Archives for October 2012

Job Safety Apps Make Life Easier

Safety Apps

Looking for a new tool to add to your job safety toolbox? Try your mobile phone.

With the number of apps in Apple’s AppStore quickly approaching 1 million and Android doing its best to catch up, mobile devices have transcended the basic telephone to quickly become a versatile, pocket assistant.

Even if you don’t personally use them, you need to keep up with what job safety apps are out there. Why? Project Managers swear by them and young workers were practically issued smart phones at birth. Knowing what tools make their jobs safer makes your life easier and the jobsite a more productive place.

We’ll do a round up on can’t-live-without-job-safety-apps from time to time but here are a few to get you started:

1.  Safety Observation by Health Safety Works Pty Ltd – FREE

This app allows staff, contractors or anyone else on a worksite to record details of any unsafe observation encountered in the field. It then reports the hazard to a preferred contact. The app also provides information on how to fix the problem and how to stop it from happening again.

2.  First Aid by American Red Cross – FREE (Android and iPhone)

It doesn’t hurt to have a first aid manual always in arms reach. Accidents  happen! This app features Red Cross approved videos, interactive quizzes and  simple step by step advice for instant information on how to handle first  aid emergencies.

3. Crane & Rigger by Crane & Rigger Applications – FREE

This is a useful app for construction workers that provides capacity charts on rigging items, calculate common rigging and load formulas and more. It’s missing timber & beam loading charts but otherwise, it’s a fairly useful app for quick reference. The basic app is free with add on features priced separately.

4. The Workplace Safety North (WSN) News App – FREE

This app was created to guide participants through their annual Mining  Health and Safety conference with a list of speakers, sessions and trade  show information. However, the Ministry of Labour is diligent in updating  the app twice a week with news of hazard alerts, legislation changes, events  and webinars.

5. WorkSafeBC OHS Regulation by – FREE

This mobile app allows users to search and browse the OHS Regulations, Prevention Policies, OHS Guidelines, and WCB Standards. A scaled down app in comparison to some of the others on the list, but it is a useful reference for BC workers who need access to OHS information.

Have a safety app you can’t live without? Let us know. We’ll try and feature it in a future app roundup.

Canada’s Oil Industry: Five Facts

Seton Canada

Canada’s oil industry is thriving.  Consider this: Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Almost all of exported Canadian oil goes to the United States – 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: Natural Resources Canada

Canada’s proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil is the second-largest in the world, after Saudi Arabia’s 267 billion. Source: Oil & Gas Journal Alberta accounts for two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source Natural Resources Canada

The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: Canada Energy Research Institute


Continuing Conversation Crucial to Mine Safety

At AREVA Resources Canada Inc’s McClean Lake mine, lunch is served up every day with a healthy side of safety.

That’s because a traffic light has been installed by the cafeteria.

Green means it was an accident free day and all is good. Yellow means a near miss happened. Red means there’s been an incident perhaps requiring first aid, even if it’s just a cut finger. Red also applies to more significant incidents including serious injuries, environmental or radiation events.

“We like to see green,” said Mary Lo, Safety Specialist at AREVA.

The McClean Lake plant is among the world’s most technologically advanced mine and mill in northern Saskatchewan and produces 3,000 metric tons of high grade uranium annually although the mill is in care and maintenance mode as they are not currently mining. While their workforce fluctuates, they have about 350 people including employees and contractors, split into two shifts of 175 on site at any given time.

Mining SafetyThe traffic light concept really works, Lo believes, because it’s in a location where everyone of the employees will visit at least once a day and it keeps the conversation about safety at the top of the mind.

“I think that’s one of our biggest challenges in safety,  that is keeping the communication going. It’s hard especially at McClean Lake because it’s a fly-in location, where we run flights up with incoming shifts and bring back the outgoing shifts almost every day. Employees live on site but not everyone is there all at the same time.”

Working at a mine poses unique safety challenges and there are many stakeholders we communicate and liaise with as she has seen over the last nine years she’s been employed with AREVA.

“We have approximately 15 to 20 stakeholders in safety including employees, communities, federal inspectors, provincial inspectors, the union and they each have their point of view and requirements We need to address everyone’s concerns adequately so effective communication is critical.” she said.

“Technology has changed things too,” she said noting the mine is an open pit with heavy equipment. “All our cabs are filtered and, of course, ergonomically designed not just for comfort but to avoid strain on the operator.”

