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News

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019
    CAROL JONES

     

    I have a friend who was experiencing burnout at work, and although his initial response was to try to overcome the issues associated with burnout – and there are many strategies – it gradually got to the point where the best advice I could give him was to look for another job. He had all the symptoms: anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness and an inability to sleep. He had a crushing workload and an unsympathetic boss who gave him unclear and undefined tasks to perform – basically he was responsible for whatever came up, whenever he found out about it, which was usually too late.

     

    I sympathized. Whenever we got together, he was often late, because he had been kept at the office to deal with some emergency or wanted to try to clear his desk of the day’s work so he could relieve some of the anxiety. He often arrived irritable and exhausted. I encouraged him to talk about it and get it off his chest. Little did I know I was exacerbating the problem. I realize now that staying positive and avoiding talking about negative work experiences after hours is part of the daily recovery time we all need between work hours. The problem with my friend was that he had no time for recovery. He didn’t have time for a LIFE. And he resented it.

     

    I also tried to give him some advice about how to handle his issues at work. He exercised whenever he could, building up endorphins to dull the frustration and anxiety. He watched his diet, making sure he didn’t eat his way out of the problem. And he tried to get help at work. He asked his manager repeatedly if they could work together to solve some of the workload issues and streamline the process. The answer was always the same: there would be no changes made to the job, and the implication was that if he couldn’t handle it, he knew where to find the door. Their relationship grew worse until it became a pattern of destructive mutual interaction.

     

    Problem-focused coping mechanisms – trying to change the job or aspects of a job – depend almost entirely on effective control of the potential stressors in the environment. When there are few possibilities of controlling or changing things, the problem of burnout will not easily go away.

     

    After a while, I stopped encouraging my friend to attempt to solve the problems and told him I thought it might be time to look for another job. I don’t think giving up is always the best solution (please visit www.healthy-worker.ca/work for more tips on coping with burnout). But I also think it’s important to be realistic about a situation that may never change. Job stress and chronic burnout were affecting my friend’s health, and it was time to leave a bad situation.

     

    Here are a few signs it might be time to leave your job:

    • You hate going to work.
    • You are taking work home with you or staying late every night, with no end in site to the heavy workload.
    • Your concerns are ignored.
    • There are no new challenges, and there is no chance of advancement.
    • The work environment is toxic, with animosity, disrespect or bullying.
    • Your health is suffering.
    • Your family life is suffering and personal relationships are strained.


  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
    CAROL JONES

    The holidays are over; time to get back to work. Don’t groan! Work is a good thing. It gives us purpose, establishes a routine, presents an opportunity to meet and interact with people and, of course, generates a paycheck. Work is good. On the other hand, it is sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed by work. Some people are so overloaded with time and scheduling conflicts that they have trouble coping. It might be time for a work-life balance check!

    One of the biggest problems leading to burnout is role overload, and juggling between those roles. If you are a wife, mother, caregiver to elderly parents, supervisor at work and chief cook and housekeeper at home, you know what this merry-go-round like. It combines legal, professional ethical, physical and emotional obligations that are sometimes contradictory in what they demand from you, and when they overlap, consequences can range from confusion to conflict.

    Work time versus family time is another common conflict. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to be both the perfect boss or worker and the perfect mom at the same time. How many of your kids’ sporting events have you missed? How often do you get a chance to help with your child’s homework? On the flip side, have you ever felt guilty about leaving work early, or missing an important meeting in order to attend to a child or another family member? These absences, along with the inability to concentrate fully at work because of personal concerns, can have real consequences, including being passed up for promotion.

    So what do you do to ensure you can enjoy your life and fulfill work obligations in equal measure? Here are some solutions:

    1. On-site childcare.

    If there is no on-site program, why not try getting something started. Are there other mothers in need? Is there an empty office that can be turned into a playroom? There could be liability issues for your employer, so it’s important to do some research. But it’s worth looking into.

    2. Eldercare initiatives.

    It is possible to get outside help in caring for elderly parents, either with part-time care or by taking advantage of community support groups and activities. You don’t have to do it all yourself. For more information, please read: Caring for aging parents? Can’t do it alone. Here is how to get some help.

    3. Exercise.

    Does your employer have a fitness membership program that includes a financial incentive for joining a club? Becoming more fit increases your energy and helps to cope with stress. It could change everything.

