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


By Lauren Smith


Well, not quite always … or ever …



Image source:

Called the Seinfeld of our generation, the rag-tag team of misfits on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia definitely aren’t a prime example of how to do things safely. Or ethically. Or logically. Actually, they’re not really a good example of how to do anything.

But, their absurd antics are why we all love to tune in to see what hilarity will ensue in each episode.

I recently watched the episode The Gang Spies Like U.S. (from season 10, episode 5), where a new fish factory opens across the street from the gang’s bar, Paddy’s Pub. The factory is (unsurprisingly) rather smelly. So, in their typical paranoid manner, the gang becomes suspicious of the factory as it must be a cover for a hidden agenda. One of the gang’s main characters, Dee, starts working at the new fish factory in an attempt to infiltrate the factory and find out what they’re really up to.

In true It’s Always Sunny fashion, Dee does pretty much the worst things you could possibly do while working in a factory and wreaks havoc on her new (short-lived) work environment. But, the episode does provide us with multiple examples of why safety is so important in the workplace.


Image source:

In case you missed the episode, let’s recap:

  1. No PPE isn’t pretty

Wanting to uncover the secrets behind the factory, Dee tries to flirt with the manger using her feminine wiles. She removes her hair net (part of the PPE—personal protective equipment—required in the factory) so she can toss her hair around, and ends up tossing her hair directly into one of the factory’s conveyor belts—ouch!

She has to get a huge chunk of her hair cut out of the machine (thankfully that was all that got caught) and, in the process, a ton of fish guts spill everywhere—gross!

  1. Cutting corners can be chancy

Dee didn’t want to put in the required effort to properly clean up the mess of fish guts she caused. Instead of collecting the mess into buckets using her hands—because ew, gross fish guts—she utilizes the classic lazy-sweeping technique and uses a broom to “spread around” the fish guts to clear up the mess.  But all this does is make the factory floor a slippery disaster zone. Of course, no one puts up a “slippery floor” sign to warn their co-workers of the hazard waiting to happen, which results in a forklift failing to stop and sliding straight across the floor into a shelf, knocking over buckets and buckets of fish—again, gross!

  1. Falling flat without fall protection

Many of the gang’s antics usually fall flat, but this time Dee literally does. In an attempt to spy on a meeting Frank has with the factory manager, Dee climbs a ladder to peer into the very high office window.

Now this is a triple-whammy because not only is she not wearing the proper fall protection required when climbing such a tall ladder, she doesn’t have anyone holding the ladder at the bottom AND she’s distracted by her spying mission. So it’s no surprise when the ladder shifts and Dee takes a nasty fall—ouch!


By Angela Unsworth

Did you know that today, April 15, is World Art Day and also the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci? On the off chance that you don’t know who he is, he is most-widely known as the creator of the Mona Lisa among other various paintings and sculptures.

He was born in 1452 and was an apprentice to an artist in 1466 at the age of fourteen. Like you, he was a young worker, but unlike you,  his workplace probably had few safety regulations in place.

Each morning, Leonardo would wake up with the sun in his eyes—how did people wake up on time for work before alarm clocks?—roll out of bed and then into a studio that had a variety of workplace hazards. Using the occupational health and safety website as a guide, I’ve identified some potential hazards he may have faced:

  1. Chemical
  • Creative mediums – depending on what kind of material he was using for his different projects (plaster, metal, clay, oil, acrylic, etc.), there would be different chemicals used.
  • Cleaning materials – artists use a lot of chemicals to clean the paints from their brushes.
  • Prepping materials – artists also use a lot of chemicals to prime their canvases.

Who knows what kind of studio he laboured in? The above are just a few considerations for the materials he created with, but there are other things I wonder about like, what kind of ventilation the studio had or, if he worked outdoors, what kind of weather conditions did he work in?

  1. Physical
  • Weight – Leonardo created sculptures using heavy stone. I don’t know if he knew the technique for proper lifting, but even with that knowledge, there is only so much weight that you can safely lift.
  • Ergonomic chairs – some artists sit in front of their paintings for hours. I doubt Leonardo had an ergonomic chair to ensure he sat with correct posture.

It’s hard to know what Leonardo’s workplace was like and what kinds of rights and safety regulations he had. But, you have the advantage of being born and living in the era of the internet and workers’ rights! You can educate yourself on what your rights are and what is a safe or unsafe workplace.

Celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday today by giving yourself the gift of safety.

We have some posters in the LRTs and transit stations in Edmonton and Calgary. Keep an eye out for these and if you see one, take a picture and share it with us on twitter @HeadsUpAB!

Do you have any stories about workplace safety you’d like to share? Comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.


By Melissa Babcock

If ever a season brings about a motley of feelings, it’s usually spring. While most people are thrilled that winter is behind us and are happy to put away the snow boots and heavy coats, others bemoan the dirty puddles and slush that come with warmer temperatures, not to mention the havoc melting snow can inflict on people with allergies. Excuse me while I sneeze for the millionth time today.

News stories are much the same when it comes to mixed emotions. When I was looking for articles to share in this blog, most of what I found were sadly rooted in disaster or loss. But as I read on, at times I noticed a thread of hope permeating some of what I was reading. Often, tragedy ends up inspiring change.

