Air Quality Advisory – August 2018

If an Air Quality Advisory has been issued because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to smoke from wildfires around the region, the following information should be considered;

The Ministry of Environment recommends that strenuous outdoor activities be avoided. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms while working outdoors, contact your First Aid or Craft Services person: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for workers who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease. People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke and should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and should go to their health care provider, walk in clinic or emergency department depending on severity of symptoms.

How to reduce your personal risk when working outdoors.

•Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.

•You may be able to reduce your exposure to smoke by moving to cleaner air. Conditions can vary dramatically by area and elevation.

•Stay cool and drink plenty of water.

•Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air. Smoke levels may be lower indoors. However, elevated levels of smoke particles will still be present. If you stay indoors, be aware of your symptoms.

•Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.

Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

Pay attention to local air quality reports, air quality may be poor even though smoke may not be visible.

For more information on current Air Quality, please visit or Metro Vancouver’s AirMap at

Extreme Hot Weather Ahead

Heat-related health and safety hazards increase when temperatures rise, and workers and employers must take precautions to prevent serious medical distress.

Actsafe has compiled some resources for workers and employers to use when crews are scheduled to work outdoors in extreme hot weather conditions.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s Working in Heat infographic packs lots of useful information into a small package to help employers protect workers from heat stress.






Actsafe’s Safety Bulletin on Working in Extreme Hot Conditions is also a valuable resource for workers and employers alike.









As part of Actsafe’s upcoming Online Safety Awareness Course, we have produced a number of videos dealing with hazards workers may encounter on the worksite.  Click on the image below to watch our video on working in extreme hot conditions to find out what to look for when workers may be in a heat-related emergency, and what to do to protect them and yourself.







WorkSafeBC’s Heat Stress resource page also has information available to help workers and employers deal with working outside in high temperatures. Click on the image below to see what they have to offer.










The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a great smartphone app that can tell you what the heat index is in your area, what the signs and symptoms of heat stress are, and what first aid treatment should be administered to someone suffering from a heat-related emergency. The downside of this app? Heat indexes are only automatically available for locations in the United States.  If you’re located in Canada, you can manually enter the temperature and humidity (simply check your built-in weather app for these details) without inputting a location. Check out the app, available for iOS and Android devices, by clicking on the image below.








The bottom line is that working in hot temperatures for an extended period of time can lead to serious medical emergencies.  If you find that you are working outdoors in these conditions, make sure you:

  • Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place.
  • Seek a cool place such as a tree-shaded area or air-conditioned spot like a public building.
  • Take regularly scheduled breaks out of the sun, in a cool place.
  • Notify your supervisor and seek medical assistance if you suspect you may have the symptoms of heat illness.

Wild Fire Air Quality Advisory

When wildfires burn in the areas surrounding Metro Vancouver, the air quality decreases significantly.

Due to the increase in smoke particulate from these wildfires, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health may issue an Air Quality Advisory for Metro Vancouver, the Sea-t0-Sky corridor (Howe sound through Squamish, and Whistler to Pemberton) and the Fraser Valley.

We have created this information advisory in hopes that it will give workers and employers some insight on how to deal with working outdoors during the wildfires burning around British Columbia.

Air Quality Advisory 2015 PDF


West Nile Virus Info Sheet

As of August 2009 there have been confirmed contracted infections recorded in the Southern Okanagan. The West Nile Virus is spread to humans and other mammals from mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. While the risks of being infected and becoming seriously ill are low, anyone exposed to mosquitoes in an area that has West Nile Virus could potentially become infected.

West Nile Virus Fact Sheet PDF

Transmission Brake Hazard Alert

Trucks without a designated “park” position indicator on the truck’s transmission-box can be the source of a unique rolling hazard.  Read our 2015 hazard alert poster on trucks with this type of transmission for further details, which includes a checklist for easy reference.

Extra Caution Required for Trucks with no “Park” Position

Incidents involving runaway vehicles have resulted in a worker fatality and other serious “near misses”.

A common factor in these incidents can be traced back to the type of transmission used in some trucks. These trucks utilize a transmission without a designated “Park” position on the gear selector, as pictured to the right.

Trucks with this type of transmission are usually secured from movement by placing the truck in “Neutral”, and applying a mechanical “Parking Brake”. This secures the drivetrain against movement. Occasionally, this braking system may loosen, which results in inadequate braking support, that may cause the truck to roll or move unexpectedly.

Ensure braking systems are properly adjusted and maintained. For short term rental vehicles, confirm the rental vendor has a regular maintenance program and delivers vehicles in safe working order. Also, drivers should be given adequate training and supervision for the vehicles they are operating.


  • Maintenance Records Available
  • Pre-Trip Brake Inspection
  • Supervisor Notified of Vehicle Performance Issues (if any).
  • Parking Brake Set
  • Wheels Chocked

WARNING Do not rely solely using the truck’s braking system.

Whenever possible, park trucks on flat terrain. In all circumstances it is recommended that wheels chocks are used to ensure the vehicle does not roll or move unexpectedly. Keep in mind that trucks can roll on even a slight slope. To ensure trucks are secured against inadvertent movement, drivers should not solely rely or depend on the parking brake system functioning properly. A backup safeguard to secure the truck will protect the driver and other workers in the event of a mechanical failure, a deficiency in the brake system, or an unintentional omission of a critical step.

To read the full document, and to print, click here (395 kB). 

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