Avoid the Sting: Keep Workers Safe from Insects

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There are many hazards that outdoor workers face during the summer months. In addition to those hazards related to the heat and extremely hot weather, workers also have to deal with insects that can inflict harm.

Stinging insects, such as bumble bees, wasps and hornets, can cause just temporary injury most of the time. But sometimes, insect stings can be serious.

Oftentimes, a sting can cause pain, swelling, itching and redness where the sting has occurred, according to CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). Typically, if a mild allergic reaction occurs, it lasts a few days.

There is the possibility of a more severe reaction, which can cause anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock). Symptoms include hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site; swollen eyes and eyelids; and wheezing. Shock and cardiac arrest are among many other additional symptoms.

CCOHS suggests not working in an area where these insects are seen. But if you must, follow these tips before beginning work in that location.

  • Check for signs of activity or a hive or nest. If you see a number of insects flying around, check to see if they are entering/exiting from the same place. If so, it is probably a nest or food source.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed-toed boots or shoes. Tape pant legs to boots/socks, and sleeves to your gloves. Consider wearing an extra layer of clothing.
  • Power tools (lawnmowers, weed eaters, chainsaws) aggravate insects. Be aware that tools can provoke insects and cause them to swarm.

When you need to provide workers with the supplies they need to stay safe on the job, count on Seton. Give us a call at 855-581-1218 or visit http://www.seton.ca and we can help you select the safety products you need.

Get Ready: Emergency Preparedness Week is Near

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Emergency Preparedness Week is May 1-7. Are you ready?

Emergency Preparedness Week has been recognized every year since 1996, with the goal of encouraging Canadians to take these three steps to be prepared in the event of an emergency:

  • Know the risks: Understand the risks that are unique to your region so you can better prepare for what could happen.
  • Make a plan: This should include the knowledge of safe exits, meeting places, as well as the location of fire extinguishers, water valves, electrical boxes, gas valves and floor drains.
  • Get an emergency kit: This kit should include such items as water, non-perishable foods, manual can opener, wind-up or battery-powered flashlight and radio, first aid kit, medications, copy of emergency plan and contact information.

These are important steps for you and your employees to know for both their personal and professional lives.

What have you done in your workplace to prepare your employees for emergencies? Do you have an emergency plan in place? What else do you think can be done to best prepare everyone in the event there is an emergency during working hours?

Working Outside: How to Beat the Summer Heat

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While it’s great to enjoy the fresh air when working outdoors, outside work can be hazardous—and even fatal—during the strong heat of the summer.

Workers are at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses. It’s important to know the warning signs and what to do if you or one of your workers begins to show symptoms of a heat-related illness.

Heat exposure causes many illnesses, such as:

  • Heat edema: a swelling that occurs among people not used to working in the heat
  • Heat rashes: Tiny red spots on the skin that cause a prickling sensation when exposed to heat
  • Heat cramps: Sharp pains in the muscles that happen alone or with other heat stress disorders
  • Heat exhaustion: Caused by loss of body water and salt through excessive sweating
  • Heat syncope: Heat-induced dizziness and fainting induced by temporarily insufficient flow of blood to the brain
  • Heat stroke: Most serious heat illness, requiring immediate first aid and medical attention

Signs to be aware of for heat stroke include confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, very high body temperature, and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.

If someone appears to be suffering from heat stroke, call for medical help immediately. Also, move them to a shady location and apply cold, wet cloths to their skin. Remove some clothing and wet the person’s skin and clothing with cool water. Don’t force the person to drink liquids.

Learn more from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety here.

A Who’s Who Of OH&S Responsibilities

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This month, we turn our attention (and yours) to compliance. What better way to start off than to give you a basic rundown of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) responsibilities? The elements of your safety program can only be effectively implemented if you and your workers understand your responsibilities. What you don’t know CAN hurt you!

Jurisdictional and organizational requirements will dictate specific program needs, but these basic elements should almost always be considered:

  • Joint occupational health and safety committee
  • Health and safety rules and promotion
  • Workers responsibility, orientation & training
  • Reporting, investigating, inspection, and emergency procedures
  • Medical and first aid

Health and safety responsibilities should be shared among management and workers. Carefully determining and detailing responsibilities in the safety program will help everyone understand and carry out duties. Below are some examples that will help determine who should handle what.

