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safeworknews Newfoundland and Labrador

Volume Five, Issue One  Winter 2014

Stay safe wherever your work takes you Page 4

Navigating mental health in the workplace

Mould remediation at work

Workplace safety always priority number one for Randy Simms

Page 6

Page 8

Page 12

STOP. Are you at risk? What chemicals are present in these paints? Has WHMIS training been completed?

Visit Call (709)778-1552 toll free 1-800-563-9000 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

Working Safely Together


safeworknews Newfoundland and Labrador








Staying safe far from home

Learning about health and safety

Roofer’s checklist

Deckhand Robert Scott recovers from a serious injury

The Commission holds its first health and safety learning symposium

Preplanning for protection from falls




Make safety priority number one in our workplaces

Mental Health: being informed about a potentially debilitating workplace issue


16 17 Health and Safety Educator Award Joe Santos of O’Donel High is tops!

Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms speaks the plain truth about workplace safety

Mould remediation in the workplace


Without proper action, you may have a problem that won’t go away

Are you completely in check?

Scaffolding do’s and don’ts

Cover photo: Robert Scott of Atlantic Towing by Paul Daly

safeworknews Newfoundland and Labrador

safeworknews is published by the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission) of Newfoundland and Labrador to educate workers and employers about injury and disease prevention, promote a positive safety culture and provide links to Commission resources for safer workplaces. Editorial Submissions and Inquiries

*ABC  Accredited Business Communicator

Editorial Advisor Carla Riggs

Administration Janet Hancock

Editor Kathy DicksPeyton, ABC*

Contributors Paul Daly Kelly Taylor

Graphic Design Mark Wessels Marketing Sherry Greene Information Technology Florence Maloney

Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement #40063376, Customer #1324969 No portion of this publication may be reprinted in whole or in part without the written permission of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. The Commission reserves the right of final approval on all material. Printed in Canada  Copyright 2014 Printer: Transcontinental Print

safeworknews publication agreement #40063376

What goes up must come down – safely Every day in Newfoundland and Labrador, someone is working at heights, either on a ladder, in a bucket, on scaffolding or on a roof. Working from heights requires proper training and protection to prevent falls. Yet, a recent news story showed roofers ignoring their safety equipment while working on a 2storey building. That’s right, they were actually wearing their fall arrest harness but did not secure it to the safety line provided. Unbelievable. Injuries, and particularly fatalities, in the workplace are tragic events. It can be devastating to families, coworkers, and local businesses. The sad reality is that these tragedies can be prevented.

Safety Share It's not my Fault! How many times have you heard a child (of any age) exclaim "it's not my fault!" or "it wasn't me!"? Whether or not these statements are true is beside the point, what we are talking about is how we conduct ourselves and what image we project to those around us. A responsible, conscientious person will say "it's not my fault, but it's my problem". These individuals identify themselves by their actions; they pickup that piece of garbage on the ground, they're quick to lend a coworker a hand or show them a better, safer way; and they step up and take the high road any chance they get.

Anyone working from a height of three (3) meters or higher, or 10 feet, must use some form of fall protection – a fall arrest harness, guardrails, safety net, or other approved safety equipment outlined in the OH&S Regulations. Workers in this province are also required to complete a fall protection certification training course approved by the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, and to renew this training every three years. Yet, despite this, we still hear of workers and employers who risk life and limb by ignoring their training or failing to provide proper safety equipment.

Why? Because to these people, they see an opportunity every time a situation presents itself. An opportunity to eliminate a trip hazard, an opportunity to lighten the load for a coworker or to help them keep out of harms way. They may not be a supervisor or a lead hand, but they lead by example, they answer to themselves. When you hear "Ah...somebody's bound to get that", they are that somebody, for them there's always something to do, always an opportunity.

Regardless of if you are a seasoned construction professional or a weekend, home construction warrior, I urge you to always err on the side of caution. In this edition of safeworknews, we’ve included scaffolding do’s and don’ts and a roofer’s checklist to remind everyone that there are practical ways to prevent serious injury, and even death, while working above the ground.

When you get enough of these people working together (there's never enough, always looking for new members) you get a company of people that do the right things, follow safe work procedures, help and look out for each other and coworkers throughout the site.

Everyone is responsible for recognizing, evaluating and controlling fall hazards – employers, supervisors, contractors, and workers. Don’t ignore the risks.

They project an image of accountability and carry a reputation for getting things done and asking "what else can we help you with". If this sounds familiar, keep up the good work! If this sounds like an opportunity, Welcome aboard! We're always looking for new members!

Source: Safety Toolbox Talks

Leslie Galway, CEO, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission


Save me – with connect!

Use connect to submit your Form 7 – employer’s report of injury.

Your Employer report will be received by the

If you are not already registered for connect,

Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation

speak to your inhouse administrator to access

Commission the same day and help in the

this service.

timely adjudication of your employee’s claim

For more information go to:

and their early and safe return to work.

Stay safe wherever your work takes you By Kathy Dicks-Peyton

Crystal blue water, white sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs and endless sunshine  working in the Caribbean certainly has its privileges. For Robert (Bobby) Scott of Bay Bulls, it was a dream come true until a workplace accident changed his career path. In March of 2008, Robert was working as a deckhand on an Atlantic Towing supply vessel offshore Trinidad and Tobago. The crew was laying moorings for an oil rig, when a cable on a tugger winch snapped and ripped across his legs. The impact left him lying on the deck with a bone crushed in his right leg. His left leg was also fractured and the impact of falling caused him to sustain a broken right thumb. “It was like everything went into slow motion when I got hit,” recalls Robert. “I fell forward and my legs went out from under me. Instinctively I looked to see if I still had my legs and remember feeling a lot of pressure. The day that I was injured I unknowingly put myself in harm’s way. I thought I was safe, but then the accident happened and it was too late.”

Robert and family with a leg up on his difficult recovery.


A coworker radioed for help and within a couple of hours Robert was airlifted to a hospital in Trinidad. Once stabilized, he was then transported to a hospital in Hollywood, Florida, underwent three surgeries in five days, and faced possible amputation of his right leg. Wanting to provide the best possible health care to their employee, Atlantic Towing made



arrangements to fly Robert to the Hospital for Special Surgeries in New York City. They also flew his wife Colleen from Newfoundland and Labrador to Florida, where she accompanied her husband on the medevac flight. Colleen stayed with Robert for only a few days. Back home she had two small children – one five years and the other only two months old. A couple of weeks later, Atlantic Towing again flew Colleen to New York, this time she brought the children and they stayed with him for about two weeks. “The support I received from the company was unbelievable,” says Robert. “I could not have asked for anything better – even J.D. Irving (company owner) called me to offer help.”

Today Robert is enjoying life, and with the assistance of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (the Commission) and Atlantic Towing, a returntowork plan has set him in a new and exciting direction. Robert knew he couldn’t go back to his preinjury job as a deckhand, so he went through a process of career exploration. “I still wanted to work on the water, so initially I thought about becoming a cook but it would have meant spending too many hours on my feet.”

Always staying positive

“Our commitment is to work with an engaged team of employees to ensure a zero injury workplace,” says Sean Leet, General Manager of Atlantic Towing. “We do this through training, awareness and a shared focus on seeing one another home safely. Over the last few years our recordable incident rate (RIR) has fallen to 1.14  half the industry average of 2.3 RIR. It is a state of mind and every member of the Atlantic Towing team  regardless of role  has a clear understanding that safety is their responsibility. When incidents do occur, our job is to support the employee in their recovery and return to work. Bobby is ainly we were a valued member of our team and certainly committed to seeing him back with us.””

Based on the results of various assessments, Robert’s Commission Case Manager and physiotherapist determined that jobs involving hard labour were out of the question. Robert’s returntowork plan at Atlantic While at the Hospital for Special Surgeries, Robert Towing first involved driving a truck, delivering mail and met Dr. Austin Fragomen, running errands. For Robert, an orthopedic surgeon this wasn’t enough. Then his who gave him hope. general manager approached Dr. Fragomen proposed him about pursuing a career in Robert knew he couldn’t a revolutionary concept occupational health and safety, known as external fixation and Robert embraced it. go back to his pre-injury or limb lengthening, “Taking on the role of a health job as a deckhand, so he which is performed by and safety coordinator was only a handful of surgeons a big change for me,” says went through a process in the world. Typically this Robert. “It’s a great opportunity procedure is used for and I feel blessed.” of career exploration. people who have one Since Robert’s accident, leg shorter than the other Atlantic Towing employees or people who have bone are more conscious about defects. their own personal safety Limb lengthening actually forces bone to regenerate. and that of their coworkers. The company has produced According to the Hospital for Special Surgeries, the a deck safety video, there are continuous safety training procedure is minimally invasive, requiring only one or courses offered, and safety orientation procedures have two nights in the hospital, and patients aren't in much been developed for new hires. “We want to watch pain since the lengthening process is so gradual. out for each other so no one is put in harm’s way,” says Robert.

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“When Dr. Fragomen told me what he was going to do, all I could think of was ‘wow’,” said Robert. Within a couple of weeks postaccident, Robert was standing on his own, but his total recovery would take about two and a half years. There was pain, infection after infection in his leg, travel back and forth to New York and more hospitalization. Through it all, Robert remained positive. “I always tried to be active and to keep a healthy mind,” he says.




FAQs Navigating mental health in the Canadian workplace Natacha Riopel of Morneau Shepell spoke to safeworknews about garnering greater awareness, appreciation and understanding of mental health issues in the workplace. Morneau Shepell is a leading provider of employee and family assistance programs. Did you know that one in five people will directly experience a mental illness, and those who do not will have a friend, colleague, or family member who is dealing with a mental health issue (Source: Increased psychological demands at work and an irregular work schedule have taken a toll on workplace mental health. A 2012 Ipsos Reid workplace survey of over 6,600 Canadian employees reported that 14 per cent were currently diagnosed as clinically depressed and another eight per cent believed they were suffering from depression, but had not been diagnosed. A further 16 per cent reported that they experienced depression in the past.

Q: What are some of the underlying causes of mental health problems? Research shows that many mental health conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors. There are many environmental stressors that can trigger mental illness, including personal finances, relationships (such as marital problems), career issues, job changes, death or divorce in the family and substance abuse.

Q: Are we only recently recognizing this as a serious workplace health issue?


For employers, mental health problems and illnesses are the number one cause of disability and claims. The MHCC estimates that between 10 and 25 per cent of mental disability costs, directly incurred by many employers could be avoided with the right strategies in place.

Q: Should the issue of mental health in the workplace be treated differently than other health issues? Yes and no. The issues are different and each requires special focus, but since the desired longterm outcome is total health, they must also be considered together. Employees in general feel that mental health issues are not addressed as effectively as physical health issues. Mental health needs to be tackled differently because there is stigma involved, resulting from less awareness and education relative to physical health. It also needs special attention because its cost impact is much greater. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the average duration of a mental health leave is 65 days versus an average of 33 days for a physical health leave. The average costs per leave are $18,000 and $9,000 respectively.

Q: How can we as workers, employers and the public at large, build greater awareness about mental health in the workplace? In other words, what are some of the most effective tools and strategies that help address awareness and call to action? Everyone can play a key role in increasing the awareness of workplace mental health. The most effective tools and strategies need to focus on: • prevention • early detection • management recovery support and • return to work Morneau Shepell has collected a number of effective tools for employees and employers, and organized them into the 5Rs of workplace mental health: 1.Resilience 2.Recognizing risk 3.Recovery 4.Return to work 5.Removing stigma

The issue of mental health has garnered greater awareness, appreciation and understanding in recent years. Slowly but surely, Canadian employers are realizing that mental health and its impact on the workplace is an issue they simply cannot afford to ignore. Recent studies illustrate how serious and prevalent the issue of mental health has become and have brought to light the associated costs to the Canadian economy and Canadian employers.

