Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

Aug
29

By Courtney Taylor

I love summer. The sun, shorts, flip-flops, and sand—oh wait we live in Alberta. Not much sand to be found! From January on I’m just waiting for it to be hot enough to lose the socks and shoes and don my favorite sundress, but then it seems as soon as it’s here  it’s gone again before I’m ready. This summer has been no different—it just flew by. It definitely helped that I was super busy trying to flourish in unfamiliar waters as a communications summer student here at WCB, while making almost bi-weekly bus trips back to Calgary.

Now I’m looking forward to fall. Usually by the end of August I am busy revamping my wardrobe and stocking up on school supplies, but this year that isn’t necessary. Just as my time at WCB is up, so is my time in school. Now that I havegrad finished my work experience term I am officially done at Mount Royal University. As of November I will be the proud owner of a very fancy and expensive piece of paper—my Bachelor of Communications degree with a major in journalism.

It really is more than just a fancy piece of paper, though. My post-secondary career was a journey that lead me to be a more knowledgeable, confident, self-assured and cultured person. The work experience I gained along the way added to my experience in school. I now feel ready to tackle the job market and land the communication job of my dreams.

But first I need to make money, so it’s back to my part-time job serving while I search for that awesome job I dream about. Thanks to my time at WCB, I know I will be able to help keep myself and my co-workers safe at Milestones.

Here are some tips I am taking away and will be sure to share:

  1. Speak up. I can say no to a task if I feel that it is too dangerous or I don’t feel comfortable doing it safely. I will for sure be reminding my colleagues of this—especially if it’s their first job, which is often the case for our hostesses.
  2. Take your time. Rushing to get something done can lead to cutting corners or even forgetting about safety precautions. In restaurants it’s important to the job quickly, but not to rush. Slips, trips, and falls happen often at restaurants due to spills that may not have been cleaned up properly. Even though it’s a faced-paced environment there’s always time to make sure the job is done safely.
  3. Ask for help. Sometimes new employees are too shy or embarrassed to ask how to do something—I know I was when I first started. It’s always safer to ask someone who knows what they’re doing for help to get the job done.

After spending the summer here at WCB and being a member of the Heads Up team, I feel that I can go back to serving knowing how to keep myself and my co-workers safe—at least until I land that dream job. I’ll still be thinking about safety at work, but maybe it will be more focused on ergonomics and hidden hazards. Either way, I’ll always be thinking of how to work smart and work safe no matter what the job is.

Thanks for a fantastic summer of learning and growing, WCB—it’s been great!

 

 

Aug
22

By Melissa Babcock

I love British humour (so dry, so sarcastic) and Simon Pegg, known primarily to North American audiences as Montgomery Scott of Star Trek fame, is one of my favourite actors. So it’s no surprise Shaun of the Dead is one of my favourite movies. You wouldn’t expect a film about a zombie apocalypse to be hysterically funny and also romantic and sweet, but Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright pull it off. You also wouldn’t expect this kind of film to offer any lessons about safety that can be applied to the workplace, but it manages to do that too. Basically, this movie has it all. (Note: this is not a paid endorsement, just gushing from a big fan. Also, this blog post contains spoilers.)

 

Be aware of your surroundings

A worker should always be alert and on the lookout for potential hazards. This is advice Shaun would have benefitted from early in the film. After a night spent drowning his sorrows and mourning his recent breakup, Shaun wakes up and stumbles his way to the local shop for a drink and a snack. He’s distracted, still half asleep, completely oblivious to what’s happening around him and is very lucky to make it home with all his limbs intact. Had Shaun noticed the smashed vehicles, the obvious signs of carnage and of course, the many zombies stumbling around, he and flatmate Ed might have been better prepared and less surprised when they were attacked later in their backyard by two undead.

 

Have a plan (and the proper equipment)

When starting a new job or a new project, it’s important to plan the work ahead as a way to stay on track and ensure everything gets done when it’s supposed to. This is especially true when working in groups. In order for a team to work together effectively, they need to be on the same page. Shaun seems to understand this and after doing away with their backyard intruders, he and Ed work together to figure out a plan of action so they can safely wait out the zombie crisis. Sure, they have different priorities (Shaun wants to ensure his mother and his ex-girlfriend are safe, Ed wants to be able to smoke), but they work together to find a solution agreeable to them both. They also ensure they’re properly equipped to get the job done: when it comes to fighting zombies, a shovel and a cricket bat are as good PPE as any!

