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


By Angela Unsworth

Writing for this blog has helped to increase my awareness of all the potential safety concerns at work. I can’t watch a television show without noticing potential work site safety hazards!

I spend a lot of time (maybe too much?) watching Netflix and my friends kept telling me I had to watch Gilmore Girls. When it finally showed up on Netflix, I was ecstatic. I made popcorn and settled in to watch too many hours of Gilmore Girls.

I immediately became connected to the characters. Watching Rory Gilmore as she signed up for extracurricular activities that would help boost her chances of getting in to Harvard, I completely related to Rory’s dedication to studying and working hard. Sometimes we’re so dedicated to proving ourselves we don’t realize that we might not be doing the safest thing.


One episode showed Rory taking on volunteer work to help build a house to bump up her chances of getting in to Harvard. This episode had me literally crying out “No, Rory! Don’t do that, it’s not safe!”

She met up with someone who looked like he was in charge. He pointed at a general area where she’d be working (which had absolutely no supervision or direction), popped a hard hat on her head (not ensuring it fit properly) and told her to get to work. She asked what she was supposed to do and mentioned that she thought there would be someone she would be helping, as she’d never built a house before.

The guy told her she had her spot and to start working. She looked around helplessly for a second, and jumped out of the way of someone who happened to drop something right where she was standing. The guy she had been looking to for direction commended her on her quick reflexes, said she was going to need it and then went on his way, leaving her alone.

I could ask you all to point out all the many ways that this situation isn’t safe!
Even if you’re volunteering, it’s important to work smart and work safe. Don’t worry about stepping on toes; ask for help!


By Lauren Smith



In case you’re wondering, what does Friends have to do with being safe at work? I’ll get to that…

October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

To celebrate, my employer is promoting a wellness challenge for the entire month. Each week we’re challenged to do something to improve our wellness under four different themes:

  • Being Well (Oct. 6-10) – Physical health (healthy lifestyles, physical activity, etc.)
  • Feeling Well (Oct. 13-17) – Mental wellness (stress management, emotional well-being, mental health, etc.)
  • Eating Well (Oct. 20-24) – Healthy diet (balanced meals, proper nutrition, etc.)
  • Connecting Well (Oct. 27-31) – Fulfilling relationships (connecting with others, volunteering, giving back, etc.)

For last week’s Feeling Well challenge, I took some time for myself to de-stress and relax with one of my favourite past times: curling up on the couch in front of the TV—in the name of wellness, of course!

So, what does this have to do with being safe at work?

Being healthy and well reaps so many benefits, and one of them is safety! Research has shown there are many links between workplace safety and health/wellness. For example:
(from Occupational Health & Safety magazine)

  • Stress contributes to high blood pressure, which can result in poor decision-making and increased errors.
  • Inadequate sleep and fatigue also directly reduces concentration and the ability to work safely, even for employees in non-physical jobs.
  • Obesity is one of the major contributors to back injuries because overweight people often have difficulty using good body mechanics when moving and lifting objects.

What you do outside of work affects your performance at work and can impact how safe you are on the job. Maintaining a lifestyle that incorporates health and wellness ensures you aren’t distracted, or at greater risk, for potential dangers that could arise on the job.

Remember: it’s all about balance

Wellness is about getting a mix of all the good stuff.

It’s important to make time for a little physical activity in your week, plan for healthy/balanced meals and make sure you get enough shuteye at night. But also find time in your week to enjoy your favourite hobbies and activities (like watching TV), and connect with people in your life.

Taking care of yourself and allowing time to decompress and do something you find relaxing helps to rejuvenate and feel refreshed for work the next day.

So make sure to look after your body and mind, cultivate relationships and take time for yourself. And most importantly:

Work smart. Work safe. And work well.


What are your favourite ways to promote wellness in your life? Tweet us @HeadsUpAB.


By: Calissa Reid

Earlier this month, I saw Guardians of the Galaxy. I know, I know, I’m pretty much the last person on the planet to see this film. Directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy features Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as a team of misfits that come together to protect the galaxy from Ronan the Accuser.

Obviously Guardians of the Galaxy is filled with star-blasting, spaceship-chasing action and adventure, but it’s also very funny. There were multiple scenes where I was bursting with laughter. If you haven’t seen the movie—although I’m guessing you probably have—go check it out. It’s still playing in some theatres across the province.

So we know there’s action, and there’s also some comedy, but we can’t have a Safety and the movies blog post without some safety lessons. Guardians of the Galaxy has quite a few dangerous scenarios that we can learn from. Let’s take a look.

1. Look before you leap.

In this scene, the Guardians of the Galaxy are trying to figure out how to stop the evil Ronan. Clearly, they are struggling with coming up with a plan (12% of a plan doesn’t sound like much to me).

Rocket may seem like he’s being negative, but he just wants to know what he’s getting into before they start work.