These tools are available free of charge at:

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), mental health problems have a powerful and expanding impact in the workplace. While mental health illnesses can often be invisible, the cost to the economy is an estimated $50 billion annually. A 2011 MHCC study projected that if unaddressed, over the next 30 years, the impact of mental health problems will cost Canadian businesses $198 billion in lost productivity.

Here’s a list of publiclyavailable mental health support resources:



Q: If an organization doesn’t have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), what are some of the available resources people can access to go to for help and information?

Get to know your hot spots Injury hotspots for Truck Drivers

Ears 4%

Back, including spine and spinal cord


Face 3% 6%

Shoulder, including clavicle, scapula 4%

Arm(s) 3%

Finger(s), 4% fingernail(s)

Chest, including ribs, internal organs

3% Wrist(s) 8% Leg(s)

photo: Dudley Cooze, Truck Driver

9% Ankle(s)

SOURCES Workplace Health, Safety and Compensaon Commission injury prevenon database based on eight years of accepted claims

For further information visit: or, please call the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission at: SOURCE Workplace Health, Safety and Compensaon Commission injury prevenon database


at work Indoor air quality is a common concern throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. One contributor to poor indoor air quality is mould growth. This topic is often discussed in the media as a potential health concern, particularly when the general public may be affected.

While there is agreement among the scientific community that mould may pose a risk to a person’s health, ongoing research continues as to the potential impacts that mould may have. In 2004, it was determined by the Institute of Medicine that indoor mould is associated with increased respiratory symptoms including coughing and wheezing. Mould is also known to trigger asthma symptoms in sensitized people. Therefore, while mould exposure does not result in health effects for all people, some people, especially those with preexisting medical conditions, or those with greater sensitivities are at an increased risk.

By Kelly Taylor In recent years, it appears that the prevalence of mould growth is increasing. This may be due to a number of factors such as increased awareness of its environmental and health effects and changes to building construction and design. For example, more buildings are becoming air tight and homes are being renovated to have new windows and siding  sometimes with little ventilation. As a result, mould may have an easier time developing if inadequate building materials are used and/or inadequate construction practices are followed. Mould, which is sometimes referred to as ‘mildew’, exists everywhere, including indoor and outdoor environments. Many thousands of mould species exist; however, despite being a commonly used term, there is no one species called “toxic mould”. Generally, mould requires three conditions to grow: 1. moisture 2. nutrient source 3. proper temperature In the indoor environment, these three conditions can be easily met. Examples of moisture sources may include condensation, leaks from pipes, and/or moisture from cooking and washing activities. Nutrients are readily available from dirt, cellulose in paper, carpets and drywall. When mould develops inside a building there are concerns about negative health outcomes for those breathing in mould spores.




One of the most important actions in dealing with a potential mould problem is to conduct a good visual inspection of the building. This can help identify the cause, location and extent of the contamination. As well, it may be useful to measure the amount of moisture in the building materials with the use of a moisture meter. This may aid in making a decision on the best way to deal with the problem.

Cleaning out mould found in your workplace When mould is discovered in the workplace, it is often thought that air sampling must be done to determine the health risk. However, depending on the situation this may not be necessary. Many times when mould is seen on drywall in a specific location it may only be necessary to treat or remove the affected materials. In situations where there is no visual evidence of mould it may then be appropriate to conduct indepth testing such as air and bulk sampling. Occupational health and safety legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t specify a safe level of exposure to mould. However, water and/or moisture issues should be prevented to avoid mould growth. To adequately deal with mould problems, mould and its contaminated materials must be removed and the source of water must also be fixed.

Without both actions mould can become a problem that will not go away. The removal of mouldcontaminated materials should be carried out in accordance with a reputable organization’s standards. There are many guidelines available, including those found on the Canadian Construction Association website at: Many organizations provide very clear guidance on what procedures to follow and the type of personal protective equipment to use. However, for all types of removal it is agreed that: • Workers doing the removal must have education and training about appropriate safe work practices and procedures. • The source of the moisture problem must be identified and corrected

in addition to the removal of the mouldy materials. • Good communication with all building occupants is necessary. • Water issues and mould issues must be dealt with immediately. In the event of a flood, materials should be dried out within 24 to 48 hours. If this is not possible, it’s highly likely mould will develop. For more information contact the Commission’s Prevention Services Department at: (709) 7781552 or toll free: 18005639000. Another great source of information about mould is available on the Centre for Disease Control website: Kelly Taylor is an Industrial Hygienist with the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission.







