As the end of the year approaches we are taking some time to reflect on such a memorable year. We truly appreciate all of you for being a part of that. We look forward to what the new year holds. Thank you and wishing you all the joys of the season and the happiest of years to come. From our family here at ABCS to yours… Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
The holidays are definitely the best part of the year. It’s socially acceptable to over indulge in almost everything. The food, the gifts, the drinks and the parties, it truly is a wonderful life. However, if you are partaking in a few glasses of holiday cheer, be sure you have a safe ride home. It’s hard to believe this still needs to be said in 2018. There is absolutely no excuse to drive if you are impaired. You can call a friend or family member, call a taxi or Uber or use the many services available during the holiday season such as Keys Please. If you know you’ll be drinking, plan ahead and leave your vehicle at home and try and plan a designated driver. If you accidentally have one too many (no judgement… we’ve all been there) wait for a cab or Uber. If you think you may be tempted to drive while you wait, give your keys to a friend. No matter what safe way you use to get home, it’s the right way. Otherwise you could be ending your night in jail or worse. Fatalities involving alcohol jump up around 30% this time of year. Don’t be a part of this statistic. Make sure you find a safe way home to continue celebrating the holidays… all those cookies aren’t going to eat themselves. Have fun and be safe. 🍾💃🍷🕺🥂🎄
Unsafe trenching and excavation have caused a huge amount of injuries and deaths over the years. These incidents happen incredibly fast. Can you imagine one second working away, and the next you are buried alive? That is terrifying on every level. Thankfully, excavation injuries and deaths are also very preventable. Here are some things to go over before you even begin.
Be familiar with the laws and legislation in your area. Contact the proper overseeing officials in your area to be sure. Have an emergency plan in place, have all emergency contacts readily available. Know what services are buried and where they are. Also know where the overhead lines are and what the safe distance is from them or how to have them de-energized. Know what kind of soil you are working with, there could be many kinds in the area you are about to dig up and you need to know them all. Be aware of close by buildings or other work sites that could affect the trench. Before any workers enter the trench, it needs to be tested for oxygen levels and hazardous gases. These tests need to continue while work is being done. Ensure necessary shoring is in place. The proper means need to be taken to prevent a worker from falling into the trench and an above ground spotter is required. And or course a readily available exit for each worker.
Please keep in mind this is just a list of key points. There is so much more that goes into excavation. It’s a lot of permits, planning, safety tickets, PPE and safety red tape, all for a very good reason. If you’re going to be involved in trenching and excavation please go to our website and take one of the trenching, excavation and shoring courses we offer.
(Please read the following with the voice over from a infomercial) Have that hard to buy for person? Maybe pulled the most impossible name for the work secret Santa? What says “I’m wishing you a merry and safe Christmas” more than giving PPE for a gift. The list is endless, gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, ear plugs and respirators. But wait… there’s more! This is the gift that keeps on giving! Your friend or loved one can count on you to be safe in the New year! Okay, the voice over can stop now. All jokes aside, depending on the company or site your friends or family work for, PPE may not be provided. Many workers are responsible to bring their own personal protective equipment. This can lead to them running out of something or making due with what they have, which can lead to injuries. So in all, actuality it’s not a horrible idea to put a few pairs of gloves or ear plugs under the tree this year for that worker you want to see come home safely every day.
We all take shortcuts. Maybe it’s not putting on our seat belt when we are just driving to the wash cart, or not tying off when you’re quickly taking the EWP back up to grab something, or walking through a red tape area because it’s faster. The thing is; shortcuts, both at work and at home, only seem like shortcuts for a while. Eventually, your luck will run out and you’ll get injured or cause somebody else to be. Most of the time, you’re only saving a second or two. I mean how long does it take to click on your seat belt, or gear up and tie off on your lift? ….or walk around a red zone? Think about the alternative… an injury could slow you down for months, or even years, or even be potentially fatal. Are those 5 seconds worth it? If you find yourself taking shortcuts, you need to break that habit. Even if you’re just cutting the corner and walking on your neighbors grass instead of the sidewalk, break the shortcut habit. Make a mental note to do things the correct way. I promise, for the most part you won’t even notice the little bit of extra time it takes. Sometimes the safe way will take a bit longer… and that’s okay, you get paid by the hour right?
Nobody ever intends to block an emergency exit or a fire extinguisher. However, sometimes we need to put something down or out of the way for “just a second” and then it becomes forgotten and more stuff begins piling up. You may think it’s not a huge deal… but truth be told, it is. In a life or death situation, seconds mean everything. So let’s go over a few tips to avoid blocking validations.
