. While the crossing was clear, he said the logging truck was on its side in the middle of the road and there were logs that needed to be cleaned up as well.

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Ice in carburetor led to BC plane crash that killed three: safety board

Canadian Press in The Kelowna Daily Courier
June 8, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

RICHMOND, B.C. – The Transportation Safety Board says ice in a carburetor was the cause of a fatal plane crash last year outside Smithers, B.C. A pilot and three crew members were doing contract work for the BC Wildfire Service when the Cessna 182E crashed into some trees on May 4, 2019. The pilot and two crew members were killed, while a fourth man survived and was transported to hospital by helicopter. The safety board investigation determined the plane was operating at a low engine power setting in conditions that were favourable for carburetor icing. It says ice would have reduced the engine’s ability to produce enough power to maintain altitude and would have eventually led to a complete power loss. …Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has said the crew was conducting infrared scans after forest fires in 2018 on behalf of the BC Wildfire Service.

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Vancouver Island First Nations urge caution driving Bamfield Road after serious crash

The Nanaimo News Bulletin
June 7, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A recent serious accident on the Bamfield Main road offers a reminder to drivers that dust on logging roads during summer months create a serious safety concern. Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants to caution motorists to drive carefully if they head to Bamfield this summer. Stan Coleman, a Registered Professional Forester and Huu-ay-aht’s forest consultant, hit a logging truck while travelling on Bamfield Main, escaping serious injury but totalling his car. “Stan…is an experienced driver and has travelled the Bamfield road most of his career, and yet last week he hit a logging truck that was invisible to him on the dusty roads,” explains Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. Last week, in a meeting with Huu-ay-aht, Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA and Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser, promised to continue to push for the necessary approvals to move the Bamfield Road project forward.

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Researcher with McBride ties helps design biodegrable mask

The Rocky Mountain Goat
June 3, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Researchers in the BioProducts Institute at UBC have designed what could be the very first N95 mask that can be sourced and made entirely in Canada. …Johan Foster, a former McBride resident is part of the research team. …“Foster, a chemical and biological engineering associate professor… “we knew early on we wanted a solution that uses local materials, is easy to produce and inexpensive, with the added bonus of being compostable and biodegradable.” The new mask—dubbed Canadian-Mask, or Can-Mask—ticks all those boxes, says Foster. …Mask prototyping is nearly complete, and a shift to cost-effective scaling and production is in the works. The mask frame is made entirely from B.C. wood fibres from sources such as pine, spruce, cedar and other softwoods.

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Wildfire on the Worksite

By Douglas MacLeod, MacLeod Forest Services
BC Forest Safety Council Newsletter
May 28, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

You are well into a two-week hot spell, the twigs on the ground crunch and snap as you step on them and you can smell the bush drying out. Everyone is talking about when the worksite will shut down. You are thinking maybe you might get a summer holiday this year. Once or twice in your career you will get the dreaded call on a forestry worksite during these conditions: “I have a fire here….” Hearts race, voices rise, minds go blank and people start to move fast. Forestry crews and supervisors may have to take action on a worksite fire for hours or even days with minimal BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) support. Pre-planning is essential to ensure adequate preparedness, to verify prevention measures are in place, and, if necessary, a safe and effective response. The following are some regulatory requirements and good practices I recommend. It is not a complete list and some information may not be applicable to all areas.

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Manufacturing Advisory Group (MAG) Comes Together During COVID-19

BC Forest Safety Council Newsletter
May 27, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

As soon as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in early March, the Manufacturing Advisory Group (MAG) started to work together and share resources to support each other in slowing the transmission of COVID-19. In support, the BC Forest Safety Council created a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for MAG members to share and access these resources. Individually, MAG companies dedicated a lot of time, energy and resources into developing safe work practices for their worksites and workers. When the BCFSC asked if they could use the shared material to build a resource webpage to share with the rest of the forest industry, they were met with total support and a resounding “yes”. …A dedicated BCFSC team worked diligently behind the scenes to expand these resources and make them available to the rest of industry, all while learning to work effectively and efficiently as a team while working remotely.

