Building Operations Weekly

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What Are You Doing for Safety? It Doesn’t Have To Hurt: Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries

A musculoskeletal injury or MSI is an injury or disorder of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, nerves, blood vessels or bursae. They can occur suddenly (overexertion) or develop over a period of time (repetition). The presence of risk factors such as awkward postures, repetitive movements, improper lifting technique, excessive force, vibration, contact stress and static loading during task performance increase our risk of MSIs. These risks are further compounded if a task is done for too long, too slow/fast, incorrect tools or workstations are used, or the environment is not conducive to optimal performance.

All too often we ignore pain and discomfort that we think is minor until it is too late. It is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms that could indicate an MSI. Signs (which can be observed) could include swelling, redness, and/ or difficulty moving a particular body part. Symptoms (which can be felt but not observed) could include numbness, tingling, and/ or pain. If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of an MSI, inform your supervisor and report to first aid. An MSI may be treated more effectively if it is discovered and reported early.

The first step to preventing an MSI from occurring is to identify the risk factors in our work. Ask yourself the following questions and discuss your answers with your answers with your supervisor and worker safety representatives if action is required:

  1. How does my workstation, the objects I handle, or the environment I work in influence the physical demands on my body?
  2. Does my workstation, the objects I handle or the environment increase the physical demands on my body?
  3. Does the time I spend doing a particular tasks or the frequency of the task increase the physical demands on my body?

Here are some ways you can help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries:

  • Report MSI symptoms and hazards to your supervisor.
  • Take scheduled breaks and change postures and positions or relax muscles regularly.
  • Bring questions and concerns to your Supervisor and Worker Safety Representative.
  • Offer suggestions to improve working conditions to your Supervisor, JOHSC or Worker Safety Representative.
  • Ensure you understand the information and instructions provided for a task.
  • Use proper working techniques.
  • Use the equipment and tools provided in your workplace to reduce exposure to MSI hazards.
  • Know how to make adjustments to your workstation to suit your body and the work you do, and ask for help as needed.

(Sources: WorkSafeBC)


High Voltage Feeder Shutdown (12F22) Scheduled on June 9, 8:00am – 6:00 pm

As part of the ongoing preventive maintenance program for high voltage feeders across campus, the next planned HV-electrical feeder maintenance shutdown (12F22) is scheduled on Saturday, June 9th, from 8:00am – 6:00 pm.

Affected buildings are Henry Angus, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Neville Scarfe, AERL, Dorothy Somerset Studios, David Lam, Sedgewick Library, Walter Koerner Library, Hennings, Powerhouse and Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre.


Watch Out for Road Closures as Summer Construction Continues at leləḿ

Here are the affected areas:

Acadia Crossing of University Boulevard

  • The sanitary sewer crossing of University Boulevard expected to start on June 11th

Reconstruction of University Boulevard

  • Work is scheduled from Western Parkway, through to Acadia Road 7:30 am – 7:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00 am – 7:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays

‘Road B’ (just south of Fairview Road and Acadia)

  • Preparation of subgrade is underway.
  • Utility installation will begin early June.
  • Traffic disruption on Acadia will be kept to a minimum


Thank You for Helping Make Graduation Day Memorable

Graduation has always been a memorable and emotional time for both students and parents. Thank you to all who didn’t photobomb precious moments with our service vehicles. We would like to give a shout-out to the Soft Landscape team who made sure the campus grounds looked spectacular for the event; to the Building Ops Labour Division who helped with traffic management set-up; the Waste Management team who made sure all garbage and recycling were picked up daily from all the venues; and to Custodial Services who always provide service over and above the call of duty.

Thank you!


An Example of Our Contribution to UBC and Maintaining Artifacts for Convocation

Did you know that the University Mace is a symbol of the authority of the Chancellor? It is displayed on ceremonial occasions, most notably during congregation ceremonies. Carved from a block of yew, it included a stylized thunderbird on the thick upper portion. The Mace also featured the use of copper that is prominent in Northwest Coast native art.

In 1957, the University commissioned Haida carver Bill Reid to undertake the project. Working with George Norris, Canadian artist and sculptor, the planning of the Mace took some time and the final design was approved in 1959. Today, the Mace is carried by the ‘Macebearer’ who leads the Platform Party, which includes the Chancellor, the President, and other dignitaries, onto the stage for the Congregation ceremonies.

