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Safety in the news: addressing the unexpected

By Lauren Smith


Dangers on the job come in all shapes and sizes. Some we expect, some we don’t.

When I looked through the recent headlines to see what health and safety stories are in the news, I found some less common but equally relevant workplace safety topics have been up for discussion lately:


Even bullies go to work

Sadly, bullying is a reality that many faced during their school days. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end with the toss of the graduation cap.

For some, their workplace can be likened to a schoolyard as they experience bullying on the job. Your workplace should keep you safe from physical and psychological harm, which is why there may be big changes coming to Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety code in the near future. They’re looking at incorporating workplace harassment policies to better address bullying at work.


Ontario government stands up for nurses

A nurse’s job comes with a list of physical demands, including: lifting patients, operating large machines, handling abusive patients. Although the first two demands are par for the course, the last one presents a major danger to nurses.

Ontario hospitals have seen an increase in violent incidents within the last few years. The government is taking action to address this concern and focus their efforts on better protecting nurses (and all hospital workers) from violent patients.


High (heel) expectations for female servers

Earlier this summer, the news was ablaze with stories of female servers required to wear high-heeled shoes on the job.

Wanting to address this growing concern, a University of Alberta alumnus conducted a small study of servers forced to wear high heels at work.  She assessed the potential hazards of the footwear requirements and concluded that this requirement violates employer responsibilities under the Health and Safety Act.

With the recent attention to female server footwear requirements, some restaurants are starting to review their dress codes.

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