4 Important Measures for Workplace Health and Safety

Employers are responsible for making sure workers remain safe on the job, and as recently as 2016, 904 workers died after being involved in workplace accidents, according to the University of Regina. Understanding what’s required of you as an employer makes it easy to help employees work safely. There are several important measures to include in a workplace health and safety plan.

Understand and Correct Workplace Hazards

Things at work that cause harm to the human body are considered workplace hazards. The ideal time to explore the work area — to identify potential hazards to correct — is before anyone sustains an injury. Some common workplace hazards include:

  • Chemicals that present an inhalation risk or burns
  • Poor ergonomics that can lead to repetitive stress injuries and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Biological hazards such as bacteria that can lead to illness
  • Physical hazards such as mould, extreme temperatures and high noise levels

Create an Emergency Response Plan

When your company has an emergency response plan in place, it increases safety for everyone. An emergency response plan begins with an inspection of your work area to determine potential risks. The plan is then developed around what steps need to be taken to protect people’s lives if a disaster occurs. Examples of details to include in your emergency response plan include:

  • What to do if there’s a fire
  • Steps to take if chemicals spill
  • What to do if something explodes
  • The escape route if there’s a flood

Help Employees Reduce Workplace Stress

It’s important for employers to help workers deal with stress from the tasks associated with a job or from dealing with challenging co-workers. Set up an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, to help employees who are struggling with life’s challenges. EAPs are designed to be used for short term relief and should be part of a long term wellness program, according to CCOHS.

Encourage Balance Between Work and Life

Consider setting up a work-life balance initiative for your employees to help them navigate through the work day while allowing for life away from work. Some examples of work-life balance initiatives include:

  • Fitness facilities or gym memberships
  • Offering childcare on-site
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Training and education for things that improves the quality of life for workers

Implementing measures to ensure workplace health and safety has many advantages. It keeps your company in legal compliance. It bolsters employee morale, and it reduces work time that could otherwise be lost to sick days and on-the-job injuries.

Safety Awareness: Is Your Communication Plan Working?

If employees aren’t aware of your safety program, then the program can’t do its job. Staples’ Annual Safety Survey revealed some key gaps in employee awareness and opportunities to spread vital information. Check out the stats below from the Safety Survey, and be sure to implement a proper communications plan in order to ensure your employees are receiving health and safety notices and updates in a timely manner.


How to Prepare Your Workplace for the Unexpected

Don’t wait for an emergency, plan ahead! According to a Staples Business Advantage™ survey,* nearly half of all workers are unsure if their company has an emergency plan. Fifty percent of workers say they participate in safety drills only once every few years. It’s easy to put out of mind, but disasters are always a threat.

Learn how to prepare your employees, building and assets in the event of an emergency, from natural disasters, human-caused hazards to technology-related dangers.

 5 keys to emergency preparedness success.

  1. Leadership investment

A successful plan requires management leadership and financial support. Planning ahead for an emergency situation can help minimize corporate impacts in labour and services.

  1. Plan

Create a plan that details what everyone should do and where to go in the event of an emergency. Address top-line threats or hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact.

  1. Implement

You should implement the plan so that all building occupants are aware of what they need to do in an emergency situation. Identify resources, provide written plans and develop a system to help manage incidents and train employees.

  1. Test

Conduct testing and exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of your preparedness program. Make sure employees know what to do and note any critical missed areas.

  1. Revise

Revising the plan is the key to success. A program is only as good as the last time it was tested. Periodically reassess the plan for weaknesses and new areas of interest, and revise plans accordingly.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Shop Talk. Order your copy today or visit eway.ca to browse it online.

Staples Business Advantage™ can provide you with the tools and plans you need to help implement an emergency preparedness program for your business. Call your Account Manager today for more information.

*Source: “Staples.com Survey Shows Gaps in Office Health and Safety Preparedness” on Staples News Center (http://staples.newshq.businesswire.com)

How Safe Is Your Facility?

Compare your workplace with these workplace health statistics.

The top 3 issues in the workplace involved employers failing to1:

  1. Keep floors and other work surfaces free of hazards and accumulations of refuse, snow or ice
  2. Maintain equipment, materials and protective devices in good condition
  3. Provide mandatory general awareness health and safety training to workers and supervisors

Take a look at the infographic below for more stats on workplace safety:


1 Ontario Ministry of Labour
2 Staples Advantage Survey
3 Canadian Community Health Survey 2013
4 Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)
5 Conference Board of Canada


Make Saving Lives Happen

February is Heart Month, and we’re bringing heart protection in the workplace to centre stage. According to a recent report by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, heart failure affects 600,000 Canadians, and another 50,000 will be diagnosed this year.

Seconds count. When a cardiac emergency happens, time is of the essence. If someone in your organization goes into cardiac arrest, the best chance to save their life is to use CPR and an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more*.
*Heart and Stroke Foundation

Make sure your workplace is prepared in case of cardiac emergencies. Choose the right Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED Defibrillator for your facility.

