Towing and recovery is a high risk industry sector characterized by a unique combination of workplace hazards. To date, there is no systematic approach to managing these hazards. Recognizing this fact, representatives from the towing and recovery sector have taken the initiative to develop an occupational health and safety development strategy which will speak to the specific hazards of the industry.
The long-term outcomes of this strategy will be to establish industry safety standards that will include:
- standard work practices,
- specialized skills training,
- worksite safety management protocols, and
- risk assessment tools which will guide the use of these standards.
Based upon the results of the risk assessment workshop, a site assessment form and site safety plan template was developed. The form was pre-populated with identified high- and medium-risk hazards and structured to allow for the onsite development of a safety plan.
When do I need to conduct a risk/scene assessment?
The need to conduct a preliminary scene assessment is contingent upon many factors. Most complex recoveries require some form of risk assessment. A complex recovery can be defined by the following criteria:
- The use of a heavy-duty truck in mountainous, deep valley, or narrow geography
- The assistance of an off-road tractor or specialized equipment
- Use of an extension to the winch line from the tow vehicle
- A situation where the recovery of the vehicle presents a hazard (e.g. lake, ravine, or river)
- A recovery where high-risk cargo is involved and/or environmental and safety factors must be considered
Additionally, other factors may warrant the need to conduct an assessment of the potential risks:
- Traffic speeds are in excess of 70 kph.
- The operation will last more than 30 minutes.
- Contractors are used.
- It is a multiple employer worksite.
- There is a combination of high-risk factors.
- It is a complex recovery including water or high-angle work.
Why do I need to have a written scene assessment and work plan?
WorkSafeBC regulations require that you demonstrate you have taken necessary actions to mitigate all workplace hazards. Failure to write down your actions is the legal equivalent of not taking these actions at all.