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In the News
Many of us look forward to summer as a time to be outside enjoying the warmer weather, sunshine, water sports, vacations and most of all - having fun. Whether you work or play outside, it is also a time to take precautions to protect yourself from sun exposure, poor air quality and other hazards of the season. Follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of injury and keep you and your family safe in whatever you do this summer.
Pool and Water Safety
Drowning is a serious threat. In Canada men aged 18-49 years have the highest drowning rate. Most drownings occur when they are swimming or boating. Over 80% of the men who drowned while boating were not wearing lifejackets and 40% had consumed alcohol.
Men are not the only ones at risk. An estimated 58 children under the age of 14 drown each year in Canada and another 140 are hospitalized for near-drowning. According to Safe Kids Canada, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death to Canadian children aged 1-4. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe from drowning:
Silica is the second most common mineral in the earth's crust and a major component of sand, rock and mineral ores. Silica exists in both crystalline and non-crystalline (amorphous) form. It is the crystalline form of silica that is the main concern when considering potential health effects. The most common type of crystalline silica is quartz. Breathing in crystalline silica dust over a prolonged period of time can cause silicosis - a disease in which fine particles deposited in the lungs scar the lung tissue. Exposure has also been linked to lung cancer.
Silicosis is one of the oldest occupational diseases and still kills thousands of people every year, everywhere in the world. Initially, workers with silicosis may have no symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the affected worker may experience shortness of breath, a severe cough and weakness. These symptoms can worsen over time and eventually cause death. WorkSafeBC released a bulletin warning of the risks involved in breathing crystalline silica dust.
Crystalline silica is found in common materials such as concrete, cement, and mortar, masonry, tiles, brick, granite, sand, fill dirt, top soil, asphalt-containing rock or stone and abrasive used for blasting. Silica dust is released when rocks, sand, concrete and some ores are crushed or broken.
Work in mines, quarries, foundries, and construction sites, in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, and abrasive powders, and in masonry workshops can be particularly risky. Sandblasting as well as any abrasive blasting - even if the abrasive does not contain silica - may pose a silicosis hazard when it is used to remove materials that contain crystalline silica, such as remains of sand moulds from metal castings. Activities such as dry sweeping, clearing sand or concrete or cleaning masonry with pressurized air can create large dust clouds that can be equally as hazardous, even in the open air. The WorkSafeBC Bulletin includes a list of work activities that put you at risk for crystalline silica dust exposure.
Steps employers can take to protect workers
A silent crisis. That's how the Canadian Health Association describes men's mental health - a shadowy crisis that is slowly coming to light. Nearly three million Canadians will experience depression, however in men it is less likely to be diagnosed.
Studies show that men often don't make the connection between their mental health and physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems and chronic pain. They also may face specific social barriers - e.g. that emotions are a sign of inadequacy - that may prevent them from recognizing and seeking help for their mental health concerns.
In Canada men die by suicide about 4 times as often as women, but only receive a diagnosis of depression about half as often.
Often men do not recognize their mental health concerns until they have a great personal and economic cost. Men are more likely to seek help if they have a connection with supportive peers and access to health information. So, while workplaces bear significant costs of men's mental health issues (e.g. increased absenteeism, staff turnover, lower productivity), they are in a unique position to promote employees' mental health.
Klinic's Man to Man Project in Winnipeg, Manitoba is one initiative in place to help reach men through their employers. The Project works to address the issue of unrecognized and undiagnosed depression in men, and how it affects communities and workplaces. The Project provides free services to Winnipeg men and their workplaces by giving a presentation highlighting the signs and costs of mental distress, and strategies to attain mental wellness. Organizations are pointed to information and resources they can use to promote the overall wellness of their employees. The Project provides promotional materials for display in the workplace that invite men to access free, ongoing confidential support for their mental health concerns, at no additional expense to the organization.
By shedding light on men's mental health, men who are suffering from illness can emerge from the shroud of silence and be treated.
Learn more about the Man to Man Project.
Information about depression from the Canadian Mental Health Association
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) invites you to explore current issues, discuss possible solutions, and inspire workplace change. On March 8 and 9, 2010 in the National Capital Region, CCOHS will host Forum III: Leading Workplace Change, a two-day national event to explore the role leadership and responsibility play in improving health and building safer workplaces.
Forum III: Leading Workplace Change is a unique event in that perspectives from Canadian government, employer and labour organizations will all be represented, in an effort to bring together their collective experience around effective leadership.
Researchers, policy-makers, organizational strategists, generational specialists, and other experts will share their knowledge of leadership issues impacting the health and safety of today's workplaces, including violence prevention, participatory ergonomics, training and knowledge transfer, and the internal responsibility system.
In addition to a number of informative plenary sessions, Forum III features an opening keynote presentation by best selling author and international improvement leader Jim Clemmer. Jim's presentation, Leading at the Speed of Change will address the importance of strong leadership, which when flowing effectively throughout an organization, can lead to dramatically higher health, safety and overall performance.
Participants will also take part in interactive workshops where they will be involved in identifying new strategies and solutions to promote leadership and affect workplace change.
CCOHS has hosted two national forums. The first took place in Toronto, ON, and brought together nearly 350 Canadians, who shared concerns and debated on the issue of occupational disease. The second, held in Vancouver, BC, focused on emerging health and safety issues in changing workplaces. From both events, CCOHS consolidated recommendations and invited all Canadians to weigh in via a Web survey.
Early bird registration for Forum III opens July 10th. Further information on the program, as well as details on early bird, group and student rates, is available at www.ccohs.ca/events/forumIII/.
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The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
© 2017, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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