Health and Safety ReportVolume 12, Issue 4

On Topic

How to Make Safety a Habit in Your Workplaceprint this article

North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 4-10, is a time in which attention turns to the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community. With the theme of Make Safety a Habit, organizations all over North America are planning their activities.

If you are looking for ideas on how to celebrate health and safety at your workplace, CCOHS has a few suggestions: participate in a Steps for Life Walk in your community; watch the new free webinar Healthy Workplaces: A Team Effort; listen to podcasts for safe work tips; download and display posters to promote health and safety messages; and vote for the fan favourite in the It's Your Job Video Contest.


Healthy Workplaces: A Team Effort - free webinar

Thinking about starting a healthy workplace team at your workplace? This webinar is for you. Join Laurie Tirone as she recounts the development of the Healthy Workplace Team here at CCOHS. What began as simply posting information to a bulletin board has blossomed into a year-round team effort that follows the four avenues of influence for a healthy workplace: physical work environment, personal health resources in the workplace, the psychosocial work environment, and community involvement. Learn how this initiative gained momentum - management support is key - and get some practical tips and ideas to help jump-start your own healthy workplace plans.

Presenter: Laurie Tirone, Senior Account Manager and leader of the Healthy Workplace Team, CCOHS

Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT

Length: 30 minutes

Register for the webinar.


Roadside Safety

Mark Ordeman, Manager of Transportation at WorksafeBC discusses the safety hazards faced each day by those who work on or near roads including emergency responders, construction workers, utility workers and tow truck drivers.

The podcast runs 5:13 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.

Tips for a Job Safety Analysis

CCOHS covers the basic steps to conducting a job safety analysis.

Length: 3:49 minutes Listen to the podcast on demand.

It's Your Job Video Contest - Vote for the fan favourite

A selection of the top videos from each province and territory will be posted on a YouTube video contest channel from Sunday May 4 to Monday May 12, 2014, where Canadian viewers can vote for their favourite video. The video that receives the most votes will receive an additional $1,000 prize.

Vote for your favourite video when voting opens May 4th.

About NAOSH Week

NAOSH Week strives to focus the attention of employers, employees, the general public, and all workplace safety and health partners on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community.

NAOSH Week is led by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), and Labour Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). NAOSH Week continues to be a truly continent-wide event, celebrated in Canada, along with North American partners in the United States and Mexico.

For more ideas and information about NAOSH Week, visit the website.

Choose from a list of recorded webinars for your own event.

Find a complete list of all CCOHS podcasts.

Download posters to promote important messages.

Find a Steps for Life Walk, in support of families of workplace tragedies, in your community.

Tips and Tools

Sleep Apneaprint this article

Most would agree that a good night's sleep makes us feel more alert, energetic, and better able to function. But what happens without it? Just ask anyone who suffers from sleep apnea, a disorder that intermittently stops your breathing during the night and prevents a good sleep.

This potentially life-threatening condition often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed. Sleepiness, the most common symptom of sleep apnea, affects your ability to function effectively at home, at work and in the community. It also poses several risks to your health and safety, and that of others.

Risk factors for sleep apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a breathing-related sleep disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. Soft tissue in the back of the throat briefly collapses, closing off the airway. This blockage may be caused by relaxed throat muscles, a narrow airway, a large tongue or extra fatty tissue in the throat. These pauses in breathing can last from 10 to 30 seconds and occur up to 400 times per night. With each pause in breathing, the brain automatically prompts the sleeper to resume breathing. These sleep disruptions result in a disjointed, poor quality sleep.

Obesity is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, therefore effective weight management is one of the best ways to prevent the disorder. Sleep apnea has also been associated with certain jobs that involve interruptions in sleep patterns. Research studies also suggest that commercial motor vehicle operators have a higher prevalence of OSA than the general population.

Other risk factors include a family history of sleep apnea, smoking and alcohol use, and being 40 or older. Having a small upper airway, recessed chin, small jaw, large overbite or large neck may also be linked to sleep apnea.

