VOLUME 24 NUMBER 12
Canadaâ€™s Health & Safety Innovation E-Publication
KEEP THE CHRISTMAS SEASON SAFE
HOLIDAY HAZARDS...............................................page 4
THIS MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING.....................page 10 MONTH VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE......................page 15
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Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 3
NEWS & VIEWS
Communication breakdown? Mobile technology and the Four-Generation Workforce As more Millennials join the workforce and mobile and social technologies define how we communicate, safety practices – and the way they utilize technology – also must evolve. By implementing a mobile-first approach to workplace safety, organizations can identify, reduce and prevent workplace hazards faster and at a greater scale, according to Jason Dea, director of product marketing at Intelex. He points out that although health and safety software has helped track trends, thereby reducing workplace incidents and injuries, recent safety gains have been incremental. Nearly 3 million workers suffer occupational injuries and illnesses each year in the United States alone. While many employers talk about zero injury goals, most are not there yet. In their new whitepaper, “Transforming Health & Safety Digital Disruption with Mobile Technology,” Intelex outlines how mobile applications that combine social technology, gamification and data-driven insights can improve users' understanding and engagement with workplace safety, creating a more universally safe environment for all workers. As the abstract of the white paper states, “Decades of awareness building, training and record keeping on occupational health and safety – spearheaded by private and public enterprises and prodded along by governments – have got us to where we are today. These efforts have moved us incrementally along a path over the past four decades from dozens of deaths per day to a quarter of this number today.” However, zero fatalities and zero serious injuries “requires a breakthrough,” according to the white paper. Even if the number of safety meetings, checklists and safety-related signs in our workplaces were doubled, workplace fatalities and serious injuries would not be cut in half. “At some point, these investments have diminishing returns,” the white paper points out. Improvement efforts cannot rely on placing the burden of reducing injuries and illnesses on
safety professionals alone. “New social and mobile technology offer hope to us in getting there. The opportunities created by these new technologies are exceptionally well suited for the challenge as they expose our thinking to new mental frameworks. For safety programs, we can re-evaluate who they are built for and what they focus on delivering. For safety professionals, we can re-think their roles entirely. New technology allows them to shift from being the focal point of initiatives towards being social enablers of safety oriented cultures.” Dea points out that traditional pen-and-paper methods of training and recordkeeping have been perceived by some employees “as a distraction from their core functions at work. [Writing out reports] takes them out of their day-to-day world,” he says. Baby Boomers had paper forms that needed to be filled out, reports that needed to be written. Gen X employees were a little more technologically savvy, says Dea, who adds their experience was “all about shrinking a desktop or laptop screen and putting it on a tablet or smartphone.” Technology now available in the workplace is built from a “mobile-first mindset.” That means it's not simply taking software from a big screen to a small screen. End users now watch short video clips for entertainment, so why take a 30-minute training class and stream it on a mobile device? That's not an effective use of available technology, says Dea. He points out that Millennials have a very different relationship with technology than previous generations in the workplace. Given a choice, they'd perform their administrative tasks – an incident report or workplace safety observation – using their smartphone's GPS, camera, voice recording and texting capabilities, etc. to capture real-time data. They'd capture short “training” opportunities – a quick video of employees doing things correctly – to share with other workers. “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much more is a video worth?” Dea asks. Data collected during these observations or investigations can be used to feed modeling programs, provide almost instantaneous feedback to employees, fill out reports with a minimum of effort, track leading indicators, etc., says Dea, who adds, “It streamlines data collection and makes it so seamless.”WSN
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SAFETY DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON
HOLIDAY HAZARDS Guidelines for keeping the Xmas season safe Worksite News Service he holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. Sorry to be a Grinch, but the most wonderful time of the year can also prove hazardous to your health and safety. The seemingly endless string of parties, the into roduction of new foods and cooking techniques to your home, and even shopping for gifts can all put your wellbeing at risk. To ensure you make it to January 1 unscathed, follow this guide to the biggest holiday health hazards and how to avoid them: Choking- You may wish your mother-in-law would choke on her snarky comments, but choking is a serious health hazard. To avoid choking, take small bites, chew slowly and carefully, and avoid talking or being distracted while eating. Be wary of high-risk foods including hotdogs, grapes, candy with nuts, and hard fruits and vegetables. Poisonous holiday plants- Hold the holly (and mistletoe) if you plan to have small children or pets around during the holidays. All can be toxic, and even pine cones and falling berries can pose a choking hazard. Best bet is to make sure no one smaller than a holly bush gets near seasonal plants this year. Deep-fried-turkey fireballs- Deep-frying your turkey can be so dangerous that Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety certifier, has refused to stamp any fryers on the market with its iconic UL logo. From 1998 to 2007, there were at least 138 incidents involving turkey fryers that caused 36 injuries and more than $7.8 million in property loss. Still, if you must deep-fry your bird, follow your fryer's instructions carefully. Holiday heart attacks- Think the weather outside is frightful? Check the perfect storm of heart attack risk factors looming on the horizon. It's the worst time of year for heart trouble, with heart-related deaths peaking in late December and early January. (The deadliest day? December 25, according to one study.) Why? There are lots of reasons: holiday stress, heavy meals (a known heart attack trigger), ignoring chest pain for fear of disrupting the festive mood, skipping meds in the hustle and bustle, and understaffed hospitals. Stay safe by being aware: Take your meds and watch for symptoms. Oh, and moderation is key. Flammable Christmas trees- Each year, more than 400 residential fires involve Christmas trees, resulting in as many as 40 deaths and 100 injuries. In fact, though Christmas trees cause the fewest holiday-related fires, they account for the greatest percentage of deaths, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The safest tree is a flame-resistant artificial one.
