Be Safe News – November, 2016


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Be Prepared  BE INFORMED

Is Daylight Saving Time a Health and Safety Hazard?

Written by Jenn Miller, Curriculum Development Coordinator

A Brief History of Daylight Saving Time
The concept of daylight saving is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and while he is the one who famously wrote that “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” the idea actually belongs to George Hudson of New Zealand. In 1895, he published a paper, proposing a time-saving shift to create more light hours after work so that he may pursue his hobby of bug collecting. Some credit Englishman William Willet with being the first to propose daylight saving; however, his proposal, while independently conceived, came two years following Hudson’s. Interestingly, Willet’s desire to add more hours of light to the day was also borne of a desire to have more time to practise his own hobby, golf.

The first country to adopt daylight saving was Germany in 1916. Britain and Canada followed, and then in 1918, the USA, and Russia joined in. The adoption of daylight saving has not been without dispute. Proponents point to energy savings and additional hours for leisure in the evening. Opponents argue that energy saving benefits are not conclusive, and that daylight savings increases health risks and disrupts morning activities. They also suggest that the twice-yearly changing of the clocks is very disruptive to sleeping patterns, which may result in more accidents including motor-vehicle, personal, and workplace accidents that can cause injury or even death. Generally, opponents feel daylight saving is bad for workplace productivity, bad for one’s health, and the cause of increased rates of pedestrian, motor-vehicle, and workplace accidents. By those arguments, it could be suggested that daylight saving time is a health and safety hazard.

A Temporary Drop in Productivity
The science speaks for itself; when employees put their clocks ahead one hour (as we will be on March 12, 2017), their productivity is reduced the following Monday. It’s because lost sleep results in a 20% increase in cyber-surfing per hour of sleep lost.1 While this doesn’t necessarily point to daylight savings being a hazard, it does indicate that daylight saving negatively affects operations, at least temporarily while workers adjust to new sleep schedules. And this decrease in productivity as a result of disrupted sleeping schedules occurs twice yearly. Lack of attention to tasks is wasteful in an office setting; in trades it can be deadly. Fatigue is a primary psycho-social hazard in relation to machine operations.

Increased Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents – and of getting Hit by a Car
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety reports that when we put our clocks forward (in the spring), traffic accidents increase by a whopping 23% the Monday following.2 The CBC conducted a study supporting this statistic. How do these statistics translate to workplace hazards? Imagine, with a 23% increase in traffic accidents the number of workers affected during daily commutes. In addition to commuters, workers who drive as part of their jobs are also at increased risk. This extends to more than those who drive motor vehicles – lift truck and crane operators, truck drivers, and even pilots are all at increased risk.

So, while increased motor vehicle accidents seem to be a result of putting the clock ahead in the Spring, then we must be safe in the fall when we put the clocks back, right? Wrong. When clocks go back in the fall, pedestrians are more than three times as likely to be struck and killed in the hours after 6pm.3 Why? Because drivers are fatigued and their focus is diminished, putting pedestrians at increased risk. It stands to reason that any change to sleep patterns and schedules could put shift workers at risk for harming themselves or coworkers in the workplace during operations of vehicles and/or lifting devices.

Daylight Saving has adverse Health Effects
Losing an hour of sleep or otherwise changing regular sleep routines and natural body rhythms increases the risk of severe health afflictions such as heart attack and stroke. A 2012 study conducted by the University of Alabama showed a 10% increase in the prevalence of heart attacks in the days following a time change.4 That’s a colossal increase in risk.

As for stroke, one study indicated an 8% risk increase. While the correlation between health and safety hazards and increased heart attack and stroke risk is not obvious, consider the effect that it would have on your business if one of your employees suffered a heart attack or stroke during his or her work day.

Sleep is a direct contributor to mental health. Lack of sleep can result in increased irritability and distress, while healthy sleep can improve well-being. Anxiety and depression are often linked to unhealthy sleep habits or inability to get enough sleep. Disruptions to sleeping patterns put workers at risk for mental health issues. Employers concerned about the effect of daylight saving on productivity and employee health have started encouraging on-site nap rooms in order to encourage healthy sleep and mental wellness.

