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Posts from the ‘Health and Safety’ Category

Make Workplace Health and Safety your Priority

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep employees safe at work. By creating and implementing a strong health and safety policy within your organization, you will maintain a happy and healthy workforce for years to come.

Occupational health and safety refers to the health, safety and overall well-being of people at work. Injuries at work are not only costly for employers, but also have a detrimental impact on productivity and can harm the public perception of your organization. With North American Occupational Safety and Health week only days away, it’s time to reflect on your organization’s workplace health and safety program. To help you get started, we’ve provided some techniques that you can implement to make your work environment a safer place.

1) Have a health and safety policy in place

Under Canadian health and safety legislation, all employers are required to provide their staff with a written occupational health and safety policy to minimize risks and keep employees safe. When writing your health and safety policy, include safe work procedures, identify potential hazards and outline rights and responsibilities of all levels of staff. Keep your policy up to date by scheduling an annual review or review it whenever job functions change. Make sure it is written in that all levels of staff can understand and have it signed by upper management to acknowledge your organization’s commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

Training on forklift: Occupational health and safety

2) Proper training of new employees

Strong workplace health and safety begins with thorough training. Along with training on specific job functions and the tools and equipment required on the job, incorporate a health and safety orientation into your new hire training sessions. Create a checklist to ensure you’re addressing all the necessary topics and make sure to cover rights and responsibilities, workplace hazards, safe work procedures, and emergency response procedures. You can also create a training manual for new staff. Be sure to update with new policies and practices as they emerge. And don’t limit training to new hires! Even the most tenured staff member can benefit from a routine refresher training session to improve the quality of safe work in your organization.

3) Build a health and safety committee

Your company’s occupational or joint health and safety committee is responsible for putting your health and safety policy into practice. The committee should combine members from upper management and all levels of staff to work together and resolve potential hazards or safety concerns within the workplace. When creating your committee, an equal ratio of management to staff should be selected. Your industry’s health and safety legislation will dictate how many members are required for your committee. Members should be adequately trained on workplace health and safety. For more information on building your health and safety committee, take a look at the additional resources provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

4) Conduct monthly health and safety inspections

With your joint health and safety committee in place, schedule monthly inspections to actively look for ways to increase health and safety within the workplace. Test all emergency response systems including fire detectors. Check the fire extinguisher to make sure the pin is intact and the seal is unbroken. Keep an eye out for obstructions to emergency exits. Be mindful of seasonal changes that may affect your staff’s safety, such as wet floors from melting snow or cold drafts from windows. Acknowledge these potential hazards and put measures in place to correct them before they cause accidents.

5) Have an accident investigation program

Any incident in the workplace that either resulted or could have resulted in injuries, illnesses, health issues or fatalities should be considered an accident that needs to be investigated. Investigations are an important step in identifying the cause of the accident and being able to eliminate hazards that can cause repeat injuries. Accident investigators should assess the scene to make sure it is safe, speak with witnesses, identify the root cause and provide recommendations for corrective actions. Find more on creating your accident investigation program here.

Jackets for workwear: safe work

6) Personal protective equipment

Educate employees on the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide adequate signage around areas that require employees to wear PPE. Put in place a PPE policy that outlines what’s required as well as when and where it must be worn. Providing compensation for PPE will ensure that employees purchase items such as steel toe boots that are comfortable to wear over long periods. Don’t forget to lead by example and follow the PPE rules you have put in place.

7) Provide annual maintenance on all equipment and machines

Regardless of the performance of your equipment and machines, routine maintenance is recommended for a reason. Regular maintenance helps to eliminate injuries caused by malfunctioning equipment or machines. A lockout/tag out program should be in place for machines that require maintenance to identify them and keep them from future use until the machine has been assessed and repaired.

8) Keep the workplace clean

A clean workplace means a healthy workplace. Air quality and tripping hazards are just a couple of reasons why cleanliness at work is essential to occupational health and safety. Maintain proper housekeeping at work by having all employees clean their work space before leaving every day to minimize potential hazards. Wipe down floors that may have been affected by spilled oil or grease and return equipment to their proper storage to avoid accidents such as trips, slips and falls.

9) Reward good health and safety practices

Motivate employees to maintain proper health and safety practices by rewarding or acknowledging colleagues who consistently follow safety procedures. A recognition program reiterates to employees that their actions are being monitored while also making it clear that health and safety is the responsibility of everyone. A recognition program encourages fellow employees to make conscious, safe decisions in the workplace.

By implementing proper health and safety procedures within your organization you will reduce accidents and maintain a happy and healthy workforce. For more reading, we’ve provided even more helpful tips here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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