Keeping New & Young Workers Safe

This is the time of the year when young workers/students are entering our workforce. Research has shown that workers, who are new on the job have higher rates of incidents & injuries than more experienced workers. In fact, most injured workers are under the age of 25 years.

When hiring new workers &/or university students, it is important to include health & safety as part of their training. For the benefit of all workers, schedule regular health & safety meetings with your team.

Develop a work culture that looks out for one another & is open to safety training & discussions. Experienced workers have insight as to what can go wrong on the job. Have them coach & look out for new workers at the job site.

Most workplaces have safety rules, unfortunately not everyone follows the rules. When your children get their first summer job, don’t rely on strangers to keep them safe. Talk to them about accidents that can happen on the job & teach them to take responsibility for their own safety. A safe work ethic is a life skill that no one wants to learn the hard way.

When starting a new job, ask if there will be on the job training. Find out what the hazards of the job are. Is there a health & safety orientation that goes over equipment operation, required safety gear, emergency procedures etc. Find out, who to talk to about health & safety concerns & what to do if injuries happen.

By law, everyone has the right to refuse work that may be dangerous to themselves or others. If unsure about your safety on the job, don't do it. Don't ignore the problem either. Talk to someone about your safety concerns. Take a stand/the lead & prevent serious injuries from happening to yourself & your co-workers.

Everyone should take responsibility for keeping new & young workers safe. Workplace safety should be a team effort. Do your part to ensue that everyone gets home safe at the end of the work day. 

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Time is running out. Christmas is just around the corner & the stores are filled with last-minute shoppers. Follow these parking lot safety tips:

-          Let someone know where you are going & what time you’ll be home. Call if you will be late.

-          Shop during daylight hours if possible.

-          The sun sets early. If shopping late afternoon or evening, try to find a parking spot that is closer to the building & in a well lit area. If possible, avoid parking in dark secluded areas.

-          Make sure that you can see your vehicle from a distance (with nothing obstructing your view).

-          Arrange to go late-night shopping with a friend. Use the buddy-system to stay safe.

-          Follow a group of people out to the parkade/parking lot. There is safety in numbers.

-          Walk in the centre isles & not between parked cars (especially in parkades).

-          Be alert to who is around you at all times. Walk with confidence. Keep your head high. Don’t look like a victim. Make eye contact with people as you pass by & keep a firm grip on your property.

-          Have your key ready/in your hand as you approach your vehicle.

-          If you suspect that someone is lurking by your vehicle, return to the store. Call the police or ask a security office to escort you to your vehicle.

-          Be cautious of any suspicious person approaching as you near your car.

-          Visually check under your car, from a distance as you approach it. Then check the front & back seats & the hatch back before entering.

-          Do not ignore your instincts. Don’t take chances, it isn’t worth it. If you do not feel safe, do something about it! Stay safe this holiday season!

Arrive Alive - Winter Driving Checklist




Like it or not, it is time to get ready for old-man-winter. I just had winter tires put on my vehicle & feel safer already. Are you ready for winter driving? Use the checklist below to travel safe this winter. 


Winter Driving Checklist

-          Give your self extra time in the morning. Warm up your car. You don’t want to be in a hurry on icy roads. Let weather dictate traffic speed.

-          Ensure proper visibility. Defrost your windshield & brush all the snow off your car before driving it. Always have extra windshield washer fluid in your car.

-          With shorter daylight hours, fog & snow, use low light beams (you’ll see better & will be seen).

-          Following too closely leads to many traffic collisions. On icy roads, leave extra/twice the room/space between vehicles. Slow down when approaching intersections.

-          Use winter tires on icy winter roads. The braking distance of winter tires compared to all season tires can be up to 2 car lengths (depending on speed & conditions).

-          If skidding on ice, don't pump your ABS brakes, don't step on the gas too hard and don't oversteer. Stay in control/don’t panic. Look in the direction that you want to go.

-          Tire pressure is lost when the temperature drops. Check your tire pressure monthly to ensure optimal handling and even wear on your tires.

-          Prevent frozen gas lines by keeping at least half a tank of gas in your car. Add gasline antifreeze.

-          Check/change fluids. Your antifreeze level should be good for at least minus 35C. Lighter engine oil is also recommended in winter.

