OCTOber 2015                                                                  FRANÇAIS

$286,000: this is what sprain, strain, and tear injuries cost Northern employers, and the NWT and Nunavut Workers' Compensation system in the single month of September!
Sprain and strain injuries are the leading cause of time loss injuries for workers across the NWT and Nunavut. In next month's issue of SafetyNet, we'll focus on:
  • What causes sprains, strains, and tears;
  • Symptoms to watch out for;
  • What to do as a Worker;
  • What to do as an Employer; and
  • How to prevent sprain and strain injuries.

It's that time of year again: employer assessment rates are here. Employers will receive a letter in their mailbox in early November containing details of their individual rates. Every year, the Governance Council and an independent actuary set the provisional average assessment rate and the individual rates for each sub-class.

This year, the Rate Guide will be available via WSCC Connect. Through this new e-Business service, employers can view current and historical assessment rates as well as the WSCC's overall rate guide. To access this information, click on the WSCC Connect button on our homepage, or click here.

The very mention of asbestos often strikes fear into us, but workplace diseases and fatalities associated with asbestos exposure are preventable. The instances that continue to present themselves typically do so because of poor worker protection programs in the past, and the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases (20-40 years). Today, there are many preventative measures employers and workers can take to ensure an asbestos-free work environment.

Do you, or have you, worked in one of these industries?
  • Building Construction or Renovations, including:
    • Carpentry
    • Construction Work
    • Insulation Installation
    • Plumbing
    • Roofing
    • Shipbuilding
    • Textile Work
  • Remediation and Waste Management
If so, it is important to be aware and understand how you can protect yourself and others. Ask your employer these two important questions before engaging in work that may expose you or your co-workers to asbestos:

How old is this building or home?
  • Construction of a building before 1990 may require samples to be taken for asbestos containing material. Although use of asbestos was already being phased out by 1990, here in the North, stockpiles of building materials may have already been in the communities.
  • Prior to the start of a project, request an inventory of building materials and have an experienced individual conduct a survey for asbestos. Some common building materials that may include asbestos are:
    • Roofing materials;
    • Mastics;
    • Flooring materials (e.g. vinyl floor tiles, linoleum floor sheeting, etc.);
    • Acoustic ceiling tiles;
    • Lath, plaster (e.g. plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board), and drywall joint compounds;
    • Insulation and vermiculite;
    • Insulation wrap around water and heating pipes; and
    • Cement pipe (e.g. transite and other asbestos-cements).
  • Find a qualified person to take samples before work begins.
Do I have the training, knowledge, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to asbestos?
  • Every worker must receive training on how to protect themselves from asbestos.
  • Proper PPE necessary for asbestos remediation includes:
    • Half or full face respirator with P100 cartridge;
    • Tyvek suit;
    • Rubber boots; and
    • Gloves.
Remember, asbestos does have the potential to harm workers, but with proper handling procedures, training, PPE, and some safety and care, instances are preventable.

For additional information, refer to the Asbestos Abatement Code of Practice on our website.

New Code of Practice - Return to Work

The WSCC recently released a new Code of Practice on Return to Work programs, which came into effect on September 30. The code outlines the legislative obligations in the Return to Work process, and with the Employer's Guide to Return to Work, provides guidance on how to develop a program that promotes a worker's recovery.

Through the Return to Work program, employers and workers can identify modified and alternative work and adjust workloads to safely accommodate a recovering worker while maintaining safe work practices for coworkers. Visit our website to read the Return to Work Code of Practice.
Oil and Gas Memorandum of Understanding

On September 30, the Office of the Regulator of Oil and Gas Operations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the WSCC. The MOU establishes a basis for cooperation in safety-related areas including staff training, coordinating inspections, and responding to incidents. Under this memorandum, both parties agree to participate in the sharing of technical expertise, regulatory information, and best practices, as well as coordinate efforts in engaging the public in maintaining awareness of safety requirements for activities and work relating to oil and gas.

To read the MOU, click here.

Once again, the WSCC is participating in the two-day Power Up! Youth Conference hosted by Skills Canada NWT for Grade 8 students in Yellowknife. Power Up! offers students an opportunity to learn about some of the exciting career options available to them, and in turn provides the WSCC with an opportunity to inform the next generation of workers and employers of their workplace safety rights and responsibilities. The WSCC workshops will highlight the importance of awareness, safety, and prevention, and will give students a chance to explore a potential career as a Safety Officer.

The 2015 Power Up! Youth Conference this year will be held from November 12-13. Visit the Skills Canada NWT website for more information about the organization and the programs it offers.

Mark your calendars: the 43rd Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum takes place over three days from November 24-26 at the Ed Jeske Arena in Yellowknife. A joint initiative of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, and the GNWT's Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment, this annual conference is the largest mining and petroleum conference and trade show in the Northwest Territories. We hope to see you there!

The Governance Council reviewed and approved the following policies at its September 2015 meeting:
  • Policy 00.06, Third Party Actions
  • Policy 10.02, Workers' Protection Fund Investments (formerly Investment Policy)
Please refer to the WSCC Policy Manual to view all WSCC policies.
Safety education 

The WSCC, along with our partners at the NTFL, NSA, and Arctic Response Canada, offer courses on workplace safety and awareness. Stay informed about upcoming courses by visiting the links below.
Northern Safety Association - see a full list of programs and courses here.
Northern Territories Federation of Labour - view upcoming courses here.
Arctic Response Canada Ltd. - explore the training programs offered here.
For additional approved providers of Occupational Health and Safety Education, click here.

Remembrance Day - November 11, 2015
(Northwest Territories and Nunavut offices closed)
To report a serious workplace injury, incident, or fatality, call the 24-hour Incident Reporting Line at 1-800-661-0792.

If you have any questions or feedback for us, send us an email at info@wscc.nt.ca or info@wscc.nu.ca

This information will be available soon in Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun on our website.
wscc.nt.ca   /  1.800.661.0792   *   wscc.nu.ca  /  1.877.404.4407