Happy Halloween

Tomb it may concern, us guys and ghouls here at ABCS would like to wish you and your family a spooktacular Halloween! May it be filled with lots of laughs, scares and of course boo’s! Play it safe, look out for your witches. Don’t forget to creep it real tonight, for Halloween is gone with the morning light. MAUHAHAHAHA 🎃🧙🧟‍👻🧛‍

Halloween Safety

What kid doesn’t love Halloween? Costumes, decorations and free candy… So much free candy! Let’s do our best to keep Halloween fun for everyone by following a few simple rules.

When picking a costume for your child, try to steer clear of masks.  I they have to wear a mask, make sure they can see clearly out of it. Also check for tripping hazards; make sure the costume isn’t too long. Before leaving the house make sure that your children have either reflective tape on their costume or they’re carrying a glow stick or a flashlight. This will help motorists spot them. It’s estimated that children are twice as likely to get injured by a motor vehicle on Halloween, so make sure they’re visible to motorists. Be clear that they need to stay out of the streets and only cross at crosswalks. Always make eye contact with motorists before beginning to cross. As for motorists, be alert! Be especially alert in a suburban area. You should never be driving distracted, so I know you won’t be on your phone, right? Slow down and be super cautious.

A parent should be going with younger children.  If your children are older and are going on their own, make sure you have a planned-out route where they’re trick-or-treating, a charged cell phone, and a time to be home. While trick-or-treating, make sure to only go to homes with the porch light on. Ensure that your children know that they should never, under any circumstances enter the home of a stranger. And snacking is a no-no. All candy and treats need to be inspected by a trusted adult (this trusted adult will make sure you’re candy is super safe and probably confiscate all your Reese’s #parenthack) Send your monsters out with a little bag of candy from home they can munch on, hopefully this will deter them from sampling their Halloween loot.

Halloween is supposed to be scary, as in ghouls and ghosts…… Not pedestrian accidents and tainted candy. Make sure to play it safe this year and follow these rules.

Carcinogens at Work

When most people think of carcinogens they think of cigarettes, alcohol and maybe tanning. But the truth is there are a few carcinogens that we need to look out for on site.

 So, what are carcinogens and how do we reduce or mitigate the hazard? Carcinogens are harmful substances that have the potential to cause cancer in those exposed to them. This could be long term exposure or high intensity exposure. Every human body is different; we all have a different genetic makeup, so what might not cause cancer in a co-worker, may end differently for you. So, we need to protect ourselves. But how?

Depending on the trade you work in, the carcinogens you could be dealing with include but are not limited to, wood dust, silica, ionizing radiation, asbestos, diesel exhaust, PCB’s, solvents, solar radiation and formaldehyde. Each of these are different levels of carcinogens. Your employer will conduct hazard assessments to identify and control hazards on their worksites and they must inform you about potential hazards.  That being said, you have a responsibility to protect yourself.  Make sure you follow any applicable safe work practices and procedures, review safe work permits, follow site rules, etc…..and remember, your last line of defense will be your PPE.  Use it!

Unfortunately, cancer is not going to be avoidable for all of us even if we take all the precautions in the world.  But, lets make sure putting in a hard day’s work won’t come back to haunt us years from now.  We all need to take precautions to do the best we can to stick around for our families. Carcinogens are no joke.

Why are We Still Complaining?

I hear so many grumblings about safety. How it takes too long to do it the safe way… How it’s mostly so big companies can save on insurance… How it’s people that have no idea how to do your job, telling you how to do your job. How you’ve been doing it your way for 25 years. I can’t help but think would you hear these complaints in a different industry? Like maybe a live line worker? Do you think a worker being flown in by helicopter wearing a Faraday suit to climb onto live power wires, complains about safety? Or maybe this worker skips steps sometimes… Maybe he/she doesn’t want to wear the suit one day because it’s too hot out or their gloves make it to hard to work with smaller tools so they takes them off now and then. Of course not, they would die! Do you think they sit around the lunch trailer and complain about safety? I guarantee they don’t. Safety is how they make it home everyday. We could all use a bit more of their mentality. If you do a quick Google search of the most dangerous jobs in the world, the trades come up. So why are we still acting like we don’t need safety? Who cares if it takes longer to do it safely… I’m pretty sure you’re paid by the hour. So what if we have meetings and paperwork to bring down a companies insurance. Their insurance only comes down with zero fatalities and injuries, so we are still coming out on top. We aren’t on site knitting sweaters… We work in a dangerous environment and need to not only start following safety by the book, but start embracing it.

“Bathroom Breaks”

I know this time a year, when that cold crisp air hits site, is when people start taking longer “bathroom breaks”. I get it, it’s cold outside and who doesn’t love a few levels of candy crush. Other than the obvious loss of production, using your phone in the washroom is disgusting. I know you may feel cozy, warm checking your texts from a bathroom stall but that stall is truly covered in all sorts of body fluids, bacteria and viruses. Even if your site cleaning crew is on point and your wash cart looks spotless… There are still diseases, urine and fecal matter (yes poop!) everywhere! These kinds of bacteria and viruses can cause all sorts of sickness like, E. Coli, pink eye, staphylococcus streptococcus, hepatitis A, shigella bacteria, the common cold and stomach flu. Every time someone flushes the toilet, tiny drops of  urine and fecal matter is flung all over the stall you’re currently taking a selfie in. So yes that makes using your phone on the toilet a safety concern. So please do yourself a favour and leave your phone in your pocket (well technically it shouldn’t be on you while working… But if it is). We always wash our hands when we use the bathroom… Right? Well how can we wash our phones? When you use your phone on the toilet, even if you give it a wipe down, you’re basically just packing around germs. You use your phone then eat… You just transferred those bathroom germs to your food. Use your phone the pick up your child… Now your child has them. I could keep going but I think you get the picture. Simple solution, don’t use your phone in the washroom… And always wash your hands.

Guards

Guards… They are on everything. Grinders, band saws, lathes you name it… It probably has some sort of guard. Some workers really think guards are put in place to slow us down. They think removing these guards is totally acceptable… And I guess it is, if you’re willing to lose a finger or an arm or your life (actually, even if for some reason you’re willing to take that gamble… It’s still not acceptable). Contrary to these beliefs, guards are 100% put in place to protect us. They should never be removed or altered in anyway. These guards are protecting us from moving parts that can pull in our hair, clothing and digits and cause serious injuries or even death. Some of this machinery is meant to cut or grind metal, what chance do you think your skin and bones have up against that? Guards need to stay put unless you are authorized to remove them. Otherwise, hands off. This goes for cleaning machinery or grinding in a tight spot. I know you may think “if I just take it off for a second, I can finish the job”. But that could be the last second of your life. Guards are in place for your safety, why would you ever want to alter that.

Anger management

We have all had moments of anger at work. It’s impossible not to. Someone steals your lunch, that last part of your weld just won’t go in (I know this one all too well) or maybe someone just rubs you the wrong way. These are legitimate reasons to be irritated. How you handle your emotions could be a serious safety hazard though.

If you don’t deal with your anger properly, it can consume you and if this happens your mind is not focused on the task at hand. Anytime our mind wanders, we put ourselves at serious risk. Is being mad for whatever reason worth an injury? I don’t think so. I know for some that anger turns to aggression. Even if not directed at another person, can cause some pretty significant hazards. Think about it… You mess up what you’re working on, you get mad, throw a tool to relieve some aggression, not at anyone but it bounces of the ground and hits your partner. Now they are injured and mad and your work is still messed up. Aggression never solves the problem. Not to mention the toll anger has on your body. Getting worked up over everything can lead to anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, stroke and heartache. Nothing is really worth those side effects. So how do you change it?

First know that anger is a normal, healthy emotion, when dealt with properly. When you start to feel anger at work, try and remove yourself from the situation. This could be a quick walk to the wash cart. Even a little bit of time by yourself can help you cool off. If you need to, try some deep breathing and counting backwards. Think about why you’re angry and a productive way to solve it. Try and look at the big picture and remember, letting your anger get the best of you, can be a safety hazard to yourself. When you’re not at work try working out or running to burn off some steam. To stay calm try yoga or meditation. If you feel like your anger is really out of control, see a counselor and work it out.

Focusing on your anger or acting out in anger will never solve the problem, only create more. So do what works for you to stay calm and safe on site.