Automation also means requiring fewer people on the ground and therefore less likely to come in contact with hazards.

“We also installed computer terminals around the plant so everyone has access,” she said. “They’re all connected to the company intranet so that way if employees  have any questions about any process or procedure they can look it up and we use them for orientation. Employees can also access the computers for up to date safety notices, and safety incidents.

Keeping ahead of best practices in the industry is another task, she said, and so her team also attends seminars and conferences and reads materials in reports and magazines to ensure they’re on the leading edge. In addition, they are also a member of the Saskatchewan Mining Association which shares best practices, hosts various safety and health presentations and allows for networking in the mining industry. In fact, the traffic light innovation came about after her health and safety team leader learned about it as a best practice from another company.

McClean Lake also has a safety day shutdown each year which runs over two days to reach out to all shifts and talk about safety and mining operations, as well as health, environmental and radiation protection issues.

“We call it Safety Day and we shut down the entire mill operations all day and gather everyone and various groups such as the union, the OHC, the EH&S group make a presentation,” she said. “Employees can also present and last year one of our electricians made their own presentation.”

Still, she said, no matter how good the program it won’t work unless the people it’s intended to protect embrace it.

“Without employee engagement it’s useless,” she said. “It’s the people who make it work.”

When the work cycle becomes mundane and routine, she said, attention levels can drop and that’s where every workplace safety program has to focus, to ensure that safety is always top of mind.



Workplace Safety: Zombie Attack!

Job Safety

Zombies. They’re everywhere and let’s face it, they’re not easy to manage. They’re immortal, what with being dead and all, and sometimes they can be a bad influence on others in the workplace.

Even if it weren’t for their gashed faces and green skin, you can tell a zombie by what they do on site.

Five sure signs of zombie work habits are:

  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Lacking the capacity to think and problem solve
  • Not wearing their PPE
  • Ignoring common safety hazards
  • Cutting corners and rushing through a job

So how do we contain the infection and stop the zombie worker force from spreading?

One of the major problems with young zombie workers is that they can’t really speak and so are sometimes hesitant to ask questions or report safety hazards that would clearly pose a threat to their living workers.

But managers should remember that while the undead possess an insatiable lust for brains, this rather gruesome habit can be modified to improve workplace safety. How? Instead of eating brains have your zombie feed on knowledge. According to the Canadian Zombie Health & Safety Manual, feeding a zombie knowledge helps provide a safe and accident-free workplace.

Since working with at least one or two zombies is unavoidable, it is the responsibility of the living to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment and provide a positive influence on their undead colleagues.

Unless it’s your hope to grow or join their army of the undead – and we’re guessing it’s not – then the best plan is to make sure zombies adhere to the safety precautions outlined in your training. The living should always lead by example, cast an observant eye at all times, be a team player and enforce safety regulations regardless of the motivations of their zombie workmates.

All living workers are potential mentors for the zombie workforce.

Remember, just because the undead have already faced death once in their existence, doesn’t mean they can’t face it again.

First step? Identify the zombies on your worksite. If you observe a co-worker who has unsafe practices that might endanger you or other life-loving workers, do something. If you are a co-worker, approach the issue with your supervisor. They will tackle the issue with the zombie and help to remind them that their failure to observe safety practices is not tolerated in the world of the living.

If you are a supervisor, contain the virus as quickly as possible or it will infect everyone else.

Creating a safe environment is a team objective that will help prevent the zombie virus from spreading.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Job Safety: 5 Steps To Avoid MSI Injuries

Safety Seton

When it comes to job safety, constant awareness is critical. Even lifting a box can cause a serious work related MSI injury.  The WSIB’s five step program to avoiding work-related MSI injuries should always be top of mind.

Workplace Safety: Pain In The Workplace

Pain In The Workplace

For some people, work can be a pain.

We’re talking real pain here, as in strains, sprains, pulls, tears and inflammation caused by lifting, shifting or just sitting.

What you’re moving around doesn’t have to be heavy, either. The truth is that if you’re  lifting heavy boxes with no regard to technique or proper equipment then you’re going to hurt something.

Of greater concern is the worker who finds out after 10 years of making the same motion on the job – even just clicking a mouse or twisting a screw driver– that they’ve inflicted permanent damage on their body.

From the construction sites of St. John’s to the mines of Fort McMurray, Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI), also called Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD) or Repetitive Motion Injury (RMI) are among the most common of workplace injuries.