Toy horrors- Besides troublesome questions about the safety of toys made in China, now you must face the most dreaded of all holiday hazardsâ€”opening the gifts. Sounds simple, but each year about 6,000 people in the United States visit the ER with wounds from trying to pry, slice, or stab open gifts encased in hard plastic "clamshells" or held down with a thousand metal twist ties. Some retailers, including Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, and Best Buy, are moving toward easy-to-open packaging. Seasonal car accidents- Christmas and New Year's, when alcohol is responsible for nearly half of accident fatalities, also have their share of road peril. Sledding catastrophes- What seems like good, clean family fun causes 33,000 injuries each year, according to the National Safety Council in the U.S. Their safety tips: Keep all equipment in good condition. Choose a spacious, gently sloping hill free of trees, fences, rocks, or other obstaclesâ€”and make sure it doesn't cross traffic. Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams, or ponds. Assume the proper position: Sit or lie on your back on the top of the sled, with your feet pointing downhill. Wear thick gloves or mittens and protective boots. Sleep problems- A good night's rest is often the first thing we sacrifice in the midst of latenight parties, early-morning shopping, and year-end deadlines. For people traveling on vacations or to relatives' houses, obstacles such as red-eye flights, jet lag, and unfamiliar bedrooms can disrupt z's as well. But skimping on sleep can lower immunity, increase stress levels, and lead to weight gain; plus, it raises your risk for depression and automobile accidents. As tempting as it is to ignore, it's important to make sleep a priority to ensure a happy and healthy holiday. Decorating disasters- Decorations sure are pretty, but the fact that more than 5,000 people are injured in decorating-related falls each holiday season is not. To make sure you're not a statistic this year, do the following when stringing lights or hanging mistletoe. Check that the ladder is on secure and level ground. Space the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet high it reaches. Stay centered between rails and do not overreach. Don't step on the top two rungs. For roof access, extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the roof. Keep the top and the bottom of the ladder clear of obstacles. Make sure the ladder is locked open. Stress- Stress around the holidays can be worse than other times because people tend to overcommit themselves," says Jennifer Caudle, DO, a board-certified family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. Women especially find the holidays hard to manage. A study from the American Psychological Association found that 44% of women reported increased stress around the holidays compared to 31% of men. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, don't be afraid to enlist some help. Say you're worried the family dinner won't be prepared on time. Ask others to bring dishes or help you set the table, Caudle suggests. Holiday shopping-With any shopping trip, you need to watch how much you carry. Going from store to store with several bags could bring on back pain and wear you down. "This is not the time to be a superhero," Caudle says. "Take breaks so you're not standing on your feet the entire day." Another smart move: when shopping at the mall, drop bags off at your car between stores. How you carry and lift heavy objects is also important. "Bend at the knees and tighten the stomach muscles while lifting," Caudle says. "Hold the item close to you to distribute the weight with legs a good distance apart." Food poisoning- Each year, about 48 million people are hospitalized because of foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With all the food made around the holidays, it's a prime time to get sick. You should be mindful of preparing meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs especially, Caudle says. Use separate cutting boards and dishes so bacteria can't spread from one food to the next. Make sure ground meat like is cooked to 160 degrees, chicken reaches 165 degrees, and whole meat (like steak) gets to at least 145 degrees. "Bacteria grow on foods as they drop in temperature," Caudle says. So don't leave dishes sitting out for long periods and put away leftovers within two hours, she says.
Have a safe, fun holiday
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 5
Worksite NEWS December 2016
CROTCHES K. ILL We know what you’re doing down there. Sending even the shortest text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds — enough to do a lifetime of damage. Keep your eyes off your phone.
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 7
HEALTH & SAFETY INNOVATION
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Redesigned GLOwear Ergodyne announced the redesign of its GloWear hi-vis apparel line. New features include additional mic tabs and enlarged pockets on vests, pants, and jackets to give workers increased storage space and better utility on the job. Specifically, more vests now come with up to two radio mic tabs to hold a radio/microphone, pens or tools. Pockets were enlarged on some models and added to others for workers to store tablets, work gloves and tools. In response to the smartphone and tablet boom, cellphone pockets were updated to accommodate larger and newer styles. These changes apply to popular existing models such as the GloWearÂŽ 8220HL/8220Z, 8250Z, and 22 other vests, pants, and jackets. Last but not least, 2XL/3XL size ranger hats are now available as well. www.ergodyne.com
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TRAFFIC SAFETY & DRIVER AWARENESS
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 9
TRAFFIC SAFETY & DRIVER AWARENESS
Holiday driving tips
he holiday season is here, which means you might be attending several parties. Holiday parties are fun and give you a chance to be around your family and friends. You can eat great food and see people you know and love. However, alcohol can be served at these parties, so it's important to be safe about driving. Take these steps to avoid impaired driving during the holidays: Have a designated driver. If you want to go to a holiday party and have a few drinks, you should at least choose a designated driver. A designated driver shouldn't drink any alcoholic beverages and should drive you home from the party. Whether the designated driver is a friend or family member, that person can make your night a lot safer. Be sure to eat. A holiday party will likely have plenty of food, so make sure to eat your fair share. If your stomach is full of food, your body won't absorb alcohol as quickly. Before you have your first drink, eat something. Stop drinking early. If you have to drive home, you should stop drinking alcohol well before the party ends. Stop drinking at least two hours before you head out the door to get into the driver's seat. If you stop drinking hours before you leave, you'll have less alcohol in your system. Call a taxi. If you drank too much and don't have a designated driver, you should call a taxi. A reliable taxi driver will pick you up and take you home safely. A taxi cab will cost you a little extra money, but it's well worth the price. Drink non-alcoholic beverages. When you're at a holiday party, don't just drink alcoholic beverages. If you mix in some non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda or water, the alcohol you drink won't affect you as much. Plan to sleep over. If you know the person well who's hosting the holiday party, you could ask if you could sleep over the night of the party. That way you can have a few alcoholic beverages and not worry about driving home. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to very serious consequences. Do all you can to avoid impaired driving and to keep yourself and others safe.
