UPDATE — Technical Safety BC’s State of Safety and Annual Report highlight improved safety for British Columbians

Vancouver, BC, May 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Technical Safety BC, the independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment in British Columbia, released their State of Safety 2020 report and Annual Report.

“In a year of unprecedented uncertainty and challenges, these reports highlight the impressive work undertaken by both our clients and our teams at Technical Safety BC to improve the safety system while operating under difficult circumstances,” said Catherine Roome, Technical Safety BC Lead Executive Officer.

Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Technical Safety BC was able to increase their presence in the safety system in 2020, conducting over 45,000 assessments, with 20,300 of them being conducted remotely (vs. 40,000 safety assessments conducted in a typical year). This was possible thanks to the organization’s use of data, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence.

Here are some key findings available in the State of Safety 2020 report:

  • In 2020, there was a 3.49% decrease in injuries compared to 2019 and a 9.5% decrease in the number of incidents reported.
  • Carbon monoxide remains a silent killer. Over the past five years, British Columbia has averaged two fatalities per year as a result of carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Since 2017, 75% of ammonia-related incidents were caused by equipment failure or improper procedure.

This year’s report also highlights the outcomes of Technical Safety BC’s key initiatives and provides a breakdown of the incidents, injuries, emerging risks, and efforts undertaken in the last year to improve safety across British Columbia’s technical systems.

Two key initiatives included in this year’s State of Safety are the Ammonia Safety Awareness Program and Carbon Monoxide (CO) education and awareness programs.

The Ammonia Safety Awareness Program is a direct response to the 2017 fatal Fernie Memorial Arena ammonia tragedy. Since 2017, 75% of ammonia-related incidents were caused by equipment failure or improper procedure. As a result, Technical Safety BC has been working collaboratively with industry to develop more education, training, and resources for technicians and operators. The program aims to build the strongest safety culture possible in partnership with frontline operators, industry associations, and experts. This improved culture of safety is critical given how many British Columbians interact with ammonia technical systems, most commonly at their local ice rink.

The second pertains to Carbon Monoxide (CO) education and awareness efforts undertaken in 2020. Technical Safety BC research found that 71% of Canadians do not know the signs of carbon monoxide buildup in their home, and yet exposure to carbon monoxide remains a persistent and deadly risk. The data also show that many carbon monoxide fatalities occurred at remote properties where owners often chose do-it-yourself installations. Two fatal carbon monoxide exposures in the summer of 2020 prompted Technical Safety BC to intensify this awareness campaign further. Technical Safety BC has made carbon monoxide safety awareness a top priority.

“Both of these programs are examples of what happens at the intersection of technology and humanity.” added Roome. “When promoting the best safety practices, there needs to be an emphasis on addressing both technical equipment gaps and the potential for human error. We have seen that by analyzing the data, collaborating with partners to act on insights, and being willing to approach safety challenges differently, we can save lives.”

Additionally, Technical Safety BC’s 2020 Annual Report presents the financial outcomes of 2020, and details actions undertaken to uphold their responsibility to oversee the safety of technical systems in the province during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both reports are made public at technicalsafetybc.ca as part of Technical Safety BC’s commitment to transparency. They will also be discussed with industry stakeholders on May 27 at their upcoming annual public meeting, Core Connections 2021.

The full State of Safety report can be found here.

The Annual Report can be viewed here.

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About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC (formerly BC Safety Authority) is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research. For more information, visit www.technicalsafetybc.ca

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