Health and Safety ReportSeptember 2010 - Volume 8, Issue 9

On Topic

Add Healthy to the Menu at Work print this article

With many of their waking hours spent on the job, working Canadians are likely to eat at least one meal at work as well as snacks. Nutritious food gives you more energy and can help you be more productive; however healthy eating while on the job can be a challenge.

Eating a well-balanced diet and active living can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety and keep you energized throughout your busy day.

The workplace environment has a major impact on the health of its employees and is the ideal place in which to promote healthy eating habits and active living. A safe and clean eating area is a requirement under most occupational health and safety laws, however going beyond that to provide healthy food choices at meetings, in vending machines, and in the cafeteria can help employees make wise food choices and influence their long-term health and wellness. Also, having refrigerators and microwaves available enables employees to bring healthy meals or snacks from home and store and prepare them properly.

Tips for eating well with Canada's Food Guide

  • Eat the recommended types and amounts of food each day including one dark green (e.g. broccoli or romaine lettuce) and one orange vegetable (e.g. carrots or sweet potatoes), low fat milk, and a small amount of unsaturated fat (e.g. in products that contain canola or corn).

  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.

  • Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, and tofu often.

  • Eat at least two Food Guide servings of fish each week.

  • Drink water to quench your thirst.

  • Pay attention to portion size.

  • Read labels and select foods low in fat and high in fibre (e.g. more than 2g fibre and less than 3g of fat per serving).

  • Keep a supply of healthy snacks (e.g. nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, yogurt) at your desk to reduce trips to the vending machines or cafeteria.

Vending machine makeover

Ask your vending machine companies to stock healthier choices; replace chocolate bars and chips with granola bars, fruit bars, nuts, popcorn, pretzels or crispy rice squares. Consider having a refrigerated food unit to offer yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, and whole grain sandwiches. Replace soft drinks with water or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Price the healthier choices the same or lower than those that are not as nutritious.

Swap options for meeting refreshments

If you order food for meetings consider choosing the following healthy food options to help keep attendees alert and energized. Be sure that your menu includes adequate choices for those with food allergies or intolerances, or dietary restrictions.

To drink: Have water available and serve 100% fruit and vegetable juices in small containers. Offer lower fat white or chocolate milk and milk and sugar substitutes, not just cream and sugar. Make decaffeinated coffee and tea available.

Snack attack: Serve fresh fruit or vegetables with lower fat dips. Try lower fat, higher fibre mini-muffins. Offer lower fat cheese or hummus with whole grain crackers or baked tortilla chips with salsa. Look for baked goods or granola bars made without trans fats.

Sandwich fillings: Ask for sandwiches to be made on whole grain breads with a variety of lower fat sandwich fillings, such as lean meats, low fat cheeses, or tuna or salmon salad made with low fat mayonnaise. Offer a vegetarian sandwich with fillings such as grilled vegetables or hummus. Serve mayonnaise on the side and leave out the butter or margarine.

Desserts out of the box: Serve local and seasonal fruits, such as apples, pears or peaches. Choose lower calorie desserts such as fresh fruit, angel food cake, or lower fat yogurt. For higher fat desserts, request small portion sizes (i.e. two bites) or cut squares in half. Look for baked goods made without trans fats.

Hot meals: Choose lean meats, fish, and poultry that have been grilled, broiled or roasted. Serve cooked vegetables prepared with little or no fat. Offer pasta with a tomato-based sauce rather than cream sauce, while limiting serving sizes to 3oz of meat or one cup of pasta. Offer vegetarian options.

Morning kick start: Offer higher fibre, whole grain breads, bagels, muffins, or cereals and control portion sizes by slicing bagels in half or serving mini-muffins. Include fresh fruit and yogurt. Serve poached or hard boiled eggs and leaner meats such as ham or peameal bacon.

Healthy eating program

While it's most important for an employer to provide a safe and healthy workplace, it's also important to encourage healthy lifestyles among their employees. Healthy eating programs can be a great first step to teach people how to improve their health both at work and at home.

