Personal Flotation Devices: New OHS requirement to inspect and document

Safety Alert Type: 
Marine Operations
All work areas on or adjacent to bodies of water
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Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
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There is a new OHS Regulation from WorkSafeBC that requires inspection AND documentation of the inspection of inflatable personal flotation devices (PFDs) and lifejackets. This new regulation came into effect on June 3, 2019.

Section 8.29 of the OHS Regulation states: If workers use inflatable personal flotation devices or automatically inflatable lifejackets (examples shown in attached pdf), the employer must keep a record of all inspections made and maintenance performed on those PFDs or automatically inflatable lifejackets.

It is recommended that users follow the manufacturer’s inspection frequency.

Note: In addition to the new regulation (8.29), review these other Regulations related to buoyancy equipment:

  • 8.26 When required
  • 8.27 Compliance with standards
  • 8.30 Retroreflective material

Link to the OHS Regulations referenced above: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/law-policy/occupational-health-safety/searchable-ohs-regulation/ohs-regulation/part-08-personal-protective-clothing-and-equipment

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The Differences between a Lifejacket and PFD

A lifejacket is NOT the same as a personal flotation device (PFD), although in many cases they look very similar. The terms "lifejacket" and "personal flotation device (PFD)" are often used interchangeably but there are very important differences (see comparison table in attached pdf).

For more information on PFDs and Automatically Inflatable Lifejackets, visit the Canadian Red Cross’ web page on water safety: https://www.redcross.ca/training-and-certification/swimming-and-water-safety-tips-and-resources/swimming-boating-and-water-safety-tips/lifejackets-and-pfds

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