 

Don’t be afraid to speak up

Towards the end of the film, things get serious and sad when Shaun’s mum reveals she was bitten during an earlier encounter with a zombie, but didn’t tell anyone as she didn’t want to “be a bother”. This is exactly why a lot of young workers don’t say anything if they have questions about safety, or why they might try to hide or downplay an injury instead of reporting it. But keeping quiet is never the answer. In the case of Shaun’s mother, speaking up wouldn’t have helped her much as there is no undoing a zombie bite, though she and Shaun might have had time for a proper goodbye. But when it comes to maintaining a safe workplace, asking questions and reporting injuries is a must.

 

So in conclusion…

It turns out surviving a zombie apocalypse isn’t all that different from staying safe on the job. Just keep your head up, be prepared, equip yourself appropriately and above all, work safe and work smart.

 

What’s your favourite zombie flick? Have any suggestions for a future installment of Safety and the movies? Leave a comment or tweet @HeadsUpAB.

 

Aug
15

By: Calissa Reid

Last December, I was just finishing my workout when I felt a shooting pain in my hip. I brushed it off. I was too young to get hurt. I just needed to rest for a couple days.

But the pain never went away.

It wasn’t until a month later when I was limping and struggling to sit down that I realized I couldn’t handle my injury on my own. I started going to physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy was amazing. I was given an explanation as to why I was hurt, and we began treatment.

After my first appointment, I was so excited. I was finally going to get better! Most of my experiences with being hurt or sick have been the same. A quick consult, medication, and then boom! I was better. I thought it was going to be the same with my hip injury. Let’s just say I was wrong.

When I was still in pain a few weeks into physiotherapy, I felt hopeless. I’d tell myself, “Well, it looks like this will be here for the rest of your life.” I had given up.

Dealing with a long-term injury is frustrating. You may feel that you have lost control of part of your life, and that you will never get better. Your daily routine may be altered. For me, it meant I had to change my workouts, but for some people, injuries can have a much larger impact. You may miss some days of work, be placed on modified duties, or need to find a new job suitable for your abilities.

I’m going to be straight with you: being hurt sucks. My experience has taught me that your approach—both physically and mentally— to your injury will impact your recovery.

Injury free and running with my friends. Just perfect.

The first area of focus will likely be your physical recovery. When it comes to getting better, there are no short cuts—trust me on this, I looked for them! Your recovery depends on your commitment. Your health care provider is there to help you recover. Those stretches and exercises your physiotherapist gives you may seem silly, but you should do them.

You may want to rush back into motion (I know I did!) but it’s important for you to be cautious. I’m not saying you should be lying on the couch all day, but medical research shows that recovery is better when people keep to their daily routine as much as possible during recuperation. Make it a habit to ask, at every appointment, for a list of what you can do safely now—both at home and at work. Ask if there are any specific activities or tasks you should avoid.

Obviously, your physical well-being will be your main concern during your recovery, but your mental well-being is important, too. The recovery process can be frustrating and overwhelming, which can cause your emotions to spiral into a negative mindset. In the middle of my treatment, I found myself stuck with negative thoughts. Once I accepted that I was hurt, and it was going to take work to make it better, the once-dreaded physio appointments became something I looked forward to.

The path from injury to recovery can be long and daunting, which may demotivate you. If you know that recovery will take a long time, it may help to focus on small, short-term improvements. Each improvement is something to be celebrated, as you get closer and closer to recovery.

Injuries are serious business. Whether you’ve been hurt at work or on your down time, you need to work hard and have determination to recover. But in the end, it will all be worth it.

If you want to find out more about recovering from a workplace injury, visit WCB’s staying active and achieving the best recovery webpage.

Aug
08

By Angela Unsworth

The weather in Alberta has been fantastic for the month of July; let’s hope it holds out for August!

