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Safety in the news… from far and wide.

By Lauren Smith

Safety is sometimes the last thing on my mind when I’m busy at work, but the moment safety is jeopardized, it becomes an unavoidable issue. I’ve been working for over 10 years and in that time I’ve seen injuries from sliced fingers and severe burns to sprained wrists and ankles. In a matter of seconds a normal work day can turn into a trip to the hospital. The news reports on workplace safety issues because it is an important topic that affects us all.

Read on to see what workplace safety issues are filling up the headlines across Canada.

mountains

Psychology in the workplace
British Columbia’s Construction Safety Alliance’s regional safety adviser for the Lower Mainland, Jeff Lyth, explores the evolution of safety in construction. Jeff discusses the shift from a reactive to proactive approach to safety, and how applying behavioural psychology theory and shifting from traditional management to transformational leadership will help guide workers to adopt safety protocols.

The sky is falling
A Calgary worker was replacing damaged glass in a 12-metre high skylight when two pieces of glass came into contact and shattered above his head, knocking him to the scaffold he was standing on. The worker was following procedure and had proper fall protection devices in place, but sometimes accidents happen. Firefighters had to use a crane to rescue the man who fortunately had no life-threatening injuries.

History in the making
Sinopec received the largest workplace fine in Alberta history for the death of two workers resulting from a tank collapse back in 2007. This past fall Sinopec pleaded guilty to three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. For each charge they received the maximum $500,000 fine, for a total fine of $1.5 million – the largest ever in Alberta and one if the biggest in Canada. Occupational Health and Safety means business when it comes to holding organizations responsible for the safety of their workers.

Mission Zero
Saskatchewan commits to making workplaces safer by strengthening labour legislation, revising safety regulations, and working with the Workers’ Compensation Board to support Mission Zero. Mission Zero is Saskatchewan’s awareness and education campaign which supports the idea that all workplace injuries are predictable and preventable; therefore zero is the only acceptable number of workplace injuries.

Under a watchful eye
The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) is instituting inspections on “Slips, Trips and Falls (ladder safety and fall protection hazards)” during February and March this year, with a focus in construction and industrial sectors. This tactic is a way of holding employers accountable for the safety of their workers by ensuring they are upholding the standards set in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

“Trust your gut” in action
Six workers refused to continue working in Building 532 at Pleasantville in St. John’s citing health concerns (odours and the development of rashes, possibly from a wood preservative). The workers are member of the Newfoundland Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) and exercised their right to refuse work under the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. When your safety senses start tingling, you have to trust your gut and speak up.

Got another safety-related news story you want to share?
Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @HeadsUpAB.

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