Archive for the ‘Blog Posts’ Category

Emergencies happen all the Time. How Prepared are you? Do you pay attention to Safety Demonstrations? Next time, you may remember. I used this at a Safety meeting as an opener to Emergency Planning

http://www.noob.us/humor/the-office-fire-drill/

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Video about safety incentives. This was sent to me and I thought I would share. What are your comments and thoughts about Safety Incentives? Do they work?

To often we think of bullying amongst children and we forget to look within our own homes, out on the playgrounds and even how we look at bullying in the workplace.

Everyone of us has a story. whether we were bullied as a child, saw bullying going on, saw it in the workplace or even at the local stores. I know a few weeks back, I saw bullying occur in a family at a table across from me. I was aghast at how blatant the action was. I wanted to step up and say something. Did you know that a good percentage of people won’t approach a bully due to the repercussions to the victims, to the public and to the person who steps up and defends!

Take a few moments to reflect on what defines bullying:

Repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour intended to cause fear, distress, or harm to another person’s body, emotions, self-esteem or reputation.

Recently in Canada there have been several deaths to teens with respect to bullying. This is unacceptable.

There have been numerous incidents in workplaces as well that have caused distress and death. This is unacceptable.

With the new OSH laws in Canada respecting Workplace Violence and Harassment, employers are striving to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. How do we ensure the mental health and well-being of our employees if we tolerate it in our homelife, or see it on the street? Where do we draw the line? We educate and stand up, we express what is and what is not acceptable and we follow through on consequences.

Excellent Resources for Employers:

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/bullying.html

http://www.workplaceanswers.com/anti-bullying

http://www.employmentlawtoday.com/articleview/16290-british-columbia-targets-workplace-bullying

 

 

 

Excellent resources for Parents:

http://bullyingcanada.ca/content/239900

Too help teens report bullying:

http://www.stopabully.ca/

 

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Excellent community groups:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/BE-BOLD-Campaign/536542519730864

Upcoming Events in BC for Be BOLD:
http://hosted.eventful.com/vancouver/events/bold-campaign-official-launch-gala-/E0-001-057326440-2

Check out ISafety Services for your Alberta Health and Safety needs! http://www.linkedin.com/company/2992627?trk=tyah

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Blog Posts

WorkSafe BC Planning Guide

Just a reminder this week is NAOSH 2013. Check out your local events through your Safety Associations, Corporate Calendars and Public Communities.

There still continues to be incidents across the world that consistently remind us for the need to ask the question, “Are You as Safe as You Think?”

Is it because we are still trying to see “safety” as a separate entity or is there still more lessons to learn? How many lessons do we need to grasp the concept that being safe is part of who you are and to do that you need to learn from the past?

Today, as I drove through the city, I noticed a small act that had big consequences. Imagine being blind and with all the safety devices available (seeing eye dogs, walking canes, traffic lights that indicate noises that it is safe to cross) encountering a barrier that you can’t see. We take things for granted when we have our sight to make observations of hazards or changes to our environment. The simple act I saw, was an elderly person assisting a sight impaired person across a busy intersection that had barricades diverting vehicle traffic. Do we anticipate these things when planning our work? Such a simple gesture touched my heart.

Take a moment this week to reflect on those simple tasks as we usually plan for hazard control on the complicated situations. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Now go out and teach what you know to someone else.

I recall a few years back asking a classroom to close their eyes and imagine being 5 or 6 yrs old and working inside a chimney or mine, or dash under a weaver’s loom during the Industrial Revolution before Working Conditions and Age of Workers were addressed by the Factory Safety Act. These children were asked to perform tasks we would not think of exposing our children to today. As I said that day, do they know what the hazards are? Do they know what questions to ask? They are children counting on adults to guide them and they are performing without the skills/knowledge needed.The gift of knowledge can open your eyes to many things.

I challenge everyone to do their part to keep our world safe.

Image In follow-up to Part 1 on dealing with the Aging Workforce, are the challenges associated with young and new employees, this demographic is seeking life in a faster paced environment, technology trends and the need for growth at a rapid pace. They are seeking engagement that utilizes their keen knowledge and awareness of technology, music and growing use of social media. Unfortunately, they also foster some beliefs about what is workplace rights and responsibilities and the need to stay focused on the task at hand is apparent.