First off, what areas should never be blocked? You never want to block these 6 areas… emergency exit, first aid box, eyewash/shower stations, fire extinguisher, power disconnect/panels and walkways. Think about how awful it would be trying to escape a fire and your emergency exit is blocked with a stack of boxes. Or you get a solvent in your eye and you have to try and maneuver around trash bins to reach the eyewash station. This is why these areas are a block free zone. So here’s how we make sure that happens.
Take the responsibility upon yourself. If you’re at a new site/shop take a look around. Find the 6 areas listed above and make sure they are not blocked or locked. Do random checks to ensure they stay free and clear. There should be signage indicating what needs to be cleared. Talk to your co-workers, if you see someone blocking an area, politely educate them. Your safety crew should be doing regular audits, to ensure nothing is blocked or locked. If need be, get approval, the grab some yellow paint and paint some “block free zones”.
This is one of those things we hope we never have to use or rely on. But in those emergency situations a readily available fire extinguisher, emergency power disconnect or any of the other areas clear of road blocks could be the difference between life or death. So do your part to put a stop to blocking validations.
I know everyone thinks PPE just keeps adding up. That sites/employers will have us working in fireproof bubble wrap soon (I mean… Not a horrible idea 😉). So, every time we have something to add to our long list of PPE, we lose our cool. Not all, but lots of sites are now making traction aids mandatory during the winter months. I was working on one such site when they made it mandatory. Workers were outraged. The thing is, no employer plans ways to make our lives harder or ways to get us all fired up. Traction aids have been proven to reduce slips, trips, and falls in the winter, which is one of the most common injuries. These injuries can be severe and even fatal. So, why are we fighting it so much? I’ve heard it all…they are too heavy, they hurt my back, and they come off all the time. Casts are also heavy and slips and trips also hurt your back … just saying. I know you probably feel like it will never end… but until the injuries do end, and workplace hazards are gone forever, I think…. bring on all the innovations and safety gear that will protect us from them, even the traction aids! And, even if they are not mandatory on your site, I highly recommend getting a pair. Let’s start being thankful for the safety we do have and the new innovations we are offered and stop fighting the very things that are helping to ensure we get home safe at the end of the day.
Nobody wants to go to work, never crack a smile, never laugh and be all business all the time. We need a certain level of camaraderie but when joking around becomes a safety issue… It’s not fun anymore. It’s more than fine to make some jokes and get people laughing, I actually encourage it. Happier workers are usually better workers. But just like your tasks at work, put some thought into what you say and do. Am I saying write out a JHA for every joke you wish to say? Well, yes and no. No, you don’t actually have to write out a hazard report but put some thought and/or planning into it. Will your joke or comments cause another worker to become too distracted, or does it have the potential to cause injury, or make someone feel uncomfortable or angry? Will it slow down production? These are real questions you need to ask yourself before you start your one man comedy show. If there are no hazards involved, go ahead and ham it up. Being safe may be boring and dry, but I don’t see how the alternative is funny at all. So go ahead and be funny or have a laugh but be safe too.
Who says safety doesn’t pay? Look at the smile on these faces. We would just like to give a shout out to Bill Greber, the winner of our safety contest. Thank you for being an avid follower of Alberta BC Safety. Don’t worry if you missed out on this contest, there will be many more to thank all our followers. It’s people like all of you who make safety a part of your everyday lives that will help ensure, we all get home safely to enjoy the benefits of a hard days work. So stay tuned!
Sometimes as trades people we don’t know how good we have it. We complain about all our PPE, huffing and puffing while we gear on in the mornings, but just think; we could be required to wear high heeled shoes. Could you imagine working any job wearing stilettos? As of January 1, 2019 OHS states, employers will no longer be allowed to require a worker wear any footwear that could pose a risk to their health and safety. Can you believe this is just happening in 2019? Did you know that high heels can put the worker at a higher risk of a slew of hazards such as, slips, trips, falls, cuts, crushing, puncture, sprains, breaks, chance for MIS’s (musculoskeletal injuries) and many more. Does that list sound familiar? That’s because that is everything your clunky work boots protect you from. So next time you feel like complaining about your PPE, just think of all the hard working women, putting in their hours on stilts at risk for hazards you don’t even have to think about anymore. And ladies… welcome to the wonderful world of safety shoes… they may not be the prettiest, but your feet and back will love you for it!