The White Stuff Can Kill By Marine Lesperance woman was driving through a national park during a blizzard. Unfortunately, the poor road conditions caused her to lose control of her vehicle. The car slid off the road and rolled down an embankment. Although she was only a few meters from the highway, the leg and arm she had fractured in the accident prevented her from exiting the vehicle. Her car was spotted by a grader operator who was plowing the road the next day, but by the time the operator reached the woman, she had frozen to death. For most of us living in Canada, blizzards are an accepted part of life. But every year blizzards and excessive cold in Canada claim more than 100 lives. This is more than the combined total from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, extreme heat and lightning. In Canada, blizzards can hit almost anywhere, but are especially common in the southern prairies, Atlantic Canada and the eastern Arctic. Blizzards deserve the same respect that we would pay a tornado. Many of us who hear of a blizzard warning will carry on as if there weren't any danger, but blizzards warrant preparation and caution. The combination of snow, strong winds, cold temperatures Martin Lesperance and reduced visibility (due to the blowing snow) can be deadly. One winter when I was driving a snowplow along the Jasper-Banff highway, my colleague and I were about to close the road due to a blizzard when we came across a man who had lost control of his vehicle. He had been there at least two hours. There was very little traffic, so he was happy to see us. The man was dressed in summer loafers, dress pants and a light fall jacket. He had no mitts, toque, shovel or any other type of survival gear, and was almost out of gas. Obviously, this man was not prepared for what could have become a lifethreatening situation. Here are a few recommended precautions for driving in Canadian winter: * Don't travel in a blizzard unless it's absolutely necessary. If you must travel, call the local authorities to see what condition the roads you are planning to travel are in. Monitor conditions on the radio. Always travel with a full tank of gas, extra warm clothes including winter boots, mitts and a sleeping bag. * Also carry a shovel, tire chains, road flares, a bag of sand, an emergency food pack, booster cables, matches and a lighter, a candle, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a hatchet or axe. * If you get stuck in a blizzard, stay in your car, run it for 10 minutes with the heater on then shut it off. You don't want to waste gas. Make sure you keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and keep a window open on the leeward (downwind) side of the vehicle. This will help ventilation and reduce the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. * Be prepared to build a snow shelter if ever you run out of gas and are stranded in a blizzard. At temperatures approaching -30 C a candle just won't give you enough warmth to survive if you're in a vehicle made of two tons of steel and glass. Your vehicle will quickly turn into one large icebox. Not planning to travel? It's still a good idea to blizzard-proof your home or workplace. Stock up on necessities - fuel, oil, food, medications, diapers for the kids, milk - whatever you need to make sure everyone is fed, safe and warm until the danger passes. Source: Environment Canada. Check out their Web site at www.ec.gc.ca
This article was written by Martin Lesperance a fire fighter/paramedic and best selling author. Martin speaks across North America on the topic of injury prevention. For more information or to sign up for his free safety newsletter, go to www.safete.com.
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 10
MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING
Mental Health Key Issue in Workplace Wellness, Canadian study finds By Jeremy Hainsworth Mental health issues and strategies to handle them are trending in human resource concerns in Canada, according to a national study from the Conference Board of Canada released at the organization's Better Workplace meeting in Vancouver recently. The study examined trends driving changes to wellness programs and the efforts by employers to integrate occupational health and safety, wellness and disability management programs into their workplaces. According to CBC director of workplace health, wellness and safety research Mary-Lou MacDonald, the study is the first of its kind in Canada, combining occupational heath and safety, absence and disability management and corporate wellness under one umbrella. The study demonstrates, according to MacDonald, that a comprehensive organizationwide health management strategy should integrate programs to protect employee health and safety, promote wellness and effectively manage absence and disabilities. Employee Mental Health a Priority A key finding of the CBC study, MacDonald said, is that mental health is now a high priority for companies seeking to improve overall employee health and in turn company performance. The study found that mental health issues, including substance abuse and fatigue management, now take priority over chemical safety, emergency preparedness, ergonomics and workplace violence. “There are certainly high risks around not providing [mental health] programs,” MacDonald said, adding that mental health programs incorporating stress management, meditation and mindfulness are increasingly popular. Occupational health and safety is also being incorporated more often into overall wellness plans. “This is all about people,” MacDonald said. “The silos are starting to break down.” 'New Challenges' Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they had an OHS strategy in place, while 79 percent said they had a staffer assigned to OHS issues. “A little concerning,” MacDonald said, was the fact that 13 percent had no OHS strategy or anyone assigned to the area. Some 68 percent had a disability management strategy, MacDonald said, while 59 percent said they required some form of certification for those involved in wellness work. On worker absences and handling disability issues, 62 percent said they offered stay-at-work programs to retain employees. “We're really starting to recognize what are the new challenges in the new workforce,” MacDonald said. The study will be available on the CBC website in December, MacDonald said, noting that it is the CBC's intention to revisit the study every three years and update results. To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hainsworth in Vancouver at email@example.com To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at firstname.lastname@example.org For More Information More information on the Conference Board of Canada is available at www.conferenceboard.ca
Suicide rate for soldiers on the rise The rate of suicide amongst Canadian Forces personal who have seen action overseas has risen over the past 10 years, according to a new military study on the issue “The most recent findings suggest a trend towards an elevated suicide risk ratio in the past decade in those Regular Forces males with a history of deployment,” said the 2016 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Forces. “Regular Force males under Army command in the combat arms trades had statistically significantly higher suicide rates than non-combat arms Regular Force males,” it added. But the report, from the military's Surgeon General, also repeats the stated view of the Canadian Forces that the suicide rate in the military is not greater than the civilian population. Canadian war vets are more likely to commit suicide, a new study says. “Between 1995 and 2015, there were no statistically significant increases in the overall suicide rates,” it stated. “The number of Regular Force males that died by suicide was not statistically higher than that expected based on Canadian male suicide rates.” According to the report 18 members of the Canadian Forces committed suicide in 2015. Critics have long argued the annual study is flawed because the military doesn't track personnel after they have left the Canadian Forces. A soldier who leaves the military and kills him or herself years, months or even days later is not included in the study's statistics. Still, the report's authors recommend further study, noting that that service during the Afghan war and resulting mental disorders could be a contributing factor to increased risk. They also acknowledge other potential factors such as childhood trauma or other issues that may have played a role in the lives of army personnel or other service members who have deployed on missions.WSN
