British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

June 03, 2009 15:00 ET

BC Safety Authority Continues to Work Toward Accident Prevention

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 3, 2009) - The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) announced at its annual public meeting June 3 that accident prevention continues to lead all efforts to making British Columbia safer.

The BCSA regulates a variety of equipment including amusement rides; boilers, pressure vessels and refrigeration systems; electrical equipment and systems; elevating devices such as elevators and escalators; gas appliances and systems; passenger ropeways such as ski lifts; and provincial railways.

"At the centre of what we do is the Accident Prevention Model," said Harry Diemer, President and CEO of the BCSA. "It continues to be the model that sets our direction."

The Accident Prevention Model uses a risk-based approach to preventing accidents. Its key components are: inspection, education and outreach, research and enforcement.

Inspection is an integral part of the BCSA's operations. In 2008, BCSA safety officers assessed:

- 41,000 electrical installations

- 13,000 gas installations

- over 9,500 boiler, pressure vessel and refrigeration systems

- almost 3,000 elevating devices

- 293 amusement rides

- and spent 3,000 hours assessing railways

At the meeting, the Safety Authority also reported back on a number of safety initiatives conducted in 2008, including:

-- Heads Up For Safety campaign to encourage homeowners to hire qualified, licensed contractors for electrical and gas home improvements.

-- Can You Dig It? campaign dedicated to collecting research data in order to determine why a gas line may be damaged by an excavator when digging in the ground.

-- Enforcement actions were stepped up last year resulting in 635 actions, up from 569 in 2007. These included 288 compliance orders, 325 permit privilege suspensions and five monetary penalties. The other enforcement actions carried out included the suspension of authorization and permit privileges, contractors' licenses and certificates of qualifications.

According to Diemer, "The long-term goal is to get people to a point that they want to be safe rather than being told to be safe. That is why education is so critical. But if those efforts to help people get back on track don't work, then they may face penalties for disregarding those rules."

The BCSA uses a risk assessment procedure tool that measures risks in terms of consequence and likelihood. It determines how often and when to audit or inspect particular sites and regulated equipment. High-risk installations are given priority.

According to Diemer, "The strategy is risk-based. That means we tend to focus on higher risks. Either because the piece of equipment is in a high-risk location, or because the operator may be new to the technology."

The Safety Authority's 2008 Annual Report and other materials may be downloaded from its website at www.safetyauthority.ca.

The BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization that inspires safety excellence in British Columbia by partnering with business, industry and the general public to enhance the safety of technical systems, products, equipment and work.

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