Archives for September 2012

Eyewear Safety – Emergency Action For Injuries

Eye Safety
Eyewear safety must always be a top priority.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, construction workers have one of the highest eye injury rates, so it’s important they have the proper eyewear safety equipment.  Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting and comfortable PPE can prevent eye fatigue and headaches and other common and more serious eye injuries caused by the following:

  • Scrap materials, waste, and windblown dust
  • Flying material particles or slivers from wood, metal, plastic, and cement
  • Chemicals or chemical products
  • Falling or misdirected objects
  • UV light from welding torches

Here’s what to do to improve eyewear safety: In case of the following eye injuries or incidents according to the National Eye Institute and other health and safety agencies. Be sure there are clean eye wash stations, eye wash solutions and a first aid kit easily accessible.

Specks in the Eye

  • Do not rub the eye.
  • Flush the eye with large amounts of water.
  • See a doctor if the speck does not wash out or if pain or redness continues.

Cuts, Punctures, and Foreign Objects in the Eye

  • Do not wash out the eye.
  • Do not try to remove a foreign object stuck in the eye.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Chemical Burns

  • Immediately flush the eye with water or any drinkable liquid. Open the eye as wide as possible. Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes. For caustic or basic solutions, continue
flushing while on the way to medical care.
  • If a contact lens is in the eye, begin flushing over the lens immediately. Flushing may dislodge the lens.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Eyewear SafetyBlows to the Eye

  • Apply a cold compress without pressure, or tape crushed ice in a plastic bag to the forehead and allow it to rest gently on the injured eye.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if pain continues, if vision is reduced, or if blood or discoloration appears in the eye.


Don’t Lose Sight of Safety

Seton Canada wanted to have a little fun while getting the job safety message out to those who manage workers, particularly young workers. Know any? Feel free to pass it along…

Young Workers: Training The ‘Nintendo Generation’

As the Baby Boom generation prepares to retire, the biggest issue facing the mining industry is how to bridge gaps in the physical skill set of young workers, or what employers call the “Nintendo Generation”.

Training young workers “is the biggest safety issue in mining,” says workplace safety expert Alan Quilley, President of Safety Results, an Alberta-based job safety consulting firm.

That concern can be extended to any industry where mechanical know-how is essential.

Young workers whose problem solving skills were largely developed in front of a computer face an information gap when they move into jobs that require manual skills.

“My generation of workers entered the work world with much more exposure to mechanical skills,” says Quilley. “My father taught me how to rewire a house when I was a teenager. I have five children. Not one of them has shown any interest whatsoever in taking apart an engine.

“That’s not to say they’re not capable. But they have not grown up in that atmosphere.”

Quilley maintains that young workers entering mining and other industries are better educated, smarter and “more than capable” of being trained to do the job safely.

“We have to be patient,” he says. “We can’t just wish the gap did not exist. It’s wrong to say they ‘know nothing’.”

Young workers’ “experience gap” presents management with fresh opportunities to create a safer work environment, Quilley argues. These advantages include:

  • No ‘fossilized’ bad work habits, short cuts, small acts of carelessness learned long ago and brought to the job
  • A new style of problem-solving skills, greater familiarity with technology and an ability to adapt quickly to technological changes
  • Attitudes that embrace ‘personal’ learning styles and are resistant to one-size-fits-all, top-down training

“We need to ask young workers: what works for you? What do you need to know to feel safe on the job? And let them reflect on that,” says Quilley.

“It might seem effective to just make a safety training DVD and away we go. But it’s not effective. Young workers don’t respond to a safety rule lecture. It’s a more organic, problem-solving process.”



Safety Training Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Safety Training Boring

Why is most safety training so boring? And so easily forgotten?

The safety training question is one Algoma University business professor and researcher Cathy Dénommé puzzles over all the time.

Dénommé’s research confirms her worst fears: Many young workers do not learn or retain the information and safety training they’re given to stay safe on the job.

“We have great information, cover all the bases, present it in what we think are interesting ways,” she says.

“But it is simply not effective.”

Dénommé complains of the apparent ‘disconnect’ between flashy videos, lectures with all manner of Power Point illustrations and interactive online courses and what young workers, in particular, are able to retain from all of it.

“They’re ‘taking the training’ but the training is not being retained,” she says.

Denomme says safety training is best retained when trainers keep in mind the outcomes they want to achieve and let their ‘students’ take them down paths of inquiry.

“We have to personalize safety training. We have to do what I call ‘training without a net.’”

Alan Quilley, an Edmonton-based work safety consultant agrees.

“Safety training is a conversation – not a lecture or a course delivered top-down,” says Quilley.

Quilley described one specific training situation.

  • Heavy machinery operators were asked: Do you feel safe doing your job?
  • When the new operators replied no, top-notch operators were brought in and asked: What are all the things you need to know when operating heavy equipment?
  • The experienced workers talked and lists were made.
  • The new operators were trained.
  • Then they had to demonstrate to the experienced operators that they had absorbed the training and knew how to operate safely.