So without further ado, here is your latest batch of safety stories:

Upholding safety in the future. In the wake of two tragic incidents late last year in which two clerks were killed while working alone late at night, Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety have plans to inspect around 200 convenience stores across the province, to ensure workplace safety measures are being met.

Opening the lines of communication. Workplace deaths are on the rise in Singapore, with 22 lives lost at work so far this year (compared to 18 at this time last year). As a result, the country’s Workplace Safety and Health Council has urged employers to review their existing practices and increase communication with their workers in an effort to improve safety on the job.

Speaking from personal experience. Two-time Grey Cup champion Dan Comiskey was the keynote speaker at the City of Kingston’s recent Safety Days sessions. He gave his perspective on the issue of workplace safety, drawing not only on his years in the CFL but also on his experiences losing his brother in a workplace accident and seeing his father-in-law suffer a serious injury on the job.

A recurring problem, despite precautions. An Amtrak train recently collided with a maintenance vehicle outside of Philadelphia, killing a backhoe operator and another Amtrack worker. The crash was at least the fifth such incident in the last 12 months, despite millions of dollars being spent on railroad safety programs in recent years.

And finally… A few weeks ago, a 29-year-old Alberta worker tragically lost his life. The young man was working on a job site north of Fort McMurray when he slipped off some scaffolding and fell approximately 70 feet. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

Have you seen any safety-related stories in the news lately? Share it by leaving a comment or tweeting us @HeadsUpAB.


By Lauren Smith

Next to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny is probably the only other stranger we’re OK with breaking into our homes. After all, he does leave behind chocolate and candy.

But is your home Easter-Bunny ready? Read on for some tips to prepare your home for our furry friend so you can have a safe Easter weekend.

Not always a hop in the park

Although rabbits are good at hopping, don’t make navigating your home a challenge for the Easter Bunny. Your home is one of his (or her?) work environments. Just as you wouldn’t leave tripping hazards laying around at work, it’s important to remove them from your home for our furry friend’s visit. Keep an eye out for things like loose cords, clutter and wrinkled carpeting.

Bunny boo-boo’s

In case our furry friend does trip and fall while navigating the dark hallways of your home, it’s important to not only have a First Aid kit on hand, but to know where it’s located for easy access. It’s always a good idea to be prepared to respond to any minor mishaps, just like you would on the job.

Hunting for safety

Eggs hunts are always a blast, no matter your age, but there are some essential safety considerations that come along with this egg-citing activity.

Firstly, be careful not to hide your eggs in hard-to-reach locations that could tempt your hunters to climb on unstable surfaces. Secondly, don’t forget to keep a lookout for objects that could fall from high places while your hunters are busy searching for eggs. Just like you would at work, it’s important to take safety into consideration when placing items on higher surfaces.

Bonus safety tip!

Although chocolate is tasty to humans, it can be toxic to your pets. If you have your own furry friends roaming around your home, avoid an unexpected trip to the vet by being careful not to hide any Easter treats that they could steal.

Till next time, wishing you an egg-cellent (and safe) Easter weekend from the Heads Up team!


By Angela Unsworth

I come from a time before cell phones were common. The first mobile phone I ever saw was a car phone. I’m not that old, I swear!

car phone

Look at that ‘compact’ beast! Credit: Google images.

The same friend who had this magical car phone was also the first one among us to get a more portable cell phone—the Motorola StarTac.

motorola flip phone

This creature was sturdy, you could drop this in a river and it would still work. Credit: Google images.

I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was 19. It didn’t take me long to adjust to having this new fancy tool to text all my friends with. Once I got a smartphone, it didn’t take me long to think of it as an extra arm I just couldn’t do without.

I wouldn’t give my right arm…

Now I use my phone for everything. It’s my alarm clock in the morning; the gentle music starting my day. I also use the alarm clock as a reminder to take breaks when I’m at work. It’s my camera, calendar, calculator, communication tool and provider of entertainment. It’s also the most distracting thing in my life.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the possibility that maybe I’m just too involved with my phone. I’ve pondered breaking up with it. I’m not quite ready to divorce it yet.

The idea that the phone can be dangerous is very real and here are a few instances where phone distractions make me worry:

  • Distracted driving—did you know that drivers who are texting while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash? It’s crazy. Here I am out on the road, driving safely, and I’m in danger because someone else might be on their phone. Whether you’re in your work truck headed to a job site, or in your car headed to the mall, put that phone away and be aware of other drivers who may be using theirs!
  • Distracted at school—even the sight of your phone nearby can cause you distraction and affect your performance. This article talks about how students who participated in a study showed that their performance on complex tasks suffered when their cell phone was visible. Imagine if you missed important information while in a workplace safety course because your phone was in sight?!
  • Distracted at work—this poster at work always reminds me how being distracted by your phone at work can affect your safety in the workplace.

boy poster

Before the alarm bells begin to ring…

I’m not here to tell you it’s bad or wrong to use a cell phone. There are a lot of benefits to having a phone, like being able to read this blog post on the go! I just want you to think about the impact of cellphone distractions on your safety and the safety of those around you.

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



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers

%d bloggers like this: