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Posts from the ‘Health and Safety’ Category

Can I do more?

By:  Camillo Zacchia, Ph.D. – Psychologist

In this guest post, clinical psychologist Dr. Camillo Zacchia looks at the tendency to question whether we’re doing enough. He looks at the personality types that can get derailed by these feelings of inadequacy and offers a way forward when confronted by the sense that you’re not doing enough. Read on for Dr. Zacchia’s article on the art of good enough.

Can I do more? This question is a trap if I ever heard one.

Can I do more to help my parents? Can I do a better job on this assignment? Can I eat better? These types of questions are endless and the only answer to them is yes. The simple fact is we can always do more or do better. This means that in order to stop working on something, we have to accept this fact and just “be OK” with it. In other words, we have to accept that good enough is good enough.

But what happens to people who can’t be satisfied with good enough? Those who are unable to accept this option are going to be in trouble. The question of “can I do more?” will leave them with only two other options. The first is to be disappointed with not doing their best and the second is to try harder and keep going. But if they try harder, they are still left with the question of “can I do more?” and they’re right back to the same two options of trying harder or being disappointed. There is no alternative. For them, all roads eventually lead to disappointment.

Of course, this isn’t a big issue for most of us. The majority of people can live with good enough. They acknowledge that they can do better — after all, nobody’s perfect — but can nevertheless be satisfied with what they’ve done. No disappointment for these people. But there are others who have a much harder time letting go, and for them the question of “can I do more?” will cause significant problems and often lead to feelings of burnout. There are two groups of people who have particular difficulty letting things stand.

The perfectionists
Some people just can’t seem to be happy until things are just right: a job that seems well done still needs refining, a good meal still needs a little something, nothing feels quite good enough. These people can sometimes be seen as perfectionists, or as picky. There is no denying the fact that their work is generally very high quality. The only problem is that they are rarely satisfied with it, even if everyone else around them is.

The guilt-ridden
There is another group of individuals who are governed by excessive guilt. They are generally seen as people pleasers and are constantly doing for others. This can include trying to please bosses, coworkers, friends or members of the family. Many of them may have grown up in a home with a parent who was difficult to please or who was needy, dependent and required lots of attention and help. Since everyone around them always has needs, the guilt-ridden can’t stop. To do so would mean to disappoint others and it just isn’t in their nature to let others down.

For the perfectionist and guilt-ridden people, the question of “can I do more?” is a trap. The answer will always be yes. As a result, they will keep pushing for more and will almost always overdo things, potentially leading to burnout or complete avoidance of people or responsibilities. It’s just too much work, so they often run away and simply stop trying.

This is the self-fulfilling prophecy we often see in such people. Even though they always do very well in both quantity and quality, at some point they know it won’t be good enough so they just give up. Ironically, it confirms their belief that they aren’t “good enough” because now they really are getting nothing done.

For those who aren’t very good at letting go, the only way around this bottomless pit of disappointment is to be aware of the trap that comes with the question “can I do more?” A far more functional question is “did I do a lot?” Just look at how your raw performance numbers or indicators stack up to others in your position. Do you treat as many dossiers as your co-workers? Do you do as much for your parents as your siblings? The answer to “did I do a lot?’ is usually also yes. But at least answering yes to this question does not require you to do more.

When we know in our logical minds that we did a lot — probably more than most others would — then we have to force ourselves to stop. This may make us uncomfortable at first but like all emotions, they fade over time. If we give in to these feelings, they will strengthen. If we don’t act on them, and allow them to dissipate naturally, they will get weaker and weaker over time.

The idea of things being good but not quite good enough may make you feel uncomfortable at first but by not giving in to your urges to do more, you will eventually feel that things really are just that…good enough.

To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our Employment resources page on our website.


Dr. Zacchia[1] is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression and interpersonal problems. He blogs at Psychospeak with Dr. Z[2] and the Huffington Post Canada: The Ilk of Humankind[3].

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post appeared on Psychospeak with Dr. Z.[4] It has been updated to provide additional details.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Zacchia as he looks at mental health in the workplace.

[1] www.drzacchia.com

[2] http://blog.douglas.qc.ca/psychospeak/

[3] https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/author/camillo-zacchia-phd/

[4] http://blog.douglas.qc.ca/psychospeak/2015/07/07/can-i-do-more/

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

With North American Occupational Safety and Health week upon us, it’s time to reflect on the measures we have in place to prevent injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in our community. By starting with strong health and safety practices at home, we can make safety a habit that will translate into a safer work environment for all employees.

In the staffing industry, it is said that people are our greatest asset. To ensure this, The Adecco Group believes in forming proper safety habits that translate both on and off the job. Whether you’re an associate, colleague, client or partner, the goal of NAOSH week is focusing on the importance of prevention and keeping you safe at home and in the workplace. 