Is Daylight Saving Time a Workplace Hazard?
The short answer, based on the evidence is yes. However, it seems that it is more of a hazard in the spring when we put clocks ahead. There seems to be less, though not zero, risk for workplace accidents in the fall when we gain an hour.

There have been movements to disband daylight saving time throughout the years; however, it seems that for now, Canadians will be falling back and springing forward for years to come.  The best strategy for preventing the fallout of time changes is to start preparing early, by adjusting bedtimes and wake times incrementally leading up to the time change. Employers may wish to make rest/nap areas available to help employees adjust, and those who drive for a living should ensure that they are properly rested before hitting the road.

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Be Compliant  BE COMPLIANT

Timeliness and Allegations of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Written by Ron LeClair, Owner LeClair and Associates

A recent arbitral decision, Ottawa (City) v Ottawa-Carleton Public Employees’ Union, Local 503, 2016 CanLII 59377 (ON LA) (Burkett), highlights one of the challenges that can face an employer when addressing an allegation (or allegations) of workplace sexual harassment.

In Ottawa, a unionized shelter support worker who had no prior history of discipline, was alleged to have harassed five female coworkers a number of times over a period of several years. While conducting its investigation into the complaints, a major challenge facing the employer was the amount of time that had passed since the alleged misconduct took place. In some instances, the complainants could not recollect specific details about the misconduct complained of, such as the month in which the comments and behaviours took place. Nevertheless, the employer concluded, based on all the evidence, that the misconduct complained of did in fact occur, and that the perpetrator’s misconduct was indicative of a “persistent pattern of highly inappropriate and offensive, unwelcome, sexual comment or behaviour”. In accordance with its workplace policies, the employer terminated the perpetrator’s employment for just cause.

The perpetrator grieved his termination, issuing a blanket denial regarding all of the allegations filed against him. The perpetrator emphasized the fact that the complainants had failed to come forward in a timely manner, suggesting that the complainants had conspired against him.

In his decision Arbitrator Kevin Burkett upheld the employer’s decision to terminate the perpetrator’s employment for just cause. The Arbitrator concluded that in spite of the passage of time, and the fading memories of the five complainants, a termination for cause was justified in the circumstances. The following factors weighed in favour of the employer’s actions:

Arbitrator Burkett considered mitigating factors that may have weighed in favour of reducing the perpetrators penalty from a termination to a “lengthy suspension”, such as the perpetrator’s prior discipline-free record. The arbitrator concluded that if the circumstances were different, an argument could be made that a lengthy suspension would have served to deter and rehabilitate the perpetrator. Nevertheless, and especially because the perpetrator had completely failed to exercise any remorse for his misconduct, the termination of the perpetrator’s employment was justified in the circumstances.

The Ottawa decision serves to highlight the fact that workplace sexual harassment can form the basis for the termination of a perpetrator’s employment, even if it is only complained of or discovered several years after the fact.

A full copy of Arbitrator Burkett’s decision can be found here:
http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onla/doc/2016/2016canlii59377/2016canlii59377.pdf

Key Takeaways for Employers include:

The law requires employers to constantly monitor their work environments to make sure they are free of sexually harassing behaviours. Proactive steps to maintain a harassment-free environment will help make sure that sexual harassment does not take root, and is not given a chance to escalate. The following best practices can minimize incidents of workplace sexual harassment and an employer’s liability in the event of an incident.

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Be Knowledge  BE KNOWLEDGEABLE

Ask the Expert

Written by Jeff Thorne, Manager of Training and Consulting

WHAT ARE THE BASIC KEYS TO DUE DILIGENCE?

In the most basic sense, due diligence comes down to two things, complying with legal obligations and effectively managing risk in the workplace.

Here are some measures that can be implemented that assist in meeting legislative requirements and proving due diligence.

Most importantly, a system must be set up for identifying, reporting, and responding to all actual and potential dangers in the workplace. Make sure that safe work practices, procedures, and controls are in place, specific to the identified hazards in the workplace, and that they address and exceed all legislated requirements.

Identify training requirements based on your industry and ensure the training delivered is ongoing for managers, supervisors, and workers. Frequency may be legislated in some cases, in other cases it may be based on CSA standards, or other leading industry practices.

Ensure that there is a regular schedule established for communication of foreseeable hazards, risks, and changes. Make sure that time and resources are allocated for health and safety. This includes investing in health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees.

