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.

SafetyFirst

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:

Facility-capture

Sources:
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:

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

 

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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

Is Your Workplace Safe?

Safety in the workplace affects everyone. From being armed with the right equipment to do a job safely, to parking lot hazards and evacuation procedures, all employees have the right to feel safe and should be fully aware of your company’s safety controls and measures.

But that’s not quite the case. According to a recent Staples Advantage survey, almost 30% of employees weren’t aware if they had a safety expert onsite, while another 20% said their offices don’t communicate safety plans effectively.

Working indoors or sitting at a desk may feel like a safe working environment, but there are many other safety measures to take into consideration. Air quality, trip hazards, safety protocols, and security measures, to name a few, must all be taken seriously and audited on an ongoing basis.

Use the Room to Room Checklist below to take a quick audit of the basic essentials so that you can ensure you’re better prepared to avoid any major health, safety or security risks.

Click on image for full printable version.

Room to Room Checklist

Is your office lacking any essential safety equipment? Shop health, safety and personal protection equipment on eway today.

Five Ways to Help Your Employees Beat the Summer Heat

Summer is here, and while we all love the sunshine, the season can also bring extreme weather conditions like humidity and heat which can have a negative effect on employees. Whether working outdoors in the sun, or indoors in warmer environments, employees can be impacted by the hot temperatures.

Don’t let the rising temperatures catch you off guard – be well prepared with a plan to equip your employees with the right products to stay hydrated and cool during the work day. Here are some key things to consider in order to be prepared for the heat:

  • Provide cool beverages. One of the primary risks for employees during the summer is the risk of dehydration. There are drinks designed for those working in hot weather that include levels of electrolytes, sodium and potassium appropriate for the adult worker and their environment – such as those from Sqwincher, sports drinks, and of course water.
  • Offer wearable cooling products. Ensure you provide employees with products that help cool them down while they’re doing their job. These include items like cooling bandanas, hard hat shades, fans, water mist sprays and cooling vests.
  • Outdoor worker supplies. Outdoor workers are at a higher risk of feeling the effects of the summer heat. Arm them with the right supplies to stay safe. Providing them with tinted or dark safety glasses will allow them to see well in the sun while keeping their eyes safe.  Sunscreen and insect repellent will help protect them against any unwanted bites and damaging effects of the sun. Also, make sure they are equipped with light weight high visibility and fire resistant wear.
  • Provide cooling snacks. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember to drink water, and snacks can provide more of an incentive. There are companies that make electrolyte-infused popsicles that not only cool workers instantly, but replenish the body with the necessary nutrients. Electrolyte-filled gummy snacks are available, as well.
  • Educate employees. Make sure employees understand the necessity of protecting themselves in the heat and what products are readily accessible for them. Consider placing erasable posters around the workplace that provide the heat index each day and how much liquid workers will should be consuming  to keep themselves in a safe zone.

Plan to keep your employees safe this summer and stock up on the necessary items to keep them cool, protected and hydrated. Visit eway.ca to browse the full selection of options and products available.

Are Poor Employee Ergonomics Costing Your Business?

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The number of hours we spend sitting at a computer has increased dramatically compared to the workplace years ago, and as a result the risk of computer related health problems has been on the rise.

In a survey done by Staples Advantage, 84% of US office workers reported that they sit at a desk for four or more hours a day, which puts many at risk of developing strains and injuries affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, leading to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

And according to the Ministry of Labour, nearly 50% of all lost employee time is due to musculoskeletal disorders (source). To help avoid long-term injury, the Ministry recommends five minute breaks every hour for those doing repetitive tasks at a computer. Hourly stretching and simple desk exercises should also be added to your workday if you sit for prolonged periods of time. Some great stretches and resources can be found on our Pinterest board: Ergonmic Tips

In addition, the proper workspace furniture and accessories can help alleviate unnecessary strain on your shoulders, wrists, legs, and eyes.

For a full assortment of ergonomic products for your office visit eway.ca.