Be Safe News – July 2017

Be Safe News – July 2017

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Be Prepared  BE INFORMED

The Most Common Workplace Injuries: Musculoskeletal Disorders

Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator

When you hear the phrase workplace hazards, your mind is normally drawn to images of heavy equipment accidents, falls from heights, or exposure to dangerous chemicals. Rarely do people think immediately of ergonomic-related hazards that may cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It’s a surprising disconnect, because according to the WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), MSDs are the most common type of workplace injury.  Identification of hazards in the workplace that have the potential to cause an MSD is a key component in an effective health and safety program.

The Three Most Common MSDs:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel is numbing, tingling, and weakness, and other problems in the hand and grip. Repetitive wrist motions and pressure on the median nerve in the wrist generally cause it. Poor ergonomic job design is a major contributing factor, especially jobs that require the wrist to be bent downward.

Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Pain in fingers, but not pinky finger
  • Pain in arm between wrist and elbow

Relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Stop activities that cause pain
  • Take frequent or longer breaks
  • Ice your wrist
  • Speak to you doctor about anti-inflammatories
  • Speak to your physiotherapist about the use of a splint or support
  • Have an ergonomic assessment of your workstation completed, and use proper postures according to the results


Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon. It is also known as or referred to as tennis elbow or runner’s knee. Tendons are the strong, flexible yet inelastic, fibrous collagens that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis results from overuse of the tendon.

Signs and Symptoms of Tendonitis

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • The affected area may be hot and red
  • A lump may develop in the affected area
  • You may feel cracking or grating as the tendon moves

Relieving Tendonitis

  • Rest
  • Apply heat or ice to the affected area
  • Contact a physiotherapist about rehabilitation
  • Speak to you doctor about the use of a mild painkiller
  • Have an ergonomic assessment of your workstation completed, and use proper postures according to the results


Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, which is the fluid-filled sac located between tissues, such as bones, muscles, tendons, and skin. Repetitive motions, particularly motions that are not ergonomically designed for the job, cause bursitis. Bursitis affects the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, and Achilles tendon.

Signs and Symptoms of Bursitis

  • Pain
  • Loss of motion

Relieving Bursitis

  • Ice the affected area
  • Avoid activities that aggravate the injury
  • Have an ergonomic assessment of your workstation completed, and use proper postures according to the results
  • Stretch before starting strenuous work
  • If your work involves lifting or using force, gradually build toward goal productivity, as it reduces the chance of developing bursitis

Employer Responsibilities

Under the Ontario Health and Safety Act, Sections 25(2)(h), employers are expected to take reasonable precautions to protect worker safety — and that means protecting them from ergonomic hazards.

There are many risk hazard assessment tools designed specifically to assess the ergonomic risks in a variety of workplace settings and industries. It is advisable to complete risks assessments, and then place controls based on the findings. Controls include, but are not limited to:

  • Redesigning the workspace for more efficient movements
  • Using better tools and/or tools designed for the job
  • Improving work processes
  • Implementing and scheduling sufficient rest breaks
  • Implementing a job rotation strategy to avoid having workers complete too many repetitive motions
  • Training workers on ergonomic hazard identification and controls

There are many risk hazard assessment tools designed specifically to assess the ergonomic risks in a variety of workplace settings and industries. It is advisable to complete risks assessments, and then place controls based on the findings. Controls include, but are not limited to:

  • Redesigning the workspace for more efficient movements
  • Using better tools and/or tools designed for the job
  • Improving work processes
  • Implementing and scheduling sufficient rest breaks
  • Implementing a job rotation strategy to avoid having workers complete too many repetitive motions
  • Training workers on ergonomic hazard identification and controls

Ultimately, employers lose 2.5 million days of production time from employees due to MSDs.  Ensuring that ergonomics and MSD prevention is part of your health and safety program will result in better productivity from workers, less lost-time days and dollars, and an overall more efficient, effective, and happy work environment. You simply can’t afford NOT to address ergonomic hazards in your workplace!

