bearSpring is a beautiful season. The cold weather is behind us and the warm weather is approaching.  Spring is also one of the most dangerous seasons for bear attacks as bears are coming out of hibernation and they are hungry and can be grumpy, as well as with new cubs.

While this sounds like a lethal situation, bear attacks are relatively rare.  Bears do not emerge from their dens with the intent of attacking people. Quite the opposite, they have their own agendas to attend to.  Except for some rare instances, bear attacks on humans generally happen with human error. By taking the necessary precautions on the work site as well as during your rec time,  it is very east to keep both bears and yourself safe.

Store your Food and Garbage in Bear Proof Containers

Bears are hungry in the spring. They will go where they are able to find food.  Improperly stored lunches and snacks are a guaranteed hazard. Once bears find an easy meal, it is very difficult to permanently remove them from that area.  If this area is frequented by people, bears will get accustomed to humans being there. Any foods that is stored outside, whether for consumption or disposal, needs to be stored in bear proof containers. Failure to follow this rule can be fatal.

Stay Away from Baby Cubs

If you come across cubs while working or travelling, it is imperative you back away immediately. It is guaranteed that even if you cannot see the mother, she is never far away. Bears can travel almost completely silently over twigs and branches. A mother bear will go through any measure necessary to protect her young. Approach her babies and she will attack you.  If you feel a cub is in danger, leave the area and call your local wildlife officer. They have the training and tools to deal with these situations. Never, under any circumstances should you ever approach a baby bear.

Make Noise

If you are walking in the trees of an area frequented by bears, make as much noise as possible.  Whistle, wear bear bells, talk to yourself and your friends, whatever you can do to make noise. If they know somebody is in the area, they will leave.  Bears do not go looking for confrontation unless provoked.  Let them hear you and they will leave the area long before you knew they were there. If you need to use a porta-potty that is out of the way, institute a buddy system.

Leave their Food Alone

We don’t like random strangers inspecting our food, neither do bears. Bears are known to kill an animal and then spend a few days eating it. In between meals, they will store their kill in the woods, often half covered in leaves and twigs. If you come across a bear kill, leave immediately. This is their property and they will attack you to remind you of this.  If you see a bear kill in an area that is frequented by people, call your local wildlife authorities to handle the situation.

By making these precautions part of your daily practice, and your worksite safety plan it is easy to enjoy spring outdoors without putting yourself in a situation that can provoke a bear attack.

Contact Highmark for worksite safety plans in Alberta.


safety personnel hard hatThere is a growing trend in today’s workplace of hiring contractors rather than employees to perform necessary services.  This trend is a result of a number of factors including greater flexibility, reduced overall costs and often a greater specialization that contractors bring to a project.

In today’s market having the ability to quickly increase or downsize a workforce with contractors is cost effective and an efficient way to manage labour.  An employee has certain rights on termination that generally are not available to contractors.  Additionally, an employer has added costs associated with remissions and withholding for income tax, workers’ compensation and employment insurance.  As well, employees have certain entitlements under the employment standards legislation, such as overtime pay, stat holiday pay, paid vacations, etc.,  which are not available to contractors.

 

Employee Versus Contract Worker Cost Analysis

(Based on EE earning $50/hr working 10hr shift and Contractor earning a day rate)

 

Employee Contractor
Direct Costs
Wage 400 500
Overtime 150
Indirect Costs
Vacation Pay (4%) 22
Benefits (16%) 88
Total/Day 660 500

 

Other costs to consider: RRSP contributions, Stat Pay, Bonuses, Severance, Payroll Administration, HR recruiting, Cellphones, Computers, Vehicles, Fuel, PPE, etc…

At Highmark, we understand that every client has different needs and the solution needs to be tailored to meet specific requirement. In today’s ever changing economy, we can rapidly assist you in expanding your team in order to meet your business demands. Whether the role you seek to fill is project based, long term or temporary or a combination of both, we can deliver top quality solutions.

Our HSE Personnel staffing solutions deliver qualified candidates to ensure your organization has the flexibility it needs. From business cycle fluctuations, to the execution of new or short term projects, you need talented candidates with industry knowledge and expertise who can add value to your company and its overall objective.

Call us today: 403-730-6551


Flammable materials sign in the workplaceFlammable materials are common to most workplaces and can take the shape of liquids, gases or solids. Even the vapor that a flammable material gives off can be flammable so it is important to familiarize yourself with these materials to make sure they are handled correctly.

A fire in the workplaces requires three things: fuel, oxygen and an ignition source. You’ll want to review the MSDS for any flammable materials in the workplace because ignition sources can be unexpected. Flammable materials do not necessarily require an open flame to ignite, a faulty radiator or exposed wire can be all it takes to create a dangerous situation.

When reviewing the MSDS check for any important details, if it is a gas does it produce an odour? Is it stored under high pressure? What is the ignition temperature? What materials does the materials react poorly with? Your MSDS should contain a section on Fire Fighting Measures, make sure to review that section and train staff appropriately.

All workplaces with flammable materials should have written procedures based off the MSDS outlining storage, use, clean up, incompatible materials, protective equipment required, steps for fire prevention and what to do in the case of an emergency. All new staff should be trained in these practices, and written copies of these procedures should be easily available for staff to review.

When handling and storing flammable materials in the workplace knowledge is your most important tool. Know what equipment to wear when handling the material and know what can cause the material to ignite. Know if the material is prone to explosion or gives off toxic/ flammable vapours. Stay updated on your safety procedures and if unsure about your company safety procedures give us a call. Highmark Safety can help you create an appropriate safety plan for flammable materials in the workplace and ensure that staff are trained to handle the situation.