Management responsibilities include:

  • providing a safe and healthful workplace
  • establishing and maintaining a health and safety program
  • providing workers with health and safety information, training, and certifications
  • reporting accidents and occupational disease incidents to the appropriate authority
  • providing personal protective equipment and medical & first aid facilities
  • supporting & evaluating the health and safety performance of supervisors

Worker responsibilities include:

  • using personal protection and safety equipment as required by the employer
  • following safe work procedures
  • knowing and complying with all regulations
  • reporting injury or illness immediately
  • reporting unsafe acts or conditions
  • participating in joint health and safety committees

Hot Topic: Farm Safety

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The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program (CAIR) reported that an average of 104 people died every year from agricultural incidents between 1990 and 2008. Recently, several Canadian farms have come under public scrutiny for questionable safety practices. An eastern Saskatchewan chicken ranch was ordered to stop hiring underage workers last month, following multiple child labour complaints. In Ontario, police are investigating the death of a North Walsingham tobacco farmer who drove his fertilizer spreader off a 75-foot embankment into a pond.

Agriculture is considered one of Canada’s most hazardous industries, so farm owner/operators have considerable challenges to face in keeping workers and visitors safe. Ensuring the safety of not only workers, but other adults and children who may visit or live on the farm is critical. Prominently displaying safety and first aid signs will communicate a safety-first attitude, in addition to offering guidance. Proper PPE and lockout/tagout protocol is also critical in avoiding machine-related injuries. Be careful in selecting workers who are competent, confident, responsible, and capable to operate machinery. If you need assistance establishing safe practices on your farm, check out The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)’s comprehensive FarmSafe Plan.

Farms can be fun, exciting, and lucrative – but only if safety is the #1 priority. The Ministry of Labour offers extensive information on farm equipment and general agricultural compliance and safety. The Canada Safety Council offers the following safety training courses that may be of interest to farm operators and employees.

  • ARGO Operator Course
  • ATV Rider Course
  • Confined Spaces Training Course
  • Ladder Safety Training Course
  • Snowmobile Operators Course
  • Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Side by Side Course
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Training Course

Be sure and stay on top of industry and equipment-related updates, ask questions, and empower the experts in your facility so that your farm can get the most out of the remainder of the season.

School Safety 101

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After a comprehensive series of health and safety inspections in Ontario schools, the Ministry of Labour issued 6,600 non-compliance orders, including 283 stop work orders (June 2012). We want to help ensure you are in compliance BEFORE the new school year begins. Some areas to focus on include: proper labeling & identification, housekeeping practices, safety & facility signage, and PPE & first aid supplies. Areas like science labs must have proper chemical storage, labeling, and ventilation. Both teachers and students who could be exposed to chemical spills and injuries should be outfitted with goggles, face shields, gloves, aprons, and other applicable PPE. First aid equipment, eye wash stations, and fire extinguishers should be easily accessible and clearly indicated.

When it comes to machinery, keep in mind proper training and signage, lockout/tagout, and maintenance. Of course, cleanliness also plays a large role in student and teacher safety. In addition to stocking adequate maintenance and first aid supplies, matting in entrances and high traffic zones can help prevent accidents and improve air quality. Parking lot signs are also critical in keeping students, workers, and visitors safe. Properly identify people and equipment with Seton’s large selection of labels, tags, nameplates, badges, IDs, parking permits, and more.

Once you’ve done your part to ensure safety in and around your school, get the students involved by passing along these fun and effective classroom activities from Live Safe, Work Smart.

Safety News You Can Use

 

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  • A Workplace Safety course offered in 36 high schools across Newfoundland and Labrador will include free first aid/CPR training. The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) created the initiative to help students develop a positive attitude toward health and safety, both on and off the job. Students who complete the course will enter the workforce as a worker health and safety representative, with WHMIS and first aid/CPR certifications.
  • Alex Keaveny, a Halifax Crown attorney, will join the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service as a resource to investigators in occupational health and safety cases. The province will also hire additional safety division inspectors and engineers, along with creating a division focused on education and compliance. Labour Minister Kelly Regan hopes the measures will help achieve justice in workplace death cases.
  • A Manitoba-based welding and fabrication company is facing a dozen charges under the Workplace Safety and Health Act. A fatal accident occurred two years ago when a steel catwalk panel fell on 22 year old Dale Jerome. The allegations claim failure to provide adequate protection, equipment, training, and supervision.
  • In an unprecedented decision, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal declared a provision in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act unconstitutional. The provision states that employees suffering from chronic mental stress, unlike employees who have suffered physical injury, are denied access to workers’ compensation benefits. It has been said that the Ontario government will likely challenge the ruling in the Divisional Court.

Product Spotlight: Heat Stress Protection

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Beat the heat this summer with proper equipment and gear. Follow these tips, and rely on Seton to help keep your workplace safe and cool.

  • Check the forecast and alert staff to avoid the sun during peak hours if possible (11am – 4pm)
  • Use water resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, and re-apply generously every 2 hours
  • Wear wrap-around safety glasses that block ultraviolet and visible light
  • Dress in loose-fitting pants, long sleeve shirts, and wide brim hats
  • Clean air conditioning ducts, weather-strip doors and windows, and install blinds, awnings, and fans where necessary
  • Ensure first aid kits are complete, clearly marked, and easy to locate
  • Take frequent breaks, pay attention to your surroundings, and stay hydrated!

