Preparing Yourself for Any Disaster

With the recent California wildfire and the abundance of forest fires that have been frequently occurring, there is no better time than now to prepare yourselves for an emergency evacuation. By creating yourself an emergency grab-and-go bag, you are setting yourself up for any disaster that may arise. The following list is some essentials for a Do-it-Yourself emergency kit:

 

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Legislation vs. regulation: What’s the difference?

For most people, these two terms are used interchangeably: how similar are they really?

Legislation and Regulation

There has been a lot of time and energy spent on updating the legislation around Lone Workers of the world, particularly over the past 15 years. Australia, Canada, and the UK all have revised and updated language about lone workers at the legislative level. 

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What can you do with a SafetyLine license?

Why transferrable licenses are essential for businesses that employ contractors, and how to best use them.

Businessman hand touching screen with pictures of workers

SafetyLine is designed to support flexible workforces, from as few as a handful to hundreds or even thousands of users. For any organization using SafetyLine, they purchase a number of licenses. Typically, one per Lone Worker, but some prefer to buy extra, planning for expansion or for unexpected contingencies.

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Strong Provincial Legislation in Canada

Second in a series on the current state of Canadian Lone Worker Legislation

Lone Worker Laws are strong in Canada

In Canada, each province sets their own legislation for Health and Safety, which often includes provisions for Lone Workers. In principle, this helps each province address the needs of Lone Workers in a way that takes into consideration the unique economies and climates of each Province, but quite often it means that some Provinces lag behind others in having strong legislative requirements.  

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Federal Legislation and Lone Workers in Canada

First of a series on the current state of Canadian Lone Worker Legislation

Lone Worker Laws are strong in Canada

Canada is peerless when it comes to strong protections for Lone Workers. Strong legislation passed at both the Federal and Provincial levels have created an environment where, for the most part, Lone Workers receive an unparalleled level of attention. While it’s easy to make the legislation available, we felt it would be important to discuss in a more general way the current state of Lone Worker Legislation in Canada. 

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Safety as an Investment

Lives aren’t the only thing that a robust culture of safety can protect

ROI Ebook

When you think about a safe business, you should think about more than safety as something you can provide for your workers at a cost to yourself. Safety, when done right, can make your workers safe and will make your business safer from a financial perspective. This transforms safety into a two-way street that has serious beneficial implications for your organization. This is Safety Culture, and investing in it is one of the safest moves a business can make.

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Who’s Protecting the Protectors? (Part 1 of 3)

Protecting the Health & Safety of the Canadian Security Worker The Security Employer’s Legal, Ethical and Moral Duty

protecting the protectors

All security employers have the primary legal duty to protect the health and safety of their workers.  However, it is a legal burden that is shared.  Unfortunately, too many employers address this legal, ethical and moral responsibility only after an incident has occurred that caused harm or injury to a worker or the employer has been cited by WorkSafe BC for noncompliance with OHS Law. It’s called “duty of care” and it must be documented in order to use “due diligence” as a legal defense.

Duty of Care

Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety law, employment law, as well as the duty of care common law. They also have a moral and ethical duty not to cause, or fail to prevent, physical or psychological injury, and must fulfil their responsibilities with regard to personal injury and negligence claims.

An employer can be deemed to have breached their duty of care by failing to do everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to keep the employee safe from harm. Employees also have responsibilities for their health and wellbeing at work – for example, they are entitled by law to refuse to undertake work that isn’t safe without fear of disciplinary action.

[bctt tweet=”Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety law, employment law, as well as the duty of care common law.” username=”safetyline”]

 

Due Diligence

Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.

Applied to occupational health and safety, due diligence means that employers shall take all reasonable precautions, under the particular circumstances, to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. This duty also applies to situations that are not addressed elsewhere in the occupational health and safety legislation. Reasonable precautions are also referred to as reasonable care. It refers to the care, caution, or action a reasonable person is expected to take under similar circumstances.

Another term used is employers must do what is “reasonably practicable”.  Reasonably practicable has been described by the Labour Program (Canada) as taking precautions that are not only possible, but that are also suitable or rational, given the particular situation.  Determining what should be done is evaluated on a case by case basis.

To exercise due diligence, an employer must implement a plan to identify possible workplace hazards and carry out the appropriate corrective action to prevent accidents or injuries arising from these hazards. OSH answers fact sheets (2016) Available at: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/diligence.html

So, who are the ”Protectors?”

Supported by BC’s Workers Compensation Act, Part 3 Division 3, Sections 115-118 – General Duties of Employers, Workers and others; This article argues that the Protectors are:

 EmployersSection 115 An employer must:

  • Establish and maintain a health and safety committee, or cause workers to select at least one health and safety representative.
  • Take every reasonable precaution to ensure the workplace is safe.
  • Train employees about any potential hazards and in how to safely use, handle, store and dispose of hazardous substances and how to handle emergencies.
  • Supply personal protective equipment and ensure workers know how to use and handle the equipment safely and properly.
  • Immediately report all critical injuries to the government department responsible for OH&S.
  • Appoint a competent supervisor who sets the standards for performance, and who ensures safe working conditions are always observed.

 Supervisors –  Section 116 The manager or supervisor must:

  • Make sure workers work in compliance with OH&S acts and regulations.
  • Make sure that workers use prescribed protective equipment devices.
  • Advise workers of potential and actual hazards.
  • Provide workers with written instructions as to the measures and procedures to be taken for protection of the worker.
  • Take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of workers.

Managers and supervisors act on behalf of the employer, and hence have the responsibility to meet the duties of the employer as specified in the Act for the work they (the managers and supervisors) direct.

EmployeesSection 117 Employees responsibilities include the following:

  • Work in compliance with Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S Acts and Regulations.
  • Use personal protective equipment and clothing as directed by the employer.
  • Report workplace hazards and dangers to the supervisor or employer.
  • Work in a safe manner as required by the employer and use the prescribed safety equipment.
  • Tell the supervisor or employer about any missing or defective equipment or protective device that may be dangerous.

Employees have the following three basic rights:

  • Right to refuse unsafe work.
  • Right to participate in the workplace health and safety activities through the Health and Safety Committee (HSC) or as a worker health and safety representative.
  • Right to know, or the right to be informed about, actual and potential dangers in the workplace.

Prime Contractor (Client) – Section 118

 In a workplace where there are two or more employers working at the same time, a written agreement should identify a prime contractor. If there is no written agreement, the owner is considered to be the prime contractor.

While prime contractors have overall responsibility for health and safety on a worksite, employers still retain responsibility for the health and safety of their own workers.

Responsibilities

  • Coordinate the occupational health and safety activities of all employers, workers, and anyone else at the workplace.
  • Establish and maintain procedures to ensure occupational health and safety requirements at the workplace are followed by all parties.

Each have a collective and individual responsibilities for the health and safety of security workers.

Here is a very simplified perspective on legal, ethical and moral law:

In part 2 we’ll look at the how security employers heighten the hazard and vulnerability of security workers working alone.

 

About the author:

Jim Foston is the CEO and Founder of The Foston Group – Safety & Protection Solutions.  His focus is on the development and delivery of security patrol sector health and safety training. His clients include security companies, government clients and educational institutions.  He has sat on training review committees with the Canadian General Standards Board (National review committee for Security Professional training standards), Justice Institute of BC (review BC Security Officer training curriculum), and BC Human Rights Coalition for Security Officer Training.  Jim is also a Member of The Institute for Performance and Learning. http://performanceandlearning.ca/about-us/

Jim resides in Nanaimo, BC Canada. www.thefostongroup.com

Working Alone Around the World

What does working alone safety look like around the world?

Businessman hand touching screen with pictures of workers

Working alone creates a lot of safety concerns that don’t exist when there are multiple employees present. Unfortunately, work alone safety is something that isn’t always well defined or even well understood. Because the procedures for protecting lone workers are still evolving, we need to look around the world to see how the protection of lone workers is evolving.

In this article we’ll look at three of the leading countries in lone worker safety in order to get a better idea of where the future of lone worker safety lies.

Canada

Canada has work alone safety legislation in place both at the federal and the provincial levels. At the federal level, Canadian legislation takes a broad stance on workplace safety, requiring all employers to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm to their employees under Canada Bill C-45. This means that failure to implement working alone safety in a workplace could ultimately lead an employer to being found criminally liable.

At the provincial level, work alone legislation is more prominent. In provinces like British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, working alone is a clearly defined concept, with sections of the provincial occupational health & safety acts devoted to explaining employer liability and the procedures necessary to ensure the safety of lone workers. Depending on province, these procedures include establishing communications, and performing check-ins at defined intervals for lone workers.

Australia

Australia’s workplace safety laws are similar to Canadian federal law in that they require employers to assess risks to employees and take preventative measures, without specifically naming and defining lone workers. Employers here would be responsible to provide a means of communicating with and protecting their lone workers, as they have increased vulnerability due to their isolation.

In Western Australia, the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations call for employers to have a means of communication available with their isolated employees, and for isolated employees to have a means of calling for help in the event of an emergency. A guidance note produced by the Department of Commerce clarifies that contact should be made between employer and employee at “pre-determined intervals.” These regulations are backed by hefty fines to both individuals and corporate bodies failing to comply.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, lone workers are protected under various laws and regulations, including The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. While lone and isolated workers are not named specifically, employers are required under these regulations to assess risks in the workplace and take preventative measures when risks are identified.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance materials for employers of lone workers, identifying their legal responsibility. In these materials, the HSE recommends the implementation of monitoring procedures that include check-ins at pre-agreed intervals from workers.

The march of progress

With the advent of new mobile technologies, workplaces with lone workers are expanding all the time. With agencies like OSHA in the United States recognizing and defining lone workers, expect to see more countries around the world drafting legislation to protect their lone workers.

To find out how SafetyLine can protect your isolated and lone workers, call 1-888-WRK-ALNE or contact us by email here.

Common Emergency Response Plan Pitfalls

7 Emergency Plan Inefficiencies That Can Lead to Inadequate Responses

Emergency Word Cloud

Emergency response plans are the foundation for all necessary response actions. The response planning process can be a challenging, daunting, and time consuming endeavor.  Rapidly changing operational components and inconsistent environments can often result in common response plan pitfalls.

In the event of an actual emergency, overly complex and untested plans can be deficient and ineffective, endangering the lives of employees and potentially contributing to an escalating emergency situation. Below is a list of commonly exhibited emergency response plan pitfalls that are associated with inadequate responses:

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Psychological Safety and the Home Care Nurse

A guest post by an expert in workplace conflict management

heart health

There are many factors that effect psychological safety in the workplace. A simple breakdown in communication can lead to increasing tension and stress in a working relationship. Everyone has a role to play to ensure a psychologically safe working environment. Read on to learn strategies for you from a practical example, and to learn about the impact and obligations for your employer.

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