Whatever you call it, it hurts both physically and financially.

WorkSafe BC says after falls, it’s the most common type of injury, making up about a quarter of all claims. The average time lost in that province is 62 days for each claim.

In Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) says they account for 40 per cent of all lost-time claims.

Most at risk are those doing repetitive work, exerting force, working in either awkward positions or in static posture, experiencing constant stress or pressure. And workers are most at risk near the end of the shift or workweek when their attention is as out the door as they soon will be.

Employers have a responsibility under health and safety rules to “take all precautions” and to enact best practices to protect their workers which means integrating an MSI prevention program in the workplace.

But how?

As with any aspect of workplace safety, supervisors must be empowered to recognize a problem and marshal resources to deal with it and to react positively when an employee reports an issue.

Employees too must play their part, maintaining safety focus throughout the shift and week. With some frequency, they need to remind themselves to:

  • ensure their posture is balanced and correct
  • not over reach
  • change how they use their main working hand in a repetitive task
  • stretch between actions
  • maintain their own fitness levels
  • be aware of and report anything which could be a hazard to their supervisor or manager immediately while also reporting any symptoms of strain which might be work related

The WSIB suggests a five step program to avoiding work-related MSI:

1. Set standards and expectations around how work is executed incorporating an MSI prevention strategy. Seek out and recognize MSI hazards through:

    • inspections
    • surveys
    • reports

Map out how that research will be done and how often and review and audit those tools

2. Communicate your expectations, identify who “needs to know” about MSI, plan how you will communicate (videos, posters, training)

3. Train everyone in MSI hazard awareness and prevention, early signs and symptoms, keep record of who has been trained in what

4. Audit the standards and expectation created in Step 1 to determine if they should be updated, review records and reports of MSI injuries; continue to reinforce the message

5. Evaluate to determine if the expectations set in Step 1 were met, and celebrate and acknowledge success

The goal, of course, is to continue to improve workplace safety around muscular strains and injuries. That can only be done if managers are committed to regular audits to determine when, where and how they have occurred in the past, and what needs to happen to prevent them from happening in the future.


Seton Safety Canada

Photo by Dennis Chui.

If you haven’t registered yet for the 13th annual Buildex Calgary, Alberta’s largest, most expansive Trade Show and Conference, you’ll want to right away.

This is one of the best shows to get up close and personal with some of the newest developments in construction technologies and the latest building trends to help you improve your cost-efficiency and increase your productivity – safely.

When: Tuesday, November 7 and Wednesday November 8
Where: The BMO Centre in Calgary’s Stampede Park
Who: All professionals working in Construction & Renovation, Interior Design & Architecture and Property Management

With more than 4,000 people attending, Show Director Paul Maryschak says this year’s Buildex Calgary will be a great place to network with a vast pool of industry leaders, experts and your professional peers.

“Our theme is Network. Educate. Discover,” he said. There will be more than 225 exhibitors and 35 seminars. “Everyone attending will be able meet and learn from each other and from the industry innovators. New and old suppliers will have new things to share.”

Hard pressed to pick just three, Maryschak says there are a number of top notch seminars that address various critical construction, occupational health and workplace safety issues, including

Emergency Response Planning: Realities of Planning for a Worksite Emergency

Learn to create an effective workplace emergency response plan from Senior Safety Advisor Colin Steadman of the Alberta Construction Safety Association.

An award winning safety specialist, Steadman will compare Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Legislation and current Provincial levels of emergency preparedness to show you how to improve your workplace safety program.

Fire Protection of Adjacent Buildings During Construction

A panel of four experts, including Senior Safety Advisor Colin Steadman, will discuss fire safety on or near construction sites in relation to 2006 Fire Code requirements:

  • Incidences and types of fire and fire loss on construction sites
  • Training and education processes currently in development by the Alberta Construction Safety Association and Alberta Municipal Affairs
  • Compliance approaches used by Alberta’s Fire Safety Codes Officers
  • Proposed changes to National and Alberta Fire Codes.

Asbestos!!? What You Should Know Before You Start

Be prepared and prevent workplace injuries.

Learn everything you need to know and more about asbestos, this all too common hazardous material found in “every nook and cranny, in residential, commercial and industrial settings,” during construction, demolition and renovation jobs.

Environmental Technologist John MacDonald examines materials, testing, procedures and legalities you need to consider before you start your job.