    4. Try to build some downtime to your schedule.

    Some of us need to force ourselves to slow down. Plan a mini-vacation, a time to play with your children or see a play. A little relaxation can go a long way.

    5. Prioritize your health.

    If you are feeling unwell, either physically or mentally, get help immediately. Take a sick day; figure things out.

    6. Unplug.

    Put the phone down, close the computer screen, switch off the TV. Just for a while. Here are some reasons you will be healthier: Are you a nomophobiac? How to identify and treat smartphone addiction.

    7. Know that there is no perfect balance.

    You can strive for a perfect schedule, but you must realize that it’s only an ideal. Some days will have a greater focus on work, and others on your personal life, including family or hobbies or exercise. A schedule is good, but flexibility is important. You need to be able to cope with the unexpected. Besides, mixing things up can make life interesting.

    Uneven work/life balance is a risk factor that can impact both physical and mental health. For more information about healthy work-life management, please visit: https://www.healthy-worker.ca/personal


  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Experts are calling on the federal transportation safety board to investigate a deadly bus crash in Ottawa to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.

    Ahmed Shalaby, a civil engineering professor at the University of Manitoba, said the Transportation Safety Board should be involved in probing the deadly crash to ensure the probe is transparent and recommendations are made to improve safety across the country. “The bus was carrying 90 passengers,” he said. “Is that not important enough to warrant a federal safety investigation? If it isn’t, then what is?”

    On Friday afternoon, a double-decker bus operated by local transportation agency OC Transpo hopped a curb and struck a transit shelter, carving deep into the vehicle’s upper level and crushing a number of seats.

    A local hospital said one person remains in critical condition, six are listed as serious and four are in stable condition.

    The safety board confirmed that they are not investigating the bus crash as the federal independent agency only probes marine, pipeline, rail and air incidents.

    “If this bus were a train, the (board) would immediately investigate. That’s not enough to make a difference to me,” said Shalaby, who is also the chair of research program on municipal infrastructure.

    The board’s mandate is to advance transportation safety by conducting investigations that result in public reports and making recommendations to improve transit safety.

    “As part of its ongoing investigations, the TSB also reviews developments in transportation safety and identifies safety risks that it believes government and the transportation industry should address to reduce injury and loss,” said the Government of Canada website.

    It differs from Transport Canada, which develops and administers policies, regulations and services for transportation systems, as the board works to advance safety specifically.

    The board investigated a crash in 2013 in which six people were killed in an OC Transpo double-decker bus, but only because a Via Rail train was involved. The train and bus collided during a morning commute in suburban Ottawa, shearing off the front of the bus.

    But Shalaby said the kind of vehicle involved in a mass-fatality crash shouldn’t make a difference in what spurs a government-led investigation.

    Shalaby said he studied factors contributing to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which killed 16 when a transport truck and the bus carrying a junior hockey team collided at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan in April.

    “We’ve been here many times before,” said Shalaby. “These federal investigations need to happen, the question is when?”

    Shalaby said he wants the City of Ottawa to ask the federal safety board to be involved in the investigation, which is currently being led by Ottawa police.

    The police force has released little information about the crash, citing a sprawling investigation dealing with numerous factors that will take time to reveal answers.

    Hours after the crash the bus driver was arrested, but she has since been released unconditionally pending further investigation. On Saturday evening, police finished documenting the scene and re-opened nearby roads.

    Const. Chuck Benoit said police continue to investigate the circumstances of the crash and if the police force believes additional agencies are needed, they would be sought out.

    The city referred to Ottawa police when reached for comment.

    Graham Larkin, executive director of Vision Zero, which works towards reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries, said he believes the board should be involved in the investigation since these types of crashes have occurred before.

    In 2016, a 14-year-old boy was pinned underneath an OC Transpo bus that jumped the curb and slammed into a bus shelter.

    Larkin added that the safety board’s job is to make recommendations, while police aren’t mandated to do so.

    Both he and Shalaby said there’s a significant difference in the number of fatalities in road incidents than other modes of transportation the safety board looks into.

    In 2016 there were 1,898 motor vehicle fatalities, 66 rail fatalities, seven marine fatalities, and 34 fatalities involving Canadian-registered aircraft, according to the Government of Canada website. It also said there have been no fatal accidents “on a federally regulated pipeline system directly resulting from the operation of a pipeline” since the board was created in 1990, however, one person was seriously injured in 2017.

