Archives for February 2013

Seton on HGTV

Job Safety

We’re excited about a recent episode of HGTV’s Income Property for a couple of reasons. Not only is it a great show (it just won “Best Lifestyle Program or Series” prize at the Canadian Screen Awards!) but HGTV reached out to Seton Canada and asked us to provide them with the 3M Safety Roofer Kits that we sell.

The Safety Roof Kits are no stranger to Income Property. They were previously featured on a recent episode.

Income Property is one of Canada’s most popular home renovation shows , and its host, Scott McGillivary, is a full-time real estate investor, writer, educator, and, contractor. As a contractor, he has a responsibility to keep himself, his workers and the homeowners on site during the renovations safe.

Investing in a roofer’s safety kit is smart, especially if you’re working on a project that requires any length of time at heights. Injury rates in the residential construction industry are persistently high, more so than in commercial construction. Even though construction is taking place on a smaller scale, whether building a new home or renovating, falls are still the number one accident and workers need to be prepared.

On Income Property’s episode “Marli & Toby” being prepared was part of the safety strategy behind hauling a fridge to the second floor via an open balcony. If the fridge had given way, everyone on the ledge would have been at risk of serious injury. The segment with the SafeLight harness demonstrated that being tethered to a roof anchor is a simple process that keeps workers safe without getting in the way of the job.

Obviously, the harness is only one part of the personal fall system. Every part of the kit is important and works together to keep workers safe. Each kit is complete with a SafeLight Harness, D-ring, rope grab, Anti-Panic CSA 3’ lanyard, roof anchors, lifeline and storage bucket.

In the episode, Scott demonstrates how to use the Safety Roofer’s Kit and offers these pointers (remember to always check the manufacturer’s manual).

Once the harness is adjusted to a snug fit:

1.    Locate the roof anchor and do not work more than four feet to the side of it.
2.    Roof anchors should be mounted no closer than six feet from the edge of the roof.
3.    The rope grab will minimize slack on the rope between you and the roof anchor. Make sure rope is passing through the rope grab in the right direction.
4.    Think about where you could swing in the event of a fall & make sure the lifeline will not be in contact with steel edges or glass.
5.     If you must wash your kit, use gentle soap or detergent, warm water and be sure to thoroughly dry and lubricate all mechanical devices with mineral oil.

If you missed the episode of  Income Property that featured the Safety Roofer’s Kit, HGTV will likely rerun the episode “Dan & Tania”.  Please check your local TV listings.

If you want more information on the Safety Roofer’s Kit, please contact Marie-Claude Beaudry  @  or call 1-800-891-5716 ext. 2351

Don’t forget, you can leave a comment below if you have any tips on how to stay safe while working at heights.




Safety Signs Keep Workers Safe

Safety signs aren’t posted in the workplace just to look pretty. Their location and content are there to keep workers safe. Not taking the time to post safety signs visibly and in the correct locations could spell disaster for your employees and serious consequences for you. The law requires you to train your workers on all identification systems you use.  Here are a few basic tips that will make sure your workers spot the safety signs.


Each province has its rules. The best place to start is to understand your province’s Occupational Health & Safety Act in addition to WHMIS for what your legal requirements are.


While there is no legislation requiring the use of colour in the workplace, colour provides a clear indicator of a potential hazard or hazardous material. Remember, colours have meanings that aren’t consistent across the board.


Think of a stoplight when considering hazard signs: Red indicates STOP, a definite hazard, Yellow indicates caution, a potential hazard, and Green indicates safe conditions.


When dealing with pipes: Red indicates fire-quenching materials, Green indicates non-hazardous liquids, Blue indicates non-hazardous gases and Yellow indicates materials that are hazardous by nature.


As mentioned, pipes could contain hazardous materials so mark them with appropriate coloured pipe markers and use WHMIS symbols if it is a controlled product.


Use text signs only when there is no appropriate symbol available. Visual cues (such as colour, shape and symbols) communicate without a language barrier. If you must use text, keep it simple, bold and never use cursive handwriting.


Like a piece of fine art hanging in a gallery, signs need to be visible, away from clutter and obstructions and, of course, well lit so workers can see the warning and the hazard.


Never use more than 3 symbols in the same location.


Arrows or directional signs should not only be posted wherever the direction isn’t obvious but also posted at eye level for everyone to see


Keep signs in good condition, change confusing signs, replace worn or out-dated signs. Make sure there are no sharp corners or splinters.

Lights, Camera, Safety!

Seton Canada

Television and movie production is a vibrant industry in Ontario and health and safety is always in the spotlight.

Like any job site, TV and movie sets have their own share of dangers.

Making them safe is the prime directive of crews and producers alike.

It’s something to think about when those Oscars are awarded Feb. 24 because they all came from a production shot on sets and locations somewhere and every one of those shoots was set up with health and safety top of mind.

There’s additional pressure because an incident means a production will be shut down for the duration of the Ministry of Labour investigation, and in the movie business, time is always money. Crews and talent are contracted for a specified time period and any delays could risk the outcome of the entire project.

On set risks include:

  • working from heights
  • suspended objects like lights
  • electrical wiring
  • cables
  • ladders
  • platforms
  • lifting accidents
  • trucks
  • and sometimes more exotic issues such as explosives and firearms used in special effects

The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET700CEP in Toronto)  represents crews on sets. Some are also represented by other unions such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IASTE Local 58 in Toronto). All stakeholders, including ACTRA, sit with Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) as reps on a Ministry of Labour Ontario Section 21 Heath and Safety committee.

NABET 700 Business Agent, Jayson Mosek says there’s a good working relationship on the committee because everyone realizes the nature of their task and how important safety is on set.

“We really just check the politics at the door of these meetings,” he said.

There are also a special set of rules under the MOL governing film and TV production because it is a unique workplace, says Mosek.

They consist of 43 guidelines covering everything from working with explosives, child performers on set, helicopters, underwater stunts to hair and make up.

“I think the MOL acknowledges it is in fact a different world,” he said. “And they also acknowledge the industry has done a fairly good job of taking care of itself and regulating itself for a number of years.”

The guidelines also cover non-union productions and as always they’re a set of rules and guidelines which set minimum standards for safety on set.

In movies generally special effects and stunts, are among the highest risk activities accounting for about half the incidents thought Toronto hasn’t had issues. When shows call for the use of explosives and firearms, the rules and regulations are so tight and scripted – and the briefings intense and structured to leave nothing to chance.

One of the unique challenges is that almost everyone on set is a freelance worker. Whether they’re a grip, a stunt performer, actor, director or camera operator, they’re usually self employed and swing from one production to the next.

“These productions also roll in and roll out a pace as well so it’s not realistic to give safety training under OSHA or WMISS because they aren’t employees,” Mosek said. The result is the unions pick up a lot of the load for safety training of their members.

As usual on any job site, there’s the start of shift safety talk, outlining what the day’s jobs are going to entail, what stunts may be set up and executed, what lighting is going to be suspended and what set up and tear downs will be needed, all with a reference to safety.

But, he said, the standard bugaboo of every jobs site reigns supreme: Slips and falls.

“Honestly though the biggest issues are the basic slip and fall, whether it’s icy paths or the stairs to the craft truck (food and refreshments) or the honey wagon (restrooms).




Safety Meetings Can Save Lives

Seton CanadaThere’s no doubt safety meetings reduce accidents and improve the bottom line.

A landmark British study found regular safety meetings reduce accidents and mishaps by up to 22%. Another American study found employers report a $3 return for every $1 they invest in safety programs – the lynchpin of which are regular safety committee meetings.

Changing behaviour

Safety meetings aim to change people and their behaviour. Effective safety meetings must be anchored to “real-life” situations, experts say.

Ryan Heinish, Safety Director for United Rentals, Western Canada Region, says this approach will make your safety meetings dynamic and effective.

“An organization that is serious about safety meetings and regular communication is the organization who achieves its goals,” he says. “This includes both safety related key performance indicators and financial results.”

Darrin Husack, EH&S Manager for the Con-Drain Group, says regular, creative meetings highlight a firm’s commitment to safety and set a positive example that filters through workplace. So how can you hold a great safety meeting?

“In general one aims to get a signature message tailored to specifics of a workplace, its individuals, its supervisors,” Husack says. “This can be most effective.”

Hold safety meetings at regular, convenient intervals and give plenty of notice. Make sure employees have information they will need ahead of time.

Tool box format

The shorter “tool box” format works well. Here employees get small burst of safety info or skill sets, experts say. That can be linked with larger “tailgate sessions.” These sessions give supervisors the overall content strategies to impart to their teams.

And, above all, look for group leaders who will be able to act as role models.

“Good supervisors will learn to find the leaders in any work group and work with them, letting them help draw the message and move the platforms (for safety meetings) forward,” Husack says.

Progressive employers link performance/promotion and compensation packages to safety performance, including participation in meetings. Aim to make all topics (no matter how bureaucratic) relative to real-life examples in your workplace.

And don’t use lunch or break times for safety meetings. Doing so tells workers that safety is not important enough for separate time and must be squeezed into theirs. Provide light, healthy and inexpensive snacks plus green containers for water. And have paper pens, pencils etc. available.

Creative approaches

Vary your presentation. For example one meeting could have a DVD presentation, another, a guest speaker, the next a power point. Role playing and brainstorming are also effective formats. All are inclusive formats that help people work together and create relationships. And remember, feedback is crucial. The best type is not anonymous.

As for topics, ask your staff. They are your real-life experts. Examples:

  • What are two of the top daily safety challenges you see in your workplace?
  • Take a safety inventory of your workspace. Then discuss what could be improved and what is going well.
  • What would a sample safety checklist tailored to your work area look like?
  • Why is it hard to bring up some safety concerns, but easy for others?

Effective safety meetings must be anchored to “real-life” situations

If someone has slipped and injured themselves in a washroom because of an overflowing garbage dispensary, a safety meeting on this can help rectify any future problems by turning the issue into an actionable item by looking at the following issues:

  • What happened?
  • How did it occur?
  • Where was the breakdown?
  • What do we do?
  • What are the effective strategies needed to communicate a solution?

Online resources

For safety topics a good template is at:

For more broad scale information with links to safety meeting info online see: for general safety contacts by province. – for federal laws governing specifics of safety committees and meetings.

Seton’s GHS Safety Meeting Presentation Pack.

Print resource

How To Hold Great Safety Meetings by safety consultant Alan D. Quilley CRSP is an excellent, practical, how-to booklet that gives you a five-step formula for holding dynamic, goal-oriented safety meetings people actually want to attend. It includes problem solving techniques, meeting ideas and more.


Safety Videos

Sign Here
From the 1950’s to our YouTube era, the work safety video has been part of the work landscape. Some are better than others, but here are a few that have caught our eye in the last while for one reason or another.

Safety Starts With Me!

This low budget safety video is as fun as it is kitschy.

It was submitted for the “Safety Starts with Me Competition 2009” (organized by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, Singapore).

It didn’t win. While the video doesn’t offer any new info into the world of safety there’s definitely something undeniably catchy about it. Also: Everyone dances – a lot!

Highlights include:

1. Song lyrics like: “Don’t you look away to that pretty young maid/Keep your eyes focused on the job instead”
2. Safety tips that advise not to use a handsaw as a hammer
3. Choreographed moves that include dancing with a power drill made out of paper

If nothing else, we dare you not to find yourself humming the theme song later in the day.

Donald Duck – How To Have An Accident At Work

Cartoons have long been a staple of the training film genre and this 1959 film teaches us that while ducks may be maniacally responsible when it comes to safety around the house – around the workplace, meh, not so much…

When Donald arrives at the plant “he checks in and his mind checks out.” This is the point in the film where Mr. Duck literally turns off his gray matter and starts looking like a featherbrained mallard that’s coming off a three day binge.