Safety Everywhere

I sat down for dinner with my family at a local restaurant. It’s Friday, we are all done work for the week, time to relax, YAY! Then our son starts screaming “TRACTOR, TRACTOR”, we look out the window and see a man spotting a worker driving an EWP down the road (I know that’s not a tractor but our son is 2, don’t worry, he’ll know what an EWP is😉). I notice the spotter is in plain clothes and think he should be wearing a high res vest, maybe his company has very lax rules. We continue with our dinner but this is now bothering me. I take our son for a walk in the restaurant and we spot the worker on the lift. That’s when the above picture was taken. What do you notice? This man is about 2 stories up and not tied off! In plain sight! I couldn’t believe it. I snapped the picture and then went to drop my son off with my spouse but by the time I came back the worker already had the lift on the ground for the night and driving away in his pickup. Was I going to talk to him? You bet your bottom dollar I was, it’s my due diligence. I looked for a company name or sticker to call but there was nothing. However his lift is still there, I will track him down. Now I don’t want to get the worker in trouble, that is definitely not my end game here. But could you imagine eating dinner and a worker falls 2 stories right in front of you and you could have prevented it? I’m sure he was just pulling the lift in for the night and thought he didn’t need to tie off. But that’s just it… If it’s not enough to keep yourself alive, just know us safety people are always watching, even when we are off duty. So always take the time and do it safely.

Car Seat Safety part 3

There are so many common mistakes when it comes to car seats so let’s try to clear a few of them up. Rear facing is always better. Try to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Put them front facing no earlier than 2 years old. Follow the weight and height restrictions on the seat you purchase. When purchasing a seat, you should try to pick one that has higher weight and height restrictions. Rear facing is 5 times safer than front facing. Even if your child’s feet are touching the back of your cars seat, doesn’t mean he’s too big for the seat. Follow the restrictions. Try and put your car seat in the middle of the back seat. That is the safest place for it. Never put a car seat in the front seat or by any airbags. Children should not actually ride in the front seat till they are 13 year of age. Your child’s shoulder straps should be at or below their shoulders, never above. They need to be sung, you should be able to fit only one finger between your little one and their chest strap. Dress them light while they are in their seat. If it’s cold, put a blanket on top of them after you strap them in. Bulky clothing can make it impossible to tighten them properly. Never add anything to a car seat, such as toys. The chest clip need to be at armpit level. These are just a few things to watch out for on the daily.

Car seats can be very overwhelming. They can be complicated, awkward and heavy but it’s worth putting in the time to do the research and have it properly installed. Hopefully you will never have to see your seat in action, but if you do… you need it to protect your little monkey. Please take the time and be on the right side of the 50% of people that use them correctly.

 

Car Seat Safety part 2

There is a vast variety seats. It can be overwhelming. I’ll try and break it down. In order to leave the hospital with baby in hand, you will need an infant car seat. There are two types, a convertible or an infant. Infants car seats are great. There is a base that is first installed in your car and the bucket simply clicks in and out of the base. So if baby falls asleep, you just click them out and off you go with baby without waking them. The downfall of these is you will need another car seat when they get to 20-30 lbs (depending on the brand). Convertibles are great, they go from infant, usually all the way to booster. On the down side, they are not easy to switch from vehicle to vehicle and you are unstrapping and waking baby every time you leave the car. Once you pick a type, you need to insure it fits in your vehicle. Most car seats are a final sale so ask the clerk to check the floor model to your vehicle. This is one of the (if not the most) overwhelming parts of gearing up for a new baby. Do your research, talk to friends and ask retail workers a ton of questions. This is your child’s life, take your time, do your work.

So now you have your brand new car seat… You just have to install it. You open the instructions, read through it and none of it makes sense, you might as well be reading a different language. First try reading the car seat section in your car manual, that should give you some insight. Thankfully there are many groups out there that will help you. Every area is different. So go to transport Canada’s website and see what’s in your area. You can also try BCAA or checkout some Facebook groups, buckle up Wood Buffalo is a great one. Once you have your seat installed, you will still need to check it now and then. It should never move more than an inch side to side or front to back. Make sure you take the time to install your little one’s seat properly. If done incorrectly, not only can it be a fine if pulled over but it is not keeping your child safe. Come back tomorrow and we will address the most common mistakes.