-          Have your battery & alternator checked every fall; to ensure that your vehicle will start when the temperature drops.

-          Be patient & only pass cars when it is safe to do so.  Use the right lane if travelling slow.

-          Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.

-          Don’t get caught in a storm. If going on a winter road trip, check weather/road conditions before driving. Delay your trip if the weather will be bad. Take a map in case an alternate route is needed. Consider getting off the road if travelling & the weather worsens. Let someone know where you are going & when you will be arriving.

-          Always be prepared for the worst. Always bring a cell phone & winter survival kit in your car.

Winter Travel Survival Kit

-          first aid kit

-          snacks like granola bars or trail mix

-          flashlight

-          blanket or sleeping bag

-          warm clothing (boots, hat, mitts)

-          candles & lighter

-          shovel, flares, jumper cables

-          knife & basic tools (screw drivers/wrench)

-          extra antifreeze, windshield washer fluid etc

-          spare tire, tire jack

This survival kit is not just for long road rips. Your vehicle can break anywhere at anytime.  It may happen on our coldest winter day. You will be happy that you have warm boots & clothing to put on. 

If everyone would just slow down, allow extra time & extra space between cars, motor vehicle collisions, injuries & fatalities will be prevented. Be prepared for winter driving. Travel safe & arrive alive.

Fire Prevention Checklist

Most fire deaths occur in homes.Are you aware of all of the fire hazards around you?

Use this fire prevention checklist to prevent fires at home:

-     Don’t leave food cooking on the stove or in your toaster, toaster over or oven unattended. Use a timer, to remind you to check periodically on items baking in the oven.

-Plan ahead & know how to safely & quickly put out a small kitchen fire, if it happens. Never try to put out a kitchen grease fire with water (this will cause an explosion). Rather, smother a burning grease fire/pot with a tight fitting lid (always have it ready, just in case). Buy a small chemical fire extinguisher for your kitchen.

-Clean appliances. When doing laundry, clean drier lint trays after every load. Clean stove ovens, hoods and vents. Replace outdated appliances. Purchase irons & coffee makers that have an automatic turn-off safety feature.

-Have space heaters properly installed, away from high traffic areas. Leave plenty of space between the heater and your furniture, bedding & curtains & clothes.

Electric space heaters can get very hot. A space heater used at home, burnt a hole in our linoleum floor. Use extra caution if the heater is an older model. Use it on a non-flammable surface (like a cookie sheet). Better yet, buy a newer, safer model.

-Night lights can also get warm. Use the safety cover & keep away from plush toys, clothes, curtains & bedding.

-      Keep your yard & garage free of combustible materials like old rags, boxes & papers. Keep materials away from your furnace, water heater & dryer.

-      Properly dispose of old unwanted paint cans. If storing/keeping paints, ensure the containers have tight fitting lids. Store gasoline & flammable liquids in proper containers away from heat sources. Do not store gas or propane in the house.

For proper disposal of flammable materials:

-      Don’t over-load your electrical circuits. Use a surge protector. Always have a qualified electrician install new outlets & wiring.

-      Always use quality extension cords, CSA approved & suitable for the job. Never place cords under carpets. Never use indoor extension cords outdoors & visa versa.

-      Have your furnace, fireplace/chimney or wood stove inspected & serviced/cleaned. Use fireplace metal screens.

-Never leave burning candles or incense unattended.

-      Electrical equipment like DVD players & video consoles can get very hot. Give them space. Ensure they have proper ventilation & keep them away from paper & cloth.

-Use recommended/proper wattage when replacing bulbs in your light fixtures.

-      Cigarette butts lodged in furniture and bedding can cause fires in the middle of the night. Never smoke when sleepy, especially in bed. Fires started by cigarettes, are a leading cause of fire deaths.

-Use large/safe ashtrays & dispose of smoking materials safely. If people are smoking outdoors, use/provide a paint can full of sand to extinguish hot cigarettes.   

-      Install fire alarms on every level of your home. Most victims of fires die from smoke inhalation and not from burns. Fire alarms prevent deaths from smoke inhalation & save lives. Check the batteries often (2x/year is recommended).