    “It seems crazy to ignore road safety,” said Larkin. “There’s no reason the government shouldn’t be taking a lead on this.”

     

    Copyright (c) 2018 The Canadian Press


  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Get the schedules for workplace inspection initiatives in 2018-19

    On this page

    1. What we aim to do
    2. Provincial initiatives 2018-19
    3. Regional initiatives 2018-19
    4. Read the reports

    What we aim to do

    Each year we schedule inspection initiatives in specific sectors to protect workers' rights under both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act, and enhance employers' awareness of their responsibilities.

    We announce the focus of the initiatives ahead of time. However, individual workplaces are not identified in advance. The next round takes place April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 – the fiscal year.

    View the 2018-19 schedules for:

    Health and safety in the workplace

    Occupational health and safety inspectors carry out their initiatives to:

    • raise awareness of hazards
    • increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations

    Employment standards in the workplace

    Initiatives also take place to check that employers across the province are upholding employment standards. For example, employment standards officers inspect workplaces regarding:

    • minimum wage
    • hours of work
    • overtime pay
    • public holidays
    • paid vacation

    They focus on sectors where:

    • there’s a history of violations
    • vulnerable workers are employed such as
      • new and young workers
      • temporary foreign workers
      • workers in non-standard or precarious work
    • the number of people working is on the rise

    Provincial initiatives 2018-19
    Construction

    Focus Program Date

    Internal responsibility system

    Health and safety June 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019



    Cross-sector initiatives

    Initiative focus Program Date

    Chemical handling – chemical manufacturing

    Health and safety – occupational hygiene April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

    Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

    Health and safety – occupational hygiene April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

    Ergonomics related to falls (ladders, stairs, access platforms)

    Health and safety – ergonomics April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

    Musculoskeletal disorder prevention in metal fabrication

    Health and safety – ergonomics April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

    Municipalities

    • Phase 1: compliance support and prevention education (Ministry of Labour and Public Services Health and Safety Association)
    • Phase 2: Ministry of Labour enforcement campaign
    Health and safety – ergonomics

    Phase 1:
    April 1 2018 – March 31 2019

    Phase 2:
    April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020


    Read the reports

    We report the results of inspection initiatives, usually within 90 days.

    2018-19

    Health and safety

    Employment standards

    2017-18

    Health and safety

    Employment standards


  • Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sudbury Company Fined $50,000

    in Worker Fall

    May 25, 2018 4:00 P.M.

    Ministry of Labour

    Convicted: Pioneer Construction Inc., 1 Ceasar Road, Sudbury, Ontario.

    Location: Thunder Bay International Airport, City of Thunder Bay.

    Description of Offence: While working on a float truck, a worker fell from a ladder and was injured. The ladder should have been secured at the top and bottom to prevent movement.

    Date of Offence: July 29, 2016.

    Date of Conviction: May 25, 2018.

    Penalty Imposed:

    • Following a guilty plea, Pioneer Construction Inc. was fined for $50,000 in Thunder Bay court by Justice of the Peace John H. Guthrie; Crown Counsel Katherine Ballweg.
    • The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

    Background:

    • In 2016, Pioneer Construction Inc. was contracted to resurface the asphalt of the north runway of the Thunder Bay International Airport.
    • On July 29, 2016, a float truck operator was working near the north runway securing a mobile office unit on a float truck.
    • Chains were attached to the mobile office unit and a loader hoisted the mobile office unit and placed it onto the float truck.
    • With the unit on the float truck, the worker was to climb to the top of the mobile office unit using a ladder, and detach the chains.
    • The worker put the  ladder on the deck of the float truck to get to the top of the mobile office unit. While the worker was on the ladder, the ladder slipped backwards and down. The worker fell, lost consciousness and suffered bodily injuries.
    • The ladder had not been secured at the top and the bottom to prevent movement.
    • As such, the defendant Pioneer Construction Inc. failed to comply with the section 82(2)(d) of the Construction Projects Regulation (Ontario Regulation 213/91), as required by section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    Media Contacts


  • Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Policy to Level the Playing Field for

    Workers on Government Contracts

    May 8, 2018 12:00 P.M.

    Ministry of Labour

    Ontario passed legislation today that will ensure people working in construction, building cleaning or security jobs under contracts with the government will be paid the fair, prevailing wage in those sectors.