New workplace health and safety regulations in the last few years have promoted the development of programs that focus on the risks associate with youth or employees facing new tasks. With their more experienced colleagues moving towards retirement, there is a definite need for mentoring programs that share mutual benefits. To engage young employees in the workforce, there needs to be the “me” factor: what is in it for me?

-Advancement in career and leadership

-New technology gadgets and social media applications

-Networking and educational pursuits

-Healthy lifestyles

Often with this eagerness to pursue higher achievements or meet production, these employees take risks to impress their senior management/supervision to meet the growing requirements.  There is a higher acceptance of risk in performing tasks or tolerance to adverse conditions. Turnover for young employees is much higher as they are willing to take on more challenges or grow weary of tried and true practices. 

Some fundamental practices to engage young employees are:

Development and support of building relationships with new/young employees that support:

1) Mentoring programs to build knowledge, skills and pride of ownership
2) Social and corporate responsibility – young workers today require engagement that incorporates their ability to use social media, new technologies which they can be used to mentor back to their aging workforce co-workers.
3) Review of training and performance against knowledge.

What are your thoughts?

ImageIn Today’s economy, many workplaces are faced with their demographics nearing retirement.  This presents many challenges and opportunities to investigate potential safety and health concerns and look for ways to keep the aging workforce healthy and engaged.

The six benefits are:

  • · Huge knowledge base of direct and indirect required job skills
  • · Developed sound workplace wisdom and people skills
  • · Ability to support a calm work environment due to respect of his/her coworkers
  • · Skilled ability to train, supervise and mentor, younger coworkers
  • · Experience based approach to problem solving
  • · Loyalty and a sound work ethic

 Developing mentor programs for your workforce to share their skills with newer employees allows for  engagement at all levels and provides pride of leadership for their colleagues. It gives them an opportunity to leave a legacy of their knowledge and wisdom to the future generation.

Workplace adjustments:

There are however some modifications to be made to adjust some workplaces for aging employees, who have different requirements than their younger colleagues.

  • · Their senses deteriorate and reflexes slow down
  • · Flexibility and range of motion shrinks
  • · Thinning Bones and shrinking muscles
  • · Flexibility shrinks

 Preventive measures and aging employee friendly workplaces can easily be done without expensive engineering upgrades.

  • · Worker-friendly scheduling
  • · Reduce noise
  • · Proper lighting
  • · High contrast paint
  • · Proper Ergonomics and if possible change packaging to adjust weight
  • · Minor equipment enhancements

 Employers could motivate his employees to implement a healthier life style. This does not only benefit again employees. An employer can introduce a company wellness program:

  • · Gym membership
  • · Company arranged classes in:

Nutrition and Weight control

Stress management

Moderate exercise

Smoking Cessation

Employee Assistance Program ( changing needs such as taking care of elderly parents, financial planning and retirement concerns)

Identifying these challenges in your workforce can help your organization and your employees remain safe and healthy for the future. 

What are your thoughts?

This article was written after thoughtful and insightful discussions with safety colleagues. Thank you.

Workplace Stress and the Effects of Life Events that Contribute to Injuries.

Workplace stress combined with personal stressors can leave your workforce de-motivated, exhausted and at high risk for injury. Some key life events that can contribute to workplace stress are:

Dealing with family grief/death or illness in family

Dealing with marital/family issues

Aging parents

Financial Stress

Domestic/Spousal Violence

Even positive life events can contribute to personal stressors that can be brought into the workplace. Some examples include:

-New marriage

-Blending a new family

-Birth of children

-Winning the lottery (yes, even winning a lottery can be stressful as well as exciting)

With the latest changes to legislation across Canada respecting Workplace Violence and dealing with Mental Health factors, some employers as well as employees are struggling with how to implement these types of programs. 

Questions Employers Face:

-What about spousal abuse? How do we manage this in the workplace? Can we intervene if personal matters affect the worker(s)? Where is the line drawn?

-What about having multiple family members working together? Can home agruements become a factor in workplace discipline?

Employee Concerns:

What if I disclose a personal matter, how will it affect my job?

What if i say I am suffering with a Mental Illness and struggling? Will I be ostracized?