Lastly, and most importantly, make sure that your health and safety system works. Set up a system for monitoring and auditing health and safety programs on a regular basis. This is a proactive approach to due diligence.

Compliance with the points above show that employers have an understanding of what is required to manage health and safety risks. Management and worker involvement is critical to ensure the success of the system.

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Healthy  BE HEALTHY

Should We Nap at Work?

Written by Jenna Kressler, Operations Assistant

Our lives are busy. Not only do we work at least eight-hour workdays where we contend with deadlines and goals to meet, we have our personal lives too: getting the kids to hockey and dance lessons, meal prep, running errands, volunteering, going to the gym or yoga class. You catch my drift? Life is exhausting.

How often do you get a chance to take 30 minutes for yourself to re-energize? What if your workplace allowed naptime during the day? Would you be more productive? Would you have more energy?

Studies have shown lack of adequate sleep leads to a variety of health detriments and interferes with daily functioning tasks.1 Sleep deprived individuals, or those who have a sleeping disorder, tend to take more short and long-term sickness leaves from work. Sleep problems are also a safety concern, as they are associated with occupational injuries.2 Furthermore, work-related injuries and sleep problems contribute significantly to individual, medical, and workers’ compensation insurance claims.3 Sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.4

More workplaces are adopting naptime practices, and they are reaping the benefits. Employees who nap 15-30 minutes have shown increased job performance, mood, and alertness, as well as reduced anxiety and stress. Regular naps assist in storing, retaining, and recalling information faster and more effectively.5 A couple long-term benefits include reduced blood pressure and decreased coronary-related mortality.6

 

HOW TO TAKE A RELAXING NAP:

Limit your naptime: Only 15-30 minutes is needed. Longer naps can cause negative effects, such as sleep inertia (grogginess, delayed alertness) and night-time sleeping problems.

Location, Location, Location: Find a dark, cool place. A quiet room with limited noise and dim lighting assists in falling asleep faster.

Get cozy! Grab a blanket and comfy pillow! Need some white noise? Turn on a fan or play some tranquil music.

Avoid caffeine: Consuming large quantities of caffeine before you lay down to nap affects your ability to fall asleep. However, foods that are high in protein and calcium promote sleep.

Relax! Enjoy your nap. You deserve it! You will be rested, relaxed, and more productive after you get some shut eye!

 

WAYS TO INCORPORATE NAPPING INTO YOUR WORKPLACE:

Have a napping room: A quiet room with neutral colours, dim or no lighting, couches, cots, or sleeping pods.

Promote napping! Make it part of your company’s culture. Let employees book their time slot in the nap room, just like a meeting room.

Encourage it! You’ve read the benefits, who doesn’t want a more productive and happy employee?!

Should you incorporate napping in your workplace? YES!

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Be A Leader  BE A LEADER

Tricia Rizzo & Rob Morris

Written by Jennifer Miller, Curriculum Development Coordinator

At OSG, all of our staff are Health and Safety Leaders. This month, we are featuring two outstanding leaders: Tricia Rizzo and Rob Morris.

TRICIA RIZZO
Tricia is one of OSG’s Client Relationship Managers, whose professional goal is to ensure that all client expectations are met and that all of her clients continue to be safe in the workplace. Tricia has been working for OSG for almost 9 years in the customer relationship department, and continues to deliver top-notch customer service. She describes the best part of her job as the ability to have engaging conversations with clients about safety issues. Outside of OSG, Tricia is an avid Steelers supporter. She also loves to cook. Her favourite season is autumn, because she can break out her very stylish and extensive collection of fall boots and jackets, while cheering for the Black and Gold.

“ Plan ahead.  Safety should always be a forethought, not an afterthought.” -Tricia Rizzo

ROB MORRIS
Rob Morris has the distinction of being OSG’s longest-tenured trainer – and he trains every OSG course title found in the catalog! He is also a qualified toolmaker, and he holds a National Technical Certificate. Rob is committed to assisting companies to be more productive through safe work. He believes that safe work boosts efficiencies and productivity. When he isn’t travelling all over Ontario for OSG, Rob enjoys working with his hands, completing many carpentry and welding projects around the house. Rob’s direct no-nonsense approach to safety in the workplace make him an OSG client favourite; and he brings a unique brand of dry humor to all of his courses.