Building a culture of safety Commission hosts first ever Safety Learning Symposium Last Fall the Commission hosted its first Safety Learning Symposium in St. John’s. The event included 12 workshops delivered in one day, allowing 220 registrants to avail of multiple occupational health and safetyrelated topics. The Symposium also included a keynote address on the state of health and safety in Newfoundland and Labrador workplaces by Commission CEO Leslie Galway and a luncheon address on safety leadership by City of Mount Pearl Mayor and CEO Safety Charter Signatory, Randy Simms (see page 12). Did you know that workplaces in Newfoundland and Labrador have become safer over the last decade? In fact, 92.1 per cent of employers are now injuryfree, up from 85.5 per cent in 2003. The losttime incident rate has fallen from 2.4 to 1.6 per 100 workers, and most recent stats show that the number of healthcare only claims with no lost time from work, have fallen dramatically from 3,779 in 2003 to 1,768. Kudos also go to the youth in our province who are leading the way when it comes to safety in the workplace. Since 2003, the decrease in the losttime incidence rate among young workers has decreased from 2.4 to 1.4 per 100 workers. The number of occupational health and safety committees registered with the Commission has almost tripled from 1,306 in 2003 to 3,584 in 2012, demonstrating that employers and workers are actively engaged in improving the safety practices in their workplaces. Other positive developments contributing to a safer Newfoundland and Labrador include the formation of safety sector councils for the construction, forestry, municipal and fish harvesting industries, and the implementation of training certification standards for highrisk areas, including confined space entry, fall protection and traffic control persons. All were jointly developed by the Commission, government and stakeholder groups.

A second Symposium is planned for Fall 2014. Look for event dates and registration information in the coming months.




Make safety in our workplaces priority number one

Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms

CREATING THE ENVIRONMENT FOR SAFETY By Kathy Dicks-Peyton Leadership motivates and encourages people to dream big, dare mightily and have people say, ‘your dream is my dream too.’ Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms is a signatory to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission’s CEO Safety Charter. He is not the CEO of a company, but rather a policymaker whose role is to do more than practice safety, or encourage City staff to practice safety. “As leaders, we need to establish an atmosphere where people in our employ believe safety is priority number one,” says Simms. “The fact that we direct people to work safely is not true leadership. True leadership, encourages people to join you on a journey to do something that has never been done before.” Real leadership when utilized properly will motivate people to do all the things you want them to do. They will do it willingly and want to achieve success with you,” adds Simms. “From a leader’s perspective, you can’t order this to happen in your workplace. You just can’t say, ‘Listen up, from now on we’re going to be safe!’” However, if you can create an environment in your workplace where safety practices are encouraged,




where they are welcomed, and where workers feel empowered – then you will create buyin. Three years ago the City of Mount Pearl developed a strategic plan which addresses ‘constant improvement’. “How can we improve on what we are doing now, is what we’ve challenged ourselves with,” explains Simms. A plan like this not only applies to the programs and services the City offers its citizens. “In a city like Mount Pearl, the entire community becomes your workplace. Every street, playground, backyard, building, fire hy drant, etc., are all workplaces,” says Simms. “Safety is at the core of all our operations and our workers” adds Simms. “Our workers need to be provided with the right tools, the right knowledge and environments, where they can work safely.” The health and safety values within the City of Mount Pearl demand that we take care of ourselves and protect each other. “Quite frankly,” says Simms, “safety begins with me, and our commitment within the City is real.” Some of the safety initiatives the City has implemented include: reverse parking at their facilities, resulting in a 99.9 per cent compliance rate. The City has also purchased reversible blades for their snow clearing equipment, so operators no longer have to drive against traffic on oneway streets or when plowing cul de sacs. “It cost over half a million dollars to do that, but we did it because we don’t want our employees or our citizens meeting by accident,” says Simms. “I want Mount Pearl to be the safest city in all of Canada,” adds Simms. “In order to do this, safety needs to become everyone’s responsibility – we all need to be the change.”