Sample MSDS – http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/methane.pdf

Contact us today for more information about our workplace safety programs.


construction-city-of-industry-1512674-639x852For a workplace to be safe, it needs more than the occasional briefing session. A safe workplace needs an ongoing culture of safety that stretches from the top of management to the workers in the field. A culture of safety means that hazard prevention is regular and ongoing, as trained staff know what to look out for to protect each other and themselves from injury.

Employees and Management take an active role in hazard prevention

For a culture of safety to take root in a workplace, all staff members need to take part. Even management should be trained on how to spot a hazard, and take trips to the field. Regular staff members should be up to date on all safety training and be actively engaged in maintaining a standard of safety in the workplace. Regular staff should know how to spot a hazard and feel comfortable approaching other staff and management about safety concerns.

Everyone is trained on appropriate safety equipment

One of the most effective ways to spread corporate culture is through the use safety equipment. Employees without proper safety equipment on a job site should stick out, and fellow employees should be actively engaged in briefing other staff on required clothing and protective gear needed.

Management is actively involved in keeping the workplace safe

All managers at a job site should be briefed on safety standards and understand how to use any required protective equipment. This helps management understand employee needs and remain connected with their workforce.

Managers can take an even more active role by scheduling regular trainings and refresher courses for staff. Managers can also be instrumental in helping create a safety committee that looks out for additional hazards and keeps staff up to date on trainings.

Safety is a part of employee performance evaluations

It may seem like an employee is doing a good job, but if they aren’t doing it safely, an accident can deeply impact a company’s profits. Safety should always be one of a company’s core values and can be an effective judge in how good an employee’s performance really is.

Highmark Safety can help you create that culture of safety in the workplace. We offer a broad selection of safety solutions and have trained consultants that can visit your shop floor before recommending a program.

Call us now for more information on our HSE Programs: 403-730-6551.

 


In 2014 there were just under 170 workplace fatality claims in Alberta, and over 27,500 lost time claims due to workplace injury. These numbers may seem high, however as only half of all injured workers file claims for lost time, they are likely much higher.

construction-workers-1560042-640x500Injuries by the Industry*

Just under 1 in 10 trades workers will be injured on the job in Canada.

7% of all kitchen staff will be injured.

13% of all machines, erectors and metal formers will be injured on the job.

6% of manufacturing assemblers will be injured on the job.

10% of all mechanics will be injured on the job.

Where on the Body are Canadians Injured*

  • 28% of all workplace injuries in Canada are to the hand
  • 29% of all injuries in the Trades are to the hand
  • 16% of all workplace injuries are to the lower back

Costs of Workplace Injury for the Worker

  • Lost or reduced income
  • Medical expenses
  • Long term health problems
  • Burdens on the family
  • Difficultly finding new employment

Costs of Workplace Injury for the Employer

  • Medical costs
  • Lost Productivity
  • Damage to machinery
  • Replacement work training expenses
  • Tensions in labour relations

The costs of workplace injury range from financial burdens from reduced income, to strain on relationships as family members attempt to make up for lost income or take on a caregiver role for the injured worker. Injured workers may experience difficulty returning to the workplace as health problems from accidents can linger for years. Employers will experience difficulty finding replacement for injured workers while they are out recovering. Workplace injuries affect more than just the injured worker.

Highmark Safety have a range of experienced staff that can help keep your workplace safe and accident free.

Call us today to find out about a safety program that works for you.

*http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2006007/article/injuries-blessures/t/4149013-eng.htm
*http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2006007/article/injuries-blessures/t/4149014-eng.htm
http://work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety/781.html
http://work.alberta.ca/documents/2015-workplace-incident-fatalities.pdf

 


TORNADO SAFETY TIPS

August 10, 2015

Tornado2TORNADO SAFETY TIPS
Central Alberta has recently experienced severe thunder storms producing large hail, funnel clouds and a tornado touched down just outside of the Calgary city limits. This alert has been developed to communicate information on warning signs and procedures in the event that severe weather develops.

Tornadoes are violent by nature. They are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground.

Know the difference:

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If possible, go immediately under ground to a basement or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

Watch for tornado warning signs:

  • Dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail
  • Large hail
  • Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
  • Roaring noise
  • Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
  • Cloud of debris

Get to the safest place:

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
  • If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • If you are caught outdoors and cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
    • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.

If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands


WILDFIRES

February 10, 2015

waterbomb

Wildfire Safety

Last year 60% of wildfires were caused by humans. This year the spring and summer months have arrived again and brought with it wildfires across Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan. An especially dry winter and spring has contributed to prime fire conditions. Several out of control fires are threatening people’s homes, large industrial projects, and wildlife. Below are some tips to keep you, your family, and co-workers safe.

Prevention

  • When camping or hiking never leave a campfire or open flame unattended. Soak the ashes, stir and soak again before leaving the fire.
  • When using an ATV keep the engine and muffler free of debris
  • Take appropriate safety precautions for winter burns
  • Take proper care when disposing of cigarette butts
  • Always have a fire escape plan

If You Become Trapped In A Wildfire:

While in your vehicle:

  • Stay calm.
  • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
  • Close all vehicle windows and vents.
  • Cover yourself with wool blanket or jacket.
  • Lie on vehicle floor.
  • Use your cell phone to advise officials—Call 911.

While on foot:

  • Stay calm.
  • Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible
  • Lie face down, cover up your body
  • Use your cell phone to advise officials—Call 911.

While in your home:

  • Stay calm, keep your family together.
  • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location.
  • Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked.
  • Stay inside your house.
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows.

Prevention is the key to wildfire safety. To report a wildfire in Alberta Call 310-Fire(3473), 24/7 toll free