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In the News
She was one of the top customer service reps in the company. To her coworkers, Suzanne seemed to have it all - a doting husband, children, a lovely home and a successful career. Every night at the end of her shift, her husband was waiting outside in their car for her, and she was out the door promptly at five. One day her manager approached her just before quitting time and asked to speak with her in his office. She became flustered and asked if it couldn't wait until the next day. He shrugged her off. "It'll only take a few minutes. I won't keep you long."
He was true to his word but when Suzanne opened the door to leave her manager's office, her fuming husband was standing there. He ordered her to go to the car. What Suzanne's colleagues didn't know was that she spent the following two days being insulted, assaulted and locked in her own bedroom, all at the hands of her "devoted" husband.
Suzanne is one of millions who are victims of domestic violence.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence (also called battering or intimate partner violence) is a pattern of abusive behaviour used by a person to gain power and control over his or her partner in an intimate relationship. The abusive behaviour can include intimidation, verbal abuse, emotional attacks, threats or use of violence, sexual assault, and homicide. The batterer may also use other means to control his or her victim, such as controlling finances, interfering in the victim's work, isolation, limited or no communication, blaming, apologies, promises to change and gifts.
Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, however the majority are women. The SafeWork website reports that in the United States, 1 in 3 women will report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Domestic violence tends to become more severe over time with the highest number of assaults and homicides occurring after victims leave their abusive partners.
So why is domestic violence a workplace issue? When a victim leaves the abusive relationship, the abuser knows that the one place the victim can be found is at work.
Ten signs of domestic violence
If you suspect that one of your employees or colleagues may be in an abusive relationship, look for a pattern of these signs:
Last year, some childhood lead poisonings in Maine came from an unusual source. Parents got lead dust on their clothes at work and then carried it into their cars, inadvertently exposing their children.
Workers can be exposed to lead in the workplace by inhaling fumes and dusts, or by accidentally ingesting it from lead-contaminated hands, food, drinks, cosmetics, tobacco products, and clothing. As in the case of the family in Maine, workers can take lead home on their clothes, skin, hair, tools, and in their vehicles, potentially exposing their families to harmful health effects. In an updated health and safety bulletin, Work Safe Alberta offers guidance on lead in the workplace and how to protect workers and their families from lead exposure.
Until the 1980s, the main sources of lead exposure for Canadians were lead paint and emissions from cars using leaded gasoline (which stopped in Canada in 1990, except for some specific types of vehicles).
Today lead is used in many of the following products:
Canada's Healthy Workplace Month - October 5 to November 1
Healthy mind, healthy body, healthy work - feeling great about life. That's the theme of this year's Canada's Healthy Workplace Month (CHWM) - four weeks set aside to celebrate and promote healthy workplaces.
From October 5 to November 1, we are all encouraged to take action and participate in activities to improve the health of our minds, bodies, and workplaces.
To get started, visit the Healthy Workplace Month website for a list of suggested activities that you can do on your own or in groups, and even come up with some ideas of your own. Each week, organizations will be challenged to participate in activities based on the weekly themes:
Learn the basics of fire safety
CCOHS' new ecourse Fire Safety: The Basics covers the causes of workplace fires, prevention practices and guidelines for evacuation, and the correct use of fire extinguishers for different classes of fires. You will also find tips on first-aid procedures for common fire-related injuries. The course is recommended for supervisors, facilities staff and workplace fire safety team members as well as anyone who needs to know the basics of fire safety in the workplace.
Learn more about the course and how to register.
Listen up: Chemical exposure and hearing loss in the workplace
Exposure to noise in the workplace can permanently damage our hearing. But for some occupations and industries, other factors such as variations in exposure, age, gender, race, and general health, can negatively affect a worker's hearing. Studies have been conducted to try to understand why the occurrence and degree of noise-induced hearing loss can vary so much within and among various groups.
CCOHS is presenting a webinar with Dr. Thais Morata of NIOSH about the effects of chemical agents, the interaction between these agents and noise, and strategies for preventing work-related hearing loss.
Listen up: Chemical Exposure & Hearing Loss in the Workplace is a live event.
Date: October 28, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM EDT
This webinar is recommended for managers, occupational health doctors and nurses, industrial hygienists, audiologists and health and safety professionals.
Health and safety podcasts
Health and Safety to Go!, CCOHS' new podcast series offers "bite" sized episodes on a variety of workplace health, safety and wellness issues. They run from 3 to 10 minutes long, and best of all, they're free.
This month's podcast, Prevent the Spread, shares nine simple tips to help prevent the spread of infections - especially during the cold and flu season.
Download the free CCOHS health and safety podcasts to your computer or your MP3 player and listen at your own convenience.
See the complete listing of CCOHS podcasts.
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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.
© 2021, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety