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

Feb
27

By Melissa Babcock

This has been a weird winter in Alberta. Temperatures have been way above average for this time of year, which in turn causes the snow to melt. (Thanks high school Physics class! Or is that Chemistry? Anyway…) Then it cools off again, causing the newly-melted snow to freeze. This, mixed with the occasional new snow fall and smatterings of rain (RAIN! In February!) has resulted in one of the most feared and loathed of all winter by-products: ice. And lots of it.

Has anyone seen this woman lurking by icy sidewalks?

Has anyone seen this woman lurking by icy sidewalks?

Roads are usually grated and sanded relatively quickly to ensure safety for drivers. But walking is a different story. The steps from my back door and the sidewalk which leads to my car have become a treacherous skating rink and I’ve almost wiped out in spectacular fashion more than once. So I’ve been trying to follow a few safety tips while out and about to ensure I don’t slip and spend the rest of winter in traction with a broken limb:

  • Busting out the cleats. My Uggs may look cute and keep my feet warm, but when it’s icy, they provide zero grip and I end up doing the penguin shuffle along the sidewalk. Boots with thick soles and some traction are definitely the way to go if you want to stay on your feet.
  • Stay off the grass? Maybe in the spring. When a sidewalk is particularly slick, it’s usually safer to walk on the fresh snow around the pavement than to try and traverse patches of ice, as the snow will compress under your feet and help you keep your balance. Of course, this does not apply if your sidewalk is surrounded by two-foot drifts.
  • Slow and steady. Bend your knees a touch, take careful steps and walk with your arms out slightly at your sides to help keep your balance. And slow down! Unless you’re wearing speed skates and are about to compete in short track, it’s not a race.

By following these tips as I’ve navigated the slick terrain this winter, I’ve had a few close calls but no serious falls (yet – knock on wood). And if this warm weather sticks around, it will be puddles I’ll be dodging next!

Have you been experiencing an icy winter? How to you stay safe in such conditions? Tell us by leaving a comment, or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!

 

Sources:

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/safety-tips-for-when-theres-ice-on-the-sidewalk#b

http://ccd.fnal.gov/fire/walking-safely-on-ice.pdf

Feb
20

By Angela Unsworth

One of my least favorite things to do is move. But, it’s what I’m doing at the end of the month.

I started packing and shuffling furniture around this week and suddenly my apartment became a danger zone. I realized that I needed to figure out the potential hazards I could come across while moving and here’s what I discovered:

Don’t be this guy!

Image source: digitalshoebox.ca

Image source: digitalshoebox.ca

Making a clean getaway

My apartment is dusty. I swear I didn’t have a goal of creating a pet dust bunny, but it seems that’s what I’ve done. I sweep every week, but I live downtown and leave my windows open. A lot. That usually means dust is kicked up into my apartment on a daily basis and it’s not easy to sweep it up from under furniture. I found the dust bunnies by following my nose—I had sneeze attacks in my dustier areas!

If you’re moving, or helping someone move, or work in a dusty area and you have dust allergies, it’s important to wear the proper gear to help them move. Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, gloves to protect your skin and safety glasses to protect your eyes.

Heavy as a ton of books

I own a lot of books. As I’ve been putting them into boxes, I’ve realized how heavy the boxes become. I decided to put them in smaller boxes instead so they won’t be as hard to lift. I’ve been filling my bigger boxes with blankets and clothing and trying to make sure I’ve distributed the weight in a way that will make them easier and safer to move.

If you happen to be helping someone else, or working for a moving company and can’t avoid lifting a heavy box, make sure you lift it properly. Lift with your knees, not your back! That means you’ll need to crouch down in a squat to pick up the box and then push up with your legs, just like the mighty-man below.

Image source: locoremovals.com

Image source: locoremovals.com

Controlling the animal farm

Last but not least, our real-life dust bunnies like to help us move. If you’re working for a moving company, chances are you’ll be helping pet owners move. While they’re cute and cuddly, pets can be a safety hazard when you’re moving. Animals like to explore and to see what it is that we’re doing. While they’re exploring, they could potentially get under your feet when you’re carrying a box and trip you. Keep them locked safely in a room while you are moving to keep them and you safe.

Happy Moving!

Image source: ottawavalleymovers.com

Image source: ottawavalleymovers.com

Do you have any other tips for moving safety that you’d like to share? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB

Feb
13

By Lauren Smith

Image source: krugersdorpnews.co.za

Image source: krugersdorpnews.co.za

There’s a saying that bad luck comes in threes (just like Friday the 13th will this year), but did you know that many awesome things also come in threes?

  • Three Stooges
  • The rule of three in writing
  • Three piece suits
  • Tricycles
  • The Sanderson sisters

And most importantly … your rights on the job!

You have many rights when it comes to being safe at work, but they all boil down to three main ones:


New on the job? Or has your employer introduced a new process or equipment at your work?

You have the RIGHT TO KNOW of any risks or dangers associated with your job. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, ask your supervisor. They’re there to help you stay safe.


Does your work provide you with safety training?

You have the RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE in health and safety training and other activities to ensure you have all the information you need to perform your job safely. Be sure to listen up! This is important stuff.


Are you being asked to do something that seems dangerous?

You have the RIGHT TO REFUSE any work that you think is unsafe. Speak up and trust your gut!


Safety on the job is your right.
Keep these rights in mind to help ensure you stay safe at work.

If you’re still worried about any bad luck that Friday the 13th may bring, it actually turns out that it’s not such an unlucky day on the job after all:

Image source: blog.intelex.com

Image source: blog.intelex.com

So be extra safety-focused by working smartly and safely today and every day!