Your workplace healthy eating program can:

  • Offer materials such as the Canada's Food Guide, sample meal plans and shopping lists for employees to take home to help them make healthier choices when planning meals.

  • Teach people how to read and understand food labels.

  • Provide healthy cooking demonstrations or tips.

  • Invite a speaker to a 'lunch-n-learn' session.

  • Have "theme" weeks or months.

  • Arrange an in-house weight management program.

Survey your employees to help you decide what types of programs to offer.

Check here for more topic and program ideas for your healthy eating program.

More information about healthy eating

Healthy Eating at Work, CCOHS

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide, Health Canada

Workplace Health and Wellness Guide, CCOHS

Healthy Food Guidelines for the Workplace PDF, Halton Region Health Department

Eat Well, Live Well, Dietitians of Canada

Tips & Tools

Nailing the Basics of Power Tool Safetyprint this article

Using Pneumatic Nail and Stapling Tools Safely

Just days ago there were news reports of an Australian woman accidentally shooting herself in the head with a nail gun. Thankfully she survived the injury, however the incident is a solemn reminder of the hazards of using powerful nailing and stapling tools on the job or at home.

Pneumatic nail and stapling tools are powered by compressed air. They were first used in industry, however they are increasingly being used in home environments and by hobby builders. The biggest advantage to using them is they enable you to rapidly fire nails and staples into wood repeatedly.

Pneumatic nail guns and stapling tools are extremely efficient and take hours off a project completion timeline, but they can also be extremely dangerous if the user does not know how to properly use them. You should know the basic safety guidelines before starting the task at hand.

General safety tips

There are several general safety principles that you should always follow when using a pneumatic nailing or stapling tool. First and foremost, only experienced and trained people should operate the tools. If you are unqualified and given a task that requires the use of either of these tools, inform your supervisor immediately in order to receive the proper training.

When using a pneumatic nailing or stapling tool be sure to always wear proper safety equipment, such as safety glasses, goggles or a face shield. And because many tools can be extremely loud, use hearing protection where necessary. Avoid creating trip hazards by leaving hoses laid across walkways or curled underfoot.

You should handle the tool at all times as if it is loaded with fasteners (nails, staples, etc.).

Inspect before you connect

Before using any air pressure tool, you should inspect it before connecting it to the air supply:

  • Check the tool safety mechanisms.

  • Tighten all screws and cylinder caps securely.

  • Check for correct air supply and pressure.

  • Check that the tool is correctly and securely connected to the air supply hose, in good working order and has a fully operating safety mechanism before using.

  • Equip tools with a work-contacting element that limits the contact area to one that is as small as practical.

  • Make sure the mechanical linkage between the work-contracting element and trigger is enclosed.

When not in use and during cleaning or adjustment, disconnect the tool from the air supply. If a blockage occurs, be sure to push the trigger to exhaust all air from the tool before clearing the blockage.

Remember to only use fasteners recommended by the manufacturer and permit only properly trained people to carry out tool maintenance.

What to avoid

  • Do not point the tool toward yourself or anyone else - whether it contains fasteners or not.

  • Do not operate at a pressure above the manufacturer's rating.

  • Do not push the trigger unless the nose piece of the tool is directed onto a safe work surface.

  • Do not load a tool with nails or staples while the trigger is depressed.

  • Do not overreach - always keep proper footing and balance when using the tool.

  • Do not use compressed air to blow debris or to clean dirt from your clothes or work surface.

  • Do not carry a pneumatic tool by its hose.

Before using a mechanical tool, make sure you are properly trained on its use and informed about any potential hazards. It is best to err on the side of caution, so if you feel you are not qualified to use that tool, inform your supervisor. Without proper safety precautions, using powerful tools can have serious consequences and cause you or someone else harm.

Learn more about Pneumatic Nailing and Stapling Tools or Basic Safety for Pneumatic Tools from OSH Answers.

Partner News

Work a Pain for Arthritis Sufferersprint this article

More than four million Canadians suffer the joint pain, stiffness and fatigue of arthritis. And The Arthritis Society expects this number to double by 2030 with the aging baby boomer population.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, some caused by joint inflammation and others caused by degeneration. These diseases can affect not only the joints but also muscles, tendons, and ligaments as well as the skin and certain internal organs.

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in Canada. Approximately 60 per cent of those afflicted are of working age, which means that they must balance the challenges of living with a chronic disease with the demands of the workplace.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, when you are diagnosed early and start the right
treatment, you can take control of the disease and help reduce damage to your joints. Most people with arthritis can lead active and productive lives with the help of the right medication, exercise, rest and joint-protection techniques.

The pain of arthritis can make it difficult for many workers to perform routine tasks, however it's possible to make adjustments in your routine and workplace, and develop strategies that allow for a more comfortable and productive workday. There are a number of steps that you and your employer can take to help manage the symptoms of your arthritis at work. The Arthritis Society has just published a new booklet, Arthritis in the Workplace, that offers tips, exercises and solutions to assist you in the workplace. It is available online in both English and French.

More information

Download the booklet Arthritis in the Workplace (PDF), The Arthritis Society.

Find out more about arthritis from The Arthritis Society.


Webinars for a Healthy Workplaceprint this article

Hey Canada, it's time to make your move! During Canada's Healthy Workplace Month® from October 4 to 31, you're encouraged to incorporate upbeat elements into your workplace, relationships with family and friends, life and work harmony, and your community.

CCOHS is presenting two free webinars in celebration of Healthy Workplace Month. Attend individually or as a group in your meeting or board room. All you need is a computer with Internet access. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.

Implementing Healthy Eating Programs in the Workplace

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT

Join Heather Harvey of the Ontario Public Health Association as she discusses healthy eating in the workplace and how to successfully implement healthy eating programs. It will draw on experiences learned through the Eat Smart!® Workplace Program, a healthy eating award program for Ontario workplaces. Even if your workplace is outside of Ontario, you will find value in the lessons learned and strategies discussed for starting and maintaining interest in your own healthy eating program.

Make the Move: Staying Physically Active at Work

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT

Get inspired to get moving, with advice from Angela Torry from the Alberta Centre for Active Living and Lindsay Wright from Be Fit For Life. They'll outline steps and activities that your workplace can lead, promote and support to help your employees become more physically active during work hours and work breaks. Be ready to think outside the box when it comes to getting your workers moving! You'll come away motivated and armed with fresh ideas to try out at your workplace. And if you're a worker, you'll take away many practical tips, ideas and demonstrations on how you can get and stay active at work - even if you are sitting at a desk all day.

For even more ideas on activities that you can do on your own or in groups, visit the Healthy Workplace Month website. While you're there, why not consider taking the challenge? Register your organization and keep track of the activities completed by you and your colleagues. Your team could win!

Register for the webinars:

Implementing Healthy Eating Programs in the Workplace

Make the Move: Staying Physically Active at Work

Listen to the podcast Getting the Jump on Healthy Workplace Month.

Learn more about the Eat Smart!® Workplace Program.

Learn about Be Fit for Life.

Visit Alberta Centre for Active Living.

Last Word

Look and Listenprint this article

Every month new free podcast episodes are added to the Health and Safety to Go program. The most recent episodes provide tips on how to stay safe by not using a cell phone while driving, the implications for Canadian workplaces once GHS becomes adopted and how to use heavy farm equipment safely. Listen right away or download to your MP3 player and listen when it is most convenient for you.

Safe Driving Tips - The Cell Phone Edition Listen now.

Driving tips for using cell phones.

Length: 3:39 minutes

WHMIS After GHS Listen now.

Lorraine Davison, Manager of Chemical Services at CCOHS, discusses GHS and its implications for Canadian workplaces once it becomes adopted.

Length: 6:15 minutes

Farm Equipment Safety Listen now.

Tips for staying safe on the farm when using heavy-duty equipment.

Length: 4:42 minutes

Plus, look for the new Healthy Living at Work poster coming in early October. Encourage your workers to increase their activity and boost their health by displaying this poster at your workplace. The poster outlines five tips to help you stay fit: break the habit, step it up, make it good, get moving, and walk it off.

You can see a complete listing of all podcasts and posters on the CCOHS website.

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