“You have to do the loop!” says Quilley. “Any kind of shortcut in that process is probably going to result in accidents.”

Dénomme and her Algoma U. colleagues presented their research results at a conference of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering in September, 2012, where they engaged safety manager in on-your-feet techniques to help younger workers retain safety training. Seton Canada was a proud sponsor of the workshop.

“We want to engage our audience in some meaningful training exercises – just to get a feel for what works and what does not. We hope to challenge people to be better trainers of young workers.”



Eye Safety Stats

Eye Safety Seton

Protect your eyes. Wear the right PPE for the circumstance and don’t take chances with eye safety. 200 Canadians injure their eyes a day on the job. Don’t be a stat! It’s only funny until…well, you know.

Eye Injuries At Work

Safety Eye

Every day, there are more than 200 eye injuries at work in Canada.

Construction workers have one of the highest eye injury rates.

According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 90% of these injuries are preventable.

So, what’s wrong? What’s causing so many workplace eye injuries?

Be Proactive – Prevent Eye Injuries At Work

Warren Spires, National Director of the CNIB’s Eye Safety Program, says you have to take a proactive approach to improving eye safety at work.

Here are the 9 most common causes of eye injuries at work:

  1. Flying objects – bits of metal, nails, glass, stone or wood
  2. Unsafe handling of tools
  3. Particles such as sand and sawdust
  4. Chemical splashes
  5. Radiation
  6. Sparks and slag from welding and cutting
  7. Pipes and wire sticking out of walls
  8. Objects hanging from ceilings
  9. Sun and wind

Among those, the most common are sharp objects, metal or nails, according to an August 2012 study by CNIB senior researcher Dr. Keith Gordon in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.

The Most Serious Eye Injuries Cause Vision Loss

Hammering on metal can send metal slivers flying or something as simple as a rebounding nail are the most serious eye injuries. They can result in vision loss.

“Everyone has to be educated about how to wear the right eye protection for each specific job. Different jobs demand different types of eye protection,” Spires says.

“That means managers, supervisors, workers – everyone on site. People have to be reminded on a day-to-day basis to think eye safety.”

But education has to be effective. On-the-job training and constant supervision really makes the difference, says Spires.

If a senior manager or supervisor comes onto a work site not wearing any eye protection at all because it’s not required, Spires says that undermines any educational safety message workers are given. It shows them that eye safety isn’t important or valuable.

“You have to walk the walk,” Spires says. “Everybody has to be accountable for their eye safety, at work, at play and at home.”

It depends on the situation and all equipment, whether it’s safety glasses, goggles, shields or helmets must be CSA approved and appropriate to the job specifications, he says.

The most common reason workers give for not wearing PPE is“I didn’t think I needed it.”

On a construction site, where the environment can change from minute to minute, workers, especially young workers, have to be shown what Personal Protective Eyewear is demanded – and supervised.

“Humans don’t know what they don’t know,” is a universal truth for Alberta-based safety consultant Alan Quilley of Safety Results.

Eliminate Hazards And Risks At Work

Eye protection is a critical in maintaining your workers eye health. Equally important is eliminating risk factors and hazards and preventing injuries.

Do you have a sound emergency plan in place in case of an accident?

Do you know where your first aid kit is? Or what hospital to call?

What steps are you taking to make ensure your workers eye safety?

Why not leave a comment and share some of your eye safety strategies.












Eye Health Month

October is Eye Health Month, an initiative of the Canadian Association of Optometrits. It’s a great opportunity for everyone everywhere, no matter in which industry or sector you work, to think about eye protection on the job and eye health in general.

Of course, you need the right PPE.

But eye health runs more deeply than that. If you can’t see properly, you run the risk of hurting yourself or someone else.

So if you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while, consider Eye Health Month as a kick in the pants to book an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Seton Eye Safety


Expert Council To Advise On Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Ontario’s new Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis has a mammoth task in transforming the workplace safety culture of the province’s labour pool, but he’s not alone.

Gritziotis was founding executive director of the Construction Sector Council in 2001 before becoming Canada’s first CPO. His experience was mainly in construction, though he was also involved in residential, institutional and commercial, heavy industrial and civil engineering sectors. “Workplace Safety was embedded” in all the work he did at the CSC which focused on developing programs such as training and mentoring.

In his new post, Gritziotis will be receiving expert advice and support from a recently established “Prevention Council.” This volunteer 11-member council will meet four times a year and includes senior professionals from industry, labour and non-labour groups, the WSIB, and an academic occupational health and safety expert.

“We were looking for champions, visionaries, people that can play a leadership role in the development of an occupational health and safety strategy,” Gritziotis says. It was imperative that this group understand the diverse “needs of all workplaces and all parts of the province.”