“Workplace safety requires leadership from the bottom to the top” SIMMS’


1. Personal Accountability – Safety begins with me. 2. Training – Provide the knowledge and tools so people can learn and want to learn. 3. Create Safer Workplaces – Ensure that our employees play the biggest role in the changes to improve safety. Let employees make some of the decisions and give them ownership. This will result in safer workplaces and cost employers little or nothing. 4. Create a Safety Vision – Lead from behind and give your employees a vision and the tools to accomplish it. 5. Be the change – Change what you want to see in your workplace.

Safety Awareness Sessions, Workshops and Webinars April 2014

June 2014

WORKSHOP: Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss at Work: Implement a Hearing Conservation Program (9 am - 1 pm)

WORKSHOP: From Recognizing Hazards to Implementing a Solution: Completing the Process (9 am - 4 pm)

WEBINAR: Technology: A New Workplace Hazard (1.5 hrs.) – April 30, 2014

WEBINAR: Serious Injury Defined! (1.5 hrs.) – June 25, 2014

May 2014

WORKSHOP: Managing Health and Safety from the Supervisor’s Perspective (2 Day, June 4, 5, 2014)

WORKSHOP: Violence Prevention and Working Alone: Protecting your Workers (9 am – 1 pm)

Register for FREE workshop and webinars today or ask about delivering a workshop at your workplace!

WEBINAR: Do you know your OH&S Responsibilities? Roles and Responsibilities for Workplace Parties (1.5 hrs.) – May 21, 2014

online: email: call: fax: 1-800-563-9000 (toll-free), 1-709-778-2926 1-709-778-1587






1. Employer checks that scaffolds are in safe condition prior to use.

4. Install cross bracing at all levels and make sure locking devices and ties are secure.

2. Planks, decks, and guardrails are installed and secure. 3. Use a hoist or rope to move materials to upper levels.

5. There is safe entrance to working levels. 6. Base is sound, level, and adjusted.

3 To obtain a copy of our Scaffolding Guide booklet, contact the Occupational Health and Safety Division, Service NL at: 7097292705, or the Commission at: 7097781000

2 4

5 1







1. Do not carry materials when climbing scaffolding.

4. Do not work on scaffolding during storms or high winds.

2. Do not force braces to fit.

5. Do not jump from planks or platforms.

3. Do not climb or stand on cross braces or guardrails.

6. Do not rest materials or equipment on guardrails.

3 2


1 5



Information courtesy of WSCC of NT (Workers’ Safety & Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut)





By preplanning you can determine what safety equipment will be needed on each job. Here are some practical questions to ask when preplanning for safety on a residential roofing job: 1)

Have workers been trained in fall protection and ladders?


Are there multiple roof levels that will need to be accessed?


How high is the roof?


Is the pitch of the roof higher than normal and will roof bracket scaffolds be needed to stand on?


Are the electrical service lines in the way of workers? How will they be protected? Will the power need to be shut off on the street?


Are the roof anchors useable for this application? Different materials call for different anchors.


How many roof anchors will be needed to access all of the roof levels?


Can the work be sequenced in order to reduce the number of anchors needed at one time?


Can selfretractable lifelines be used or will workers use rope and rope grab?

Preplanning for protection from falls Preplanning is essential before construction processes begins. Preplanning can impact profit and can be a powerful safety tool that can provide an injuryfree workplace. Preplanning can occur at several different construction phases:

 Job start up  As the job progresses  When new trades are introduced  For specific work tasks  Bid stage

10) What length ladder will be needed? 11) Once on the roof, will workers need to use a ladder to access other roof levels? 12) Is there a chance the ladder could contact electrical lines? 13) Will gutters interfere with placing the ladder against the structure? 14) Where will materials be stored? 15) Where will trash be thrown off of the roof, and how will the homeowner and/or workers be protected from falling debris? 16) Are there other hazards associated with this job that we have not yet identified? Answering these questions will help in the development of a fall protection plan. It is better to plan ahead, provide tools and materials, and train workers on situations that pose a risk to them; than to show up and try to do the work with no planning. Remember the 5 Ps: "Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!"

