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

Mar
27

By Melissa Babcock

Hobbies—we all have them. Bike riding. Yoga. Walking the dog. Video games. Playing hockey on the weekends. They’re our favourite, fun, leisurely activities that have nothing to do with work—we do them because they make us happy.

Now imagine trying to do those activities after getting injured at work. Anything from a broken arm to a sprained ankle to a badly-cut finger could seriously impede your ability to do the things you love and enjoy the most. You miss a lot more than your job when you get injured at work.

#WhatWouldYouMiss is a question we’ve asked before. And now, we’re hoping young workers from Alberta will provide some answers!

Last week, we debuted Heads Up’s newest batch of transit ads, in which we ask young workers to tell us what they would miss if they were injured at work.

Keep an eye out for this poster, currently on display in various train stations in Edmonton and Calgary.

Keep an eye out for this poster, currently on display in various train stations in Edmonton and Calgary.

So far, we’ve received some amazing answers via Twitter:

Tweet 1 Tweet 2 Tweet 3 Tweet 4

So if you haven’t already, tell us: If you were injured at work, what would you miss? Tweet or Facebook us your answer by June 8 and you could win! And remember: work safe and work smart—so you can keep doing the things you love.

Mar
20

“And miles to go before I sleep.”

By Angela Unsworth

I don’t know about you, but I used to have a hard time getting up and moving on Mondays. It was a combination of staying up too late on the weekend and sleeping in during the day. The 6 a.m. alarm just seemed so much earlier on Mondays than on any other day.

I found myself dropping things all morning as I tried to get ready, whether it was my brush or my breakfast; my hands were too tired to function and would let go of things when I needed them the most.

Everything took longer because of this. I had to clean up the peanut butter off the floor and after that, I had to rush to get to work on time.

This is a dangerous combination – tired and in a rush.

Did you know research studies show that fatigue has an impact on work performance?

According to WorkSafeBC:

  • 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05
  • 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08
  • 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of .10

Not getting enough sleep (less than five hours before work, or being awake for more than 16 hours), increases your chance of making mistakes at work.

An accident waiting to happen

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety lists the following effects of fatigue on work performance:

  • reduced decision-making ability,
  • reduced attention and vigilance,
  • reduced ability to handle stress on the job,
  • reduced reaction time—both in speed and thought, loss of memory or the ability to recall details,
  • failure to respond to changes in surroundings or information provided,
  • inability to stay awake (e.g., falling asleep while operating machinery or driving a vehicle),
  • increased tendency for risk-taking and,
  • increased accident rates.

For a longer list, check out: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/fatigue.html

How can you get a ‘better’ sleep so you’re not like Chandler below?

One morning, as I was rushing to work, I almost got into a car accident. I was changing lanes and shoulder-checked, but not as thoroughly as I should have. I almost swerved into another car. Luckily, I saw the car just in time and swerved back into my lane, fully alert at that point. I know accidents can happen, but if I can reduce any possibility of getting into one because I’m tired, then that’s what I plan to do.

We need about 7.5 – 8.5 hours of sleep every day. Here’s what I have been doing to get this:

  • Practicing good sleep hygiene (this doesn’t mean brushing your teeth before bed):
    • Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day—this means on my weekends when I stay up late, I’m practicing bad sleep hygiene and making Mondays terrible for myself. I go to bed and wake up at the same time all week long now.
    • Avoiding caffeine before bed. I swap out my Earl Grey tea for peppermint.
    • Leaving my cell phone in another room. I used to keep it in my room and would check it frequently. Now that it’s not in my room, the temptation to look at that glowing blue screen is reduced and it’s easier for me to fall asleep.
    • Exercising regularly. I’ve always done this, but now that I know it helps with sleeping, I make sure to stay consistent.

My Monday mornings have been much easier since I started focusing more on getting enough sleep.

What do you do when you’re struggling with sleep? Do you have a story about a time when being tired impacted you at work? Comment here or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.

Mar
13

By Lauren Smith

PTA

Image: imdb.com

In 1987, Steve Martin and John Candy starred in the John Hughes travel comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

As you can probably gather from the title, in the film they use multiple means of transportation to arrive safely at their destination.

Like Mr. Martin’s and Mr. Candy’s characters, many of us use planes, trains and automobiles for leisurely travel. But for many workers, planes, trains and automobiles are part of their job, whether using them for transportation or working behind the scenes to ensure they’re fully operational and safe for travel or transporting goods.

See what headlines have been saying recently about the important role safety has been playing in these industries:

 

Planes

The airline industry is heading for the clouds.

Forbes took a look at how cloud computing* can help streamline the customer experience in the airline industry and how it could enhance their safety practices. Virgin America, WestJet and Endeavor Air have already adopted cloud computing systems to manage the maintenance and replacement of aircraft components in their fleets—the systems help prevent delays and efficiently ensure their planes are safe for takeoff.