Thinking of how great summer is makes me want to plan a vacation so I can get out and enjoy the sun. But, like students all over the world, I’m working through the summer and spending time daydreaming of future vacations! If you’re like me and are daydreaming of your future travels in the sun while at work, don’t forget that you still need to stay safe on the job! The first step for safety at work is awareness. Here are some headlines for safety in the news to help you stay informed: 

Did you know? Since summer is when most young workers are out in the workforce, more young workers in Nova Scotia get injured in the summer. A lot of the places that young workers are employed at in Nova Scotia are similar to jobs young workers have in Alberta. These statistics highlight the importance of knowing workplace safety and who to talk to if you have any questions or need help.

Tragic death of a 15-year-old killed in workplace accident. A 15-year-old worker was killed in a workplace accident near Drumheller, Alberta in July. OHS was dispatched to investigate the site, to explore the company’s hazard assessments, equipment and training to ensure they meet safety standards.

Shed a light for safety. In Winnipeg, a 24-year-old worker suffered injuries when he fell 11 feet into an orchestra pit while performing stagehand duties. Court heard there were no guards or rails set up and lighting was dim in the area. The employer plead guilty to a safety violation and was fined $5,000.

Safety in the workplace is improving. Statistics show that there is an improvement in workplace safety in Alberta. Even so, it’s still important to be safe in the workplace; we can always do better!

Do you have a story to share about safety in the workplace? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.

Aug
01

By Lauren Smith

It seems Alberta is full of widespread joy come summertime—
and who wouldn’t be?

Many Albertans know the summer as construction season, but for those who know where to look, the summer is also festival season in Alberta! After moving to Alberta five years ago, I quickly fell in love with all the summer festivals our great province has to offer. We’re lucky to live in a beautiful province that hosts a different music festival almost every weekend between June and September.

Photo I took at last year’s Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Pure bliss.

Photo I took at last year’s Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Pure bliss.

Safety-ness is next to happiness

To really appreciate the full festival experience, proper preparation and planning are key. Staying safe and healthy throughout the weekend ensures you can fully enjoy yourself and all the festival has to offer.

In her last blog, Angela discussed the lessons she learned from her first year at the Calgary Stampede: the importance of staying hydrated, limiting exposure to direct sunlight and having nutritious snacks handy to maintain energy levels. These are all crucial points; ignore any of them and you might end up having a bad time at any outdoor event.

All summer festivals require some careful preparation and planning to ensure you stay safe and have a great time, but festivals where camping is involved have many added factors to plan for. So, here are my personal tips for ensuring you have a good time when festin’:


1. Bring clothes for every climate
.

Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

It’s far better to have a bunch of warm sweaters and an abundance of extra socks and never pull them out of your bag, than to be cold with wet feet (I’ve experienced running out of dry socks. It’s not something I wish on anyone). Even if the forecast calls for sun all weekend, be prepared that the weather could shift and a rain poncho may become your saviour.


2.
Appropriate footwear is no laughing matter.

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Many festivals require a lot of walking, especially when you’re camped away from all the action. Flip flops can be OK if it’s nice and you’re not walking around too much, but come the night time flip flops will not keep your feet warm against the cold, damp ground and will not protect against those pesky bug bites—boots are a must!

 
3.
A neighbour is a friend you haven’t met yet.

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

 Festivals are great places to meet people, so why not start with those camped next to you? Getting know your camping neighbours not only means more people to party with, but you can help each other out by keeping an eye on your camp sites for any suspicious behavior. It’s especially a good idea to get acquainted with those camped near you if you’re flying solo. At some of the more remote festivals, access to supplies can be difficult (if not impossible) if you accidently forget or lose anything. Having some folks who can help you out of a bind can be your first class ticket to a good time.


4. Light up the night
.

Photo courtesy of wallpaperswa.com

Photo courtesy of wallpaperswa.com

The beautiful open landscape of the fairgrounds can become very distorted once the sun goes down. Even if you’ve been to the grounds before, it never hurts to carry a flashlight around with you in the evenings to help you find your way around and spot any potential tripping hazards. (Pro tip: I bring glow sticks for me and my friends so we can easily identify each other if we get separated at night. Plus, glow sticks are just a lot of fun).


5. Go with the flow.

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

The weekend most likely will be full of unexpected events. When you come prepared, it’s easier to let loose and embrace everything as it happens. After all, that’s part of the magic of festivals.


What are your favourite summer festivals? Do you have any summer festival safety tips? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!

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