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Tick bite leads to Langley toddler’s temporary paralysis

By Rafferty Baker
CBC News
May 25, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

…A spokesperson with the Provincial Health Services Authority confirmed Malia was diagnosed with tick paralysis from a Rocky Mountain wood tick bite on her scalp, and spent four days in hospital. Paralysis from a tick bite is quite rare. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control doesn’t officially track cases, but its public health lab typically consults on zero to two cases each year. According to HealthLink B.C., paralysis is caused by the venom secreted by female ticks when feeding, and symptoms typically begin four to seven days after a tick attaches itself to a person. Paralysis from a tick bite is more common in children than adults. On Monday, the toddler appeared to be fully recovered. …The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) warns pets and people are at risk of tick exposure in wooded and grassy areas. …If a tick has buried itself into your skin you should seek medical attention immediately.

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Manitoba researchers warn of rare but deadly complication of Lyme disease

By Rachel Bergen
CBC News
May 25, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Manitoba family hopes that sharing the story of Samuel Brandt, …who died from complications of Lyme disease, will help raise awareness about a rare but deadly consequence of the tick-borne illness. …Samuel’s story was featured … the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Lyme carditis, which happens when the bacteria that causes Lyme disease attacks the heart, isn’t very well known or well reported, says one of the co-authors, Dr. Richard Rusk with Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. That’s part of the reason the researchers took a closer look at it. …Canada-wide, the reported numbers of Lyme disease increased from 144 in 2009 to 2025 in 2017. But according to the report, Lyme carditis is under recognized even in areas where there’s a high prevalence of the disease. …Rusk added that if you do find a tick or get bitten by one, you should remove it properly and take note of the day you find it. For the next month, monitor symptoms in case you need to report it to a health care provider.

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Socially distant first aid and other COVID-19 challenges

By Tom Fletcher
Victoria News
May 18, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to new kinds of self-reliance, from trimming their own hair to improvising a home workout. Self-administered first aid is another option outlined by WorksSafeBC guidelines for industries restarting after being idle due to coronavirus restrictions. …physical distance precautions mean an industrial first aid attendant may guide an injured person to treat their own minor injuries from two metres away. WorkSafeBC guidelines for occupational first aid attendants advise that if an injury is minor, they should ask the injured person if they are able to administer first aid themselves. If they can, the attendant would place bandages and materials on a surface two metres from the patient and then guide them through their use. When the injury is more serious or the worker is unresponsive, attendants would then use personal protective equipment to treat the injury.

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Day of Mourning – April 28th

By Michele Fry
BC Forest Safety Council
April 28, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

The “Day of Mourning” is a day intended to recognize those who lost their lives as a result of a work-related incident or occupational diseases. Day of Mourning ceremonies have been held across the country ever since the Canadian Labour Congress initiated a national Day of Mourning ceremony on April 28, 1984 and is now recognized annually around the world in more than 100 countries. April 28th was chosen because it was on this date in 1914 that the first Workers’ Compensation Act was brought into effect in Canada. In 2019 there were 140 work related fatalities in   BC.  Five were directly related to forestry operations. One was associated with a forest products manufacturing facility. This year’s ceremonies held April 28th to commemorate workers.

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B.C. wildfire smoke likely to increase coronavirus death rates, experts warn

By Stephanie Wood
The Narwhal
April 23, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

As B.C.’s wildfire season kicks off, experts are concerned about wildfires converging with COVID-19 and decreasing air quality, making people more vulnerable to the virus. The worst COVID-19 cases cause pneumonia, and air pollution increases the risk of pneumonia and the likelihood of the infection becoming fatal, said Michael Bauer, an air quality expert and professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. Wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation and alter immune function. Pollutants can also degrade cells that help filter air in our respiratory tracks, Bauer explained, which can make one more susceptible to respiratory infections like pneumonia. …A nation-wide study in the United States found higher levels of air pollution were associated with higher death rates from COVID-19.

