January 29, 2013
“It’s Your Job: What do you need to make it fair and safe?”
That’s the question posed to youth for the 2013 student safety video contest sponsored jointly by WorkSafeBC and the BC Employment Standards Branch.
The deadline for entries is Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5 p.m. – which means there’s lots of time for BC students in Grades 8 to 12 to have a video ready in time.
If you are a teacher – or you want to suggest this idea to a teacher – check out these contest rules, and consider this advice from Brent Phillips-Watts, a teacher at Port Moody Secondary School, whose students have been contest winners in past years.
I asked Brent what he would say to teachers who are considering the contest for their classrooms.
“Don’t worry about having the best gear or most expensive equipment, it’s the message that makes an impact,” he said. “Spend some time on figuring out exactly what you want to say… They are at the age that many are looking to get a first job, and being reminded of their rights and the danger is a good thing.”
He described how students reacted when they won in past years.
“The students were of course very excited to win. We announce and present the award in front of a large group and they receive some great positive reinforcement, but because the school also receives some money towards new equipment, they are also excited to see what they have won for others to use,” Brent said. “I always let the entire class know that the ‘new Tripods’ are because of the contest and the winner’s names. This is nice because it’s a reminder that students in future classes have something to aim for, and that they get the appreciation from not just current students, but future ones too.”
Last year’s contest had the most participants ever, generating 66 YouTube entries that represented the work of 195 students from 135 schools.
Here’s a winning video created by Port Moody Secondary students last year – a real tear-jerker that actually made me cry when I watched it!
October 23, 2012
I like to see people offering their resources for free to others who share their goals.
“’If you’ve got it, share it, spread it around,’” wrote Aliza Sherman, in The 10 Golden Rules of Social Media, a 2010 blog post cited by many for its description of how we can do good with the tools at hand.
“I’m talking about information, time and knowledge. In social media, sharing is the fuel of the conversation engine.”
Speaking of danger
Have you ever noticed how much people like talking about danger? People who know I write about safety often tell me about dangerous things they see. One recently showed me photos on his phone of some workers doing dangerous landscaping activities. He said they were using the wrong cutting tools for the job, and it looked pretty scary, as he described it.
Talking about danger is a good segue into a discussion on safety. That’s why I like this “visual library of danger” – as I picture it – that WorkSafe Victoria is archiving online. People keep sending in photos – and the winner of this week’s challenge is “another in the series on the misuse of empty plastic drums on construction sites,” reads the Safety Soapbox by WorkSafe Victoria.
“While construction workers have a variety of safe uses for empty drums, using them in this way or as a working platform are not among them.”
The risk of being photographed is one reason to avoid unsafe practices in this day of phone cameras that upload images to the Internet with a few taps of the screen. It’s especially risky when your coworkers might be taking part in a contest to photograph dangerous actions – an unexpected, yet possibly effective, way to encourage safety.
Using empty containers
Here’s another example of unsafe use of an empty container. This hazard alert from WorkSafeBC describes how a worker at a kayak manufacturing company was killed in an explosion caused when his welding torch burned into the surface he was welding on. It was an empty metal container that once contained acetone.
July 10, 2012
Home in one piece: What motivates you, your friends, or your family to come home safely from work?
That was the 2012 theme for the seventh annual WorkSafeBC Student Video Contest – which generated 66 YouTube entries, representing the work of 195 students from 135 schools.
A number of safety organizations sponsored the project and took part in the judging process – using criteria from WorkSafeBC – including ACTSafe, the organization that promotes health and safety in the performing arts and motion picture industries. I spoke with Dawn Brennan, ACTSafe’s general manager, about her experience as a judge.
“It was such an amazing gamut of videos,” Dawn said, describing how she and her staff met and watched them together. ” I love the fact that high school kids took this seriously. The messages were all so varied but interesting, and it was such emotional impact they made. A couple had me in tears.”
Dawn said she enjoyed talking with the creators about their work, when she met them at an awards ceremony. One was very interested in film-making as a career, and Dawn says she is going to distribute the students’ videos to her network of industry contacts.
Congratulations to all winners – see winning vids here – and thanks for doing your part to share an important message.
May 03, 2012
I talked with Kathy, an industry specialist for WorkSafeBC, at the
2012 Western Conference on Safety trade show in Vancouver on April 23. She sits on BC’s NAOSH Week steering committee which judges NAOSH Week award entries.
“On the Day of Mourning, we recognize people who’ve had tragedies and workplace incidents, then the following week is NAOSH Week. That should be the call to action for people – to do something to make the change in their health and safety culture in their organization,” Kathy said. “How can they do that? By having safety meetings, doing training, and there are so many things organizations can do.”
Suggestions on how to take part in NAOSH Week are in the 2012 safety planner – so if you’re not taking part this year, consider what you might do in 2013.
Staff barbecues, earthquake drills, safety video competitions, PPE fashion shows, and take-home quizzes are a few options.
2012 NAOSH Week Launch
This year’s BC launch for NAOSH Week is Monday, May 7, at 10:30 a.m. at the Vancouver Airport (YVR) and the public is welcome.