Source: Safety Toolbox Talks




O’Donel High School’s Joe Santos wins Health and Safety Educator of the Year award for 2013

By Kathy Dicks-Peyton Joe Santos is an educator who has demonstrated a commitment to creating a culture of safety for Newfoundland and Labrador youth. Joe demonstrates real leadership and has been a ‘change agent’ for students and staff at O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl. Most recently, Santos was named the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission’s (the Commission) Health and Safety Educator of the Year for 2013. “He has significantly raised the profile of safety and emergency preparedness among teachers and students at O’Donel High School since he has joined our staff four years ago,” says Michelle Clemens, Principal. “Joe is actively engaging the entire school community in committing to his vision of what it means for a school to be truly safe.” Santos introduced the Workplace Safety 3220 course to O’Donel, which now in its third year has over 170 students enrolled. “He has high expectations for students and their achievement in this course and they are rising to meet these expectations,” says Clemens. As a certified Red Cross FirstAid and WHMIS instructor, Santos ensures all students in his classes are properly trained and provides instruction to his peers as school district professional development days. He was also

Joe Santos of O’Donel High School, recipient of the 2013 Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission’s Health and Safety Educator of the Year Award.

instrumental in arranging for the purchase and installation of an AED machine for O’Donel – a first for any school in Newfoundland and Labrador. To ensure that the machine was effective, Santos trained all staff, the school’s custodian and evening users of the building. In 2010, Santos formed a First Responders group at O’Donel, where students provide emergency response capabilities when required. According to Principal Clemens, the team has 30 members, but there are many more who want to be involved. “Joe was a significant participant in the overhaul of our school’s crisis management team,” explains Principal Clemens, “and has used the health and safety expertise of external speakers, employers and other organizations to promote health and safety education for his students.” In 2013, students from O’Donel participated in the Commission’s

youth game show: SAFE WORK NL’s – Who Wants to Save a Life? as well as the annual Young Worker Video/Radio Ad Contest. Santos also works with students who compete in the workplace safety category at Skills Canada competitions. Together with his students, Santos has helped increase awareness of occupational health and safety and its importance to youth. As winner of the Health and Safety Educator Award, he receives a commemorative plaque and the school receives $500 to purchase health and safety materials and/or equipment. Past Health and Safety Educator honours have gone to: Fraser Drover of Menihek High School in Labrador City and Robert Smith of Bishops College in St. John’s. To learn more about how you can nominate an esteemed health and safety educator for this award, visit:




NewsFlash QUICK FACTS L Both workers and employers in Newfoundland and Labrador will benefit from improved benefits and reduced assessment rates. L Injured workers submitting new claims with injury dates on or after January 1, 2014, will be eligible to be compensated up to the new limit of $60,760, depending upon their preinjury earnings.

Improved Benefits and Reduced Assessment Rates Some injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador will receive increased benefits and most employers will see reduced assessment rates in 2014. The Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) for workers injured in 2014 will increase to $60,760, which includes a base increase of $6,000 plus the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment of one per cent. The average base assessment rate for employers will be reduced by $0.30 to $2.45 per $100 of assessable payroll for 2014. Approximately 99.8 per cent of employers will see a decrease in their assessment rates in 2014.




L Assessment rates are premiums paid by employers to cover anticipated costs of workplace injuries, return towork programs, prevention initiatives and the cost of delivering the workers’ compensation system. L For employers, the The Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) increase applies to assessments on individuals with annual gross earnings at or above the previous MCAE of $54,155. With the average assessment rate now reduced to $2.45, the $6,000 increase in the base MCAE results in an additional insurance cost to the employer of $150 per worker, per year. This may now be offset by the reduction in their assessment rate. L The 30 cent decrease in the assessment rate is an average. Individual employers will continue to have different assessment rates depending upon their industry and workplace injury experience.

