Wishing you a happy and safe Canada Day

June 30, 2015

Photo credit: futureatlas.com on Flickr

Photo credit: futureatlas.com on Flickr

Happy Canada Day! My readers outside the country may not know that this year, 2015, is the Canadian flag’s 50th birthday.

Canada itself is 148 years old on July 1 – and people across the country will gather at outdoor parties to mark the occasion.

Of course, as you might expect, I have some safety tips to share. Please take a few moments to read them all in this message from Public Safety Canada’s Hot Topic: Summer safety.

And for now, here’s a few (of many) reminders to help keep summer safe. Let’s call it a safety appetizer… which leads to the first tip.

Keep food fresh: Chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Leftovers should be chilled promptly, but remember to throw them away if they have been out at room temperature for more than two (2) hours.

Stay cool in the heat: Keep cool and hydrated and minimize your time in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Drink plenty of water, find shade, visit cool buildings, slow down, bathe in cool water, and wear light-coloured clothing. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle.

Wear the right helmet: Everyone is encouraged to wear a helmet when cycling, inline skating, and skateboarding.

The rest of the warnings involve camping, thunderstorms, bug bites, emergency kits, water safety, road safety, and more.

We are also reminded to be careful how we update social media. Our photos (especially when geo-tagged) can act as an announcement to would-be robbers: “Hey world! We are not home right now!”

Working in the heat?

Check out Preventing Heat Stress at Work by WorkSafeBC. It reminds us that early symptoms of heat stroke – like excessive fatigue, lethargy, irritability, lack of coordination, and altered judgment – can result in serious accidents. If left untreated, they can lead to serious illness and even death.

But let’s get back to the cheerful side of things. We’ll be prepared for what can go wrong and then hope everything goes right – and everyone has a happy Canada Day!

New safety tools for agriculture industry

June 24, 2015

Image from Health and safety for small- and medium-sized ranches

Image from WorkSafeBC’s Health and safety for small- and medium-sized ranches

Three new tools are available for the agriculture industry. To find out more about them, I called Wendy Bennett, the executive director of BC’s Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA).

My Confined Spaces

Toxic gases or lack of oxygen can strike suddenly, without warning, even when the task is something you’ve been doing the same way for decades. I wrote about this in my post Facing down confined spaces on BC farms – and this new app offers another solution.

My Confined Spaces makes it easier for agriculture employers to create an inventory of the confined spaces on their property. I downloaded it to my iPhone for free from the iTunes App store and was impressed to note the commonsense reminder in its initial message: “Warning: Keep a safe distance from any confined space while using this app.”

Here’s how it works. Farmers choose their commodity from a dropdown list – such as a dairy farm, greenhouse, or berry farm, for example – then the app lists types of confined spaces that are found commonly on that type of operation. They select which ones apply to their farm and see options for keeping workers safe around them.

“It shows you what all the hazards typically are and you can choose all or none of them, depending on the specific situation,” Wendy says. “This allows them to focus on their business while ensuring they’re following the rules and keeping everybody safe.”

Health and safety for small- and medium-sized ranches

Ranching is one of the most dangerous occupations in agriculture with hazards that include working with heavy equipment, such as tractors and chainsaws, as well as animals that can weigh more than a tonne. To address these hazards, FARSHA worked with WorkSafeBC and the BC Cattlemen’s Association to produce this new booklet.

It includes information about specific hazards ranch workers face, and how to eliminate or minimize their impact. Also available is a PDF version of just the forms and checklists found in the book. Employers can use it to develop, implement, and maintain their own health and safety programs.

“A health and safety program doesn’t have to be a big, cumbersome document,” Wendy says.

Health and Safety in Ranching: A Field Guide for Owners and Employers

This new field guide is a condensed version of the booklet, available in an infoflip format.

“It’s short, sweet, and to the point,” says Wendy. “It’s small. It’s portable. You can stick it in your pocket or throw it in the glove box. It’s readily accessible, where ever you’re going to be. You can easily find whatever topic you’re looking for.”

Thanks to Wendy – once again – for talking with me about available resources.

Wishing you a happy and safe Canada Day

Of course, as you might expect, I have some safety tips to share. “Don’t leave pets or kids in parked vehicles” is one of them!

Safety tips for small employers of roadside workers

A new tool kit is available online for smaller employers to build awareness of keeping people as safe as they can be at the roadside.

Survivor of workplace accident pays it forward

Mark Johnson was only 21 when a workplace accident changed his life forever. Now he shares his story in the hopes of keeping others safe.

Student video stops the bully in his tracks

“Billy and the Beast” won the Grade 8 to 10 category of WorkSafeBC’s 2015 Student Safety Video Contest. Congrats to SelfDesign High in Nelson BC.

BC Safety Charter Roundtable gets people talking

“The shared ideas and feedback meant that everyone had a voice, and participants could see where there was commonality or differences with others on a particular topic.”

New online tool assesses first aid requirements

An employer must reassess first aid requirements “whenever a significant change affecting the assessment occurs in the employer’s operations” – which happens all the time in the film industry.

Learning about your brain on the job

“If workers all understood how their brains operate, we would really reduce the accident rate and save lives,” says a speaker at the First Annual Northern BC Safety Conference May 30 in Prince George, BC, Canada.

Lack of planning leads to construction worker’s injury

The prime contractor at a worksite is responsible for the safety of all workers and people on the site. This is especially important on construction sites, where there are often workers from several different trades working simultaneously.

Share your safety selfies during NAOSH Week

In my selfie, I’m armed against fire ants. Post yours on Twitter with hashtags #safetyselfie and #NAOSHWeek May 3-9.