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


By Lauren Smith


Dangers on the job come in all shapes and sizes. Some we expect, some we don’t.

When I looked through the recent headlines to see what health and safety stories are in the news, I found some less common but equally relevant workplace safety topics have been up for discussion lately:


Even bullies go to work

Sadly, bullying is a reality that many faced during their school days. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end with the toss of the graduation cap.

For some, their workplace can be likened to a schoolyard as they experience bullying on the job. Your workplace should keep you safe from physical and psychological harm, which is why there may be big changes coming to Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety code in the near future. They’re looking at incorporating workplace harassment policies to better address bullying at work.


Ontario government stands up for nurses

A nurse’s job comes with a list of physical demands, including: lifting patients, operating large machines, handling abusive patients. Although the first two demands are par for the course, the last one presents a major danger to nurses.

Ontario hospitals have seen an increase in violent incidents within the last few years. The government is taking action to address this concern and focus their efforts on better protecting nurses (and all hospital workers) from violent patients.


High (heel) expectations for female servers

Earlier this summer, the news was ablaze with stories of female servers required to wear high-heeled shoes on the job.

Wanting to address this growing concern, a University of Alberta alumnus conducted a small study of servers forced to wear high heels at work.  She assessed the potential hazards of the footwear requirements and concluded that this requirement violates employer responsibilities under the Health and Safety Act.

With the recent attention to female server footwear requirements, some restaurants are starting to review their dress codes.


By Sara Rooseboom

Did you know in Alberta more than 11,000 young workers (15-24) were injured on the job between 2011 and 2013? During that same time period, 21 young people lost their lives on a work site? These are alarming statistics and they’re not acceptable. The Safety in Schools Foundation of Canada (Safety in Schools) is using education to do something about it.

Safety in Schools is dedicated to reducing and eliminating the high number of workplace injuries and fatalities suffered by young workers. They are offering free workplace safety training courses through Alberta high schools. These courses are delivered online and can be accessed anytime and anywhere with an internet connection.

Courses Offered:

life lessons

Life Lessons – Learning the Hard Way

The newest course to be made available to Safety in Schools students is titled Life Lessons – Learning the Hard Way. It focuses on the experiences of two workers who have been severely injured, a woman who investigates young worker fatalities and injuries on behalf of Alberta OH&S, and a man whose family has been forever changed by the loss of his son to a workplace fatality. Life Lessons shows filmed interviews which will be followed with opportunities for students to share their reactions and their own experiences at work.

Life Lessons – Learning the Hard Way will be available to students for the 2015-2016 school year.

That’s Gotta Hurt! – Lessons from the Workplace

Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, Safety in Schools staff will be hosting a series of contests to gather content for a new course titled That’s Gotta Hurt! – Lessons from the Workplace.  Students will be given incentives to tweet their experiences at work and they will also be asked to participate in both a video contest and an essay contest. These contests will ask students to share an incident they either witnessed or experienced at work, how it was handled and what they learned through that experience. Prizes will be awarded to the top videos and essays.

Course content will be created from the collection of stories and videos sent in.

If you are interested in participating in these contests, or if you are a teacher interested in learning more, please keep your eyes on the Safety in Schools Blog, or contact me, Sara Rooseboom, for more information. My contact information is available below.

Heavy Machinery – It Always Wins

The Safety in Schools team is also creating another custom course that will focus on the risks involved in working with or around heavy machinery. It will take a similar approach as Life Lessons, focusing on real-life incidents that have taken place in Alberta, and will be developed throughout 2015-2016.

To learn more about Safety in Schools you can:

Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Sara Rooseboom
Program Coordinator
Safety in Schools Foundation of Canada
235 – 17th Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 1H5

Do you know of any other safety related courses available? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!


By James Cadden

Did you know the 1987 film Robocop promotes workplace safety?

Watch our video to find out how:

Have you watched any movies lately where you could identify workplace safety hazards?  Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!


By Caitlin Kehoe

This past Saturday, I spent the afternoon with close friends enjoying one of my favourite summertime activities — floating in a tube down the Pembina River in Entwistle.