Prevent fires before they happen. Reduce fire risks. Use this fire prevention checklist & use common-sense. Stay safe!

(This blog was updated & re-posted on February 25, 2013, due to a large # of recent house fires in the news. Hopefully, future house fires may be prevented)

Keep Your Kids Safe & Keep Them Alive!

Most parents will do anything they can to protect their kids & keep them safe. We love our kids more than anything in the world. We immunize them against diseases. We teach them not to trust strangers. We put training wheels on their bikes & make them wear helmets.

As they get older, we talk to them about the dangers of smoking, doing drugs, driving while under the influence of alcohol and engaging in unprotected sex.  We watch them, guide them & educate them. We are there protecting them every step of the way.

Unfortunately, kids and young adults just aren’t very safety minded, have a sense of invulnerability & take more risks. According to the Canadian Red Cross, the leading cause of death for ages 1 – 44 years is injuries. This is tragic, especially when most accidents & injuries are preventable! Why is this happening to our children? How can we keep them safe?

When it comes to infants & young children, most parents are pretty diligent when it comes to safety. We follow proper car seat regulations & child proofed our homes with covers over electrical outlets, locking cupboards (keeping poisons & corrosive materials out of reach) etc. When it comes right down to it, the best way to keep infants & young children safe is to supervise them at all times.

When kids get a little older, they become more independent. They don't want Mom & Dad hanging around them & their friends & we aren't always there to supervise them. One of the most important things that you can do to keep kids safe is to lead by example. Kids will do what you do. Wear your safety gear when you work on a project around the house, garage or yard. Take the time to be safe and don’t take short-cuts. Tell them what you are doing to stay safe & help them to understand.

Another thing that you can do to keep older children safe is to put them in safety related courses such as swim lessons, bicycle safety and babysitting courses. Register the family in a first aid course (injury prevention is always part of the course curriculum).

When they get their first job, don’t rely on strangers to keep them safe. Talk to them about accidents that can happen on the job & teach them to take responsibilty for their own safety. Talk to them about approaching their boss if they haven’t had the proper training or haven’t been given safety gear. By law, everyone has the right to refuse work that may be dangerous to themselves or others.

Most workplaces have safety rules, unfortunately not everyone follows the rules. Some days can be bloodier than others. Watch these occupation health & safety videos with your kids/young adults: Safety videos with shock value can really help, especially if the video involves kids/young adults of their own age. A safe work ethic is a life skill that we don’t want our children to learn the hard way. Keep your kids safe & keep them alive!

Asleep at the Wheel

I was coming home from work the other day & stopped at a red light. I noticed the car beside me as the driver had his head out the window & was rubbing his eyes. He layed his head down on his arm, which was resting on the open window, & quickly fell asleep. He didn’t notice that the light turned green. The driver behind him hit his car horn. The sleepy driver woke up startled and proceeded through the intersection.

Falling asleep at the wheel is all too common. Twice I witnessed cars going into the ditch because of drivers falling asleep. Luckily, their cars just missed mine & I avoided head-on collisions. The drivers were also lucky as they did not get seriously hurt. 

Have you ever driven while sleepy? Most of us have. Below I have listed a few tips to stay alert while driving:

1            Plan ahead & get enough sleep before doing a long road trip. If you are sleepy while driving, pull over at a rest stop, parking lot or approach & have a quick nap (stopping on the shoulder of the road just isn’t as safe). A quick nap is the best way to prevent falling asleep at the wheel.

2            When blood sugars get low we get sleepy. Ensure you are properly nourished & stay hydrated. Avoid sugary & fatty snacks that will cause your energy level to crash. Eat crunchy & sour foods or ice cubes to wake up your tastebuds & you.

3            If you drive for a living, plan to incorporate physical activity into your day. A fitness break may be just what you need to get rid of the fog in your brain. A half hour brisk walk or run will clear your head and will re-energize you.

4            Coffee/caffeine may help to keep you awake short-term. If anything the resulting bathroom breaks will help.

5            Keeping your window open or turning your air conditioning on may also help. Be careful not to get a chill. If you get sick, you will have less energy.

6            Listen to upbeat music (not slow relaxing music). Don’t turn it too loud as it is important to be able to hear sirens etc.

