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


by Heather Stock

Recently, I was part of a large crowd of Edmontonians who gathered in Churchill Square to watch The Lego Movie on a three-storey inflatable screen. The Lego Movie tells the tale of a piece of Lego named Emmet and his quest to save the world from being destroyed.

I left the movie not only with the extremely-catchy “Everything is AWESOME!!!” song stuck in my head, but also thinking that the movie depicted some dangerous activities for the Lego heroes. There were many things the characters could have done differently to be safer while completing their quest…


Photo courtesy of the City of Edmonton.

Safety in conformity

When Emmet finishes his workday at the construction site, he notices someone has broken in after hours. Emmet approaches the intruder to tell her that the worksite closed at six o’clock, and that it’s a hardhat-only area and she is not wearing the official “safety orange” clothing required in construction zones. In response, the intruder takes off running. Emmet chases after her and ends up falling down a giant hole.

Although The Lego Movie promotes individuality and not conforming to societal rules, it’s also important to remember that rules in the worksites are there for an important reason: to keep you safe. Fortunately, Emmet wasn’t injured, and neither was the girl, who was at risk by being in a construction site without the proper PPE (personal protective equipment).

Turn it down

Later in the movie, Batman uses the Batmobile to drive the heroes from one world to the next. During the drive, Batman decides to blast loud music that distracts him from the road, so Emmet asks him to turn down the tunes.

Listening to music can be lots of fun, but it is important not to have any distractions when operating heavy equipment, like a motor vehicle. It’s also important not to play music so loudly that it could damage your hearing. If Batman was respectful to others in his car and stayed focused on the road instead of the loud music, he’d lower his risk of getting into an accident and save his passengers’ ears from potential damage.

Speak out

The Lego movie starts to take a dark turn when Lord Business shows off the evil power of the Kragle, a machine that freezes Lego. Lord Business forces Bad Cop to use the machine to freeze his parents. Although Bad Cop has an internal debate with his better half, Good Cop, about feeling uncomfortable using the Kragle, he decides that it’s his job and he has to use the machine.

Sometimes as a young worker you can be left feeling like you have to do something potentially dangerous because it’s part of your job. It’s important to speak up in the workplace when you are asked to do something that you feel could be unsafe. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but your employer is there to make sure you know the proper safety protocols. If you’re unsure how to do something safely, it needs to be brought to your employer’s attention.

Staying safe on the job is not only important for Lego—it’s important for everyone. So until next time, keep your heads up and stay safe!


By Melissa Babcock

As of last Tuesday, my daughter is officially a first grader. Getting her ready for her first day of school brought back many memories for me: shopping for shiny new supplies and new clothes, getting a snazzy back-to-school haircut and the less-fun task of getting back on a proper sleep schedule.

Summertime, with its late sunsets and warm temperatures, usually brings about later bedtimes for kids on school vacation and as summer comes to an end, so must the late nights. I’ve been trying to impart upon my daughter the importance of going to bed earlier, because I know she’ll be unfocused and unlikely to perform well at school (not to mention cranky as a bear) without the proper amount of sleep. Turns out, the same can be said for grownups and their work. I know I have trouble focusing when I’m tired. And depending on what kind of work you do, not getting enough sleep can have dire consequences. So how can we ensure we’re getting the right amount of Z’s?

Get physical. Regular exercise can quiet the mind and help the body fall asleep faster and more deeply. Just make sure you don’t hit the gym too close to bedtime – early is better.

Follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day (yes, even weekends). Doing so will strengthen your body’s sleep-wake schedule and your sleep will be better and more restful.

Create a bedtime ritual. My daughter cannot go to bed without a drink of water, a story and all of her stuffed animals arranged carefully around her. Your ritual doesn’t have to include stuffed animals, but making time each night for a warm shower or bath and relaxing with a good book can signal to your body that bedtime is imminent.

Get comfy. Where you sleep should be cool, dark and quiet, with a bed and pillows that feel comfortable to you. And we know it’s hard to let go of our electronics (who’s buying the iWatch?!) but try to limit things like TV and computers in your bedroom as they can interfere with a good night’s rest.

And even if after following all these tips, you still don’t get a good night’s sleep (it happens to the best of us), there are some things you can do to try and make it through the work day without incident:

Go for a walk.  Fresh air and sunlight are natural stimulants.

Indulge in a Double-Double. But do so early and don’t overdo it. Caffeine can continue to affect you for up ten hours after you’ve consumed it.

Nap. If you can manage it, a quick power nap (no more than 15 minutes) might refresh you.

All this talk of sleep has made ME sleepy. And it’s still early! Off to the coffee pot I go…

Do you get enough sleep? How do you get through the day when you’re feeling less than rested? Tell us by leaving a comment, or tweet us @HeadsUPAB.




Three tips to being safe on the road as a pedestrian

By Angela Unsworth

Living in the city and working in the core doesn’t usually give us the opportunity to drive to work. Parking is expensive downtown and sometimes navigating the rush hour traffic takes twice as long as it would to take a bus or walk. While driving definitely can be hazardous, being a pedestrian can also be dangerous.

Calissa, Brenna, Angela and Dylan walk across a pedestrian crosswalk, Abbey Road style.

Calissa, Brenna, Angela and Dylan walk across a pedestrian crosswalk, Abbey Road style.

The Calgary Herald reported that more accidents involving pedestrians happen between July and December and there were 548 collisions in Calgary alone in 2013!

Check out these three tips below to stay safe on your way to and from work:

  1. Cross at designated crosswalks and use the pedestrian traffic signals if they are there. It’s important to make sure that cars have had the chance to notice the light and are stopping before you step out onto the street.
  2. Make sure you step out cautiously and look both ways before crossing the street. Sometimes a car turning a corner might not see you, or depending on the light and time of day, drivers might not see you. In the winter, they might see you but not be able to stop with the icy conditions of the road.
  3. Wear bright colours at night. This makes it easier to spot you when you are crossing the street.

And finally, two things not to do:

  1. Don’t jaywalk! Drivers should be prepared to stop at crosswalks, but not all drivers are ready to stop in the middle of the street.
  2. Put your smartphone away when crossing the street. It can be easy to get caught up in sending a reply text or tweet on your smartphone, and you are less aware of what’s happening around you when walking and texting.

Stay safe out there!

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


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!




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.



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