The April 2012 issue of SkyTalkOnline says YVR’s NAOSH activities through the week include a health and wellness fair, an airside barbecue, and an airside clean-up walk where staff volunteers pick up loose objects like screws, luggage tags, and bits of plastic on the runway and around the terminal.
Winning NAOSH entries
Here’s some interesting NAOSH projects I’ve featured on Speaking of Safety:
What are you doing?
Please let me know – in a comment below – what you’re planning for NAOSH Week.
May 01, 2012
He described them as “literal artists.”
That’s how John Gilder, general manager of the Canadian Materials Handling and Distribution Society, described some of the competitors he’s seen at forklift rallies over the years.
“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,” said John, who I quoted in my post about the 2011 forklift rally.
Now it’s rolled around to that time of year again. On Saturday May 5, 2012, the 15th Annual BC Championship Forklift Rally will take place at the Cloverdale Agriplex.
Forklift operators from around BC will gather to test their knowledge in writing and their skills behind the wheel. For the first time, participants will also have a chance to win one of four pairs of Canucks tickets.
Here’s a link to more info on What is a forklift rally? The public is welcome – so check it out if you’re in the neighbourhood. Here’s what it looks like on video.
April 10, 2012
I’ve been emailing with a safety contact in Oregon, and have some praise to share regarding BC’s young worker safety program.
“We are very familiar with the BC program, and consider it to be the best regarding young worker health and safety,” says Dede Montgomery, an OHS specialist at the Oregon Health and Science University’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology.
Dede co-chairs the the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition – known by its acronym: O[yes]. The coalition formed five years ago, and this is the fourth year they’ve had the video contest.
“Since the inception of O[yes] we have looked to WorkSafeBC as the leader of organizations doing great work creating ways to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses for young people. We believe that collaboration among partners and organizations is critical to our success, and look forward to potential future collaboration with WorkSafeBC,” Dede said via email.
Oregon’s young worker safety video contest
This year, O[yes] received around 50 entries that met the contest rules, and final winners will be announced at a big screening and prize announcement on April 14 in Salem, Oregon. Nine finalist teams will explain how and why they made their videos, speaking before an audience of their peers, OHS specialists, parents, and teachers.
“We know that young people listen to their peers, and have a way of communicating that isn’t always shared by people outside of their age group,” Dede said. “With this video contest, we ask high school students in Oregon to create a video that would inspire their friends about the importance of speaking up in the workplace. In addition to awarding cash prizes to the student producers, and matching prizes to their schools, we use the videos throughout the year in classrooms and workshops, and encourage others to use them as well.”
Good luck to all the students – in BC, Oregon, and any where else people are holding such contests – and thanks to Dede for sharing her story. The Oregon finalists can be viewed on the OregonSafetyHealth YouTube channel. You can visit – and vote for – BC contestants at the WorkSafeBC website.
If you’d like to connect with Dede and her team at Oregon’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, you can:
Follow them on Twitter (where they are @CROETatOHSU)
Like the CROET Facebook Page
Read their blog Oregon and the Workplace
March 01, 2012
The first four entries are posted and I’ve got to say I’m pretty impressed with the creative ways they answer the question: “What motivates you, your friends, or your family to come home safely from work?”
It’s WorkSafeBC’s seventh annual video contest for BC youth in Grades 8 to 12 and from now until April 13, more will be added so you can vote for your favourites.
My 11-yr-old son and I watched the first ones, and both agreed our favourite (so far) is “Because of my cat.” In it, one actor wears costumes of workers in different industries – each of whom had his own quirky reasons for getting home safely. This video makes great use of humour to deliver a serious message and answers the question in its very title.
Using the videos after the contest
Teachers, parents, and employers can use the winning videos long after the contest closes and prizes are awarded. These creative pieces keep on giving: useful in schools, training, and new worker orientation. Entries for past years are available, so have a look.
This delivery – for youth by youth – is seen by many as an effective way to get young people thinking about workplace safety and other important issues. I really enjoyed all the videos, as always, and look forward to more.
Please spread the word if you know any BC students in Grades 8 to 12. Entry deadline: April 13, 2012 at 5 p.m.
January 10, 2012
I’ve been following up with NAOSH (North American Occupational Safety and Health) Week 2011 winners and contacted TJ Garcha, health & safety coordinator for the BC Institute of Technology. He told me about BCIT’s NAOSH Week entry that won them the Educational Institutions category for the fifth year in a row.
In 2011, BCIT turned the NAOSH Week challenge into a WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) challenge. WHMIS training is mandatory for all BCIT employees, so one of the organization’s goals was to increase staff participation in WHMIS training. To be eligible for a prize, BCIT employees had to complete their WHMIS training and then enter their name into the prize pool before the end of NAOSH Week.
This year the prize pool was bigger than ever, with 35 prizes and lots of giveaways from health and safety exhibitors. “Any time there are prizes or incentives involved, the interest level of participants goes up,” said TJ.
Other activities included “lunch and learn” sessions – on topics like “Major Events and Radiation Contamination” and the general NAOSH theme: “Prepared? What’s Your Plan?” – along with online quizzes (one for each of the five NAOSH week days) and a popular kids’ colouring contest.
