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


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!





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.


By Calissa Reid

Each month at Heads Up, we try and do a Safety in the news blog post to stay on top of all of the latest safety headlines across Canada. When I first started, I thought these posts would be difficult. I mean really, there’s so much going on in our country that workplace safety must often take a back seat. I’ve found that this isn’t true. Work injuries and accidents are a big deal to Canadians, and it’s not hard to find news articles to prove just how important safety is to us.

Now I quite enjoy writing the Safety in the news blog posts. I get to read about the latest safety stories and sometimes there are cool new videos like the one I’ve shared below. Keep reading to find out what’s been going on with workplace safety around Canada—and with our friends in the US and Australia, too!

A 22-year-old Ontario man was killed after he fell while installing a steel plate on top of a beam and was struck by the plate. The Ministry of Labour is investigating the matter.

Heads Up goes down under. Safe Work Australia has launched a new safety campaign and they’ve chosen the perfect name…Heads Up. I’d love to tell you that that the Heads Up team went to Australia to share our message, but unfortunately this campaign is separate from ours. The Australian Heads Up campaign is focused on mental health in the workplace. You can find out more about the Aussie Heads Up campaign at their website.

New safety videos. The winners of the It’s Your Job! video contest were announced in early June. Each year high school students from across Canada submit videos to promote workplace safety among their peers. Coming in first place was Ben Croskery from Ontario. Check out his video below.

A reality star loses his life. Former Survivor contestant Caleb Bankston was killed while working as a conductor on a coal train in Alabama. Bankston was thrown onto the tracks when the train derailed. The incident is under investigation and the company stated that they will take the appropriate actions pending the results of the investigation. Caleb was only 27 years old.

Use the force, Harrison!The latest Star Wars film is facing production delays after Harrison Ford broke his leg during filming. Production on the film is at a standstill for two weeks to give Ford time to rest and recover. The accident happened when the Millennium Falcon door fell on Ford’s leg. The project will remain on track for release in December 2015.

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


By Angela Unsworth

It’s an unwritten rule that it is expected of every Calgarian to go to the annual Calgary Stampede. So, when I first moved to Calgary 13 years ago, determined to fit in, I went to the Stampede for my first time. I had always gone to the local fair of the small town I grew up in and totally didn’t expect the sheer enormous size of the Calgary Stampede. There was so much to do and so much to see that I didn’t stop to take a break to drink water or get out of the sun. I ended up suffering from a small dose of dehydration and sun stroke and wasn’t really able to enjoy the rest of the Stampede that year.

I haven’t made that mistake again. Like a true Calgarian, I plan ahead and make sure that I stay hydrated, bring healthy snacks, head indoors occasionally to limit my time spent in the sun and every year I enjoy the Stampede more and more.

The Calgary Stampede runs July 4 – 13, 2014 and it’s one of the best places to work in Calgary for the summer. The energy is really exciting during this too-short week that is full of fun, sun, food (pancake breakfasts!) and opportunities for you to get involved.

Whether you’re working, volunteering or just enjoying some time on the Stampede grounds, you might find yourself outside in the hot sun a lot during the 10-day celebration. It’s important to stay safe by drinking lots of water and limiting your time in the sun. If you are going to be outside, wear a hat and make sure you reapply your sunscreen plenty of times to avoid getting a sunburn that will be painful and annoying for the rest of your Stampedin’!

While you’re there, keep an eye out for our Heads Up posters, outside the restrooms and above the ATMs at the Saddledome!



And just in time for the Wild West celebrations, the Heads Up team has written and produced a safety-themed country music video. Check it out below!






By Courtney Taylor                                                                 

My 21-year-old brother Kolby is 6 foot 2 and 180 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. He currently works in the planer and saw mill in Williams Lake, B.C. operating different equipment, and he occasionally works weekend cleanup crew.

My very good friend Serena is 19, and hits 5 feet on a ‘tall’ day and weighs just 100 pounds. She also has blond hair and blue eyes. Her dream is to be a nurse, and she just completed her first year of nursing.

So what do these two have in common other than their hair and eye colour?

They both work (or will work, in Serena’s case) in professions with high risks of shoulder injury.                       



Shoulder injuries can be anywhere from mild to severe but serious or permanent damage to the shoulder is uncommon.

Here are some tips to remember while you’re at work to help your amazing shoulder joint stay healthy and pain free.

Don’t ignore the warning signs.

It’s easy to get caught up in your work and ignore the onset of pain in your shoulder. You may think it will get better and then all of sudden it gets to the point where your ability to work is impacted. If you experience pain in your shoulder, ask yourself these questions:


  • Is the shoulder stiff? Can I rotate my arm in all the normal positions?
  • Does it feel like my shoulder could pop out or slide out of the socket?
  • Do I lack the strength in my shoulder to carry out my daily activities?


If you answered yes to any of these questions or the pain is reoccurring, go get it checked out by your doctor. Early intervention is the one of the best forms of treatment for your shoulder.

Use preventative measures while at work

  • Use available equipment to aid you —ceiling lifts were put in for a reason. Don’t try to do more than you can handle.
  • Try to change up your task so it’s not so repetitive and remember to pivot your whole body to relieve some of the stress from your delicate shoulder joint.
  • Remember to take breaks!


Speak Up

As a young worker it is important to speak up. Don’t ruin your chance at a long and healthy career and life just because you were too shy to speak up!

For information about the anatomy of the shoulder and to obtain tips to manage shoulder pain and promote shoulder health check out The shoulder book available online and in hard copy. 







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