Fight Injuries in 2014 with First Aid Kits

It’s been over a month since New Year’s Day, and if you haven’t made your safety resolutions yet, now is a good chance to do so. This winter, commit to a zero-accident, zero-injury 2014 by beefing up your safety protocols and equipment.

Of course, it’s not enough just to declare your year will be safe and just hope for the best. When bad things happen, it pays to be equipped for the worst and to have quick access to first aid kits and other medical supplies in case of emergency.

There are many kinds of first aid equipment suitable for any business, but the two most important distinctions to be made when making a purchase is to decide what kind of first aid kits are needed. Make your decision based on your type of business and ask yourself: “What do I and my personnel need to be protected from most?” Other considerations include the environment (closed office or open-air workplace?), the hazards (diseases or accidents, burns and bruises?), and the work being done (professional and desk-bound or physical and machine-operated?).

Deluxe Office First Aid KitFor common offices and other professional buildings, the threats faced by workers are less dramatic, and office first aid kits are the ideal solution:

Office First Aid Kits are optimized for dealing with the minor, everyday injuries common in your average office setting. These include cuts, scrapes and nicks, and an office first aid kit will allow you and your coworkers to hygienically treat such accidents. They also contain supplies needed to prevent infections or diseases from spreading or taking hold, which is a constant concern in the closed environment of the average office.

For more physical needs, the workplace first aid kit contains just what’s needed:

Workplace first aid kits are outfitted similarly to office first aid kits, but have additional provisions for the somewhat more physical threats faced by workers in heavy industries such as manufacturing, construction and warehousing. In those workplaces, the risk of suffering burns or more traumatic injuries is higher. As such, workplace first aid kits often come with burn creams, rescue blankets, splints, and other gears that would be out of place in a calm office.

No matter what your business is, it’s important (and legally mandated) to have adequate first aid kits for all of your workers. Do the safe thing this year and stock up on what you need to deal with any accident!

7 Reasons To Start Your First Aid Training At Work

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Accidents can happen any time, anywhere, especially in the workplace. To be prepared for the unexpected, you need a first aid kit. First aid kits are essential to provide immediate treatment for injuries and ailments that can happen in your place of work.  From minor ailments to more serious injury, a first aid kit can help reduce the risk of complications or severity of the injury.

But it’s not enough to stock your workplace with burn kits, first aid kits, and medical supplies bags. What good are they if no one knows how to use them properly, right? This is why first aid and CPR training in the workplace should always go hand in hand with providing first aid kits for your organization. It is mandatory for any Canadian organization to train all employees on proper first aid and CPR administration.

Before training, you need to first assess your workplace situation, including the history of work injuries, fatalities, and illnesses. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides a guideline and a check list on how to do a proper assessment in your workplace. This will help you determine what kind of first aid and CPR training you should take.

Still not convinced? Well here are seven reasons why you should kickoff your first aid training now:

  1. Compliance. It’s the law! The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) requires you, as employer, to certify all your employees in first aid and CPR. Keep in mind that workplace safety regulations and standards for first aid vary by province or territory. You can refer to this guide from the Labour Program of Canada for more details.
  2. Safety awareness. An employee that has undergone training becomes more “safety aware.” This results in an increase in preventative measures, with your workers becoming more alert to possible accidents and injuries. With this, the number of accidents in your workplace also decreases.
  3. Fast, effective treatment. A first aid responder can reach the patient quickly and provide immediate care while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. This results in a greater chance of survival especially in cases of serious injuries or sickness.
  4. Confidence to act in an emergency. First aid training imparts knowledge and skill to your workers so they can confidently act in an emergency when the time comes. They know what’s in their first aid kits, how to use the supplies and equipment, and the proper ways to react in an emergency.
  5. Boost employee morale. Workers with high morale lead to positive attitudes, which lead to positive results. First aid training will help ensure the health and safety of your employees and make them feel that the company cares about their well-being.
  6. Corporate social responsibility. Investing in training is also an investment in our society. First aid and CPR training is more than just being compliant and avoiding fines. Providing your workers with skills and knowledge that can save a life will not only be useful for workplace emergencies, but for any emergency situation anywhere.
  7. It saves lives. You don’t have to be a superhero to be able to save someone from harm. Proper first aid and CPR training can equip you with the means to make a difference in someone else’s life, especially if that life is in grave danger.

Having first aid kits and first aid training in your workplace is always a good plan. But as with any plan, it needs to be implemented well to be effective. You as employers, managers, and supervisors must know your first aid arrangements very well, and must understand the responsibilities under your first aid plan. Do this and you will be prepared for any medical emergency that may come your way.

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