CEO Safety Charter Congratulations to recent signatories Signatories are chosen for their dedication and commitment to preventing accidents and promoting health and safety in the workplace. CEO Safety Charter Signatory  Sobeys

Marc Poulin, President and CEO, Sobeys Inc. (seated right) with Leslie Galway, (seated left), Commission CEO and members of the Sobeys team.

CEO Safety Charter Signatory  NLCHI

Mike Barron, (third from right) is President and CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI). Joining Mr. Barron are Jan Dicks, Paul Caines, Don MacDonald, Stephen Clark, and Jerry Vink.

CEO Safety Charter Signatory  Pipers

Pipers General Manager Glen Skinner, with (from left) Elizabeth Strickland, Pipers; Michelle MacDonald, Commission Safety Advisor; Marie Chaytor, Pipers; Elizabeth Forward, Commission Board of Directors, Public Representative and Tom Mahoney (far right) Commission Executive Director, Worker Services.

CEO Safety Charter Signatory  NL Housing

From NL Housing (left to right): Wes Lushman, Peter Forsey, Shauna Sutton, Dave Scott, Dean Coates, Chairman and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, Len Simms, Dean Collins, Bill Conway, Dave Pike and joined by Commission CEO Leslie Galway (third from right).


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Are you a member of the complacency group at your workplace? Are you set in your ways and not open to change? Are dangers lurking because you have the “this is the way it’s always been done” attitude? Well, it’s time to get out of that mindset and help make a difference. By not paying attention to what you are doing or taking short cuts and risks, you’ve probably developed an “it won’t happen to me” attitude. The truth is: complacency in the workplace can affect productivity, quality and safety. Your behaviour will only change if you make a conscious effort to change it. Don’t let complacency creep into your workplace, and be mindful that safety is really about attitude. Employers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador are working with their employees to create safe and healthy environments, but unfortunately it sometimes takes a fatal incident to cause everyone to refocus. We need to be constantly reminded that working without regard for safety is unacceptable, and developing new habits in an effort to maintain a healthy and safe working environment can be a winwin for everyone. What can you do to curb complacency in your workplace? • • • • •

Encourage employees to bring safety shares to staff meetings Report unsafe conditions Get involved in safety committees Don’t be afraid to voice concerns to supervisors and managers – go right to the top if necessary Take ownership of your organization’s safety program

Don’t let complacency be the last mistake you make – “be the change”! Kathy DicksPeyton, Editor

Kathy Dicks-Peyton is the Manager of Communications and Event Planning with the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission

Give us your insight on safeworknews content, or topics for discussion relating to employer assessments, workers’ compensation, and workplace health and safety. Send your comments to:

safeworknews c/o Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission 146148 Forest Road P.O. Box 9000 or send us an email: St. John’s NL A1A 3B8


INTEREST-FREE PAYMENT PLANS! Spread your payments over nine months, interest-free, by pre-authorized debit. Choose the payment frequency that best suits your cash flow needs: quarterly, monthly, semimonthly, bi-weekly and weekly. 20



To arrange a plan, call 709-778-1125 or 1-800-563-9000, ext. 1125.

Get to know your hot spots. Injury hotspots for Nurses and LPNs


Shoulder, including clavicle, scapula Chest, including ribs, internal organs



Neck, except internal location of diseases or disorders


2% 27% 8%

Hand(s), Wrist(s), Finger(s), fingernail(s)

Back, including spine, spinal cord

4% Leg(s)

photo: Joan Ivany, LPN



SOURCES Workplace Health, Safety and Compensaon Commission injury prevenon database based on eight years of

For further information visit: or, please call the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission at: SOURCE Workplace Health, Safety and Compensaon Commission injury prevenon database


Safeworknews volume 5 winter 2014  

safework news magazine - volume 5 - issue 1 - Winter 2014

Safeworknews volume 5 winter 2014  

safework news magazine - volume 5 - issue 1 - Winter 2014