“Make Safety A Habit” during NAOSH Week 2014!

NAOSH Week 2014This week we are celebrating the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week. From May 4 -10, employers, employees, and occupational health and safety stakeholders from across the continent come together to promote injury and illness prevention in the workplace, at home and in the community.

This year’s NAOSH Week theme is “Make Safety A Habit!”, and it is a call to action to implement and improve safety habits in the workplace. In British Columbia alone, an estimated $17 million in claim costs are paid annually for long term care brought about by workplace injuries in the health care sector. NAOSH Week aims to bring awareness to the habits in the workplace and how these habits help or hinder accident and injury prevention. The end goal is to cultivate a culture where being safe is already a second nature – like putting on your seatbelt upon getting in a vehicle.

For the workplace, safety should be a top priority for everyone – employers and workers alike. If you haven’t done so yet, now is the perfect time to assess the state of safety in your workplace. Celebrate NAOSH Week by jump-starting a campaign on safe habits. Put up workplace safety signs all around your facility and promote safety habits by following these guidelines:

  1. Set your own safety standards and stick to it. As an employer, make sure the safety regulations established are being followed. As a staff member, make sure you observe safety practices and don’t let others influence you otherwise. If you are not wearing the proper equipment because others don’t, the potential injury you may suffer will be yours alone to live with.
  2. Operate equipment only if qualified. Working with equipment can be a hazard, which is why training on how to operate them is a must. If you are tasked with handling certain equipment, and have never underwent training before, you need to inform your supervisor so the necessary training can be provided.Safety Signs
  3. Maintain a healthy respect for machinery. Before using any piece of equipment, makes sure it is in the best condition to operate. Check if the machine is clear of any obstruction that can damage the machine, and potentially injure you or others. Report if you see any problems. Check that all guards are in place, and don’t forget to de-energize the power before operating the equipment.
  4. Take the initiative to initiate safety procedures. It is your responsibility to call your supervisor and alert management to any problems or potential hazards that you encounter on the job. Report any broken equipment or machinery you may see, and ask for PPE or additional training if it is needed.
  5. Speak up. Ask questions if you are uncertain of tasks or procedures that you need to do. Do not accept answers that contain “I guess, I think, I assume”. Be certain.
  6. Exercise care and caution when lifting. Most back, muscle and spinal injuries are from over-straining while lifting, pulling or pushing. Know your limits and do not attempt to exceed them.
  7. Practice good housekeeping. A clean and organized workplace makes for a safer one. Keep your work areas clean and orderly at all times.
  8. Dress sensibly and responsibly for your work. Wearing the proper personal protective clothing and other PPE can save your life. In addition to that avoid wearing loose clothing, dangling jewelry and keep your hair tied back so these items don’t get caught in machinery.

The success of NAOSH Week in your workplace depends on your willingness to participate. Your positive attitude can help encourage others to do so as well and plays a major role in preventing accidents and injuries from happening. All you need is a commitment to make safety a habit, and be consistent in practicing it every day, until this new habit becomes second nature. At the end of the day safety is everyone’s responsibility, including your own, so make safety a habit. Do it for yourself  and for those around you. 

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NAOSH Week: Spotlight on Canadian Workplace Safety

Mark your calendars; May 5 to 11, 2013 is NAOSH week. In case you didn’t already know, NAOSH stands for North American Occupational Safety and Health and every first week of May the importance of workplace health and safety is highlighted through different events and activities.

First launched by 3 countries namely, the United States, Mexico and Canada, in June 1997, NAOSH has grown in scope and aims to increase and spread awareness of occupational health and safety all over the world. Its 3-fold goal has been:

  •  To encourage more investments in workplace health and safety solutions
  •  To recognize contributions of workplace health and safety professionals
  •  To reduce workplace illnesses and injuries through NAOSH health and safety awareness activities that include sharing of innovative ideas and new solutions

This year, NAOSH asks, “Are you as safe as you think?”

In Canada, the number of work-related injuries compensated has been steadily decreasing since the 1990s. In the early 80’s the trend was up but it slowly decreased by the latter part of the decade. Still, figures show that in 2010, 1 out of every 68 workers gets injured on the job. It has been noted that men are more prone to injuries compared to women (18.8 cases of men vs. 11.2 of women out of 1000 workmen and 1000 women).

Among all of the industries in Canada, construction has been pointed out as having the most number of work-related injuries (24.5 cases out of 1,000 workers). And among Canadian provinces and territories, Manitoba got the highest rate of injury in 2010 while Ontario scored the lowest (24.4 cases out of 1,000 in Manitoba vs. 9.1 out of 1,000 workers in Ontario).
Statistics on Wokplace Injuries in Canada
With these figures from HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada), employers and government regulators can zero in on workers most at risk of injuries while on the job. Greater emphasis on safety is needed especially for occupations relating to the manufacturing and construction sector. Gender-wise, since most manual labour jobs are occupied by men, such as mining and construction, men are naturally more at risk of having accidents than women. Having said that, there are women who work dangerous jobs as well, and they do need safety products such as PPEs or Personal Protective Equipment to accommodate their needs.

Manitoba, with its economy tied to agriculture, mining, forestry, and energy, was singled out as having the highest accident rate in all of Canada. Newly revised legislation such as The Workplace Safety and Health Act would go along way in ensuring the safety of the workers in Manitoba. And in line with their commitment to improving occupational health and safety, the province will be one of the active participants for this year’s NAOSH week. Aside from fun activities such as the Street Hockey Tournament, Safety Barbecue, and Bingo Bowl, a Community Safety Day will be devoted to seminars and training on health and fitness, emergency preparedness, and other safety programs.

Prevention is key in health and safety, and that’s why NAOSH partners such as CSSE (Canadian Society of Safety Engineers), CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety), and The American Society of Safety Engineers will be giving workplace safety seminars all over Canada. Knowing safety protocols, from posting a simple safety sign to wearing the right PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), could spell the difference between life and death.

Visit the NAOSH week website to know which activities are near your area.

 

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