Health and safety risks

Untreated sleep apnea, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can significantly compromise safety and health. Sufferers of sleep apnea may experience health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, ischemic (lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle) heart disease, irregular heart rhythms and mood disorders.
They are also at increased risk of a fatigue-related motor vehicle crash or other accident. Men and women with moderate or severe OSA are much more likely to have traffic collisions or work-related accidents because of daytime sleepiness. Anyone who works with dangerous equipment or materials needs to be alert to be safe. In fact, if you have sleep apnea and are not being treated for it, you probably should not be driving a motor vehicle.


It is difficult to recognize sleep apnea in yourself. If you live with someone, the other person(s) in your home can help recognize the signs of sleep apnea - if they hear you snoring loudly with pauses in breathing, gasping or choking while you sleep. Pay attention to other signs as well, including morning headaches and nausea, loss of sex drive, impotence, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleepiness while driving, irritability and/or feelings of depression, restless sleep, high blood pressure, concentration and memory problems, frequent night-time trips to the bathroom, and night-time chest pain.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, your doctor may send you to spend a night at a sleep centre for testing.
If you think you have sleep apnea, don't lose any more sleep over it - see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, until you get help, limit activities such as operating dangerous equipment and driving.

Take the sleepiness test from the Canadian Lung Association.

More about sleep apnea from the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Implementation of GHS in Canada - free webinar from Health Canadaprint this article

Changes are coming to Canada's national chemical classification and hazard communication standard for workplace chemicals. WHMIS is set to evolve to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (or GHS) for workplace chemicals.

To help you learn more about the GHS and how it will impact WHMIS, Health Canada, in collaboration with CCOHS, has released a free recorded webinar. This presentation will give you a better understanding of Health Canada's proposed approach to implementing the GHS in Canada and will outline proposed new hazard classification and communication obligations in WHMIS, which will take effect when the GHS is implemented in Canada.

This webinar is targeted towards Canadian audiences: WHMIS suppliers (or their representatives) who sell or import hazardous products for use in Canadian workplaces; as well as employers who manufacture hazardous products for use in their own workplaces.

You can learn more about, and register for Canada's Implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Workplace Chemicals on the CCOHS website.

Workplace Health & Safety Matters

Premier's Roundtable Meeting on Mental Health in the Workplace print this article

Workplace Health and Safety Matters is the blog of Steve Horvath, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. In a recent blog post, Steve shared his insights about participating in the Premier of Ontario's roundtable meeting on mental health.

It was my privilege to have CCOHS invited to a roundtable discussion, chaired by Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, along with the ministers of health from the provinces and territories, to share experiences and perspectives on the issue of mental health in the workplace. Also present were senior executives from key stakeholder organizations representing employers, labour and NGOs. The willingness of the ministers to lead by example with these cooperative efforts, and to take a leadership role in this critical workplace issue, provides a framework for the success of a national initiative on mental health.

At the roundtable, I shared CCOHS' first-hand experience as an employer implementing the Standard (the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace) in our own workplace. I also highlighted both the challenges and opportunities for workplaces across Canada, particularly small- to medium-sized organizations, based on our role as a solutions provider and promoter of the Standard. Presentations were also made by Mike Schwartz from Great-West Life, who presented some compelling data on the scope of mental health issues in Canadian workplaces, and George Cope of Bell Canada, who shared the successes of Bell's "Let's Talk" anti-stigma campaign.

The ministers were engaged throughout and receptive to the thoughts and recommendations from the various parties. Being able to bring together the different jurisdictions to look at opportunities to collaborate nationally and to leverage all the initiatives promoting workplace mental health makes this process transformational. I am confident that through these types of efforts we will build consensus across all jurisdictions, and that a national solution will be found.

Read Steve's blog, Workplace Health and Safety Matters.

Tell us what you think.
We welcome your feedback and story ideas.

Connect with us.

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.

You can unsubscribe at any time. If you have been sent this newsletter by a friend, why not subscribe yourself?

Concerned about privacy? We don’t sell or share your personal information. See our Privacy Policy.

CCOHS 135 Hunter St. E., Hamilton, ON L8N 1M5

© 2023, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety