Archives for December 2015

Stay Warm: How to Protect Workers from Cold Weather Hazards

coldweather

Winter is almost here. It’s now time to start thinking about working outside in the cold weather and how to stay safe and warm.

If your workers are exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time, they are at risk for such health conditions as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Extreme exposure can also lead to death, in some cases.

There are many steps to take to ensure workers stay injury- and illness-free when working in cold environments.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers these suggestions to help keep workers safe in cold weather conditions:

  • Provide heated warming shelters (tents, cabins, restrooms).
  • Pace work to avoid excessive sweating.
  • Offer rest periods in a warm area where employees can change into dry clothes.

Equipment Design: Cover metal handles and bars with thermal insulating material. Design machines and tools so operators can wear mittens or gloves when using them.

Surveillance and Monitoring: Workplaces that fall below 16°C should have a thermometer that monitors temperature changes.

Emergency Procedures: Outline the procedures for providing first aid and getting medical care. A trained person should be responsible for this during each shift.

Education: Both workers and supervisors should be educated about the risks of exposure to cold and how to protect themselves. A buddy system can help workers identify symptoms in each other.

What extra steps do you take to ensure your workers stay safe in the cold weather? What more can you do to protect them and help them recognize the signs of cold weather illness?

Keep Alert: Ways to Keep Shift Workers Safe

shiftwork

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) defines rotational shift work as shifts that that rotate or change according to a set schedule. Such shifts are either continuous, running 24 hours per day, seven days per week, or semi-continuous, running two or three shifts per day with our without weekends.

These irregular hours can be difficult on the human body, with shift workers being at risk of becoming fatigued and tired while on the job. Being fatigued at work can be dangerous, and it’s important for shift workers to be as alert as possible when they are working.

As a facility, there are several things you can do to make shift work easier for workers. CCOHS offers these suggestions:

  • Give attention to the work environment, keeping good lighting and ventilation in mind. Do not widely separate workstations so that workers at night can remain in contact with one another.
  • Provide rest facilities, where possible, to help ensure workers are well rested.
  • Provide healthy cafeteria services so a balanced diet can be maintained. Provide educational and awareness materials on the benefits of eating a balanced meal.
  • Consider offering facilities for social activities with the needs of the shift worker in mind.
  • Consider access to quality daycare for shift workers’ children to alleviate strain on family members.

Workers should also pay attention to their own eating habits and ensure they maintain regular eating pattern. They should also sleep on a set schedule, which helps establish a routine. Workers should also plan to relax before bed to assist in getting better sleep.

Do you have any unique way to keep your shift workers alert and productive on the job? Have they shared any of their own techniques with you?

Count on Seton to help you create a safe workplace. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit www.seton.ca and we can help answer any safety product questions you may have.

Detective Work: Accident Investigation on the Job

inspections

When there is an accident in your workplace, it’s crucial for an investigation to follow. Accident investigations can help determine hazards that need to be immediately addressed.

Supervisors should typically lead accident investigations. But the investigation team can consist of other individuals, such as employees, a safety officer, health and safety committee, an outside expert and a local government representative.

According to the CCOHS, the accident investigation process should consist of these steps:

  • Report the accident occurrence to a designated person within the organization.
  • Provide first aid and medical care to injured people and prevent further injuries or damage.
  • Investigate the accident.
  • Identify the causes.
  • Report the findings.
  • Develop a plan for corrective action.
  • Implement the plan.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the corrective action.
  • Make changes for continuous improvement.

Do you usually conduct accident investigations after accidents occur? If so, what information have you learned from past accident investigations that has surprised you? What lessons can you learn from these investigations?

Safety News You Can Use

safetynews

YOW Canada Inc., a provider of occupational health and safety training, donated online training to two Employment Help Centres.

Each year, YOW Canada donates its services to not-for-profit organizations to help them more easily provide health and safety training.

Learn more here.

Waste Management Company Under Investigation After Many Worker Injuries

A waste management company is under investigation by the City of Winnipeg after it filed nearly 120 workers compensation claims since 2012.

The company filed 118 claims for injuries, such as sprains, tears and strains, with Manitoba’s Workers Compensation Board.

Read more about the investigation here.