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Forestry field work and COVID-19 safety

WorkSafeBC
April 8, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC recognizes the challenges the forest industry has faced in the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exacerbating effect that the outbreak has on this industry. We will continue to support this industry by reaching out to forestry workers, employers, and industry associations to ensure their worksites are healthy and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Prevention officers are providing information to workers and employers through worksite inspections focusing on the controls that the employer can use to limit exposure, including maintaining distance between workers and ensuring adequate hygiene facilities. We are continuing to engage in inspection, consultation, and education activities within the forestry sector to ensure everyone in the workplace is fulfilling their obligations. WorkSafeBC’s Preventing exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace provides general information that all employers may use to assess the risks and controls in their workplace.

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BC Forest Safety Council COVID-19 Resources

BC Forest Safety Council
April 8, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

As challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to shift, the B.C. government and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), are taking unprecedented measures to slow transmission of COVID-19. In support of these efforts, the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) and Manufacturing Advisory Group (MAG) have developed resources for employers and workers that will ensure all necessary precautions are being taken to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission and illness to forest sector employees. The resources reflect industry best practices and incorporate BC Provincial Health Agency and WorkSafeBC requirements to ensure the forest industry is taking the necessary steps to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The safety of forest industry workers remains our top priority.

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West Fraser Lumber in Williams Lake donates N-95 masks

By Rebecca Dyok
My Cariboo Now
April 1, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

More than 200 N-95 masks were donated to Williams Lake front-line workers in need of personal protective equipment by West Fraser. West Fraser Lumber mill donated its small quantity of N95 masks for employee operational health and safety requirements last week. “We are in unprecedented times and are aware of the pressing need to support the equipment needs of front-line health professionals,” spokesperson Tara Knight said. “Mayor Walt Cobb made a request our mill was able to donate additional inventory beyond expected operational needs that could be given to front-line workers in need of personal protective equipment.” …West Fraser Knight said hopes these additional masks make a positive difference to the hardworking team at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

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B.C. is being hit hard by coronavirus. Wildfire season could make things worse

By Joanna Chiu
The Toronto Star
April 1, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—The year has been off to a calamitous start, and a devastating wildfire season might be the last thing people want to think about during the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say smoke from wildfires could make things worse. …Wildfire smoke contains tiny particulates known as PM2.5 that can embed deep into lungs and lead to a host of negative health effects, according to the World Health Organization. “Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall … (and) more cases of severe COVID-19 infections and add further demand to our health care system,” according to a March 26 advisory from B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. …Many studies have shown that respiratory health effects of air pollution include increased mortality, increased asthma attacks, wheezing, chest tightness and irritation of the eye, nose and throat.

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Industry Resources and Information from the BC Forest Safety Council

BC Forest Safety Council
April 1, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

As challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to shift, the B.C. government and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), are taking unprecedented measures to slow transmission of COVID-19. In support of these efforts, the BC Forest Safety Council and Manufacturing Advisory Group have developed resources for employers and workers that will ensure all necessary precautions are being taken to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission and illness to forest sector employees. The resources reflect industry best practices and incorporate BC Provincial Health Agency and WorkSafeBC requirements to ensure the forest industry is taking the necessary steps to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The safety of forest industry workers remains our top priority. Information is changing rapidly and will be updated regularly.

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Equipment fire at Resolute Saw Mill destroys loader

Thunder Bay News Watch
June 29, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY – A difficult equipment fire has been extinguished at the Resolute Forest Products Saw Mill, which threatened a nearby wood supply. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue received reports of a large loader on fire near the main building at the Resolute Saw Mill Monday morning just after 9 a.m. The log loader was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived on the scene and was located only 14 metres from the main saw mill building. The operator of the log loader was able to self-evacuate before the fire spread further and was uninjured. Due to the large amount and fuel and hydraulic fuel, the fire proved to be difficult to extinguish. …The fire was brought under control by a foam extinguishing agent. The cause of the fire is believed to be the result of mechanical overheating in the engine compartment of the loader.

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Halifax researchers working to turn wood pulp into N95 masks

By Paul Withers
CBC News
May 13, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Researchers at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are investigating whether Nova Scotia fir and spruce can be converted into pulp for use in medical masks, disposable gowns and even bedpans. …”We want to see if we can transform the pulp that we have into something that would be suitable for a medical-grade pulp,” said chemist Christa Brosseau. Right now in Canada, a mill in B.C. is the only one in the country to make a medical pulp known as K-10. Harmac Pacific uses red cedar, which has properties desirable for medical pulp, including long, soft fibres and a low shrinkage factor enabling it to keep its shape when it gets wet or dries out. …Port Hawkesbury Paper will provide the pulp for experimentation. …The 10-month research project is funded by a $72,000 grant from Research Nova Scotia.

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Resolute ties for safest mill in Canada

By Leith Dunick
The Thunder Bay News Watch
April 14, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Kent Ramsay

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – Safety is the priority at Thunder Bay’s Resolute Forest Products mill. The mill tied for top spot among mills with 80,000 or more worker hours per month with Windsor, Que.’s Domtar Inc. mill as the safest in the country, according to Pulp and Paper Canada. The Thunder Bay plant had three recordable incidents in 1,002,545 hours worked, while the Windsor mill had five incidents in 1.6 million hours worked. But it’s still something to be proud about, said Resolute Forest Products’ general manager Kent Ramsay. “It shows the DNA of working safely is built right into the Resolute culture,” Ramsay said on Tuesday. “Our sister mill in Alma, Que. won the class B award. The key for us is that employees work safely day in and day out and they go home to their families injury-free.”

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Cork tree bark to fight cancer

By Christina Burkhart
ABC News 12
July 2, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

In the fight against aggressive prostate cancer, researchers are discovering that what’s old is new again. Cork tree bark, an herbal remedy that’s been around for centuries, is being studied as a way to shrink prostate tumors. Cork tree bark has long been used in Asia to fight inflammation. Pratap Kumar, PhD, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Texas Health in San Antonio explained to Ivanhoe, “People in China, they take this bark, they actually make a concoction out of this bark. And, that concoction they drink; it’s been going on for ages.” Kumar and his colleagues decided to test cork tree bark extract, also called Nexrutine, to fight dangerous body inflammation, that often contributes to cancer development. …What surprised them is that the cork extract was expected to attack inflammation in the body, but it also went after the tumor growth itself.

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Building Safety Month, Week 3: Resiliency, Sustainability, Innovation

By Mary Salmonsen
Builder Online
May 19, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

The International Code Council’s Building Safety Month continues this week with a focus on resiliency, sustainability, and innovation, plus a particular emphasis on upholding sustainability through regularly updated and properly implemented building codes. Dominic Sims,  chief executive officer of the Code Council… “COVID-19 has emphasized the value of technology for keeping us safe by underscoring the importance of the latest advancements in building science and encouraging the transition to virtual operations for code departments.” To mark Week 3, the ICC will host its third free Building Safety Month Webinar on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 at 1:00 PM EST. The webinar’s panelists will discuss the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the safety industry. Click here for more information.

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Long-term exposure to air pollution increases risk of death from COVID-19

By Lisa Sorg
The Progressive Pulse
April 14, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

As the Trump administration relaxes several environmental regulations governing air pollution, scientists have learned that a person’s long-term exposure to microscopic air emissions — including those from power plants, wood pellet facilities, and quarries — is a risk factor for dying from COVID-19. Harvard University researchers analyzed 17 years’ worth of data for 3,000 US counties, comprising 98% of the population, through April 4. The study concluded that even a small increase in long-term exposure to a type of pollutant known as PM2.5 “leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate — 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and mortality from all causes.” …“The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis,” the researchers concluded.

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Forest Service personnel provide input on fighting fire during COVID-19 pandemic

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
April 14, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

In an effort to gather perspectives from personnel in the field about fighting fire during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service held virtual focus group sessions in each of their regions. …below are the highlights from the undated report about the sessions… “What does fire season look like amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Concerns, perspectives, and ideas from the field.” …COVID-19 has exposed blind spots, pinch points, and weaknesses in the wildland fire system and within the Forest Service as a whole. Whatever actions are taken this season should not be looked at as a temporary fix for a temporary situation. Rather, they should be looked at as possible permanent changes to how we fight fire into the future that make us, as a group, more resilient. …We need to ensure that whatever the changes, our primary responsibility is to care for the safety of our people during and after assignment.

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Wildfire smoke over much of Southern California

By Bay Area News Group
The Mercury News
June 12, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Smoke is hanging over much of the U.S. Southwest because of wildfires in Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico. In California, the AirNow map of the U.S. Air Quality Index shows heavy smoke from the Mexican border over the San Diego and Los Angeles areas and extending to Visalia in the Central Valley. The principal cause is a cluster of wildires east of Tijuana, Mexico. …The largest fire in California is the Lime Fire, which has burned 900 acres in Ventura County since Wednesday afternoon. The Southwest’s heaviest smoke, with an air quality index of 500, was reported Friday morning in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, where the lightning-sparked Good Turkey Fire has burned 7,640 acres. That air quality is considered hazardous, and outdoor physical activity is discouraged for everyone.

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Four people injured when Division of Forestry plane crashes in Western Alaska

By Morgan Krakow
The Anchorage Daily News
May 29, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Four people onboard a state Division of Forestry plane were injured after it crashed into the Kuskokwim River on Thursday afternoon, officials said. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, said Tim Mowry, a spokesman with the Division of Forestry’s Wildland Fire and Aviation Program. The plane was carrying Division of Forestry employees and crashed on takeoff from the village of Aniak in Western Alaska, the Division of Forestry said. “The plane, an Aero Commander 500 Shrike, was transporting emergency firefighters from two Western Alaska villages to Soldotna to support initial attack responses for the Kenai/Kodiak Area Forestry station,” the Division of Forestry said.

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Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality

By USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station
Science Daily
June 16, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

The first city-wide health impact assessment of the estimated effects of a tree canopy initiative on premature mortality in Philadelphia suggests that increased tree canopy could prevent between 271 and 400 premature deaths per year. The study by Michelle Kondo, a Philadelphia-based research social scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and her partners suggest that increased tree canopy or green space could decrease morbidity and mortality for urban populations — particularly in areas with lower socioeconomic status where existing tree canopies tend to be the lowest. …”This study supports the idea that increasing tree canopy and urban greening efforts are worthwhile, even at modest levels, as health-promoting and cost-saving measures,” Kondo said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we need to pay attention to our proximity to other people… time outside in parks and forests has been critical to maintaining our mental and physical health.”

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2019 Sawmill Safety Award Winners Announced!

Southern Forest Products Association
May 20, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

Since 2002, the Southern Forest Products Association has recognized its members who have outstanding safety records as determined by the OSHA 300A form – calculating results based on incidents per employee hours worked. The 2019 Sawmill Safety results included participation by 52 mills, recording nearly 18 million employee hours. …It is our honor to announce the 2019 Sawmill Safety Award winners, all of which had zero reported incidences of occupational illnesses or injuries:

  • Division I – less than 50 mmbf
    Ray White Lumber Company – Sparkman, Arkansas
    Weyerhaeuser Company – Zwolle, Louisiana
  • Division II – 51-150 mmbf
    West Fraser – Opelika, Alabama
    West Fraser – Whitehouse, Florida
  • Division III – greater than 150 mmbf
    Weyerhaeuser Company – Philadelphia, Mississippi
    Weyerhaeuser Company – Dodson, Louisiana
    Weyerhaeuser Company – Millport, Alabama

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South Carolina Forestry Commission issues statewide burn ban

By Alexx Altman-Devilbiss
ABC News 15
April 6, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: US East, United States

The South Carolina Forestry Commission will issue a State Forester’s Burning Ban for all counties, effective on Tuesday, April 7 at 6 a.m. A burning ban prohibits outdoor burning anywhere outside of city and town limits in South Carolina, including: …forestry, wildlife or agricultural burns (also known as prescribed, or controlled burns)… After consultation with officials with S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, State Forester Scott Phillips ordered the statewide burning ban in the interest of public safety amid the current public health threat posed by the COVID-19 virus. Not only can smoke make symptoms worse for those who have contracted the virus, but it also can trigger underlying respiratory issues in otherwise unaffected individuals, which could result in symptoms similar to those the coronavirus is known to cause.