– Jason Berman, The Adecco Group National Manager, Workers Compensation, Safety & Compliance –

A safe work environment is a right, not a privilege. To support this right, we should be careful not to take safety for granted, even when it’s regulated in the workplace. Forming good habits can help prevent workplace accidents and injuries, creating a safer workplace for all. Whether it’s physical, chemical or ergonomic safety, developing good habits in our personal lives will help make safety a priority in our professional lives.

Safety

From a young age, we are taught to look both ways before crossing the road, make sure our shoelaces are tied to avoid tripping, never leave a hot element unattended, etc. These same principles apply to the work environment. By practicing general safety at home, you are ensuring these preventative measures become second nature, helping you avoid these hazards on the work site.

Physical

Physical injury can be caused by improper lifting techniques, repetitive motions and unsafe machine handling. Away from work, we avoid these injuries and hazards by stretching before exercising, wearing supportive/proper footwear and taking breaks from repetitive tasks. At work, the same safety practices apply. Wearing proper PPE can help you avoid hazards, while proper lifting techniques and small breaks from repetitive motions will help prevent injuries.

Chemical

Depending on the industry, chemicals in the workplace can include cleaning supplies, and flammable and combustible substances. At home, we ensure cleaning supplies are properly labelled, stored separately from consumable items and kept out of reach of children. These same tactics apply in the work environment. In addition, employers should ensure all staff complete WHMIS and MSDS training.

Stress

Since work is acknowledged as the main source of stress for 62% of Canadian workers, learning to prevent stressors at work is a good practice for all of us.[i] One way to do this is by utilizing the same tactics we use in our personal lives — whether it’s paying bills or doing household chores, we can use organization, task prioritization and responsibility delegation to deal with our stress. If that fails, talk it through with a colleague or manager. They may have additional ideas about how to address your concerns, plus the conversation itself may be just the cure.

Ergonomic

Ergonomic injuries are common for office workers due to the sedentary nature of their jobs. Away from work, we have greater control over ergonomic injuries, with the ability to limit our time standing, looking at television or computer screens, and performing other repetitive motions. With nearly 2 million Canadians suffering from RSI (repetitive strain injuries)[ii], ergonomic controls should be a priority. Workers are entitled to ergonomic mats for standing, as well as ergonomic chairs, keyboards and even standing desks.

Although safety at home can translate into good safety practices at work, there are additional considerations both employees and employers should keep in mind to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.

How employees can maintain safety habits at work:

  • Be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Follow set safety rules and procedures.
  • Always wear recommended or required PPE.
  • Take breaks to avoid strain.
  • Report any unsafe work conditions.

How employers can maintain safety habits at work:

  • Promote NAOSH Week within your company.
  • Revise and/or launch new safety programs.
  • Provide incentives for reporting potential safety hazards.
  • Build a Joint Health and Safety Committee and hold regular meetings.
  • Maintain proper injury reporting.

Regardless of the size of your company or the nature of your business, workplace safety must always be a priority. By implementing safety practices at home, we are creating positive habits that will translate into better workplace safety, instilling practices that will benefit the health and safety of colleagues, management and customers alike.

To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our Employer resources page on our website.


[i] http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-627-m/contest/finalists-finalistes_2-eng.htm

[ii] https://www.mun.ca/safetynet/library/OHandS/SafetyNetOfficeErgonomics.pdf

 

Cannabis and the Impact on Employee Health

With legislation set to pass and legalize cannabis, the intricacies of its usage may change. To keep health and safety at the forefront in the workplace, employers will need to set clear boundaries regarding its use.

Although consumption of cannabis during work hours for medical purposes is not a new phenomenon, recreational use has the potential to affect an employee’s health, and, the health and safety of a company’s workforce.

Use in the workplace

The Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) extends to allow disabled workers the use of medical cannabis when prescribed. Although under this act, employers must accommodate these workers, this code does not permit the worker to be impaired at work or endanger their safety or the safety of others.[i] Should a worker show signs of marijuana impairment, an employer must assign the individual tasks considered safe. For recreational users, employers still hold the right to set rules for the non-medical use of marijuana in the same manner they set alcohol consumption restrictions. Increasingly, employers will need to prioritize their workplace policies and clearly outline and communicate their policy regarding the recreational use of cannabis during work hours.