Product Spotlight:

HAW9390E1001SP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G3 Plus Defibrillator, Semi-Automatic Stocking Package, English

HAW9390E1020SP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G3 Plus Defibrillator, Semi-Automatic Stocking Package, French




HAWG5S90AP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G5 Plus Defibrillator, Dual Language



Make sure your workplace is properly equipped with the right AED for your facility. Shop eway.ca or call your Staples Advantage sales representative to make sure you’re making an informed decision on the right AED.

For more information and resources on heart health, prevention and care, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation website.

Important: Medical devices advertised may not be licensed in accordance with Canadian law at time of intended purchase. Please call for more details.


Winter is coming. Are you prepared?

Preparing for winter starts early in most Canadian offices, and with winter right around the corner now is the time to make sure your workplace is ready for what Mother Nature has in store this year.

Between cold and flu season and unpredictable winter weather, there are a number of ways your office can be impacted during the winter months. Be prepared by creating a healthy workplace to minimize the impact of cold and flu season, and stock up on the right supplies to keep employees safe from the winter elements while at work.

From the parking lot to the sidewalk, front entrance to cubicle, it’s important to keep all areas of the office clean and clear of any slips, trips or fall hazards due to snow or ice.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure timers for parking lot and exterior lighting are set to extended hours to provide extra light during the darker hours of the winter months
  • Provide additional personal protective equipment for warmth and higher visibility for anyone working outdoors
  • Keep front entrances clear of melted snow
  • Put dry floor mats down at all entrances and make sure floors throughout the building are kept clean of water or snow
  • Keep front sidewalks and pathways clear of snow and ice
  • Ensure parking lots are cleared of snow and ice in a timely manner
  • Keep salt bins or bags of salt at high traffic entrances so employees can keep an eye on any ice buildup throughout the day

Keep the right snow and ice removal tools handy to keep your employees and customers safe while at your place of business.

How can you be even better prepared for winter this year?
Staples Advantage has launched a Salt Guide tool to help companies make the most informed decisions on how much ice melt to purchase for the coming months. The interactive tool calculates the average snow days and snowfall for each region and makes a recommendation on the amount of salt needed.

Visit staplesadvantage.ca/salt to see the Salt Guide and use the interactive tool.

Ways to Create and Promote a Healthy Workplace

Companies today are making strides at prioritizing health in the workplace — everything from conquering sniffles and sneezes to reducing aches and pains. By emphasizing workplace wellness, companies can reduce absenteeism, boost productivity and increase employee retention.

Clean Up Your Act

  • Use floor mats: In addition to presenting an unkempt image, dirty and slippery floors can also pose a health and safety hazard to building occupants. Providing floor mats in entryways is an important first step in combating these problems.
  • Seek sustainable cleaning solutions. To better protect building assets and occupants, it’s important to select sustainable and safer cleaning solutions with low to zero VOCs, and low to no odor.
  • Stop mold before it starts. Routinely clean air vent covers, filters and floor drains, and avoid over-wetting surfaces to prevent mold and mildew growth. Remove any mildew deposits that do occur immediately and thoroughly.

An Apple A Day..
A healthy diet is an important first step toward a strong immune system and against dragging energy levels. Here’s some food for thought to add to your checklist:

  • Restock the break room: Help employees stay alert and healthy with smart snack options that curb the munchies. Offer options such as trail mix, granola bars and bottled water are popular — plus, they’re easy to stock.
  • Scrutinize the vending machines. If possible, help employees avoid temptation lurking in the vending machines by stocking the machines with healthy options – low in saturated fat and sodium

Fight the Flu
The flu and other colds, especially when working in close quarters, can have a domino effect in the workplace — taking down workers and seriously hindering productivity.
Put the following items on your checklist to inhibit germs and keep staff healthy:

  • Wipe-down common-touch surfaces: Think of how many people have touched those door handles, stair railings, elevator buttons, copiers, and conference room phones, water coolers, vending machines and ATMs. By providing sanitizing wipes and encouraging employees to wipe down their workstations, you can foster a cleaner, healthier office environment.
  • Provide employee education: Consider formal education campaigns, including newsletters and informative posters, that encourage employees to “cover your cough” and “sneeze in your sleeve” (not hands) when a tissue is unavailable. Again, highlight the importance of hand-washing.

Take Advantage of Technology
Sixty-five percent of employees say they go into the office when sick, preventing them from performing at full potential, exposing their colleagues to a host of germs and even threatening the office with a bout of infections.

  • Make it easy to work from home: Providing the proper technology tools and infrastructure will help maximize employee productivity and out-of-office success. Make sure employees are well-versed in security protocol as well, especially if they’re accessing sensitive data and transferring important files in and out of the office.

It’s a Team Effort
Taking action to provide and promote a healthy workplace can help organizations demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, while decreasing absenteeism, increasing productivity, inspiring healthy living and defraying costs. Now that’s a healthy return

For more Health and Wellness tips for the cold & flu season visit staplesadvantage.ca/fluseason