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CONSTRUCTION SAFETY & INNOVATION
Managing Risk in Construction A safety professional must consider the levels of understanding to risk when working with sites or individuals. We are walking lessons learned, and that is our advantage. By Cary Usrey Risk is not a new concept. In fact, every day we evaluate the risks in our lives and make decisions accordingly. Everything from the house we live in to the speed of our car to the route we take to work to how we spend our money are all based on decisions to manage and mitigate risk. Although more complex, your company does the same. A great deal of time and effort is often spent developing Health and Safety Plans for organizations in an effort to manage risk. Most health and safety plans are comprehensive in nature and provide such things as the nature of hazards present in the workplace, as well as who will be responsible for health and safety related tasks that are conducted to protect against these hazards. As the name implies, it is a plan, or detailed course of action to be taken in order to achieve a desired outcome. Most can agree that the desired outcome when it pertains to safety and health is the prevention of injury to workers and damage to property. Based on the intent of the plan and applied accordingly, each person within the company has a part to play in injury prevention. If the plan is followed, then no injuries should occur. Yet injuries still occur. What is the disconnect? One key element of a plan is to measure and review whether the desired outcome is actually achieved. In other words, is the plan working as intended? Do the controls in place and the activities performed actually work to mitigate hazards and control the risk in the field? Surprisingly enough, this verification part of the plan is the one that is most often missed. During a recent tour of a work site, a safety manager asked the project team these basic questions: "What is your biggest risk? What keeps you up at night with worry?" The superintendent responded with this: "Easy. Fire." At this particular project, renovation of a printing facility where they produce newspapers, the risk seemed evident. The
conversation then steered toward that risk, and further details emerged. The building was old and lacked a modern sprinkler system, and it was empty two nights of the week. Abatement was under way to remove old floor tiles and radiators. During construction, the building is occupied and in full production. Once the operational details were outlined, the safety team began to ask about the next step, which was a simple, logical question about controls of the known risk: "What are you doing to protect against fires?" That's when things got interesting. When asked whether the temporary abatement barriers were fire resistant, the response was this: "No." During the tour of the project, chop saws were seen throughout the areas and were in use to remove rusted pipe fittings throughout the building. When asked if hot work protocols were underway, the response was this: "No, none of that. We aren't using torches here." Lastly, when asked about a fire watch on nights when no one was working, the response was in line with the others: "No, it wasn't specified in the contract." In order to mitigate or eliminate risk, one must first recognize the risk. Cut your hand once with a folding pocket-knife blade, and you will buy a locking blade to eliminate that risk. However, it took getting hurt to understand and avoid the risk. A safety professional must consider the levels of understanding to risk when working with sites or individuals. We are walking lessons learned, and that is our advantage. Gauging the "expected knowledge" in a simple conversation is critical to establishing understanding of risk such that efforts can be made proactively to prevent harm. Back to the story. The safety manager then went on to explain the value of fire-resistant barriers and showed the superintendent where they are called out in that city's code. He then explained that hot work is not just welding and cutting, but can range from sandblasting to concrete cutting and certainly the use of chop saws. Last, the safety manager asked whether a fire watch on those nights would be appreciated by the owner and the workers. The superintendent responded: "Certainly. It makes sense." Seizing the Opportunity to Coach and Teach When an obvious risk is recognized, it may not be obvious to others. Care is needed to point out what is found and why it is important. This is an opportunity to coach and teach, as opposed to berate and tell someone what they do not know. Time can be spent providing examples of what right and wrong looks like so the project team can better recognize similar patterns in the future.WSN
Worksite NEWS December 2016
SAFETY IN THE OIL & GAS PSYCHOPATHS AMONG USSECTOR
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Worksite NEWS December 2016
WORLD AT WORK
Safety and health culture crucial for young workers in Philippines Source: www.InterAksyon.com Manila- The country needs to step up measures to protect workers, especially the youth, who are often forced to create or accept unsafe and low paying jobs, a labor official acknowledged. “Despite the progress made in working towards compliance of all establishments especially for the formal sector, there remains much to be done for the vulnerable workers in highly hazardous industries in the informal sector,” Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said in his keynote message to the 15th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress, held in Quezon City last month. Nevertheless, Lagunzad said protecting Young people fill out their forms at a recent job fair in Manila workers from injury and illness remains among the Labor department's priorities, alongside efforts to stamp out illegal contracting. Global estimates by the International Labor Organization show that more than 2.3 million women and men die at work from an occupational injury or disease, with the highest injury rates among young workers. “More than 350,000 of these deaths are due to fatal accidents and almost 2 million are due to fatal work-related diseases. In addition, over 313 million workers are involved in non-fatal occupational accidents causing serious injuries and absences from work,” the ILO said in a statement. “Work should not be the reason for deaths, accidents, injuries or illnesses. It burdens workers and their families but it also impacts employers and the rest of the society as they bear the cost. A safety and health preventive culture is crucial to avoid dangers and risks,” said Khalid Hassan, director of the ILO country office said. Aside from the human costs, poor occupational safety and health practices eat up as much as four percent of Gross Domestic Product each year, with employers bearing the cost of early retirements, loss of skilled staff, absenteeism, and high insurance premiums for what the ILO said were preventable incidents. Katherine Brimon, national coordinator of the ILO's SafeYouth@Work Project, told congress participants that the real costs of work-related accidents and diseases are often much greater than immediately perceived and can be brought down substantially through “smart investments in occupational safety and health.” Not only do such investments result in greater safety, they also lead to increased productivity. While acknowledging that estimates of workers affected by poor safety and health conditions are not readily available in every country, Brimon overall, young workers aged from 15 to 24 are the most vulnerable, with up to 40 percent more nonfatal injuries occurring within their ranks than among more experienced older workers. The SafeYouth@Work Project seeks to improve workplace safety for young workers in the country. It is part of a broader effort to address workplace safety and health issues, including child labor and compliance with laws.