Labour Representatives

Patrick Dillon – Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. He is a 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medallist for his “outstanding contribution to the Province of Ontario and the people of Canada.

Colin Grieve – Occupational Disease Worker Advocate for Hamilton and Ontario Professional Firefighters. An ex-police officer and ex- firefighter, he sits on the Boards of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers and the Research Advisory Council for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Nancy Hutchison – Secretary Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour, belongs to eight different boards including the Workers Health and Safety Centre and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers.

Bryan Neath – Regional Director, Ontario, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada oversees planning and coordinating programs and initiatives for youth, labour education and health and safety.

Occupational Safety And Health

Graeme Norval – Associate Chair and Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto has expertise in the manufacture and handling of inorganic chemicals.


Michael Oxley – President and Chief Financial Officer, DuPont Canada sits on the Board of the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association and is Chair of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada.

Gloria Rajkumar – Founder and CEO, SIMAC Canada, Inc. (Superior Independent Medical Assessment Centres) received the 2011 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, among others, and she belongs to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Toronto Board of Trade.

Roy Slack – President, Cementation Canada, Inc. was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2007 and 2008.

John Sauger, Executive Vice President, Project Management and Construction, Bruce Power

Non-Union Representative

Linda Vannucci – Director, Toronto Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic, represents low-income non-union workers and acts for injured workers at WSIB Appeal Resolution Office and Tribunals.

Workplace Safety Insurance Board 

Susanna Zagar – Chief Strategist at the WSIB, former Associate Deputy Minister at Infrastructure Ontario and Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy, Program Development and Dispute Resolution Services for the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Vintage Workplace Safety Posters

RoSPA Vintage Workplace Safety Poster   "Accidents are NOT Casual" Workplace Safety Poster   Vintage Workplace Safety Poster Virginia Department of Labour

Workplace safety is a relatively recent idea. In the early 20th century, for example, Canadians who chose to work in fields such as mining or construction accepted that accidents were apart of the job and workplace safety was basic common sense.

Thankfully, that has changed.

Still essential in the safety landscape today, posters pre-date safety signs. In fact, until laws were passed making signage mandatory to warn workers of the dangers in the workplace, governments, insurance companies and employers were creating awareness building posters to warn workers of the inherent dangers of their jobs.

Seton is very well known for safety signs, which are very different from posters. Safety signs are alerts for potential hazards that compromise workplace safety. Posters often help personalize or contextualize tips through artwork depicting real life settings, slogans and otherwise remind workers how to avoid workplace safety hazards.

Until workplace safety signage was mandatory, governments, advisory councils, employers and insurance companies produced posters to help keep people safe. Today, signs and posters play an important role in helping to keep workers safe.

Here is a collection of retro workplace safety posters from around the world. Some are funny, others are gory, but every one of these posters tells a story of a very different time when workers didn’t always wear safety gear and high heels weren’t always regarded as inappropriate jobsite footwear.

ROSA safety poster   Vintage Workplace Safety Poster   Vintage Workplace Safety Poster - You're Left Out With Hearing Loss

Workplace Safety Poster Vintage - ROSPA   Soviet Accident Poster  circa 1920 Source: Workplace Safety Posters


The vintage workplace safety posters shown in this post can be found at the following locations on the web:

  1. “Sensible Shoes Protect Your Feet” (Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)
  2. Accidents are caused NOT CASUAL! Spanish, USA 1960 (Source: Nimins Shop)
  3. “Safety is better than compensation.” 1940 -1975 Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Labour and Industry (Source:
  4. Beware of the Swarf! 1940. The Royal Society For The Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). 
     (Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)
  5. Cables & Hose must be planked over or tied overhead. National Safety Council (Source: Nimin’s Shop)
  6. You’re Left Out With Hearing Loss. 1960 National Safety Council, USA. 
(Source: Vintage Goodness)
  7. “You’re not paid to take risks”  1961 RoSPA (Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)
  8. “Don’t Walk on Fish” Soviet Russia Accident Prevention Poster. Date unknown. (Source: Retronaut)
  9. “Rescue from Live Wire” National Safety Council (Source: Nimins Shop)

Safety Poster Spells Change For Workplaces

It’s bright. It’s bold. And it’s mandatory.

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour recently launched a new workplace safety poster – with a difference.

“Poster campaigns aren’t new, but making this one mandatory is new,” says George Gritziotis, Ontario’s new Chief Prevention Officer.

Starting on October 1, this safety poster headlined “Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here” must be a fixture in “conspicuous locations” in every workplace in the province.

Workplace Safety Must Become Habitual

It’s the first step in a wide-ranging and ambitious plan to make safety on the job as habitual as putting on your safety belt when you get into your car.

Eventually, standardized safety awareness and training programs will be compulsory for every workplace sector, but for now, there is this poster.

[Read more…]