Feb
06

By: Calissa Reid

This past weekend was the Super Bowl. I’m not much of a football fan—hockey is more my thing— but it’s still interesting to watch the pandemonium each year that surrounds the event. What’s even better than the football game? The commercials, of course! Each year the Super Bowl commercials grow more and more lavish as they compete to grab the coveted best commercial spot and I spend a good 45 minutes watching commercials on YouTube. (Funny– I usually try and skip the ads on YouTube!)

The competition was stiff, but this one came out of top for me.  What can I say, I love family moments.

Obviously the Super Bowl was big news over the weekend, but we’ve got some more news to cover.

Here’s the latest edition of Safety in the news!

Let’s talk about it.  A new survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found that 38 per cent of workers wouldn’t disclose mental health problems to their managers.  Reasons for not talking about mental illness include fear of mental illness affecting their careers, bad experiences of others who came forward, and fear of losing friends.  To address the stigma surrounding mental illness, doctors often recommend creating a policy and procedures around mental illness, and building strong relationships between managers and workers.

Gone too soon. An 18-year-old male died after he was injured at his workplace north of Saskatoon. Initial investigation indicates that he was injured by a piece of machinery and was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics arrived. Saskatchewan’s Occupational Health and Safety division will be investigating the incident.

Unpaid internships a topic of discussion for government officials and young worker advocates.  The parliamentary secretary to the federal Labour Minister met with young worker advocates about unpaid internships, leading to suggestions that the government is making changes.  One advocate is hopeful that this could lead to workplace safety protections for interns under the Canada Labour Code.

Nominations open for Canada’s Safest Employers Awards. Nominations will be accepted for the fifth annual Canada’s Safest Employers Awards until June 1. The awards have expanded this year, adding a young worker safety award that will recognize employers with exceptional programs for keeping workers under the age of 25 safe at work.

Have any safety-related news stories grabbed your attention recently? Leave us a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!

Jan
30

By Melissa Babcock

If you love movies, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Awards season is in full swing, with the Oscars coming up on Feb. 22. Which means now is the time to head to the theatre, get caught up on all of the year’s biggest films, plan your Oscar-viewing party and get your bets in for the office Oscar pool.

This used to be me. While I still love films and the occasional trip to the movie theatre (and will most certainly be following along on Twitter during Oscar night), I admit I rarely watch movies anymore unless they’re on Netflix. And to be honest, my first love has always been television. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because when I was a kid, I could tape my favourite TV shows when they aired and then watch them over and over. My shelves at home are filled not so much with DVDs of movies, but of my favourite TV shows.

So for this installment of Safety in the Movies, I’m switching it up a bit and focusing instead on one of the most popular TV shows of all times (and one of my personal favourites) – Friends! If you’re a child of the 90’s like me, you may have planned your Thursday nights around keeping up with the lives of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross, dreaming of someday living in a huge New York City apartment (with seemingly no money), with your best friends living across the hall and lamenting over how your hair was too thick and curly to be cut into “The Rachel”. Or maybe that was just me.

050514-jennifer-aniston-594

Epic!

Anyway! Now that the entire series of Friends has been released on Netflix I have of course been binge-watching and along with strong feelings of nostalgia, I couldn’t help but notice several safety lessons to be learned from my favourite group of friends.

 

Instructions are given for a reason

Interesting sidebar – Matt LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder during filming of the third season and his injury was written into the show. As seen during episode three, The One with the Jam, Joey is off-camera when Chandler hears him take a hard fall, only to admonish him for jumping up and down on his bed.

Workers are encouraged to ask questions and speak up at the workplace if they are told to do something that seems ill-advised or unsafe and this still holds true. But sometimes, some instructions should always be followed. If a worker doesn’t listen when their supervisor says to always wear a hard hat on the job site, the results could be disastrous. In Joey’s case, his injury healed and he was eventually fine, but he could have avoided being hurt altogether had he heeded his parents’ words.

Follow directions

Ross may have had a PhD but his startling lack of common sense provided some of the show’s funniest moments. Never was this more evident than in the third episode of season 10, The One with Ross’s Tan. Ross decides to give spray-tanning a try but doesn’t follow the salon employee’s very specific directions. The results, while not life-threatening, were certainly embarrassing (but hilarious).

Fortunately, a badly-applied spray tan will fade with time with no actual harm done. But a workplace injury that comes about because instructions are disregarded can have implications that are much longer-lasting, not to mention life-changing.

Fall protection is important, even for small jobs

During episode 17 of the very first season, it was well into the new year and Monica had been nagging Rachel about taking the Christmas lights down from their balcony. Rachel finally does so, but in bad weather and without any type of safety gear. The result? She gets distracted by Monica and takes what could have been a catastrophic fall.

Since Friends was a sitcom and not a medical drama (though George Clooney and Noah Wyle from ER did end up playing Rachel’s doctors in the following episode), Rachel suffered only an injured ankle and was fine within a few days. But I hope she never again ventured onto the ledge of a balcony without some kind of PPE to prevent another, far more serious fall.

 

Like most television comedies, the six Friends rarely endured a problem that couldn’t be solved and wrapped up within 30 minutes. The same cannot be said for a lot of workplace injuries, which can seriously impact the rest of your life. So keep your heads up, work smart and work safe. Because much like our friends, workplace safety will always be there for you.

 

What is your all-time favourite TV show? What can it teach us about safety? Let us know by leaving a comment of tweeting @HeadsUpAB and maybe we’ll feature it in an upcoming blog!

 

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