Next thing we know, Donald is refusing to wear his PPE (“Aw phooey on all that unnecessary equipment!”) and falling down the stairs. From there he’s dropping his cigars in paint thinner; daydreaming on the job; shamelessly leering at women (and he’s a married duck!), and enduring run-ins with a punch press, conveyor belt and a monkey wrench. Oh, that Donald!

A product of its time, it’s a fascinating look at how earlier cartoons were used to disseminate the safety message.

The Pain Game

WorkSafe Victoria makes some of the finest safety videos out there.

Whether it’s hitting the funny bone at just the right angle with the dark humour in The Pain Game or effectively tugging at the heartstrings and focusing on the aftermath of a tragic accident, WorkSafe constantly deliver top-drawer safety videos.

Think About This

There is no denying that this is one violent safety video.

Screaming workers are crushed, mutilated, and blown up. Their skin is sliced, diced, and doused in toxic chemicals. Fingers are lost, toes are severed, and skulls are crushed

Also a product of its time, I half expected an army of zombies to arrive and start feasting on the corpses scattered on the plant’s floor.

But do these scare tactics work? Some safety experts love them, although many others say that, for the most part, the science suggests that trying to scare people into adopting better safety habits doesn’t work.

Professor Cathy Denomme from Algoma University says that her survey results indicate that people remember the gore but not the message. She says a series of gruesome ads that were run on TV a few years ago, “gave me nightmares,” she adds “The students didn’t even remember what the message was about. In my opinion we need to take a different tactic. Young people truly believe two things: first, it won’t happen to them, and second, adults will not put them in a position where they could get hurt. Both not true.”

Dumb Ways To Die

This animated train safety video for Metro Trains Melbourne has gone viral (40 million views and counting) and with good reason. It’s very funny and pretty darn cute – even with all the grizzly death (and grizzly bear death, for that matter).

The video has its fans and its detractors. Some think it misses the mark completely and is more concerned with iTunes sales than teaching us about train safety. Others believe it’s an innovative and fresh approach to safety videos. Marie-Claire Ross from Digicast has particularly strong feelings about the video.

There are arguments to be made on both sides. Not many safety videos can boast a viewership of 40 million, so even if a tiny fraction of those viewers get a safety message out of it, it may achieve more than many other safety films.

But its critics do raise a valid point when they say it doesn’t offer any take away message of what to do, only that certain behaviours around trains might get you killed. And without following up that negative message with a replacement behaviour (what to do to be safe), some experts think it missed the boat.

What do you think?

You and Office Safety

This 1950’s office safety film teaches us that the common work office is the most dangerous place in the universe.

The lesson? We’re taught to beware the perils of hot coffee, felt markers, pencils, umbrellas (red and green), typewriters, swinging doors, and actors mugging shamelessly to the camera.

The slapstick factor is set on ultra-high and the film is scored to a cartoon soundtrack that would fit perfectly in Fred Flintstone’s hometown of Bedrock. (Or Donald Duck’s safety film, for that matter.)

Sight gags and physical comedy abound: People get hit by doors – again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Plus more! A “pretty little thing” trips over a floor socket. Filing cabinets are transformed into lethal weapons and deadly office chairs put unsuspecting officer workers in mortal peril.

Meanwhile the lines on the office Efficiency Chart continue to plummet…

It’s a hoot. And in fact, it helped inspire our very own recently released safety video about proper job safety signage.

Got a video you’d like to share with us? We’d love to see it.

Sign Here

Who doesn’t love the retro safety training videos of the 1950’s and 60’s?  We thought we’d pay tribute to them while helping anyone involved in job safety and safety signage remember what goes into a good safety sign program.

Sign Here

February Is Heart Health Month

Job Safety

“The workplace affects the well-being of the worker and the health of the worker affects the success of the company,” said Betty Hoyt, vice president of health promotion at New Brunswick’s branch of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation (CHSF).

February is Heart Health Month and a new CHSF report released on February 4, has found that the majority of Canadians, especially boomers from 48 to 67 years old, have a distorted view of their heart health, which puts them at risk of living longer but not living healthier.

“According to Statistics Canada, on average, there’s a 10-year gap between how long we live, and how long we live in health. This gap is mainly due to heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions,” states this new Reality Check report.