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Huge forest fires put health at risk

By Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Phys.org
June 16, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

After Australia, Siberia is burning, indicating that the frequency of such events is on the rise, with myriad dire consequences: devastated ecosystems, risk of desertification, CO2 emissions, toxic particles, further climate impacts. …But what about the long-term consequences for the environment, the climate and our health? …The populations in urban environments and other locations that are exposed to high levels of pollutants are more likely to have compromised respiratory, cardiac and immune systems and even conditions like dementia and diabetes—and are therefore more vulnerable to infection from the coronavirus. Biomass-burning smoke is particularly toxic, containing a large number of carcinogens, as well as compounds that cause oxidative stress upon inhalation. …A recently published study showed that this old, background smoke can have just as big an effect on climate as freshly emitted smoke.

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Australia bushfires: Hundreds of deaths linked to smoke, inquiry hears

BBC News
May 26, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Smoke from the massive bushfires that hit Australia in the 2019-20 summer was linked to more than 445 deaths, a government inquiry has heard. More than 4,000 people were admitted to hospital due to the smoke, Associate Prof Fay Johnston from the University of Tasmania told the Royal Commission. The fires burned for weeks, killed more than 30 people and caused air pollution which can be harmful to health. The inquiry is due to suggest ways to improve the natural disasters response. The fires, fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought, devastated communities and destroyed more than 11 million hectares of bush, forest and parks across Australia. …The health cost associated with premature loss of life and admissions to hospitals was estimated at AUD2bn (£1.1bn; $1.3bn), “about 10 times higher” than in previous years, Prof Johnston said.

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Forestry industry must improve safety record

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
April 29, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Rome – The forestry industry must take steps to improve its safety record and promote decent rural employment in support of the Sustainable Development Agenda, according to a new FAO paper published today on World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The report, Occupational safety and health in forest harvesting and silviculture: A compendium for practitioners and instructors, argues that despite incomplete statistics, forestry is one of the most dangerous civilian professions in the world. Official accident data show a high toll of injuries and deaths each year in the professional forestry sector, largely reported from developed countries. However, this does not provide a full picture of accidents in the informal forestry sector, thought to employ some 45-50 million people around the world.

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New Zealand Forest industry ready to work in a safe way

New Zealand Herald
April 17, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Guidance on how forestry companies can open safely at Covid-19 Alert Level 3 will be in place by Monday, according to the Forest Industry Safety Council. FISC National Safety Director Fiona Ewing said the guidance had been developed with strong input from industry and provided clear and detailed advice on how forestry companies could work in a way that prevents the spread of the virus. “It covers all types of operations across the forestry supply chain, from planting, to harvesting, to transport and port operations “The focus is on helping forestry companies apply the key public health controls – like distancing and hygiene – in their everyday work,” Ewing said. …Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday that businesses including forestry would be able to operate at Alert Level 3 if they were able to do so in a ‘safe’ way that manages the risks of spreading the virus.

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Forest Industry Preparing For Back To Work

By Forest Industry Safety Council
Scoop Independent News
April 6, 2020
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

Forest industry organisations are planning how to get back to work when restrictions on non-essential work are lifted for the industry. Organisations, representing forest growers, transport, processing and contractors have set up a working group to develop risk assessment protocols in readiness for start-up of the industry sector. The National Safety Director of the Forest Industry Safety Council, Fiona Ewing says the aim is to assure government that the sector will be able to comply with the epidemic management conditions of COVID-19. “The priority and starting point is health and wellbeing. “There is the complex technical side of start-ups that will be a ‘whole of industry’ scan of the value chain. That starts in the forest and moves through transport, processing and export through to the work at the ports. The group will be working with our stakeholders to get the start-up protocol proposal right.”

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