By Brenda Van Belle, Vice-President, Safety Guys
Like so many other blogs out there, this one is typically reserved for articles and posting about industry related topics. But on this day, November 11, 2018, I feel the need to share something personal about me, and about the people that make Safety Guys a company I am so proud to call my own.
Most of you know me as the voice on the other end of the phone, I'm the behind the scenes girl that helps keep our company growing. Every Remembrance Day it is important for me to post our banner in remembrance and share a tweet...not for the clicks, but because this day is special.
I was lucky enough to have two fathers in my life, both gone far too early. My father passed away when he was only 40. He was a brilliant entrepreneur and I feel I may have been lucky enough to receive the right kind of genes that have helped me on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur myself. My second Dad, my wonderful step-father, was Major Grant Bryan Hunt. Bryan was the sort of person that everyone loved. He was determined, hard working, unbelievably charming and had a wicked sense of humour. Many a Friday night was spent laughing at his jokes and stories out on the back deck. Add his best friend Carl Holmberg into the mix, and almost anything could happen. The two were shameless.
Bryan was a proud member of our Canadian Armed Forces for almost thirty years, and embraced that spirit, body and soul. Dedicated, loyal and unfaltering. His favourite saying was "if you don't have time to do it right the first time, how the hell are you going to find the time to it again." That phrase really defines everything I do now, its not always perfect, but I believe we owe it to ourselves and to the clients we serve to try and get it right, to create as perfect an experience as possible.
In a bit of an epiphany this morning, I realize Paul and I have been fortunate to find trainers that reflect all of the values that my Dad, and that we hold dear. Matt, Chris, and our newest guy John, all work and train with an honest passion and a dedication to our students. Like my Dad, they are very easy going, act with integrity and honour, and they all have a very unique sense of humour. They are so much fun to work with, and I am so lucky to say everyday is a great day working with our team.
Today I will remember my Dad for his service to our country and for the love he gave me, my sister and my Mom when he was here. It has been twenty years since he left us and we laid a final poppy for him. I will be thinking of all you who have lost someone or have someone you hold dear serving our country abroad. Please take a moment today to remember all those who have fought for us and continue to fight for us.
May peace eventually find us all.
I've been helping a business associate recently with the redesign of his website that offers all natural mold removal products. I thought I already knew a lot about mold and how it can make us sick, but in researching his products and countless articles I came to realize that my even my mold awareness level was not as high it should be.
For those of you in construction, who take on remodels or restoration work, or for homeowners who may suspect they have mold or mildew problems, knowledge is everything. You need to take every step you can to protect yourself and family if you have had water damage, if you live in an older home, or you suspect there is mold in you home. Even the smallest amounts can affect us, and everyone has a different tolerance level.
Mold exposure can result in a condition know as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), which can be debilitating and leave you feeling sick for a very long time. On her website, Life After Mold, Dr. Lauren Tessier, provides information and treatment options for those suffering from mold exposure and CIRS. In Canada, please talk with your family doctor to explore treatment options if you have been diagnosed or suspect you may be suffering from mold exposure.
Although many people know that mold exposure can cause respiratory difficulties,
not many know that it can cause an array of other complaints such as:
Information from the CDC (Centre for Disease Control)
When is the WHMIS 2015 Deadline?
QUESTION: I know there is WHMIS deadline coming up, can you tell what this means?
Our staff took online WHMIS training two years ago, is there anything else I need to do? ~ Bill
In terms of training, like WHMIS 1988 your employees need a review at least annually. When I say ‘at least annually’ this means that as new or newly labelled products come into the workplace, employers must ensure that employees are trained on the intended use, first aid measures, personal protective equipment, exposure limits and handling/storage of each product. This could be going over the Safety Data Sheet and the label as a safety talk and take the review course annually.
If your staff have only taken the WHMIS on-line course two years ago, they will need to take the WHMIS 2015 course and a review of all the hazardous products that are present at their workplace. The depth of the review of the hazardous products will depend on whether the staff handle the products or are just in close proximity to the products. An understanding of what your staff work with or near is paramount in protecting them from injury or illness.
We're introducing a new feature to our website, open to anyone who has a questions related to virtually anything related to safety whether that involves training, regulations, equipment, procedures, the OHSA.... Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and our resident expert Amanda from All Safety Consulting will provide you with the answers you need.
Hi Amanda - I own a landscaping company, and some of the equipment we use, like backpack blowers can get pretty loud. I want to make sure we protect the hearing of our employees, what steps could you recommend to make sure we doing everything right. ~ Ted W.
Hi Ted ~ I'm glad you asked that question! First you need to determine the db levels of the equipment. There is an app available from iTunes that you can download, Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter. You can also rent or buy a dB meters or have a professional come out and perform the testing for you. Either way it is crucial to measure the dB for each piece of equipment. Backpack blowers are especially harmful and require two sets of protection.
If you ever unsure, for example after renting or buying a new piece of equipment, and cannot find information from the manufacturer then the best course of action is the make sure the workers hearing is protected to the highest level. The could require double hearing protect (plugs and muffs). There is also ear-fit (hearing protection) testing. This is a device that tests the effectiveness of hearing protection base on db exposure.
The WSIB claims for noise induced hearing loss is at its highest ever. When hiring new workers it is in the best interest of the employer to request a hearing test, then the employer has a bench mark. Have the employee go through ear-fit hearing protection testing to ensure they are fully protected and document the results. If in the future that employee has a noise induced hearing loss claim your company would be protected from any responsibility. Usually this type of claim goes to the workers last employer. If the last employer shows proof that it didn’t happen while the employee worked for them then WSIB goes to the next employer and so on.
Fall is here again and with that comes a seasonal increase in the spread of colds, flu and viral infections. In fact, as I write this, I have two staff off sick and three family members suffering at home with the same viral infection that is spreading through Kingston.
As an employer, there is nothing quite as nerve wracking as someone calling in sick. Worse is the accompanying thought of germs having already been spread by that employee throughout the workplace...potentially leading to the temporary loss of an entire workforce for days. It can be a nightmare scenario for small business and their clients when it is imperative to meet deadlines to keep the cash flowing and complete projects on time. I worry about this, and I know I'm not alone. Sick workers have a real impact on productivity and to a lesser degree staff morale as other workers attempt to keep up with an increased workload.
Instead of feeling helpless though, it is better to don those protective gloves and start preparing to prevent or minimize the occurrence of colds, flus and other nasty viruses at work this fall and winter.