Worksite NEWS December 2016
Worksafe BC launches awareness campaign on Dangers of asbestos Focus on homeowners WorksafeBC has launched and awareness campaign targeted to home property owners who are considering or undertaking renovations or demolitions regarding the dangers of asbestos in homes built before 1990. The campaign runs until early 2017 across a broad spectrum of media including radio, television, print and social media. This awareness campaign follows the results of recent research undertaken by WorkSafeBC of more than 800 adult British Columbians. The research confirms there is some public awareness of what asbestos is and where it may be located in a single-family home, condominium or townhouse built before 1990; however, the research also shows there are significant gaps in that knowledge that could put workers or others at risk of exposure to this deadly substance when undertaking a renovation or demolition. Highlights of WorkSafeBC's research findings are: * Only half of those surveyed (51 percent) believe homeowners are responsible for making sure testing for asbestos is conducted before undertaking renovations, * Just one-third (36 percent) of those who have renovated a home built before 1990 in the past five years recall testing for the presence of asbestos prior to renovations, * One-third (32 percent) of those surveyed did not know they should look for asbestos before doing small home renovations in a home built before 1990, and * Only 9 percent of those surveyed think that asbestoscausing disease is the number one occupational killer in B.C. "Asbestos kills," says Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC's vice president of Prevention Services. "The relatively low level
of awareness by homeowners regarding the dangers posed by asbestos means workers and even family members can potentially be put at risk. Renovations and demolitions of older properties continue at a very high rate and homeowners need to be informed about the dangerous nature of asbestos and how to protect workers and themselves." Asbestos is the number-one killer of workers in British Columbia. In the ten years from 2006 to 2015, 584 B.C. workers died from diseases related to asbestos exposure. In homes built before 1990, asbestos can potentially be found in more than 3,000 building materials such as linoleum, wall board and filling compound, textured ceilings, vermiculite insulation, pipe insulation, in furnaces or wiring, as well as many other places. Asbestos can be released into the air when these building materials are drilled, sawed, sanded or broken up during a renovation or demolition. In such cases, workers can breathe in asbestos fibres if they are not protected. If workers breathe in enough asbestos, their lungs can be permanently damaged or they can get lung cancer. There is a long latency period (10 to 40 years on average) between the time(s) a worker breathes in asbestos fibres and when a disease can develop. This public campaign is a further step by WorkSafeBC to build broad awareness that asbestos-containing materials are deadly. In addition to this public campaign, WorkSafeBC will be doing increased work in 2017 with contractors and other like professions to help them more fully understand their roles in keeping workers and others healthy and safe from
asbestos when doing renovations or demolitions. WorkSafeBC has many resources about how to stay safe around asbestos on its asbestos-specific websites at www.ThinkAsbestos.com www.HiddenKiller.ca or on its website at www.WorkSafeBC.com WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors that serves 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 registered employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.'s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.WSN
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Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 15
WORKSAFE BCTHE WORKPLACE VIOLENCE HEALTH & IN WELL-BEING
The Office Christmas Party Protecting your staff and business Worksite News Service The Christmas season is in full swing and with it brings an increase in the likelihood of a workplace claim arising from inappropriate workplace conduct such as harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, workplace health and safety issues. The holiday season does not provide an excuse for inappropriate behaviour and employers are well advised to ensure that they are aware of their obligations to employees at any work functions - such as the office Christmas party.
Who is responsible? Employers have been found to be liable for an employee's inappropriate conduct or statements that occur at workrelated events; this includes both planned and unplanned events. Under anti-discrimination laws, an employer can be held vicariously liable for the actions of its employees in relation to harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination committed 'in the course of employment'. Work Christmas parties are likely to be deemed to be employer-sponsored events that occur 'in the course of employment'; this means that the employer is responsible for employee behaviour at the staff Christmas party. It is worth remembering that employers are responsible for the conduct of their employees at all work related events, both on-site and off-site in addition to unplanned and spontaneous events that may occur, for example, after a client meeting.
Tips to help employers reduce risk Employers need to be proactive to protect themselves from a potential claim brought about by the action of their employees. Because of the connection between the workplace and the event, policies relating to bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, work health and safety still apply.
Anti-Bully rules considered for Alberta employers Alberta workers who have been the target of on-going bullying on the job may breathe a sigh of relief as the provincial legislature has proposed a law that would make harassment policies mandatory for the workplace throughout the province. Craig Coolahan, the MLA for Calgary-Klein, tabled a private member's bill in the legislature in Edmonton on Nov. 9. The Occupational Health and Safety (Protection from Workplace Harassment) Amendment Act, 2016 passed its first reading and is moving on to its second. “Currently, there is no legislation that recognizes bullying or psychological harassment in the workplace,” Coolahan wrote in an op-ed column submitted to various media outlets, including COHSN. “We can do better. Albertans deserve a workplace that is safe from both physical harm and the psychological and emotional damage that workplace harassment inflicts.” If the bill passes, every Alberta employer will have to establish a workplace harassment policy and investigate all harassment complaints. If an employee is not satisfied with the resolution of a complaint, he or she will be able to file another complaint with a government occupational health and safety officer, who may mediate a resolution if the matter appears to have merit. An unsuccessful mediation could potentially result in “corrective action” against the accused perpetrator.
Injuries suffered at the Christmas party or other workplace event can be the subject of a workers' compensation claim against the employer. Obligations to prevent sexual harassment or bullying also apply at the Christmas party and the responsible service of alcohol must be taken into account when managing these risks.
What are the reasonable steps? Possible 'reasonable steps' an employer could take to reduce risk include: * Ensuring that employees are made aware that the Christmas party is a work event and that responsible and respectful behaviour is required by all attendees; * Advising employees that unplanned and spontaneous functions or events may also be work related and that workplace policies and rules therefore apply; * Ensuring that everyone in the workplace is aware of the relevant workplace policies and knows that these policies continue to apply at work events; * Sending an email to all employees prior to the event to remind them of their responsibilities at the Christmas party and to refresh them of the relevant workplace policies on, for example, workplace health & safety, anti-discrimination, sexual harassment and social media; * Ensuring that workplace policies are up-to-date and easily accessible (if you don't have any we recommend that you create and implement them in your workplace); * Providing training where required to enable employees to adhere to workplace policies and behaviour standards; * Reminding employees that their failure to observe the employer's policies during the event may be used by the employer as a basis for disciplinary action which could lead