It was damaged in the recent graduation ceremonies. True to our commitment in service excellence, Bruce Dery, from the Sign Shop, repaired the damaged area.

Thank you, Bruce.

Signologist Bruce Dery with Greg Scott and the Mace


Preventive Maintenance Made Easier with HandiChem Solid Chemical Treatment System

The Operating Engineers started using the HandiChem Solid Chemical treatment system in the Brimacombe Building. This system provides the proven results of the high-performance liquid treatment programs, but it is easier to use and it is more environmentally responsible. We have partnered up with Chem Aqua (Myrdal Maya) to make this happen.

The solid system makes water treatment for cooling towers much more manageable because the Operators only have to move around the 11 pound solid chemical container versus the 50+ pound liquid chemical containers used previously. This chemical is solid and automatically mixes with water at the building, greatly reducing the amount of chemical containers being moved around reducing the GHG for the campus. 4 of the small containers (each smaller than a milk jug) is equivalent to a 55 gallon drum.

Also reducing the risk of chemical spills during shipping and storage at the building. This field-proven performance, the HandiChem system offers a simple, green water treatment solution for the Brimacombe cooling towers.

A special thanks goes out to the plumbers and the electricians for helping install the system and making this happen.

Photo of Mydral standing beside the new chemical treatment system


It’s That Time of Year to Clean Up and Declutter–Inspections in Vehicles Will Be Starting This Summer

What’s so important about housekeeping?

Think about what could happen if a bunch of oily rags suddenly caught fire one night, or if, in an emergency, employees couldn’t get out of the vehicle quickly because cab was cluttered. Imagine those same employees unable to get out altogether because of a blocked exit. Experience has shown that good housekeeping is an essential part of your  health and safety program and this applies to vehicles as well as work spaces.

What are the benefits of good housekeeping at work?

  •  eliminate clutter which is a common cause of accidents, such as slips, trips, and falls, and fires and explosions;
  • reduce the chances of harmful materials entering the body (e.g., dusts, vapors);
  • improve productivity (the right tools and materials for the job will be easy to find);
  • Improve workspace -make it neat, comfortable and pleasant – not a smelly eyesore.

What are some signs of poor housekeeping?

  •  cluttered, untidy or dangerous storage of materials(for example, materials stuffed in corners; overcrowded shelves, unsecured gas containers or loads, food left that may attract rodents);
  • blocked or cluttered vehicle cabs, vehicle body’s, aisles and exits;
  • tools and equipment left in work areas/ floors instead of being returned to proper storage places or disposed of properly;
  • broken containers and damaged materials;
  • spills and leaks or spoiled food.


Let’s Welcome the Summer at This Year’s Ice Cream Social

On June 26th, bring your own lunch/dinner and join us in the USB Yard (we will have tables and chairs). Everyone is welcome to enjoy cold treats, whether or not you are participating in the games.

This event won’t be a success without lots of help. Contact Caroline Soriano to let her know if you’re available to help or to send your cool ideas.


Learn More about Your Lungs at the 2nd Annual Lung Health Clinic Next Week

Health and vitality starts with breathing. Your lungs bring essential oxygen into your body for tissue metabolism and growth. Proper lung health will help you achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drop by the FREE Lung Health Clinic and know more about your lungs. After all, effective breathing and healthy lungs start with knowledge!


Check Out These Job Postings

Know anyone interested in working in Building Operations? Let them know about our current job postings.

  • #29290 Weekends – Day Service Worker
  • #30048 Evening – F/T Service Worker
  • #30057 Labourer 3

For full listings, check out designated job postings boards or visit UBC Careers.


Quick Updates


Welcome Greg Scott–Managing Director Starting Today


Welcome to UBC: Inas Salih, Nick Johnstone, Blair Phillips and Blaise Cayley


Reminder: Proactive Planning during Noise Window June 18 – 29


NPS scored remained at 77% with 2 new promoters.


Leaving UBC: Jadwiga Pradzynska and Paul Shaw


Francois Desmarais Blue Zone FM from May 7 – June 22