    The Government Contract Wages Act, 2018 allows Ontario to establish minimum rates of pay for workers under contract with the government in those jobs. The Director of Government Contract wages may establish minimum government contract wages and shall consider any relevant information and sources, including: collective agreements, Statistics Canada data, and other government sources. Private-sector contractors and subcontractors will be required to pay according to those rates. The Act also provides a number of ways for employees to recover their wages and includes an anti-reprisal mechanism. 

    The legislation builds on historic actions Ontario has already taken to create more opportunity and security for workers and help them get ahead in a rapidly changing economy. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 passed last fall, took action to protect workers by: 

    • Raising the minimum wage to $14 this year and again to $15 on January 1, 2019
    • Ensuring equal pay for equal work for part-time, casual and seasonal workers performing substantially the same duties as full-time workers
    • Creating up to five days of paid leave and up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave for survivors of gender-based violence
    • Mandating 10 days of emergency leave for all workers, including two paid days, because no one's job should be at risk if they need to deal with a serious family or personal emergency. 
    Supporting workers is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

    Quick Facts

    • Ontario’s original Fair Wage Policy was developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1995.
    • The refreshed Fair Wage Policy will apply to contracts with all government ministries, and with specified government agencies and Crown corporations. It will cover building security and cleaning services in government owned and occupied buildings, and four construction sectors: roads; heavy engineering; sewers and water mains; and industrial, commercial and institutional.
    • The Fair Wage Policy wage schedules will be developed through consultation with partners and stakeholders to ensure that they are evidence-based.

    Additional Resources

    Quotes

    Kevin Flynn

    “Everyone in Ontario should be paid fairly for the work that they do. By updating Ontario’s Fair Wage Policy, we are ensuring that the Ontario government is doing its part as an employer. We are committed to building a fair and safe workplace for all Ontario workers and employers, and the Fair Wage Policy is a key part of that plan.”

    Kevin Flynn

    Minister of Labour


  • Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How many times you have heard “safety first” or “everything starts with safety”? I am pretty sure that we have all heard some variation of these phrases. As a safety professional myself, it does become  challenging at times to know which approach is the best for motivating employees and staff to be more safety conscious in the workplace and at home. Why at home as well? It is because 70 per cent of all injuries occur at home.

    Our objective is to create a safety culture, but what is a safety culture exactly? The common definition is a set of common beliefs that are acceptable to a group, but I believe a safety culture goes beyond that. As such, I decided to try to increase the safety consciousness of employees and staff at my workplace by involving them in our monthly safety meetings. I started by asking each employee at safety meetings two questions: what does safety mean to them; and what is a safety culture?

    For the first question, the answers I received were varied and based on their personal beliefs, like not getting hurt. I was impressed with one of the answers I received, which was that safety is “a lifestyle.” And that started to make me think about the core values of a person.

    For the second question, I was surprised that most of the employees did not know what a safety culture or their concept of a safety culture was, for example, wearing a hard hat. I received a lot a positive feedback, but also backlash from some employees who did not like to be singled out in front of the group and preferred to not participate. I do understand that not everyone is comfortable with speaking in front of groups, but I believe that in order to improve as a person, you must be placed outside of your comfort  zone. So my definition of a safety culture is “a set of shared core values of a group of individuals that believe safety is more than work, home or lifestyle; it is part of who we are.”

    The following month, I decided to pursue the same format in our safety meetings. The two questions I asked this time were: what are you doing now to contribute to safety; and what are you willing to do for the next month to improve safety on site? Obviously, these questions were more challenging for the staff, because they were aimed to make them dig deeper within themselves.

    For the first question, just like the previous month, I received a wide range of answers from picking objects up from the ground to ensuring that their fellow co-worker locks out properly during cleaning and maintenance. When it came to the second question, the employees found it difficult to give an answer.

    To help them out, I provided them two personal commitments that I had made for myself for the next two months: look only for the positive actions around me; and to observe one employee per day, thank them for working safely and let them know the reason why I thanked them. Once I mentioned my own commitments, it did encourage some of the workers to provide their own personal commitments to improve safety at the workplace.

    As you can see, safety is not as easy as replacing a bolt or putting on a guard. It is dealing with people. I wish I can say that all employees were onboard with my approach, but I made some headway. Some employees’ eyes were opened to this new approach that safety comes from within each and every one of us.

    Certified health and safety consultant Christian Fournier is a safety and training coordinator with Fornebu Lumber Company Inc. in New Brunswick.

    Canada's Occupational Health & Safety Magazine

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