7            Bring a friend along for the drive to keep conversation going. You can take turns driving and napping when necessary.

8            Driving impaired is asking for trouble. Avoid driving when taking certain medications (know the side effects of your medication). Avoid drinking & driving. Avoid driving when tired & hung-over. Alcohol & driving just don’t mix.

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, falling asleep at the wheel causes: approximately 100,000 motor vehicle collisions, over 1,500 deaths, over 70,000 injuries and significant amounts of property damage each year.

Remember, if you fall asleep at the wheel, you may injure or kill innocent people/families &/or yourself. It just isn’t worth it. Stay alert & stay awake at the wheel.

Invite Go-Getters Inc to give a lunch & learn presentation or to write weekly articles for your workplace. We promote health, wellness & injury prevention.

Ladder Safety Tips

Whether you are at the worksite or at home doing renovations, safety should always be a priority. Falls, from ladders, can be life altering & even fatal.  Prevent falls & injuries by trying these ladder safety tips:

1) Inspect your ladder for missing & broken parts, cracks & bends. Ensure that it has good non-slip feet. If it isn’t safe & in good condition, don’t use it. Don’t use plywood to fix wooden ladders.

2) If you are buying a new ladder, ask the sales person for help. Ladders are designed for different purposes, weight loads etc. Buy a ladder that is right for you. Never use extension ladders for work platforms.

3) Ensure that your path is clear & that there is nothing to trip on before you move your ladder. If your ladder is heavy or long, get help to move it.  If carrying a small ladder by yourself, balance it with the feet pointing in the direction that you are going.

4) Ensure your step ladder is fully open & the sides are locked into place before using. If using a straight ladder, have someone hold the base/bottom. Straight & extension ladders should be 1 foot out for every 4 feet up. Extension ladders should extend about 3 feet above the top. If possible, tie the top into place to keep it secure.

5) Place on level ground, away from debris. Ensure the ladder is stable before using.

6) Wear shoes with a good grip & tie laces securely. Ensure shoes and steps are free from mud & oil/slippery substances. Center your feet on each step. Avoid standing on your toes or the balls of your feet. 

7) Face the ladder when climbing up or down.

8) When climbing up or down, maintain three points of contact (for example 2 feet & 1 hand). Don’t try to juggle & carry  things while on the ladder.

9) Your step ladder should rise above your work. Never stand on or above the top two rungs or on the very top of the ladder. If you need to reach higher, get a taller ladder.

10) If you can’t safely reach an area from your ladder, then get off & move your ladder closer. Don’t take chances by leaning & stretching. Only your arm should extend past any side.

When using ladders and other equipment at the workplace, ask questions and take responsibility for your safety. Workplaces have specific safety requirements, practices, gear etc. Follow the rules that are designed to keep you safe.

While ladder safety is no laughing matter, I leave you with this funny short video clip to end on a positive note:

Invite Go-Getters Inc to give a presentation at your next lunch & learn or safety meeting. We’ll bring a fresh approach & valuable information to prevent injuries. Contact us today!


Thanks to readers for their comments about this article. The following comment has been added below as it is another ladder safety tip: 

Ladders are necessary to accomplish some electrical jobs. Never use an aluminum ladder on any electrical project. Always use an insulated fiberglass ladder to keep you safe.

What Would You Do?

What would you do if you were home alone and began to choke on your dinner. What would you do if an elderly relative has a bad fall. What if a friend you are with has a severe allergic reaction, diabetic emergency or heart attack. What if you were the first to arrive on the scene of a motor vehicle collision. What would you do to help until the ambulance arrived? 

If you are home alone and choking, follow these 3 steps:

1) Dial 911 & leave it off the hook (the dispatcher will send help). This 1st step is so important. Get help quick. Without oxygen, brain damage is possible in only 5 minutes. 

2) Move to a place where you will get noticed. Unlock your door & stay near the open doorway. 

3) Drop your abdomen onto a safe object like the back of a chair (try to dislodge the object with improvised abdominal thrusts). 

You never know when you may have to utilize your first aid training to help yourself or others. Years ago, I was managing a fitness centre when a member alerted us to a gentleman slumped over the wheel of his car, in our parking lot. We found him unconscious & not breathing. We immediately called 911, performed two-man CPR. We also used the AED (automatic external difibrulator) when it arrived.