“Everyone at BCIT was reminded that the more entries they got in, the better chances they had in winning a prize,” TJ said, describing “meal vouchers for use at BCIT eateries, custom hearing protection, high quality ear muffs, and a variety of gift cards from Starbucks, Toys-R-Us and Future Shop.”
Marketing NAOSH Week activities on campus
According to TJ, the campus atmosphere really lends itself to NAOSH participation.
“With a large number of students and employees on campus, advertising and marketing is quite effective and this generates interest for our many events throughout the year,” he said. “Also, with the Exhibition, we didn’t need to invite the community – the event was brought to the community. This approach helps maximize participation.”
BCIT’s health & safety exhibition during NAOSH Week included Acklands Grainger; Alda Pharmaceuticals; ER Plus; Community Fire Prevention Ltd.; F.A.S.T.; Sperian; Mediquest; Custom Protect Ear; WorkSafeBC; Wasserman Partners; Evolution Radio 107.9 FM; BCIT Safety, Security & Emergency Management; BCIT Human Resources; BCIT Audiometric Office; BCIT Recreation Services.
“Overall, NAOSH Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about Health & Safety issues to the community through a variety of different mediums. The awareness benefits everyone,” TJ said. “While organizing these fun and interactive activities, we (the organizers) learn a lot ourselves. The experience is very rewarding.”
Congratulations to BCIT and thanks to TJ for telling me his story. Visit the 2012 NAOSH Week website for more info.
December 08, 2011
“As a supervisor, I do inspections and take feedback from workers to deal with safety issues immediately.”
That’s what aquatics supervisor Chris Cordova wrote in his winning entry to the Raise Your Hand challenge. He had 25 words or less to answer the question “How do you raise your hand for safety at work?” and his answer won him an Xbox game package in this contest I told you about in July.
I emailed Chris to say congrats and ask him about his work – and here’s what he wrote back:
“Working with a lot of young workers, we try to prevent injuries from happening through regular inservice training. This includes how to use safety equipment… [and] we have made daily checklists for the staff to complete such as checking the diving boards to make sure they are secure and making sure none of the overnight staff left chemicals on the pool deck.
“We have regular facility inspections and… things we look for are items such as loose tiles that people could trip on, areas of the pool deck that have lost grip and may be more slippery when wet, checking lane ropes for when they become frayed so that staff don’t cut their fingers, I’m also in charge of inspecting the first aid equipment to make sure that our kits are stocked and ready to use.
“Often with my staff being on the pool deck, and the number of patrons who come into the facility, I’ll learn about safety issues from my staff directly, since my office is close to the lifeguard control room. If I’m not in and if the issue is not severe, staff will usually contact the Building Service Worker and I’ll usually have a post-it note on my door telling me of the issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, I’ll make a decision as to the best course of action whether it be closing a section of the facility, or having a staff member deal with the situation at hand (ie: cleaning). I’ll also check on staff and the facility during my work day to make sure there are no safety issues.”
I found this info on Aquatic Safety Audits from the B.C. & Yukon Branch of the Lifesaving Society
Recently at the pool, I saw some kids having a fight, and was impressed by the lifeguard’s respectful treatment of all involved. Then I found this Sample Anti-Violence Policy for Recreation Facilities from the Government of BC
Congrats again to Chris – and thanks for sharing the extra details on keeping your workers safe at the pool.
December 06, 2011
A group of young warehouse workers at Versacold/EV Logistics in Metro Vancouver found an interesting way to get their coworkers thinking about what it’s like to live with an injury.
During NAOSH Week, workers organized games like eye-patch basketball, one-armed slap-shot, and one-legged golf putting – and this is one of the reasons they were chosen as best overall winner in BC’s NAOSH Week competition for 2011.
Mike Stephens, occupational health and safety manager for the Versacold’s Western Canada region, said planning for safety week begins by asking for volunteers – known as “Safety Week Champions” – to be the lead organizers for events at their facility.
“They found a way to reach out to the employees so they get the message, and they also have fun doing it,” Mike said. “At the EV Logistics locations, the workforce is largely made up of young males. One of the things of interest to young males is sports – like basketball and hockey.”
Other activities held throughout the region included a partnership with the Canadian Blood Service to hold a blood drive clinic, multiple in-house forklift rally competitions, evacuation drills, health and fitness seminars, and more.
“We have participated in NAOSH week in the region since 2006. It is a great opportunity to focus on safety initiatives, have some fun and take some time to reflect on the importance of working safe every day in our jobs,” Mike said, describing what he likes about NAOSH Week.
“It’s good to see people get really enthused about safety. The safety champions at each facility are great at developing new innovative and creative ideas to promote safety during NAOSH Week. The really rewarding part is the cultural change in our employees and overall improvements to safety in our organization.”
Mike accepted the award on behalf of Versacold, but he gave credit to the many others who made NAOSH Week a success.
“I’ve got to hand it to the people at our facilities – the managers, the champions that sponsored and put on these events. They’re the ones who really deserve the recognition. They’re the ones who put the time and effort in. I’m just the overall organizer.”
Thanks to Mike and congrats to Versacold/EV Logistics.