“In consultations with Alberta businesses of all sizes, individual victims, labour organizations and pertinent nonprofit and professional organizations,” wrote Coolahan, “there is clear support for providing all Albertans with a safe, harassment-free work environment.” One of the bill's vocal supporters is Linda Crockett, a social worker and the founder and executive director of the Alberta Bullying Research, Resources & Recovery Centre in Edmonton. “I am extremely excited to see this happen. I thought we were going to be waiting a few years before we saw it,” said Crockett. “All those people out there that are suffering, either just beginning that process or suffering in isolation, I see hope for them now.” Coolahan cited a recent study revealing that 60 per cent of Alberta workers had experienced workplace harassment, while half of the victims of bullying or harassment would not report it. Of the ones who had sought help from their employers' human-resources departments, 62 per cent said that the companies had taken no action. If Coolahan's bill becomes law, “employers are going to be accountable,” said Crockett. “If there is a policy that exists, they're going to update it; they're going to make it current. If there isn't a policy, they're going to be held accountable to create a policy. And then they're going to be accountable to follow through on it.” Only about 70 per cent of Alberta workplaces have harassment policies in place, according to recent information from the Human Resources Institute of Alberta. The policies that do exist are inconsistent, tending
to termination; * Identifying any potential hazards by performing a risk assessment of the party venue; * Ensuring the responsible service of alcohol, food and nonalcoholic drinks are available and under-age employees do not have access to alcohol; * Setting specific start and finish times for the Christmas party and specifying that any 'after party' events that may follow on after the party's designated finishing time are undertaken by the employees' in their own time and are not employer endorsed; * Organising travel arrangements or providing options for employees to travel home safely (i.e. taxis or public transport) after the Christmas party; * Identifying and designating a responsible contact person at the event to oversee the party, keep an eye on employee behaviour and provide assistance if employees have any concerns. WSN to vary from employer to employer. Crockett explained that workplace bullying is usually an insidious type of psychological abuse that happens behind closed doors. “The tactics are quite subtle, passiveaggressive,” she said. So many perpetrators never face any consequences for their behaviour; indeed, many get promoted or transferred to other locations where they continue to bully employees. “The process doesn't work,” said Crockett. “There's a breakdown in the system of complaint and policy.” She added that Alberta also needed more education and training on workplace harassment by “qualified antibullying specialists,” as well as resources both for victims and for those who act out. “Most people in the workplace don't realize that they are being bullied until at least a year after, or until they become quite ill, and that's when they finally reach out for help,” she said. Coolahan clarified that the bill was intended to be preventative rather than punitive. “It's about protecting all Albertans. It's about ensuring that all employers and employees are familiar with what harassment is and what it is not, through the use of a robust harassment policy and training,” he said. “I'm thrilled to be able to listen to Albertans and support them with this important legislation.”WSN
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 16
VIOLENCE THE WORKPLACE HEALTH AT & IN WELL-BEING CANADA WORK
Suicides haunting Labrador City Health officials in Newfoundland have revealed that five people in the neighbouring towns of Labrador City and Wabush have taken their own lives in the past eight months. Four of the five were connected in some way to the IOC iron ore mine, says Ron Thomas, president of the United Steelworkers union local. "The stress levels on site itself was extremely high and it definitely contributed to it," Thomas said. Could be more Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy said there have been "numerous" suicide attempts in the region, and he believes the number might be higher than what health officials are reporting. Colin Vardy, mayor of the Town of Wabush, said there have been 'numerous" suicide attempts in the region, and believes the number might be higher than what's being reported. When asked if he believes some unexplained deaths may have been suicides, Vardy said: "absolutely." Additional counselling services have been deployed to the remote mining communities, where some have suggested a there's a mental health crisis. Vardy has researched the issue and said a region with a
population equivalent to that of Labrador West should record one or fewer suicides a year. "We're five or six times higher than the national average," Vardy said. Economic uncertainty All this is playing out amid a changing and uncertain economic landscape in Labrador West, where mining is the very reason for its existence. '[Our members have] been treated totally different than they have in the past, and our discipline records have been going up. It's absolutely crazy.' - Ron Thomas, United Steelworkers union local The mine in Wabush closed several years ago, eliminating hundreds of well-paying jobs, and the IOC operation has been under pressure to cut costs and increase production in order to stave off a similar fate. Thomas said it's been a stressful period for workers, and he largely blames owner Rio Tinto. "[Our members have] been treated totally different than they have in the past, and our discipline records have been going up. It's absolutely crazy," Thomas said. He said there are thousands of outstanding grievances before an arbitrator, workers are being forced to work
Ron Thomas, union local president with the United Steelworkers that represents workers at the Iron Ore Company of Canada mine in Labrador City. File photo overtime because dozens of people have quit and not been replaced, and services for those with mental health concerns have been cut in recent years. Thomas added that a recent decision by the company to implement a shift system of seven days on and seven days off shift has also contributed to stress. "It's extremely frustrating. I knew every single one of them quite well," Thomas said of those who took their own lives. IOC released a statement saying it is taking the situation very seriously.WSN
MINE SAFETY & TRAINING
Worksite NEWS December 2016
Worksite NEWS December 2016
MINE SAFETY & TRAINING
Underground miners face high risk of Lung Cancer Diesel exhaust exposure blamed: Study By Jessicah Mendes Diesel exhaust could be causing fatal lung cancer in underground miners at a rate up to 38 times the accepted occupational risk, according to a new study. It shows underground production workers, including diesel loader operators and shotcreters, face the highest risk — and researchers are calling for strict controls to limit their exposure. The study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, marks the first phase of a landmark investigation sponsored by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Using Department of Mines and Petroleum data from 2003 to 2015 and other studies, it modelled the average levels of exposure among employees in a range of occupations on Western Australian mine sites. It then estimated the number of lung cancer deaths caused by those levels with stark results. "If somebody were to be exposed as an underground miner, we saw that that person would be exposed to on average 44 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3)," lead investigator Dr Susan Peters from the University of Western Australia said. "If that would occur for 45 years and you would compare their risks … to the general population, that would have resulted in 38 extra lung cancer cases among males." Above-ground mine workers were found to face lower levels of risk, with an average exposure of 14 ug/m3 over 45 years causing about 5.5 lung cancer deaths per 1,000 workers. Exposure limits 'should be lower' Following years of research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer formally classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen in 2012. There is still no national occupational standard for exposure to diesel emissions but the Australian Institute for Occupational Hygienists recommends an average exposure limit of 100 ug/m3 over eight hours. Do you know more about this story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org The study found that the average exposure rates modelled for WA mines were well below that limit, peaking at about 59 ug/m3 for an underground miner over 12 hours. But since it also found