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

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!

Jul
25

By Melissa Babcock

Last week, my daughter and I went on vacation to visit family. During those seven days earmarked for rest, relaxation and sun, you would think safety would have been the last thing on my mind, but alas! I guess you can take the girl away from safety, but you can’t take safety away from the girl.

Our travels took us to southeastern Ontario, where my mom and dad live in a sleepy little lakeside area known just as much for its scorching summer temperatures as it is for its wine. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to beat the heat when you live on the water and, in our case, the beach is a just short walk from my parents’ home. For my little water baby, who treats our bathtub in landlocked Alberta like a pool, this was heaven.

Lake Erie, Ontario, splashing her heart out.

Lake Erie, Ontario, splashing her heart out.

Of course, swimming in a lake is very different from taking a dip in one of our local pools where there are generally lifeguards and controlled conditions. Enjoying one of our many great lakes or even venturing all the way to the coast to enjoy the ocean brings a whole new set of safety considerations to think about:

  • Get to know the water. Every body of water is different. On our first trip to the beach, my kiddo and I ventured into the water together hand-in-hand so I could properly assess the conditions and depth. Thankfully, our particular stretch of beach was quite shallow with no current to speak of; otherwise, a trip back to the house for lifejackets may have been necessary.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. On this little neighbourhood beach, there are no lifeguards or designated swimming areas – it is strictly swim at your own risk. So I made sure to read any and all signage posted at the beach, to ensure there were no warnings or anything that might change our minds about swimming that day. And since boats and jet skis were scattered along the horizon, we stayed close to the shore and built many sandcastles.
  • Beach-going requires PPE. We never hit the sand without a bag filled with sunscreen, hats, towels and bottles of water. It’s easy to get overheated and dehydrated when you’re out in the sun for too long, even if you’re in the water for long stretches of time, which meant many applications of SPF and calling my daughter over to the towel numerous times (much to the annoyance of those sitting near us) for drinks of water.

Keeping all of the above in mind during our trips to the lake meant my daughter and I were able to enjoy ourselves safely. We’re already looking forward to returning next summer!

Have you done any traveling this summer? Any safety tips for vacation goers? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!

 

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/164135-lake-swimming-safety/

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240225_LakesRivers.pdf

 

Jul
18

By Courtney Taylor

With this week’s heat wave I bet many of you were wishing for winter or, at the very least, some cooler weather. Instead of wishing for the days of snow, cold and ice how about you turn on the AC and put in a movie – perhaps Disney’s Frozen will do the trick.

Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, and a quest to find true love. It was one of the must see movies last year—especially if you have relatives under the age of 10! Turns out it’s a fantastic movie that just about anyone can enjoy. I had the pleasure of watching it for the first time while I was babysitting my two little cousins, both boys. Sam, who is four, couldn’t wait for me to put it in and pretty soon he was bopping his head and singing along (he knew all the words to “Let it go”, which I think is pretty impressive!). Frozen may be full of catchy songs and a great story line, but Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and even the snowman Olaf encounter some dangerous situations that we could all learn from.

It’s always fun until somebody gets hurt.

In the beginning of the movie, Elsa and Anna sneak out of bed to play. Elsa creates a winter wonderland for Anna, they build snowmen, and Anna slides down hills created by Elsa’s magical powers. The girls are having fun until Anna is playing too fast for Elsa and gets hurt. In all the fun and excitement they forgot to pay attention to safety causing a fun time to change in a hurry. In the case of Elsa and Anna, maybe proper footwear and attire could have helped them stay safe. It’s always good to be prepared for any fun event you are partaking in.

Seatbelts save lives

Anna and Kristoff end up being chased by wolves on their quest to find Elsa. Neither one of them is buckled or wearing any sort of harness keeping them in the sleigh. It’s all fine and dandy until Kristoff stands up and is grabbed by a wolf off the sleigh. Thankfully, Anna comes to his rescue and he is able to get back on the sleigh. It’s a good reminder that in moving vehicles it’s important to be strapped in to avoid falling out. Even though a sleigh is not a car it is a moving vehicle and strapping in could have kept Kristoff from falling out of the sleigh and needing to be saved by Anna!

Fire is dangerous

When Olaf comes to Anna’s rescue, he quickly starts a fire to warm her up. He dumps in an arm full of logs (almost including his own arm as kindling) and lights the fire. Instantly he’s mesmerized by the flames and heat. I get it— fire can be fascinating to watch. In Olaf’s case, he starts to melt because he’s too close to the fire. For you and me, if we got too close, the consequences could be much worse (smoke inhalation or even burns).

Next time you’re performing noble and heroic acts like saving a princess or just at work around open flames, remember to keep your head up and stay safe.

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