The sun was hot, the water was cool and the scenery was beautiful. We relaxed, shared some laughs and, though the float took about 2.5 hours, it seemed like it ended too soon. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you do!

Though I was tired by the end of the afternoon, I was satisfied with a successful day on the river. Not every float is successful, though.

In July of last year, seven young women missed their exit point and floated downriver for hours as their raft deflated. Each of the bikini-clad women was at risk of hypothermia and one was airlifted to a nearby ambulance to be treated for severe dehydration. The entire grueling ordeal lasted about 16 hours, including a risky 10-hour helicopter rescue.

According to the RCMP, similar scenarios happen every year. Being unprepared for large amounts of time spent on the river — or any body of water — can leave you vulnerable to significant risks.

But you can learn how to avoid them.



Fuel up: There’s no such thing as a quick float down the river, so eat a good meal before you head out. Water is also a must: bring a bottle with you whether you’re hitting the river or the lake.

Save your own skin: Spending sweltering summer days on the river or at the beach is a great way to beat the heat. But water reflects harmful UV rays, which significantly increases your chances of burning. Sunburns hurt, so do yourself a favour — lather up with sunscreen before you hit the water and reapply throughout the day. Your skin will thank you!

Leave it behind: Rivers are notorious for taking objects and not giving them back. Nothing is safe! If possible, leave valuables in a locked vehicle, especially if an item is not easily replaced or has sentimental value. Loose shoes are easily lost, too, so make sure they’ll stay put. Walking barefoot on the rocky riverbed is about as fun as it sounds.

Know where you are: This is so important! When you are in unfamiliar territory, listen to your guides/lifeguards if there are any. If you’re floating, know the landmarks around your chosen exit point. Don’t let time get away from you — the only thing worse than being lost during the day is being lost at night.



Stay safe and enjoy your time on the water!

What are some of your most memorable moments spent at the beach or the river? Do you have any safety tips to share with us? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!


By Melissa Babcock

I was six years old. Living five hours north of Edmonton at the time, I was pretty far removed from the events of that day. But I still remember hearing about it and seeing photos of the destruction on the front page of the newspaper. I remember sitting on the floor of my living room in front of the TV, which my dad had turned to the news, as images of that massive funnel cloud flashed across the screen. I remember listening as the anchors soberly recapped the events of what would become known as Black Friday.

Probably the most famous shot of the Edmonton tornado. Source: Google images.

Probably the most famous shot of the Edmonton tornado.
Source: Google images.

Today marks 28 years since that day when an F4 tornado ripped through eastern Edmonton and Strathcona Country, killing 27 people and destroying more than 300 homes. The event remains one of Canada’s worst natural disasters and Edmontonians who lived through that storm were likely experiencing déjà vu last week, when our neighbors to the south in Calgary started seeing funnel clouds and spent a few hours under a tornado watch. Though a twister reportedly touched down briefly south of the city, thankfully no injuries were reported.

Once of several funnel clouds spotted over Calgary last week. Source: Google images.

Once of several funnel clouds spotted over Calgary last week.
Source: Google images.

Summer storms and threats of extreme weather are nothing new in Alberta and every year, I find myself wondering (and worrying) if we’re going to have a repeat of Black Friday. Especially when my coworker looks out the window at an impending thunderstorm and remarks that the sky looks a lot like it did on that infamous day. Which begs the question, how many of us would know what to do if a tornado hit? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • During a tornado we are most at risk from flying debris, so get inside and seek shelter immediately.
  • The safest place to be is underground, so go straight to your basement, storm cellar or lowest level of your home.
  • If you don’t have a basement, head to an interior room without windows (a bathroom or closet).
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • High, wide-pan ceilings are more likely to collapse, so avoid places like shopping malls and gymnasiums.
  • If you are driving, do not attempt to out-run a tornado. Pull over and seek shelter in a nearby building. If there is none available, lay down in a ditch away from your vehicle.

Today’s somber anniversary is a time to remember the people who were lost that day, and a reminder that when it comes to something as unpredictable as the weather, you can never be too safe or too careful.



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