the estimated rates of lung cancer deaths were higher than generally accepted as an occupational risk, the researchers recommended a reduction in the limit. "You don't want anyone to get lung cancer but generally what we can accept as a risk is one in 1,000 workers, so you can image that 38 workers in 1,000 is way too high," Dr Peters said. "So that's why I refer to the fact that the exposure limit should be much, much lower than 100 ug/m3." Few other countries have set an exposure limit for diesel exhaust, and those that have, such as the US and Germany, generally recommend a higher limit than the AIOH. But there has been growing calls for a reduction in those guidelines. In December last year the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health announced it was recommending an underground limit of 20 ug/m3. There are also calls for diesel machinery to be replaced with emissions-free electric equipment. Second most common cause of workplace cancer Last month, the Cancer Council released new estimates that 130 Australian workers would contract lung cancer caused by diesel fumes each year. About 1.2 million Australians are believed to be exposed at work each year, and diesel exhaust is now the second most common cause of cancer in the workplace after UV exposure. The council's cancer smart manager Melissa Ledger said workers in a wide range of occupations were at risk. "Underground miners is one of those occupations … but also anyone really exposed on a regular basis," she said. "It could be truck, bus or train drivers, it could be farmers who have diesel equipment." The council said awareness of the dangers of diesel fumes was quite low when compared to other cancer-causing agents such as asbestos. "Not a lot of work has been done around providing education opportunities or awareness for workers in those areas around diesel exposure,"Ledger said. Diesel exposure a 'sleeping giant' In 2013, the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum issued guidelines on the management of diesel emissions, calling on the industry to conduct regular sampling, implement controls and develop an emissions management plan. But the guideline also noted "some sites have not effectively controlled emissions" to below the AIOH guideline of 100 ug/m3. A sampling program of 29 mine sites conducted by the department that same year found 10 of the sites exceeded the accepted exposure standard. The highest reading recorded was 1,100 ug/m3, 11 times the accepted standard. The 10 mine sites were never identified until their names were tabled in the WA Parliament last night at the request of Greens MLC Robin Chapple. Among those still operating are the Cliffs Nickel mine, the Jaguar copper and zinc mine, and Sunrise Dam outside of Laverton. More recently, the DMP has advised that its Mines Safety Inspectorate has issued 19 notices for ventilation safety issues in the past six months. Chapple said the issue of diesel emissions exposure among miners was a "sleeping giant" just waiting to be addressed. "In South Africa now there are very few miners that allow diesel machines underground and a lot of other countries are starting to do the right thing," he told the news agencies.WSN
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Worksite NEWS December 2016
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
Researchers using virtual reality to help treat PTSD
Parents often miss post-traumatic stress disorder in kids
A British study found that most parents of children who still had PTSD after three years after a traumatic event didn't recognise their child's symptoms. Iraq War veteran Bruce Chambers was the first patient to go through the UCF Restores program, which Parents often fail to recognize post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in combines prolonged exposure therapy with virtual reality to help treat veterans' and active-duty soldiers' young children, a new British study says. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traumatic memories Prolonged exposure therapy is a common form of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in "When people talk about PTSD they often think about soldiers returning U.S. veterans and active-duty soldiers, but researchers in central Florida are taking the approach to a new from war zones. But children who experience traumatic events such as level with virtual reality (VR). Iraq War veteran Bruce Chambers, who was one of the first patients to go through the three-week program car accidents, assaults and natural disasters are also at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder," said lead researcher Richard Meiserat the University of Central Florida (UCF), said the therapy has reduced his paranoia, and made him a Stedman, from Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia. better father and husband, Fox 35 Orlando reported. "Symptoms can include traumatic memories and nightmares, avoiding “It changed my life,” Chambers told the news station, “and if it can change my life, it can change another reminders of the trauma, and feeling like the world is very unsafe," he soldier's life.” explained in a university news release. Called the UCF Restores program, the regimen guides patients through group and virtual reality therapy, Researchers followed more than 100 children aged 2 to 10 who had been and, like, prolonged exposure therapy, places the veterans back into the traumatic experiences that triggered in a road collision involving a car crash, or being hit while walking, or their PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, depression, an increased risk of suicide, getting knocked off their bicycle. All had been taken to the hospital with hyperarousal, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). injuries such as bruising, fractures or loss of consciousness. Dr. Deborah Beidel, founder of UCF Restores, described the program as “intense,” but “the advantage is They were assessed for PTSD two to four weeks after the incident, and that we can really take care of this disorder, and treat this disorder thoroughly and effectively in a short again at six months and then three years later. period of time,” she told Fox 35. The researchers found that those who showed signs of stress soon after The therapy aims not to erase veterans' traumatic memories but to eliminate the stress that accompanies the incident didn't necessarily go on to suffer PTSD after three years, those thoughts. Beidel's research suggests 66 percent of patients find success with the program, Fox 35 And, while some developed PTSD that persisted for years, this occurred reported. only in a minority of cases. Most "bounce back" naturally in time, the With virtual reality, Chambers relived the PTSD-inducing moment when he hit a 400-pound improvised explosive device (IED), was knocked unconscious and got ambushed during a 15-month tour in Iraq. As he study authors said. Injury severity was associated with PTSD incidence up to six months sat in a chair that shook him to simulate the explosion, familiar smells from the day— like car exhaust and after an incident, but not three years after. burning flesh— were also replicated. He relived the moment repeatedly until his anxiety diminished, Fox 35 However, the researchers added, most parents of children who still had reported. “I think other people need to hear about this because it's changing lives,” Chambers told the news agencies. PTSD after three years didn't recognise their child's symptoms. This finding suggests that relying on parent reports of PTSD in their children may not be adequate for identifying chronic PTSD in young children, the researchers said. The researchers also found that children were more likely to suffer PTSD if their parents also suffered PTSD in the short- or long-term. But even these parents may not recognise their child's PTSD. "This study reveals some really interesting links between how children and their parents respond to a trauma," Meiser-Stedman said. Read: Ecstasy used to treat PTSD. Children may experience PTSD for years without their parents being aware of it. The researchers also found a strong link between parents having PTSD and their children having it as well, even years after the traumatic event. "This could be because parental stress early on is worsened by their children's symptoms, or because the child's responses are shaped by their parents' initial reactions – or a bit of both, leading to an amplification of symptoms for both parties," he said. "Interestingly, even in these cases, the parents were still unlikely to acknowledge their children's suffering," Meiser-Stedman added.WSN "This study strengthens the case for considering parental mental health, and providing support for both children and their parents in the aftermath of a trauma to reduce the long-term effects for both," he concluded.
