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


By Theresa Trant

You’re a rock star. In the middle of your concert you fall off the stage and break your leg. What do you do?

If you are Dave Grohl—of Foo Fighters fame—you build yourself a throne and continue to perform. Talk about a creative way to get back to work!

Dave grohl

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We’re very focused on safety on this blog, but sometimes accidents do happen. When they happen, there are lots of things you can do to help in your recovery, including getting back to work. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, and you might need to change up the kinds of things you do at work for a while…

If you happen to get hurt at work, chat with both your employer and doctor about modified work.

What is modified work? It’s making changes to your regular job so that you can still go to work while you recover from your injury. You know your job best and can probably think of creative ideas to change up your work duties so that you can still work as you get back to full strength.

To give you a better idea of what kinds of things you can still do at work, think about small changes you can make to your daily routine, such as:

  • Trying different job tasks or functions (e.g. less lifting, or bending).
  • Modifying your workload (e.g. hours worked per day or your work schedule).
  • Changing your work area (e.g. work in the office, shop or front counter) or the equipment you use to do your job.

There are lots of creative options to help you get back to work after an injury – just ask Dave Grohl!

Do you have a story about getting back to work after an injury? Comment here or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.


By Lauren Smith

In my last blog post I talked about how much I enjoy making time for my wellness by taking winter strolls around our beautiful city.

In case you still think I’m a little nuts for walking during these cold months, I have some information that might motivate you to get outside and brave the chilly temps …

If you’re around downtown Edmonton this upcoming Wednesday, Feb. 3, pop by the Legislature grounds for:


The event kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on the front steps. Our Health Minister will say a few words, you’ll be led in a fun warmup activity, and there will be giveaways!

Head out with your friends, co-workers, whoever is up for a little midday fun!

If you won’t be in downtown Edmonton, check out the other Winter Walk Day events that are happening across the province.


Tell your friends about #WinterWalkDay

In addition to all the health benefits of getting outside for a walk on Wednesday, you’ll also have lots of great opportunities for photo ops! Add some beautiful outdoor shots to your Instagram or snap a pic with your co-workers to show your network that you’re taking part in #WinterWalkDay.


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As I’m writing this, it is allegedly the most depressing, miserable day of the year, Blue Monday.

Honestly, today doesn’t feel very different to me than any other Monday; I still growled at my alarm this morning, I still had one too many cups of tea, and I still smiled when I sat down at my desk to start my day.

So what’s the deal with Blue Monday, you ask? According to Cliff Arnall, a former lecturer at Cardiff University, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. Arnall used a pseudo-mathematical formula that involved weather, debt, time since Christmas, motivation, deadlines and the amount of time since New Year’s resolutions were made.  Basically, today sucks because our Christmas trees are put away, we’ve already broken our New Year’s resolutions, it’s (very) cold outside and your bank account is feeling the after-effects of Christmas.

But as Snopes reports, there’s no science to this claim. Arnall was paid by a travel company to conduct the study, so his intentions are questionable, and even more importantly, true clinical depression is much more complicated; it’s influenced by a multitude of chronic and temporary and internal and external factors.  It’s impossible for a select number of external factors to cause depression in all of us at the same time every year.

While many of us are probably feeling a post-Christmas slump, I think it’s important to recognize Blue Monday for what it is—a clever marketing ploy.

Now that I’ve (maybe too passionately) ranted about Blue Monday, I want to tell you about another day that’s focused on mental health, Bell Let’s Talk day, which is coming up on January 27. Bell Let’s Talk is a charitable program dedicated to mental health. It focuses on ending the stigma of mental illness, improving accessibility for mental health-related services, encouraging mental health in the workplace and funding research in the mental health field.

One of the best ways to wipe out the stigma of mental illness is to talk about it. Bell Let’s Talk day encourages you to do just that, and adds a financial reward, too. For every tweet with #BellLetsTalk and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives in Canada.

So I encourage you to be social that day, on your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and with your friends, family, co-workers and bosses, too. Talking can feel scary, especially at work, but it doesn’t have to be. This video captures it perfectly.

