Month: June 2012

Hazards of Heat

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Recovering from a lunchtime walk outside, it occurred to me that many of us are not adjusting our daily routines in consideration of some of the extremely hot, humid weather this summer.  Heat stress can have a severe impact on people’s health, particularly when we consider factors of underlying medical issues, obesity, age and level of physical fitness.

We are determined to maintain our work routines and daily schedules without stopping to consider the impact extremes in the physical environment are having on our bodies.  In the hot summer climate we should all consciously be thinking about staying hydrated and taking periodic breaks from the heat throughout the day – waiting until you are thirsty or until your next scheduled break is usually too late.  This heat requires the body to increase its physiological activity to maintain your normal body temperature.  Consequently, we should be maintaining a constant hydration level so the body does not have to compensate for large swings in fluid levels (consider two marathon runners; one who takes in  water at regular intervals throughout the race, and another who drinks an equivalent total only at the end of the race).

Periodic rest and intake of fluids are a necessity to avoid heat stress, particularly for those working outdoors.  It is imperative that we all familiarize ourselves with the early signs of heat stress so we can support our fellow employees and avoid potentially hazardous situations.

I encourage you to review the CCOHS resources below about the health effects of excessive heat.


Setting Standards

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Greetings from Quebec City.

As well as attending sessions on establishing national standards at CSA‘s annual conference and committee week, I had the pleasant opportunity to sit down over dinner on Sunday night with the two co-chairs of the technical committee on Mental Health in the Workplace, the committee establishing the national mental health standards that we have all been discussing.

Mary Anne Baynton and Roger Bertrand were engaging and had a lot of insights into the process and goals of the new psychological health standards.  We shared a common vision, and there was commitment to address all the issues on this complex topic.  CCOHS can certainly have an active role in promoting the standards as well as the “Guarding Minds at Work” online assessment tool to help organizations implement a healthy workplace program.

I also had an opportunity on Monday to sit down with Bonnie Rose, President of CSA, to discuss mutual interests and areas for collaboration between CCOHS and CSA.  Our goals are complementary and we can develop synergies between us by working together.

Recognizing a Global Leader

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Apex Awards Ceremony

Dr. Abeytunga, 8th from the right, at the APEX Awards Ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, on May 28.

On Monday night, I was pleased to represent CCOHS at the awards gala hosted by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX).  The APEX award is the highest honour bestowed upon an executive of the federal public service in recognition of outstanding contribution to Canada.  It was with great pride that I watched APEX recognize our own Dr. Abeytunga with an APEX award for career contribution.  It was particularly heartening because it was not about a single success, but instead acknowledged his 32 years of contribution both nationally and internationally to the advancement of health and safety and to the growth of CCOHS as a global centre of excellence for the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses. Congratulations, Abey! I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.