You never know how you will react in a real-life situation when someone’s life is on the line. Fortunately, we stayed calm & remembered our first aid training. I was proud of our efforts. Unfortunately we couldn’t save this gentleman (a blood vessel had burst in his brain).

While I have always done my best to stay safe & injury free, it is amazing how many people I have come across that needed my help. Now I always carry a cell phone & first aid kit (I have one at home, in my car & a smaller version for hiking). Are you prepared? What would you do if a loved-one, friend, co-worker or stranger needed your help?

Take first aid training, it isn’t difficult. You will learn how to prevent injuries & will gain confidence in your ability to react to real life & work medical emergencies. You could save a life.

Our next course is July 24 & 25th. Register today! Check this link for other dates:

Do-It-Yourself First Aid Kits

First aid kits are a must at home, at work & at play. Be prepared. You never know when someone may need your help.

When it comes to the workplace, all should have an OHS approved well stocked first aid kit. Ensure that all staff are aware of the location of your first aid kit.

You should also have a first aid kit in your home and in your car. A smaller version should also be taken with you when enjoying the wilderness (camping, fishing/boating & hiking).

Recently, while teaching a workplace first aid class, I was asked what to include in a home-made/do-it-yourself first aid kit. First aid kits will vary depending on where they will be used. Below I’ve provided a list from which you can draw upon.

The container should be durable, light weight & easy to carry/have a handle. Small plastic tackle boxes & art supply containers work well. If made for outdoor use, ensure that it is water proof. A zip-lock freezer bag will work as well.

Size/quantity of items will depend on the location/purpose of your kit. Below is a list of recommended items:

-          Personal items like medications (check expiry dates regularly)

-          Gloves (non-latex if allergic)

-          Breathing barrier device (with one-way valve)

-          Blanket (use space blanket if space is of a concern)

-          Sterile gauze pads

-          Larger absorbent compress dressings (can improvise with woman’s sanitary pads)

-          Adhesive cloth tape

-          Small scissors

-          Adhesive bandages (various sizes)

-          Tensor/elastic bandage

-          Triangular bandages (come in different sizes: 40”/40”/56” or 37”/37”/52” if you want to make one yourself or improvise using a scarf, fanny pack, bike tire tube or belt)

-          Antiseptic wipe packets

-          Instant Cold Compress

-          Aspirin (plus antihistamine for allergies if applicable)

-          Tweezers

-          Antibiotic cream/ointment (check expiry dates regularly)

-          Safety pins

-          Oral thermometer

Below are additional items that can be added/ kept in your car &/or for outdoor activities:

-          Cellphone

-          Flash light (check batteries regularly &/or bring extras) &/or candles

-          Sun block

-          Bug spray

-          Lighter/water-proof matches

-          Whistle

-          Pocket knife

-          Water

-          Non-perishable snacks

-          Duct tape (multiple uses when improvising)

-          Splints can be purchased but are also easy to find. Be creative & improvise using objects like sticks/tree branches, golf clubs, baseball bats etc.

For workplace Red Cross first aid training contact Go-Getters Inc. Training will be customized so that it is meaningful to each workplace. We’ll give your team the confidence to react to real life/work medical emergencies. Call 403 481 8175 today!

The Importance of wearing a helmet

Today I was twittering about the importance of wearing a helmet especially when playing sports, biking and skiing. When it comes to injury prevention, what are you willing to risk? If you injure your brain, there can be serious consequences.

This video link sends a serious message:

I have to admit that I have been skiing without a helmet for 20 years. However, recently I began to notice that quite a few people were wearing helmets. For the first time I started to consider buying a helmet. If I'd wear a helmet biking, why wouldn't I wear one skiing down a steep icy slope? So just last year I bought my first ski helmet. I love it! It is warmer and I feel safer. Now I prefer to wear one.

When it comes to injury prevention, always plan for the unexpected and prepare for the worst case senario. Even though you are a good skier, another out-of-control skier may run into you. It just takes one mistake, a ski edge that catches unexpectedly, bad lighting etc to make a fun day tragic. Protect your brain! Helmets are a no-brainer.

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