What if the toll of family life stressors is impacting my decisions? Does this impact my performance and is it fair when a promotion comes up?

The above are just examples of some of the concerns from both Management and Employee groups. The impacts both economically and functionally are high. Who pays the price? How do we change the dynamics so that we feel “safe” to disclose mental health stressors to the workplace? The solutions are two-fold and the answers lies within your Safety Culture. Build a workplace of trust, and together we can make our workplaces mentally safe as well as physically.

Share your thoughts.Image

 

 

Motivational Stories

Posted: February 24, 2013 in Blog Posts

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

I remember the day vividly..I was sitting at my desk eating lunch, for the first time in hours peace..and then, there was one of my First Aiders, standing over me “There’s an accident at the intersection!” Grabbing my Mobile bag, both Ann and I walked briskly out the building. I saw the school bus, and it hit me. So many thoughts went through my mind, “Was it small children on an outing?” “Adults heading out to a jobsite?”..and then I recall, my son saying they had a field trip that day. Taking a deep breath, we walked to the scene, there were cars everywhere, pulled over, the noise was deafening, I knew we had to assess the scene. I quickly scanned the area and saw people standing at the back of the bus. Approaching , we noticed the back door open and 4 people standing there. One was Ann’s husband, he called out to us, that they had full support of a teenage boy and someone had called the ambulance. Another person yelled out, that the bus had been struck by a garbage truck on the other side, Seeing that they had care at the back, I knew we had to assess the scene and get to the people on the bus. This was my first big accident scene. I saw the garbage truck had t-boned the bus and there was glass everywhere, I could smell fuel but saw no leak. I motioned to a person to help with traffic control, another I asked to escort the people on the bus to a safe location.

I walked onto the bus, quickly I ascertained that it was teenagers. We started to assess the first rows of the bus and asked teachers to assist those that weren’t hurt off the bus to safety. We quickly surveyed the bus and I heard cries of girls at the back of the bus, “Please get off of me” There was about 10 teenagers piled up on the floor at the back, beneath them a young girl crying and the back door open, where the teenage boy was being held straight. I could hear the sirens in the distance. My heart beating fast, I took a deep breath. Ann stayed at the front while I dealt with the back. Some of the kids had minor cuts, bruises and and we had to climb over seats to get to a few of them. Slowly the pile of kids began to subside, after each was assessed and helped off the bus. Luckily, most of them just scared, small bruises. I heard the paramedics come onto the bus, I heard the fire engines and I keep on going. I don’t remember how I responded to so many hurt kids. I remember hearing somebody say, its ok you can stay and help. There were three boys sitting beside each other, one had glass in his hair and he had his face covered with his hands, crying that it hurt. I knew he had glass and I knew he was starting to hyperventilate and go into shock. Talking softly, I assessed him and handed his treatment over to the paramedic.

As fast as the accident happened, it seemed like time was speeding and as I was told that Ann and I were free to go. I recall one of the paramedics asking me if I was ok and could I give my report to the Chief. Gathering up our bags, we went to make our report.

Everything seemed surreal as we walked back to the office, people asking questions, I felt exhausted and did not know why. I felt my adrenaline rushing through my veins and I just wanted water. I remember the president talking to us and we sunk to the floor, our head in our hands, gasping for breath.

That was in 1994 or 1996, time has blurred, yet the moment so etched in my mind.

Two days later, I asked for additional training for our workplace. In less than a week, we had 50 people trained in first aid and more registered. I registered to become an Instructor.

When asked why I take First Aid/CPR, I say ” You never know when you may need it, and if I didn’t have training that day” perhaps I would have sat outside watching, wondering why I wasn’t helping. You see, I am a helper and I love to help others. I already started my journey to becoming a safety professional, yet that was the day, safety became my inner motivation. It became reality.

The next time, you say, “Do I need this training?” “I don’t think I will ever use it” or simply you feel that attending safety training is burdensome. I tell this story. Maybe that day it may have been my son on that bus, or your Dad or maybe your spouse. The young man suffered serious injuries and for awhile it was touch and go. He made it that day, as four strangers held him still and two others helped his friends.

This is my tribute to those who help others “Keep strong” Remember your stories, remember your motivations and remember each day you lend a helping hand.