Talking is the first step towards meaningful change and building greater awareness, acceptance and action.  You may not believe me and you might feel completely alone in this, but mental health impacts all of us, and we need to address it. It’s time to talk.


By Melissa Babcock

I first saw Big Hero 6 in theatres when I took my daughter to a matinée, and I think I may have enjoyed it more than she did. After all, who doesn’t love an adorable, huggable hero who can take out the bad guys with a single punch while also giving you a Band-Aid and a comforting head pat?

There, there.

There, there.

I know it’s geared towards kids, but this movie really has everything. It’s sweet and touching with laugh-out-loud dialogue (no, this is not a paid endorsement, I just really love this movie). And no superhero movie would be complete without thrilling action scenes, which this flick has in spades. But with action scenes comes (drumroll) situations that make a safety-conscious person cringe. Here are a few that I noticed:

Fly, my pretty

When Hiro creates battle-worthy armor for Baymax, he includes jet-propelled wings so his health care companion can fly. Hiro also adds magnetic steps to the back of the suit so he can ride along, which is handy and probably tons of fun, but not terribly safe. As we later saw, if Baymax turns or flips the wrong way, Hiro tumbles right off his back. Some fall protection could have prevented this—maybe a built-in harness? It wouldn’t have looked as cool but it sure would have been much safer.


To infinity, and be – oh wait, wrong movie.

Be prepared

At the beginning of the film, Hiro is aimless and fills his days going to illegal bot fights, suckering other fighters out of their money with his seemingly weak robot. Obviously, participating in any illegal activity is dangerous in itself, but Hiro puts himself in particular danger because he is not prepared for the reality of what he is doing—he figures he can show up, pull his con and walk away. But it doesn’t work out that way, and if not for his brother Tadashi showing up at just the right time, Hiro might have been seriously hurt. This lesson can also be applied to the worksite. You can’t just dive into a job if you don’t know the ins and outs of what you’re doing, and how to do it safely. If you aren’t properly prepared, you’re putting yourself at risk.

I wouldn't try to con this guy, but that's just me.

I wouldn’t try to con this guy, but that’s just me.

It takes a village

A lot of dangerous jobs can’t be done alone. Whether you’re building a house, digging a trench or trying to save the world from a super villain, it helps to be part of a strong, cohesive team. Hiro learns this after he leaves his team stranded, quickly realizing that he needs their help if he’s going to avenge his brother. What follows is a climactic final battle in which the Big Hero 6 finally work together to take down the microbots and defeat Yokai once and for all—a job that would have been a lot more difficult to do alone.



You wouldn’t think an animated superhero movie would be so applicable to workplace safety, but as I quickly learned after joining the Heads Up team, lessons about safety can be found almost anywhere.

Until next time…


Baymax fist bump.

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


Christmas vacation is over and it’s a new year! I don’t know about you, but 2016 is shaping up to be a busy one for me already. I took a break to peek through the newspaper to see what happened at the end of 2015 and found some safety stories to share with you.

Ammonia leak caused tragedy. An ammonia leak caused the death of a worker at a southern Alberta nitrogen plant. Another worker was exposed but was released from hospital shortly after the incident.

Fatal roof accident. A Calgary worker was killed after falling from a roof. The roofing company was contracted to do work and medical workers who arrived at the scene were unable to report if there was any medical condition that caused the fall, or if the worker had the proper safety equipment.

It was a very bumpy ride. The turbulence on an Air Canada flight was so bad that 21 people were sent to the hospital after it landed. This article reminds passengers to make sure they wear their seatbelts and this safety message can be extended to flight staff as well during turbulence. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Flight attendant assaulted on plane. Air Canada experienced a rough time in December, first with the injury-inducing turbulence, and then the airline had a flight attendant assaulted by a passenger. According to the article, the passenger bit the finger of a flight attendant and used abusive language during the incident.   

Manitoba’s Workers Compensation Board recognizes PTSD. Beginning this year, Manitoba’s Workers Compensation board will be passing new legislation to recognize the effects of traumatic events on workers.

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


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