When it comes to your job, you need to know the details of work before you start. You can find a list of important list of questions to ask your employer here. And if you don’t feel comfortable with the task, you can always say no.

2. Know the lingo

Oh Drax. He was unexpectedly my favourite character in the movie. He takes everything so literally (I laughed SO hard at this line). We all have those moments when we just don’t get it, and that’s OK.

In a previous blog post, Lauren mentioned that our workplace is filled with acronyms, and it can be difficult to remember them all. If your job is acronym- or jargon-heavy, take note of the important ones, especially if they are safety related. This WHMIS symbol chart is a great reference if you are exposed to hazardous materials at work.

3. Protect yourself

This is the strongest piece of PPE I have ever seen! If only these indestructible pods existed at every worksite.

Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. Don’t wear PPE so you can throw yourself into dangerous situations—like Rocket did.  Wear PPE to protect yourself in case you are placed in danger. Not all PPE looks as slick as these pods, but all PPE is designed with one thing in mind: keeping you safe.

I’ve been trying to think of a safety tip around one of my favourite clips in the movie, but I’m not quite sure how a dancing baby Groot really fits in with workplace safety. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed the adorable clip and keep the other (relevant) video clips and safety tips in mind when you go to work. As always, work smart, work safe and keep your heads up!

Do you have any suggestions for Safety and the movies? Feel free to leave them in the comments, or let us know through Twitter or Facebook!


By Melissa Babcock

For my morning commute to work, I am usually on the LRT before 6:30 a.m. Often I am half awake, barely able to focus on anything until I hear that tinny-sounding recording announce my stop, at which point I stumble off the train, up the escalator and into Tim Hortons for my morning java. After that, I usually perk up a bit (especially if I top off my coffee with a chocolate muffin).

Based on my occasional observations of my fellow passengers, I’m not the only one who has trouble waking up that early in the morning. But I have yet to get on a train covered in bright yellow advertisements sure to jolt anyone awake:


Kind of like stepping directly into the sun, isn’t it?

To promote Heads Up and our message of young worker safety, we are currently running our advertisements on the LRTs in Edmonton and the C-Train in Calgary. And since we’re feeling generous, we thought we’d have a little contest!

If you spot our ads during your daily travels, take a picture and either tweet it to us or tag us on Facebook. By doing so, you’ll not only be helping us spread the #safety message, you’ll also be entered into a draw to win an iPad Mini!

And that’s not all…

We also have our ads up in various restaurant and university restrooms in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer. You may recognize them from their debut earlier this year? If you spot them, take a pic – you can also enter our contest with a picture of those ads!

Our contest will run until the end of October, so keep an eye out for the bright yellow that is a Heads Up advertisement and share it with the world – we’ll make it worth your while!

Questions or comments about our ads or our contest? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!


By Angela Unsworth

I recently attended a presentation called Safety in Schools: Training for Life.

The Safety in Schools program partners with employer organizations from various industries to offer work safety courses in high schools. There were a few teens who came from one of the high schools to talk about how great the program is and how it’s helped them recognize their rights. It was great to see everyone talk about the importance of safety.

The news also seems to reflect this discussion. A few posts highlight different ways that workers can be safe, even including presenting a crisis scenario to ensure people have working safety programs in place.

Here are your September safety-in-the-news stories:

Internet provides avenue for safety

A new online tool called Speak Up For Safer Equipment has been created by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) to help farmers report or discuss any safety concerns with equipment. The online capability provides an easy way for farmers to voice their concerns.

Practicing safety in an emergency

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has created an imaginary oil-spill crisis scenario for Alberta pipeline companies to give them the chance to respond to and clean up an oil spill. It offered them the opportunity to ensure their crisis plans would work and to collaborate with other companies. This experience highlights the fact that everyone can work together for safety.

“An operations crew participates in a staged emergency management exercise that was created by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and its member companies, at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. The exercise is meant to prepare its workers for any potential oil spills.” Photograph by: Ed Kaiser, Edmonton Journal

“An operations crew participates in a staged emergency management exercise that was created by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and its member companies, at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. The exercise is meant to prepare its workers for any potential oil spills.”
Photograph by: Ed Kaiser, Edmonton Journal

Investing in Safety

The federal government has invested funds to help enhance and maintain safety at the Peace River Airport. Transport Canada reports the funds will help the Peace River Airport continue to ensure passengers and employees are safe.

Increase in workplace injuries for city workers in Winnipeg

Workplace injuries increased in Winnipeg by more than 30 per cent in 2012 in comparison to 2011. Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, Public Works and Fleet Management departments saw the most time lost to workplace injuries.

Education and awareness can do a lot to reduce workplace injuries. Join in the safety conversation to ensure you know your rights in the workplace.

Heads Up: work smart, work safe.

Do you have a safety story you’d like to share? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAb


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