“Implement solid safe operating procedures for all tasks performed.” -Rob Morris

Next time you are in OSG’s London office, say hello to Tricia or Rob. They are OSG Safety Leaders who embody safety culture in the workplace.

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Be A Leader  BE SUCCESSFUL

Be a Health and Safety Champion

OSG prides itself on celebrating clients who embody the spirit of what it means to be a Health and Safety Champion. We celebrate our Health and Safety Champions in our monthly Be Safe Newsletter, and we feature them on our website.

Company Name: Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites

Description: Hotel and suites, restaurants, and lounges

Industry: Hospitality and Tourism

Number of Employees: 1100+

Name: Jessica Castelli

Role: Human Resources Specialist – Health & Safety

Website: www.niagarafallshilton.com

Phone: 905.353.7170

Courses taken with OSG:

Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview safety tip:
The more health and safety training you provide, the more your safety culture and employee engagement will grow!

About Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites:
Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites is Niagara Fall’s premiere accommodation. Located in the heart of Niagara Falls, it is the tallest all-suite tower in Canada. The hotel boasts three signature restaurants, two lounges, two cafes, full room service, fitness amenities, and a pool with a three-story high water slide. The Human Resources Specialist, Jessica Castelli, has described her biggest health and safety challenge as keeping 1100 staff, with an average of 400 new staff each year, trained. Jessica told OSG that “We hire over 400 new workers each year, and our biggest challenge is training. It is so important that workers understand the hazards in their roles, and have the knowledge required to [stay] safe.” To remedy the problem, Jessica now effectively uses training to increase safety awareness. She ensures that management is trained in applicable OSG Train-the-Trainer titles, and has noted that when her leaders receive excellent training it helps to increase health and safety awareness for all workers.

Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallview is this month’s OSG Health and Safety Champion because they are making progressive strides to increase the safety culture in their workplace. Staff in management roles are leading by example, and the increase in health and safety competency has resulted in a companywide switch from a reactive approach to health and safety to a proactive one. Jessica states that “We have trained eight workers [in JHSC certification], which is more than the requirement; however, it has led to an improvement on the overall function of the committee.” Since their training, Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview has made many positive changes, including the inclusion of bi-weekly safety talks. In addition, Jessica is using what she learned in Supervisor Competency Training to enhance the safety culture in her workplace to increase aid in retention of employees.

For more information on Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview, please visit them on the web at www.niagarafallshilton.com.

Completing an OSG health and safety training course automatically makes your company a champion. However, if your company wishes to be featured in OSG’s Be a Champion feature, please contact your Customer Relationship Manager to request a survey.

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Be A Leader  BE PROACTIVE

Ontario Regulation 851 for Industrial Establishment requires that any operator of a lifting device or mobile equipment be competent.  Similarily, Ontario Regulation 213/91 for Construction Projects requires any vehicle, powered machine, or tool be operated by a competent person. 

OSG is here to help and offers training for those who operate overhead cranes and telehandlers.

Safe Operation of an Overhead Crane  The program will provide participants with the knowledge required to use an overhead crane safely and efficiently. This course covers a variety of industrial type cranes including bridge, jib, and gantry cranes.

Safe Operation of a Telehandler  The program will provide participants the ability to recognize hazards associated with the equipment and the environment in which it is operated, as well as the safe operating principles pertaining to safe operation of the equipment.

Training is offered in various delivery methods to accommodate clients needs.  Train-the-Trainer is becoming a more viable option to many clients.  Register for November courses by selecting Overhead Crane TTT or Telehandler TTT.  

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BE CURRENT

NEWS

Judge Imposes $1 Million Fine Against Vale for Fatal Accident

Worker’s Critical Injury Results in $54,500 Fine For Food Processor

Roofing Company Proprietor Receives Fine, Jail Term After Worker Falls

Live Nation Applies to have Radiohead Stage Collapse Case Thrown Out

MINISTRY OF LABOUR BLITZES & RESULTS

Electrical Hazards
Nov. 1 – Oct. 31

Regional Health and Safety Blitzes
Industrial – Landscapers/Snow Removal


Young Workers and Temporary Foreign Workers

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