Archive for August, 2011
August 30, 2011
People who work with the public are exposed to everyone’s cold and flu. Couriers are at risk of infection when they touch letters and packages from sick people, as a bike courier posted on Facebook recently. She described the inconsiderate behaviour of a customer.
“You take your time to blow your nose between signing and printing, then hand me the waybill with the same hand that’s holding the snotty tissue. Wow. Now that’s class,” she wrote.
Yuck! How disgusting to think of touching the soggy, infected paperwork! I followed up with another bike courier to ask if this ever happened to him. He said it does.
“You get people sneezing all over the place – often on the package or right in your face,” he said. “The people in the elevator do the same thing, and the elevator buttons themselves are covered in every type of goo that people drag in. You’ve got to use your knuckle instead of the end of your fingers because the ends of your fingers invariably end up around your face. Your knuckle has a better chance of avoiding it.”
What about hand-washing?
Frequent hand washing is known as the best way to avoid sickness from others, but the courier said there aren’t a lot of washrooms downtown that are unlocked and available to the public.
“As a courier, you get to know where the unlocked ones are but you can’t be taking time off between trips to wash your hands. You just don’t have the time for that,” he said.
“The job’s got its risks – besides driving around in traffic. There’s lots of chances of getting colds. Bike couriers are usually a healthy lot because they’re athletic and moving around a lot, but when they do get hit by a virus, they go down. Some of these guys work cheque to cheque and they need the money, so they work with a cold. It just adds to it.”
I understand the pressures people face when they can’t afford to miss work, but I wish everyone could stay home to get better and avoid infecting others. The tips on hand washing, below, are taken from the WorkSafeBC publication Controlling Exposure: Protecting Workers From Infectious Disease.
August 23, 2011
Here’s a story from someone who worked on a film set 10 years ago. She said she inhaled smoke on set and from a nearby paint warehouse – though she didn’t realize it at the time.
“There was a lot of atmospheric smoke on set – and I had to go out for fresh air a LOT,” she said. “Then I noticed the air quality outside progressively getting worse than inside. The police showed up and talked to the assistant locations manager, and the locations department told us the police said it was a nearby house fire.
“We kept working through the night, and on the way home in my car, News 1130 reported the fire as being a paint warehouse that was burning, and that local residents had been evacuated. A couple of years later I was suffering from rhinitis – good luck making a claim with a production company that doesn’t exist any more.” Read more
August 16, 2011
Four pedestrians were killed and three were seriously injured by cars in Vancouver within 10 days this summer. So far in 2011 (seven months into the year) there have been 12 pedestrian fatalities. In all of 2010, nine pedestrians were killed – which is still too many.
These sad numbers are from a Vancouver Province article that reads “Vancouver Police have issued a crackdown on motorists, pedestrians and cyclists after a rise in traffic-related fatalities in the city.”
I followed up with Sgt. Paul Ballard of the VPD Traffic Section.
“We’ve come out in the media to speak to pedestrian safety,” he said. “We want to reiterate our safety message, and say: ‘Don’t be the next one that’s out there.’”
Sgt. Ballard said the VPD is using a “Three E” approach to traffic safety: education, enforcement, and engineering. As far as tickets go, they will range from $86 to 121 depending on which parts of the B.C Motor Vehicle Act or Vancouver Street and Traffic Bylaw 2849 have been violated. They also are filming some new public safety announcements that will be out in September – using Sgt. Ballard’s voice.
What are pedestrians doing wrong?
Sgt. Ballard has been with the VPD for 32 years – 11 of them in traffic division. I asked him to tell me the worst things he sees pedestrians do.
“The most dangerous thing you can do is stop paying attention when you are out in live traffic – people with their heads down, paying attention to their social media, tapping away with their thumbs and they’re not really keeping their heads up and paying attention to their surroundings,” he said.
Another bad behaviour he sees is people at crosswalks rushing across the street when the big, red hand starts to flash.
“It means ‘don’t walk,’ but I think the general impression people have is: ‘better hurry up because it’s going to go to solid red here,’” he said.
Pedestrians also endanger themselves by emerging from parked cars to cross mid-block. Some cross wide, multi-lane streets when there’s a curve in the road. They can’t see what’s coming and drivers can’t see them.
Some pedestrians stand way too close to traffic.
“People will stand on the brink of the curb or one step into the roadway as they wait for the walk signal to come. What difference does it make if you’re five steps back? If a car loses control suddenly, you have some buffer room to get out of the way.”
So be careful out there and refresh your memory with these pedestrian safety resources:
ICBC’s top five pedestrian safety tips for parents – issued July 5, 2011
Walk This Way! Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety – from the Centers for Disease Control
August 09, 2011
Recent media reports have me feeling even more cautious about bear encounters than I was before.
One person was killed by a black bear in BC and others have been injured. CBC reports that people are encountering more bears this year because our cold spring delayed the snow melt, and bears are coming further down the mountains in search of food. Yikes!
Now I’m trying to keep this information in perspective as I prepare for my first camping trip of the summer. I won’t allow my fear to ruin my enjoyment of the woods, so I’m reviewing some bear safety tips that I’ll share with you.
Get bear smart
The Get Bear Smart Society is based in Whistler, and they educate people – including the general public, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement officials – on how to co-exist with bears.
Dr. Lynn Rogers puts things in perspective by pointing out that “each year in the USA and Canada, 1 in 16,000 people commit murder, 1 in 35,000 grizzly bears kills a human, and 1 in 100,000 black bears kills a human,” she writes on the Bear Smart site.
While looking at it that way is a good reality check, I’ll definitely follow these tips offered by Bear Smart while enjoying my trip:
1) Store food and garbage in a bear-proof container or hanging it in a tree
2) Avoid animal carcasses when out walking
3) Travel in a group during daylight hours
4) Alert bears by talking calmly and loudly or singing, especially in dense bush where visibility may be limited or around rivers or streams
5) Obey trail closures and information signs
More bear safety tips
Safety tips for travelling in bear country from Gadling, a travel blog
Bear Safety Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast from Canada Trails
Bear Safety from BC Parks
Bears and People from Parks Canada
Beware of bears and be prepared from WorkSafeBC
August 02, 2011
“Some of these guys are literal artists,” said John Gilder, general manager of the Canadian Materials Handling and Distribution Society.
He was talking about the high skill level of participants at the 14th Annual BC Forklift Rally at the Cloverdale Agriplex on Saturday, June 25, 2011.
“They are on these machines eight hours a day. That’s where their career is spent – on a machine. Some of them are incredible. It’s like the machine is a part of them.” Read more