WorkSafe BC Visit


WorkSafe BC Visit

Brothers and Sisters:

On a recent WSBC visit, WSBC wrote 8 orders on 7 deficiencies in the potrooms.

These orders have generated much talk throughout the plant which has lead to accusations that the Union is trying to shut down the plant.

Brothers and Sisters there is nothing further from the truth!

  • The Company is responsible for the Health & Safety of their employees.
  • It is the Company that is responsible to ensure standards are followed.
  • It’s the Company who is responsible to put into place controls to protect their employees and
  • It is the Company’s responsibility to ensure hazards are remedied
  • The Union’s role is to ensure our members are protected, be pro active in raising safety concerns and work cooperatively with the Company in resolving Health and Safety issues in the plant. If issues can’t be resolved then the avenue the Union has is to call WSBC. Calling in WSBC to deal issues is done only when all avenues are exhausted or the Company has put our members at risk.

    The Union collectively decided to call WSBC.


    Because the Company was not maintaining the standard on pony walls in 3-5, to the point that there was an explosion between 4A & 4B on July 26, 2011 where metal from a burst pot ran into the drain. That put our members at risk! The Union had asked for an investigation on this incident and the Company has not only dragged their feet on investigating this incident they did not put in controls to prevent this from happening again. In the second week of August we had another pot leak on the north side of Line 5B where again the pony walls were not maintained to our standard and the metal leaked to the drain. Again, this put our members at risk! The Chief Rep for Reduction was still trying to get an investigation done on first incident stating that if we had done the first incident investigation we would have prevented the second incident from happening. Out of concerns for the welfare of the membership WSBC was contacted.

    Those same concerns are expressed in 2 of the recent orders from WSBC. The Company has had a number of orders from WSBC over the years for the same thing {pony walls}.

    When WSBC are doing inspection tours they will not only look at the concerns raised, they will look at everything on their inspection tours and if they see something not right the Company will be made aware verbally or written to ensure the workers are protected.

    In March of this year WSBC was in Lines 3-5 to look at off power work clearance with a WSBC electrical engineer, during this visit a concern was raised by WSBC about the use of a watchperson as a control device for workers working in the basement. Management was informed verbally at this time that they needed to look at this issue. Nothing was done. During meetings held on HEC in the plant the Union raised those same concerns as multiple locks would alleviate a lot of the concerns in the potrooms. Again nothing was done. In July the Union met with WSBC {by their request} to discuss “off power work clearance” for the potrooms. In this meeting WSBC raised the issue of the watchperson and what was happening with this issue. The Union came out of this meeting and informed the Company that it looked like WSBC was preparing to write an order dealing with the use of a watchperson as a control device. Again the Company did nothing! When WSBC came in on the pony walls they raised the concern about locking out before entering the basement {a month after the Union informed the Company it looked like an order was coming on using a watchperson as a control device}. During the tour WSBC refused to enter the basement for that very same reason that it was not locked out.

    Those concerns are expressed in one of the orders.

    Switch plates left hanging in the basement was raised at the area OHS&E meeting for 4 months prior to the WSBC writing the order to have them removed. This item was written in past WSBC inspection reports. Area management talked to WSBC a month prior to an order being written and the area manager told his supervisors as he was about leave on vacation for three weeks that when he came back he didn’t want to hear anymore about switch plates left hanging.

    Metal pads under dead heads are another order that was written. Again the Company has had orders in the past for the same thing.

    WSBC does not write orders because they want to shut down the plant, they write orders because they perceive something as unsafe.

    These orders could have been avoided if the Company was being proactive; they have had numerous opportunities to address the issue before they got to the point of WSBC writing orders but have not. The Union will continue to be pro active in raising safety concerns and will work cooperatively with the Company in resolving Health and Safety issues in the plant.

    When the Company takes a position of resistance when safety issues are raised and fall back on their right to manage, they need to take responsibility for those decisions instead of trying to blame others for their mismanagement!



    Issued by CAW Local 2301

    September 1st, 2011