Coming to an airport near you: According to a recent Air Transport Industry Insights survey, 49 per cent of airports expect to introduce pilot studies to evaluate cloud services over the next three years. These studies will include testing new features such as luggage drops and self-boarding gates.

*Where is the cloud?
Cloud computing is the storing and accessing of data and programs over the Internet instead of through a computer’s hard drive. This new technology saves companies from needing the hardware that was previously required to add and run new programs and applications.

 

Trains

This past Saturday morning, a train carrying 94 tank cars of crude oil derailed and caught fire in Ontario. Between 30 and 40 tank cars went off the tracks less than four kilometres from the community of Gogama, causing a massive blaze that was still burning Sunday afternoon.

Other recent derailments and explosions have shifted the focus to the current safety standards of crude oil transport by rail.

According to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, tougher regulations are in the works to improve the safety of transport and decrease derailments. The least crash-resistant tank cars have already been banned from the system, tougher new regulations were introduced last year and a new tank-car standard is expected this spring.

 

And Automobiles

Edmonton has been making major headway to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

In 2014, traffic deaths were down  28 per cent and injuries were reduced by 21 per cent compared to 2009 when Edmonton started making adjustments to our roadways to decrease vehicle collisions.

According to the city’s traffic safety office, the two biggest changes we have to thank for these reductions are the reconstructing of the right-turn lanes at major intersections and adding advance-left turn signals to select intersections. These changes were made as part of the new “Vision Zero” program that aims to reduce the traffic death count to zero. Next steps: possibly adjusting speed limits, especially in high-pedestrian areas.

 

Calgary motorists are just One Tap away from reducing distracted driving.

The Calgary Police Service have put their support behind a new app that hopes to reduce driver distractions by using GPS technology to manage phone alerts while drivers are behind the wheel. The app responds automatically to calls and texts, letting people know the driver is occupied.

Recent data shows that distracted driving accounts for approximately 80 per cent of vehicle collisions in North America.

 

 

Mar
06

By: Calissa Reid

Way back in 2013, I wrote a blog about how to balance school and work. Since then, I’ve taken a few more classes while continuing to work full-time and I’ve recently started a second job on the weekends.  I like to think I’ve done a good job of managing multiple commitments, but there have been a few days where things got a bit crazy. Last week was one of those times; I didn’t follow my own advice (I really should have looked at that blog post from 2013!) and had left a huge assignment until the last minute. On top of this mega paper, I had a few things to get done here at work, and I had a shift at my second job.  Clearly, I had dropped the ball, and I felt totally overwhelmed.

When it gets to this point…you know it’s bad.

After a refreshing weekend, I feel like things are back to normal.  Looking forward, I am going to try my absolute best to keep my balancing act tips in mind and plan better, but life loves to throw curve balls, doesn’t it? A study from 2014 found that 80% of American workers have felt stressed out at work. Stress can affect you mentally and physically and affect your performance on the job—even if the stress is not work related.

Most of us are going to feel stressed out at some point, so I thought it’d be a good idea to look at what you can do when life has gotten crazy. You may not be able to eliminate the stressor, but there are some tried and true methods to help reduce and manage stress when you feel like you’re feeling overwhelmed and ready to explode.

  • Your reaction matters. You’re never going to be able to remove all the stressors in your life, but you can change how you react to them. Ask yourself what you can do about what’s stressing you out, and take action where you can.
  • Optimism goes far. Studies have shown that a positive attitude helps you handle stressful situations and limits the effects of stress on your body.
  • Breathe in, and breathe out. Breathing exercises, mediation, prayer, and tai chi are proven stress releasers. Take a break from your responsibilities andrecharge.
  • Say no. This one can be hard, but knowing your limits and sticking to them will keep you from taking on more than you can handle. If you’re committing too much, you’re setting yourself up for stress, and nobody wants that.
  • Pare down your list. If your to-do list seems overwhelming, categorize your responsibilities into “shoulds” and “musts”. When things slow down for you, you can pick up those less-important tasks that you dropped.
  • Share how you’re feeling. I think this is the most important. Talking to your friends, family, your boss or a professional about how you’re feeling helps release tension and they may be able to help you with whatever you’re facing. Talking about it isn’t showing weakness or being a burden…it’s showing that you’re dedicated to finding a solution.

How ironic, the girl who was talking about being stressed just told you a few ways to reduce stress. There will come a time when I’ll be stressed out again, I can guarantee it, but I will take my own advice and better manage that stress by talking about it,  saying no and keeping a positive attitude. Stressful situations are inevitable, but how you manage those situations can change the extent that the situation affects your life.

How do you handle stress? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @HeadsUpAB

 

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

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