Most of us spend the majority of our lives at work, where health and safety is or should be a priority. Integrating workplace wellness programs into occupational health and job safety programs, especially in the high-risk, high stress construction and mining industries, makes sound business sense, Hoyt says.

Workplace wellness refers to the health of the entire company in the broadest sense of the word:

  1. The employee
  2. The environment or culture of the workplace
  3. The health of the company’s bottom line

“All companies are required by law to have Health and Safety Committees, but many workplaces do not yet put the same emphasis on wellness in the workplace as they do on health and safety,” Hoyt said during a recent telephone interview from her St. John office.

“We’re finding that some companies start with separate Health and Safety committees and Workplace Wellness committees and then put those two committees together,” she said.

A number of New Brunswick companies are committed to workplace wellness in addition to health and safety including the Irving Companies, several potash mining companies and others, Hoyt said.

“But there does have to be a commitment from management, a mind set, a buy-in to wellness, that you might not see under the umbrella of health and safety,” she said. “When companies make that commitment, the return on investment is really building the business case for wellness in the workplace.”

A management-driven commitment to workplace wellness complements a company’s health and safety program with the following benefits for both employers and workers:

  1. Improved health and well being
  2. Increased morale and job satisfaction
  3. Healthier workplace culture
  4. Fewer injuries
  5. Increased productivity
  6. Fewer insurance and workers’ compensation claims
  7. Reduced personal healthcare expenses
  8. Fewer absences
  9. Decreased presenteeism – i.e. workers may be at work but not working at their full potential
  10. Better retention and recruiting
  11. Decreased turnover
  12. Enhanced business reputation and customer loyalty

Maintaining your heart health is more than a full-time job, says Hoyt. “It’s a 24/7 strategy and it’s also a question of work/life balance. Too much stress can have a negative impact on increasing your blood cholesterol and blood pressure, which is the number one cause of heart disease and stroke. Smoking and alcohol consumption increase blood pressure, too.”

In the U.S., February is also Heart Health Month. Since 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have developed a health promotion strategy combining workplace wellness and occupational health, and worker safety called Total Worker Health.

According to the CDC, Total Worker Health is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being.

To help you and your workers find out what your heart health risk factors are the Heart and Stroke Foundation has made it easy with the launch of a new website called Make Health Last to help motivate and support Canadians live heart healthy lives, longer. There are tips and tools, a risk assessment quiz that takes only 10 minutes and even an iPhone app to help address the five controllable lifestyle behaviours that threaten your heart health. Click on

Hoyt’s New Brunswick branch of the CHSF has taken a strong position on workplace wellness and published online several resource guides to help you incorporate a wellness program into your company’s health and safety strategy. They’re available free on line, here.

And to find out more about coping with workplace stress, the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation offers you these tips.

February is the month to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Heart Health. Why not start now. Your heart will thank you for it.


Grammy Awards Are A Safe Bet

Job SafetyIt has a global audience of billions and hundreds of crewmen working around the clock to make The Grammy Awards the most lavish night honouring the music industry.

Go behind the scenes and it’s job safety that should take top honours at the Grammy Awards every year and for very good reason!

Most live theatrical productions aren’t seen as being a venue where the safety of workers could be threatened. In British Columbia, the hazard rating for theatres often sits at “C”, representing any condition or practice with a probable potential for causing a non-disabling injury or non-disruptive property damage. In plain English, it’s not terribly dangerous and you probably won’t have any life threatening injuries working there. However, when a large-scale event, such as The Grammys, is produced, the hazard rating escalates to “B”, representing the likelihood of conditions or practices with the potential for causing a serious injury, illness of property damage. Meaning, put safety first or else you could hurt someone very badly.

The thing about The Grammys is that it’s a once a year event. Therefore, the majority of sets, the lighting, audio and crew are temporary. Up one day and gone the next. Because much of the equipment and labour aren’t native to the venue, there’s a greater than normal chance that something could go wrong.