Early Birds Get The Perks…

Register by October 17, the early bird deadline, and you’ll receive free lunch, discounted seminar rates and more time to network and visit exhibits of new and green products because you’ll receive your badge in the mail.

And send us a comment on what you thought of the 2012 Buildex Calgary.


Five Safety Eyewear Tips

Job Safety Seton

Most industrial eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right protection.

Here are a couple more eye safety tips…

Wear an eyewear cord that will let the glasses hang around your neck when not in use.

People who wear contact lenses need to be extra careful and wear protective eyewear at all times on a site because dust and other particles can become lodged under the lens and can cause irritations or infections.

You can find all your eye safety solutions here.

CIPHEX West 2012

Seton Canada

Mark November 7 and 8 in your calendar for CIPHEX West, Western Canada’s largest exhibition for plumbing, hydronics, HVACR and water treatment.

For anyone who works in the field of water and energy management, this tradeshow is not to be missed.

Date: Wednesday, November 7 & Thursday, November 8
Place: Vancouver Convention Centre
Visitors Include: Construction builders, contractors, developers, engineers, installers, technicians, purchasers, sales reps, designers, wholesalers, plus government and municipal representatives

There are four guiding principals behind this year’s show:

Think Smart Technologies.
Think Efficiency.
Think Conservation.
Think Solutions.

“Manufacturers are making technologically smarter, more water conserving and energy efficient products,” commented Ralph Suppa, President and General Manager of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating. “Installing these options provides simple and elegant solutions to efficiently maintain, manage, or enhance the comfort inside the building envelope.”

You’ll get a sneak a preview of the most exciting emerging technologies in a Gallery of New Products that’s bigger and better than ever before.

But that’s not all.Seton Safety

CIPHEX West will feature displays from more than 250 manufacturers of plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, geothermal heating, solar/hydronic combi-systems, fire protection, industrial pipe, valve and fittings, luxury bath and kitchen as well as water treatment products from Canada, the United States and overseas.

This is your best chance to see and size up the newest equipment and technology that’s been designed to meet your needs and help you deliver “smart technologies” to your customers.

Plus, it’s a great opportunity to speak to the innovators who developed all these efficient solutions.

Need more incentive?  No problem.

  • You can register free online now. After November 5, a Trade Show badge costs $20.
  • Avoid line-ups and register before October 17 and receive your CIPHEX West badge in the mail.
  • Your badge   gives you unlimited access for both days of the show and free admission to most seminars.

Swing by the Seton booth (booth 527) to say hi, tell us what you think of the show, and what stories you’d like us to cover on to make your life easier.

See you there!





Communication is Key for Workplace Safety

With the age gap between managers and young workers widening, safety in the workplace is no longer just about having the right gear. Communication is key, but it’s not always easy.

Managers came up the ranks with a certain set of expectations made of them along the way. Now in positions of leadership, managers often find themselves unable to reach young workers in the ways their own experience has trained them to manage.

The rift is worrisome – but not insurmountable says team building workshop leader Linda Kash, who is also one of Canada’s most recognizable actresses and a Second City alum. Kash has had memorable roles on blockbuster hits like Seinfeld, Cinderella Man and Waiting for Guffman, but is perhaps best known for her role as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel.

Kash was a surprise guest presenter at the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) 2012 Conference in Niagara Falls, participating in the Seton Canada sponsored Taking the Boring out of Safety Training workshop.

The workshop was a presentation by Professors Cathy Denomme and Deborah Woodman, along with safety expert Patt Marquis, who jumped at the chance to include Kash in their workshop. Kash lead the group through exercises designed to break the ice and open up the lines of communication, something she has done for a variety of organizations.

“There’s often a disconnect between management and their teams,” Kash points out, “Good communication is important… rules and regulations exist for employee safety but it can erode trust.”

Kash recently began leading workshops in the high stakes worlds of construction, mining and manufacturing where poor communication doesn’t just cause tension, it can cost lives. Her main focus is to speak to the disconnect between management and their team. In a one to two-hour workshop, Kash leads exercises that are designed to “make the group feel as a whole and help participants trust their instincts to get along together.”

The idea is that as participants work together through various exercises, they learn important social skill sets and listening skills that cause them to begin interacting as a team without even knowing it at first.

The focus turns from blaming each other to getting the job done. And everyone has fun along the way.

Kash will be guest video blogging from time to time here on the website, offering communications and teambuilding tips to help you better engage your workers in the safety message.