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.
December 13, 2011
“Do you really need to go?”
That’s the first question to ask ourselves before we drive in harsh winter weather, according to the folks behind the Shift Into Winter campaign.
If you really do need to drive, for work or other reasons, here are seven steps to safety, taken from WorkSafeBC’s Prepare Yourself for Winter Driving:
- Check the current road conditions and weather forecast. Listen to the radio, TV and visit DriveBC.ca.
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Leave lots of time so you’re not rushing to get to where you need to be and try to travel during daylight.
- Learn winter road skills.
- Keep at least four seconds distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement while driving.
- Have an emergency plan. If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth. If you have a cell phone and it is an emergency, call 911.
Shift Into Winter
Joanna Wyatt, project leader for the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, emailed to suggest I write a blog post about winter driving safety – so here it is. I wrote about this topic last year in my post Help for the snowphobic. I described my personal safety tactic for winter roads – i.e. not driving on them -and this is what I will do again this year. I’ll walk or take transit if I have to go out in the snow.
How do you feel about driving in the snow? Have any tips to share? Seen any stranded drivers lately? Tell us about it in the Comments box.
November 03, 2011
At this point in the year, many young workers are back in school after summer jobs – but others work throughout the year.
People in this age group (15 to 24) have a higher injury rate, and here in BC, on average 28 young workers are injured every day, says WorkSafeBC. That’s why folks like Sharon Barbour visit high schools and job centres to talk with young workers about their rights. She worked with the BC Federation of Labour’s Young Workers program a few years ago and has many good memories of the young people she met.
“Some of them were kids who had never had jobs, and they were already saying: ‘Ya but if I start refusing work, he’s just going to get someone else to do it,” said Sharon, who told youth it’s illegal for an employer to do that.
“The employer may not be looking out for you the way your teachers do. The employers are trying to make money and sometimes they might ask you to do really stupid things.”
Using video to spark conversation
Sharon showed them Lost Youth – a WorkSafeBC video about four young people injured at work. Then she started by asking who was at fault in the videos.
“The first thing they came up with was: ‘He shouldn’t have been standing there’ and ‘He should have known not to do that.’ Their first instinct is to blame the kids,” she said. “Then I asked: ‘Yeah, but was she trained on this machine? Did she understand how it was supposed to be used? Was there anyone there with her helping?’ I showed them what the employer could have done.”
Thanks to Sharon and all others looking out for our young workers. Here’s the full version of Lost Youth on YouTube (with language that may be offensive to some) that supervisors, educators, and parents can use as conversation openers.
October 27, 2011
A Canadian safety magazine has announced its first annual list of Canada’s Safest Employers. I was curious to find out more about who is on the list, how they were chosen, and why the magazine decided to start a new award program, so I emailed Mari-Len De Guzman, editor of Canadian Occupational Safety to find out more.
“We wanted to create a national recognition program for companies that deserve to be acknowledged for going above and beyond in promoting health and safety in the workplace,” Mari-Len said, via email.
In its first year, the contest attracted more than 100 employers whose nominations were judged by a a panel of reps from Canadian workplace safety organizations, including WorkSafeBC.
Social media shout-out
Many of the nominees responded to a call for nominations on the COS Online website www.cos-mag.com, via Twitter – @cosmagazine, the COS Facebook Group, and on COS’s YouTube channel. Acklands-Grainger, the national founding sponsor for the Canada’s Safest Employers Award program, and other people and organizations also promoted it through their social media channels.
Manufacturing was the award team’s focus for this first year and in 2012, targets will include construction, mining, oil and gas, natural resources, and the service industries. Nominations for 2012 will open in December 2011 – and as a born and bred BC resident, I’m hoping to see some representation from my home province.
“We are planning to work with the various industry safety associations in all provinces and solicit their support in both judging the nominations and/or helping us promote the award to their member companies to encourage more submissions,” Mari-Len said.
Five winners were honoured September 27 by Canada’s Labour Minister Lisa Raitt in Toronto. In the coming weeks, I’ll follow up with more details about what they did to earn the honour. Congratulations to:
- Atotech Canada (Ontario)
- CCI Thermal Technologies (Ontario)
- GE Aviation (Quebec)
- Innovative Automation (Ontario)
- Pratt & Whitney Canada – Halifax Operations (Nova Scotia)
Here’s a link to Mari-Len’s article rounding up the first year of the award.
June 07, 2011
“You need to listen to us and ask.”
That’s the message from a retail store manager talking to her company’s CEO – except she doesn’t know he’s the CEO because he’s visiting the store undercover, wearing a bad wig, fake moustache, and nerdy glasses.
It’s all part of a WorkSafe Victoria campaign in Australia called The Skeleton Project: Baring the bones on workplace safety. The retail CEO toured the store as a “safety researcher” as staff showed him all the risky spots. He’s one of three CEOs – in different industries – who go incognito and take a close-up look at the hazards their workers face. The experience turns out to be quite eye-opening.
WorkSafe Victoria offers a viewing guide for employers who want to show the video to their workers and generate discussion on safety. There’s a also a downloadable questionnaire for workers to fill out after they’ve watched the video. Their feedback can be shared with senior management and lead to solutions – some of which may be quite small, all things considered.
You can view each episode by clicking on a CEO’s image at the Skeleton Project Website. Here’s the trailer for the campaign, on YouTube.
May 31, 2011
What better way to deliver a safety message to youth than to let them craft it themselves? That’s what happened when 145 students from 19 BC schools participated in WorkSafeBC’s sixth annual video contest. From 42 submissions came five winning entries – each excellent in its own way, with wacky teen humour, excellent editing, and powerful messages.
This year’s theme was “Overexposed: What you may not see can kill you”, resulting in videos on invisible hazards such as mould, silica, and dust as well the potential hazards of wearing iPods in the workplace.
That theme was chosen, says WorkSafeBC, in order to help raise awareness among youth that work behaviours today can affect their health tomorrow (in other words, not just old people get hurt and sick on the job). It looks like it worked.
Congratulations to all!
May 26, 2011
After the Canucks’ winning goal in double overtime on Tuesday night, playoff fever is rampant is this neck of the woods.
It’s been an exciting series, with more than its share of injuries and violence. While some might say we expect hockey players to rough each other up on the ice, we also know that everyone has the right to do their job without being seriously injured in the process.
Take health care workers, for example. Many people don’t realize that health care workers face violence and threats at work nearly every day. According to this hockey-themed video, there are more than 700 violent incidents reported each year on Vancouver Island alone.
Let’s do all we can to look out for people who are caring for others’ lives – and Go Canucks!!!
May 03, 2011
I saw an amazing video about a man who survived by staying calm. The Safe Workplace, an Oregon blog, published a link to it.
Stay Calm and Stay in the Cab tells the story of an American bulldozer operator who was buried in a hole on a raw coal stockpile. He was prepared and so were his coworkers, who dug out his bulldozer – with him in the cab – in just under two hours.
“Because of the safety features his company installed after a previous accident, Roger is alive to tell us his story,” the video tells us.
Roger describes what he did when his bulldozer was sucked into an air pocket in the coal. He took out his self-rescue kit, adjusted the ventilation in the cab, and then waited calmly, thinking of his family.
It’s inspiring to see how Roger’s calm response pulled him through grave danger. This video, from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, shows an amazing example of best practices. It’s 11 minutes long, and well-worth every moment – a great rescue story with a happy ending.
April 28, 2011
A worker on a steep roof slipped and shot himself in the leg with a nail-gun. My friend Darcy Olsen told me about this incident, answering my ongoing request for stories about workplace danger.
It was a hot, humid day in Ottawa in 2005. Darcy and his crew of eight were putting shingles on a multi-phase townhouse re-roof project. Certified in Level 3 Occupational First Aid, Darcy was a skilled tradesman in charge of site safety and emergencies.
“I had gone over the safety issues of using toe-boards on the steep sections with everyone,” Darcy wrote, via Facebook message. “I was on a northern section of roof after setting everyone to their tasks. We had an exuberant young apprentice shingler working another section.”
Toe-boards are part of a roofer’s fall protection system. They are long boards – usually 2×6 or 2×8 – installed along the roof edge.
“My lead hand came over and called me to the scene. Young Ben had decided that he didn’t need any toe-boards on his steep section and was working with only his fall-harness,” Darcy wrote. “But, due to the heat, which makes shingles very soft, he slipped in his harness.
“He was using an air-powered roofing coil nailer with 1.25-inch coil nails in it. He had been keeping his finger on the trigger as he moved about – a habit I had previously reprimanded him for. A softened shingle had torn loose under his body weight and, as he slipped, he shot himself just above the left knee with his air nailer – lodging it firmly into the bone.
“By the time I got to where he was, he was in a semblance of shock, but members of the crew had managed to get him to the 4/12 section of roof. I immediately called 911 for a steep-roof rescue and the fire department came to aid. I stayed with him until the fire department showed up with a telescoping basket to remove him.
“He spent three days in the hospital, and the the time loss for him was only a few weeks. It could’ve been a lot worse if he had shot himself a few inches lower in the kneecap.
“It was a serious safety lesson for the entire crew,” Darcy wrote.
WorkSafeBC’s nail-gun safety series
Darcy’s story made me think of these (fairly gory!) videos on nail-guns and other potentially dangerous power tools: You’re a Pro: Power Tool Series
April 12, 2011
A video clip from WorkSafeBC got me thinking about my own experiences travelling on BC’s logging roads.
Once I went camping with some friends outside Bella Coola, in a beautiful spot, up a logging road – also known as a “resource road,” used by industry. The mountains, water, forest, and fresh air were amazing, but when a fully loaded logging truck thundered by, I got pretty worried.
My companions, who were from the area, insisted it was safe. We had already braved the narrow switchback roads through the Chilcotin Mountains driving from Vancouver to Bella Coola in my Ford pickup. One of my friends took over the driving after Williams Lake – all downhill, through the peaks, into the valley that led to their town. When he pretended to lose control of the brakes, my heart skipped a few beats. Read more