The technical producer is often the person in charge of overseeing safety. They ensure the bulletin board with the call sheets has information where to locate First Aid and meetings to advise crew and talent on potential hazards. The technical producer will also rely on crews that arrive on behalf of the lighting or audio equipment companies to install and ensure the rigging is secure. When a show is in production, one video wall suspended above the stage could weigh as much as 1500lbs.

In Canada, basic safety standards for theatre fall under provincial jurisdictions, and much of those rules are derived from the same workplace safety rules that all workplaces subscribe to. Luckily most provinces have documents that outline the rules and how they apply to theatre. British Columbia has ActSafe, Alberta has Safe Stages and Ontario has the Ministry of Labour, Performance Industry. This is where technical directors can go to find the most up to date information with tips to keep worker’s safe.

The most unique aspect of safety on a theatrical production lies in the dark. When a show is on, backstage has very little to no lighting for the crew. In order to prevent disabling falls, common best practices include:

  • glow tape on stairs
  • walkways taped off to ensure they are kept clear
  •  cables covered in mats

Exit signs are also critical when it comes to safety and should be clearly identifiable and clearly marked. They should swing in the direction of exit travel and must be kept clear at all times.

Obviously, with any event in the music industry, sound levels are crucial to consider because long exposure can result in hearing loss. A live concert could be as loud as 160 decibels, which is often double what is legislated as being safe.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, no worker should be exposed to levels louder than 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes. With audio crews working in the environment for 8-14 hour days, some industry practices include having earplugs on hand, ensuring minors aren’t exposed and that performers use in-ear monitors to reduce noise levels and increase clarity.

When it comes down to safety at large, one-night only events such as The Grammys, safety is a careful production. While the technical producer often oversees the overall safety big picture, it is mutual trust among the crew that ensures that rigging is secure and laneways are clear. Because when it comes down to it, people might say “Break a leg” before a big show, but no one actually wants that to happen!

How To Winterize Your Surface Mining Job Site

How To Winterize Your Surface Mining Job Site

Winter is a time of snow boarding, ice fishing, and hockey.

For surface mine workers, including gravel pits, quarries and strip-mines, it’s also about job safety.

Cold, gusty winds and heavy snow can create treacherous conditions.

In order to protect employees, it’s important for employers to take preventive steps to winterize their workplace.

If they don’t, they could face harsh consequences by violating Regulation 854 of the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

If equipment or travel ways are poorly maintained resulting in a death, a corporation, when convicted, would receive a maximum $500,000 penalty and an individual, such as a supervisor, could be fined $25,000 and may be imprisoned for up to a year.

To avoid those outcomes, Ontario Ministry of Labour Mining Specialist, Glenn Staskus, provides valuable insider information by listing areas MOL safety inspectors evaluate when visiting winter work sites. They are important reminders that sometimes the best way to prevent accidents is to go back to the basics. Here are a few great tips from the people who enforce the rules…

  • Travel Routes including access to buildings, repair spaces & stairs – Are they clear of snow and debris? Can workers move freely without slipping or falling? Can equipment be moved from point A to B safely without trouble?
  • Personal Protective Equipment – As a result of shorter daylight hours, do workers have adequate reflective striping on clothing and hard hats, so they can be seen between sunset and sunrise? Are they wearing proper work gloves, glasses, ear plugs, headgear, footwear and uniforms to handle extreme cold and changing weather conditions for long periods of time?
  • Workplace Lighting – Is there effective illumination for surface tasks including areas where workers are required to travel and the nature of the equipment or operation may create a hazard due to insufficient lighting?
  • Mining Equipment – Is it in good shape to deal with unpredictable winter weather? Do employers conduct consistent equipment safety checks?
  • Material Stockpiles  – Are they stable? Are there procedures in place for sampling and removing stockpile material in a safe manner?
  • Safety Policy – Is there one in place which is reviewed annually and is there a program to implement it?
  • Joint Health & Safety Committee Or Representative – Are either present on the job site? If not, they are required to be.

By taking care of these areas before they become problems, employers will avoid penalties, but more importantly, they’ll have a safe, healthy and productive winter work environment.