Worksite NEWS December 2016
SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE WORKPLACE
Helping Addicts: Awareness About Treatment Need of the Hour By Barbara Odozi Report published in the October 13 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. The research conducted by scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health raises questions about the ills plaguing our society and the high percentage of abusers who continue not to receive any help. At a time when the problem of addiction and substance abuse is fast turning into an epidemic, the need of the hour is spreading knowledge about treatment awareness. One may come across incidents where people have questions but they have no one to guide them. Let's go through some usual questions that the families of addicts often have: * "My son knows that alcohol is ruining his life. How can I help him stop?" * "My wife took heroin and is becoming more apathetic every day. She says that it is a difficult day if I miss out on a dose. What do I do?" * "My daughter is drinking more and more all day long. How do I get through to her?" * "My husband has been abusing prescription narcotics. How can I convince him that he needs to stop it right away?" A family with a member suffering from an addiction may face feelings of fear, shame, anger, guilt and frustration. For the suffering member, addiction may associate with deep anxiety, sleepless nights and even physical illness. The family goes through emotional distress when it is unable to provide support to its loved one. Positive approach It is important to approach the problem with a positive frame of mind. According to experts, the family of the victim should accept the fact that it is a difficult situation to handle and the members should adopt a flexible and caring approach to manage a loved one suffering from substance abuse. The best advised way is to be non-confrontational and persuasive and accept the reality that the person will be defensive and hostile. In such a situation, family and friends should not counter and react but should remain cool-headed. For a family or friends to know that somebody close to them is suffering from an addiction, or maybe a mental disorder, they should be aware of the possible symptoms and signs. Here is what they should do: * Observe the person's behavior closely over a period of time to understand if it is unusual. * Look for an unusual activity that may get repeated like pattern of use of substance, alcohol or any reaction from the person. * Seeking a professional help in extreme situations can help you to decide where to take the patient for recovery. * Share your observations with other family members and friends as that can help you figure out a solution about getting help. * Explaining about the illness to the patient does help. * Recommending self-help groups. * There can be sentences that can be reframed in a better way when you speak to an addict without hurting him. So, instead of saying, "I think you are a drug addict," you may say, "I think you have a problem of drug addiction." It can be devastating to know that someone close to you is suffering from addiction. The fact that you understand the victim and are ready to help him can make him believe that he will soon get rid of the problem. It is difficult to manage or see a disruptive behavior of an addict who is connected to you. It has been observed that in some cases the addiction can be attributed to a developed mental disorder. Ranging from mild depression to binge drinking to experiencing a bipolar disorder, a patient can face any extreme condition when he is a victim of heroin abuse. Studies by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have shown that drugs and alcohol only worsen the symptoms of mental health conditions. If you or a loved one is seeking recovery, the dual diagnosis treatment centers in your area can provide some of the best healing therapies. Counseling and support can help tackle social factors that could contribute to a mental issue in the future. Barbara Odozi is associated with the Dual Diagnosis Helpline for many years. The Helpline provides assistance in finding dual diagnosis treatment centers. For more information call 855-980-1736. Or contact a treatment facility in your area.
CDC helps prevent Global Violence 1
Violence causes more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year. More than 90% of these occur in low- and middle-income countries.1 Violence is one of the leading causes of death in all parts of the world for persons ages 15 to 44.1 But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working to change that. CDC is committed to building a world free of violence.
Tips for avoiding electrocution hazards Worksite NEWS December 2016
WORKPLACERESPONSE IN FOCUS AND RESCUE EMERGENCY
First Responder training taken up a notch Ambulance crews do much more than drive By Rod Brouhard, EMT-P The media is sometimes confused by the difference between a first responder, an emergency medical technician and a paramedic. Unfortunately, with so many people getting their information from the news media the confusion has spread. At least the days of referring to these trained professionals as ambulance drivers are mostly behind us. Unlike other emergency services, our equipment (the ambulance) precedes our training and certifications by several decades. Now that the training has become much more in depth, ambulance crews do much more than drive. Everybody's a First Responder There are two meanings for first responder: 1. The first person to arrive at an emergency scene. Often, first responder is used as a general term for all emergency service personnel who are expected to respond to medical emergencies or large-scale disasters. 2. A public safety officialâ€”such as a police officer or firefighterâ€”certified to provide basic life support skills similar to an EMT. When referring to a certified First Responder, the term is capitalized. Ambulance Starts with EMT The most common certification on an ambulance is the emergency medical technician (EMT). There are two levels of certification that are common to almost every state, EMT and EMT-Paramedic. States will sometimes use different names for the basic level EMT. California uses EMT-1 for its basic level. Some states recognize an intermediate level of certification (often called EMT-Intermediate) that falls between EMT and paramedic. EMT-Intermediate is gradually falling out of favor in most areas. Within the industry, it is very common to refer to a basic EMT as simply EMT, and to refer to EMT-Paramedics as paramedics. So, it's OK to call a paramedic "EMT" but not OK to call an EMT "paramedic." So, What's the Difference? The biggest differences between paramedics and EMTs are the training and the scope of practice (what they are allowed to do). Basic EMTs usually receive 120 - 150 hours of training, while paramedics get anywhere from 1,200 hours to 1,800 hours of training. Paramedic programs often award two-year degrees. The scope of practice differences between EMTs and paramedics can be summed up by the ability to break the skin. Most states do not allow basic emergency medical technicians to give shots or start intravenous lifelines. Paramedics, on the other hand, can give shots as well as use more advanced airway management devices to support breathing. Basic EMTs are usually restricted to using oxygen, glucose, asthma inhalers, and epinephrine auto-injectors (a common exception to the no-needles rule). Paramedics are trained in the use of 30-40 medications, depending on the state. Canada Keeps it Simple Some provinces in Canada have tried to simplify public understanding of emergency medical certification levels - and cut down on syllables - by referring to all levels of training as paramedics. Within the common term of paramedic, they use the terms EMA-1, EMA-2, etc. EMA stands for emergency medical attendant. The training for emergency medical attendants in many parts of Canada is longer than that of similarly certified EMTs in the US. Responding to Emergencies All forms of first responder, including basic EMTs as well as paramedics, respond to emergency medical incidents. Ambulance crew members are required to at least have EMT certifications to attend patients in the back of an ambulance. Basic level training provides the most important elements of emergency medical training, while the more advanced paramedic level training addresses supportive care and maintaining patients after initial resuscitation. Both levels of training will also be called upon to provide care to patients during interfacility
transfers. When a patient needs to be moved from one medical facility to another, ambulances will be used to do the moving. Whether responding to emergencies or providing care during interfacility transfers, ambulances may be staffed with two paramedics, two EMTs, or one of each. In some areas, the level of staffing determines which type of ambulance is sent to a call for service. Emergency medical service is a complicated industry. There are different rules in each state and sometimes in each city or county. For more information, contact your state's EMS office.WSN
Worksite NEWS December 2016
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Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 23
Worksite NEWS December 2016 Page 24
Published on Dec 1, 2016