Employee health and safety

Similar to alcohol, the effects of cannabis will vary from person to person. The THC in marijuana can affect coordination, reaction time, focus, decision making abilities and perception.[ii] This means that there may be potential effects on an employee’s body, brain and overall mental state. For that reason, cannabis consumption in the workplace can be particularly dangerous for employees in fields like construction and manufacturing — or any position requiring the operation of a vehicle or heavy machinery. To prepare for its changing legal status, employers should revisit drug workplace policies to identify whether a change is required to reflect the change in legislation, in addition to outlining disciplinary action for substance abuse in the workplace.

Benefit plans

With more recognizable medical benefits and the normalization of cannabis as a treatment option for symptoms ranging from arthritis to cancer, the number of medical marijuana patients across Canada nearly doubled by the end of September 2017; reaching more than 235,000.[iii] As this number continues to grow, so does the pressure on benefit providers to include cannabis coverage in their health plans. Sun Life is the first provider to accommodate, providing members with the option to add medical cannabis coverage only for set conditions and symptoms. With the pending legalization, it is only a matter of time before other benefit providers follow suit and normalize cannabis coverage options.

The changing legal status of recreational cannabis use will undoubtedly impact the workplace in its early stages. With clear boundaries and rules in place surrounding the recreational use of cannabis, employers can mitigate any potential issues and maintain a happy, healthy workforce.

To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our Employer resources page on our website.


[i] https://www.pshsa.ca/cannabis-in-the-workplace/

[ii] https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/documents/services/campaigns/27-16-1808-Factsheet-Health-Effects-eng-web.pdf

[iii] http://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/sun-life-financial-to-add-medical-pot-option-to-group-benefits-plans

 

Cannabis – A Shift in Perception

With the legalization of cannabis only a couple months away, many Canadians still have reservations about its accessibility and the effects its consumption will have on the workplace.

In the past few years, Canadians have experienced a growing reliance on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Its usage for treatment of pain, relief of cancer symptoms, and epilepsy has paved the way for the legalization of cannabis and has slowly altered the way the general public perceives the historically illegal substance.

Though studies show the majority of Canadians agree with its legalization[i], recreational use of cannabis still has its critics. Here, we examine three areas of concern related to the legalization of cannabis and its impact on the workplace.

Managing a “high” workplace

Though employers must accommodate employees who have prescriptions to use medicinal marijuana, the imminent legalization of cannabis brings up concerns about controlling recreational use at work. Employers have the right to set limitations on the consumption of cannabis on work property in line with a drug-free workplace policy. The policy should outline disciplinary action for offenders in attempts to prohibit impairment on the job.

Managing the credibility of employers and employees

Regardless of the pending legalization, or the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, there is still a stigma surrounding the consumption of cannabis. Once legal, employers should make attempts to change policy vocabulary. For example,  the substance should no longer be defined as “illegal” to recognize the legislated reality and to help shift perceptions away from traditionally negative views of recreational consumption by employees.

Negotiating differences in perceptions across demographics

Cannabis purchases vary based on demographics, with 25-44 year-olds accounting for 40% of the purchases while the 45-64 year-old group accounts for only 23% of cannabis purchases.[ii] Though this number has grown, the large gap in consumption between the age groups indicates greater acceptance towards cannabis from the 25-44 year-old demographic. By instituting a drug-free workplace policy, employers can accommodate the varying perceptions of cannabis across your workforce.

Regardless of the varied perceptions, the legalization of cannabis is imminent, and with it, proposed preventative measures instituting proper control of substance distribution and consumption will be introduced that seek to allay negative perceptions of the legalization of cannabis. Employers can also respond to shifting perceptions with clear workplace policies for their employees.

To view more of our blogs and articles, visit our Employer resources page on our website.


For more information on how this budding industry will affect organizational policy and job opportunities, stay tuned to our series examining the legalization of cannabis in Canada.

[i] http://www.macleans.ca/society/majority-of-canadians-support-marijuana-legalization-says-survey/

[ii] http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/canadians-spent-c5-7-billion-on-cannabis-in-2017-statistics-canada

 

Questions Candidates Should Ask about Occupational Health and Safety

Starting a new job is an exciting prospect – so exciting, in fact, that sometimes it can cloud our better judgment. Once you’ve been offered a position, there are still questions you need to ask of your new employer, particularly when it comes to occupational health and safety. To ensure you stay safe on the job, remember to ask the following: Read more

Occupational Health and Safety for the Office: Top 10

When people think about occupational health and safety, they tend to think about industrial workplaces, littered with warning signs about hardhats, harnesses, steel-toe boots, and hazmat suits. But in quieter corners of the workforce, where the buzz of band saws is otherworldly compared to the hum of Hewlett Packards and the clatter of hammers is replaced by the tapping of keyboards, dangers – not to mention occupational health and safety violations – lurk. And not just in the form of psychological health and safety. The following is a top 10 list of the most commonly overlooked office safety hazards that every employer would do well to investigate. Read more