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Be Compliant  BE COMPLIANT

MOL Adopts Recommendations from Construction Health and Safety Action Plan

Written by Tushar Anandasagar | Associate Lawyer at LeClair and Associates

According to the Ministry of Labour (the “MOL”), approximately thirty (30) percent of all work-related traumatic fatalities and occupational disease fatality claims occur in Ontario’s construction sector. However, Statistics Canada has confirmed that construction sector jobs account for less than seven (7) percent of employment in Ontario. According to the WSIB, thirty-six (36) percent of traumatic fatalities allowed by WSIB were due to falls from heights because of inappropriate fall protection.

In 2015, the Ontario legislature presented Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn with a mandate letter stating that the province’s chief prevention officer would be working with the construction sector on improving workplace safety. After consulting with industry stakeholders, Mr. Flynn indicated that the number of deaths and serious injuries in the construction sector continued to be “unacceptably high”.

On May 12, 2017, the Ministry of Labour announced an action plan entitled the “Construction Health and Safety Action Plan” (the “Action Plan”). The Action Plan contains sixteen (16) recommendations. Of those recommendations, the MOL has already implemented the following measures to reduce the frequency of construction industry workplace injuries:

  • Developing a web tool by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to help construction employers and workers understand key topics in the regulation for construction projects
  • Conducting training, blitzes and underground economy enforcement by the Ministry of Labour targeting working at heights and residential roofing projects
  • Launching radio and online campaigns to raise awareness about new working-at-heights training requirements
  • Launching an IHSA media campaign on public transit to improve the culture for working safe
  • Implementing an advanced training program for construction supervisors to improve their skills in communicating health and safety information to workers
  • Establishing Ministry of Labour partnerships with municipalities to pilot a web-based software program that enables municipal building inspectors to report unsafe work practices to the ministry
  • Establishing a Ministry of Labour partnership with the City of Toronto to promote health and safety resources and information  

The MOL has indicated that it is currently working toward implementing the remaining recommendations contained within the Action Plan:

  • Develop online tools, apps and web portals to provide easy access to construction health and safety information such as key hazards  
  • Conduct multi-media campaigns and targeted enforcement blitzes to raise awareness of construction health and safety and key hazards  
  • Explore options for increasing and expanding fines for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulation for Construction Projects 
  • Consider roof anchors and other solutions for working at heights to prevent falls, which are the number one cause of construction deaths
  • Embed construction health and safety topics in existing school curricula and apprenticeship training programs
  • Consult with stakeholders on an accreditation program that would recognize employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety programs
  • Create and better distribute resources to fill gaps in existing health and safety information for employers and workers

After implementing the above recommendations, the Ministry of Labour will attempt to achieve the following Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”) over the next five years:

  • Reduce the allowed lost-time injury rate per 100 workers by 10% over five years (through robust education, training and certification programs and enforcement).
  • Reduce traumatic fatalities per 100,000 workers by 2% over five years (through education, training, certification programs and enforcement).
  • Increase number of businesses engaged by the H&S system in Ontario by 15% over four years.

The MOL has made it clear that strict enforcement and deterrence will continue to be the its principal strategy with respect to ensuring that each of the aforesaid KPIs is satisfied. We anticipate that the MOL will continue to issue substantial fines against construction industry employers who are found to have breached the OHSA.

We anticipate that the MOL will continue to publish interim reports indicating whether the above recommendations have resulted in a decrease in work related injury and disease in the construction sector. We will provide continuing coverage of this topic as and when further information is provided by the MOL and/or the WSIB.

Tushar Anandasagar is an associate lawyer at LeClair and Associates P.C. He specializes in Labour and Employment law, with a focus on Workplace Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance. For further information, please contact Tushar by email at

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Healthy  BE WELL

Madalyn Parker & Supportive Culture in The Workplace

Written by Jenna Kressler | Curriculum Developer

By now, you may have heard the latest viral story of a Michigan employee, Madalyn Parker, who openly shared to Twitter her email correspondence from her CEO regarding taking time off work for mental health reasons. To her surprise, her CEO positively responded and applauded her for sending an open email. The CEO even went on to say, “I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” To read more about this viral story, check out the full article here.

Comments have flooded social media, thanking and applauding Parker for being so vulnerable and open. Others have commented that they would be fired if they brought up their mental health at work.  Employees should not have to fear being honest with their employer; however, the reality is that open and supportive organizational cultured do not exist at every workplace, especially with the stigma still associated with mental health.

How to Know When to Take a Mental Health Day

Individuals suffering from mental health issues may find it difficult to put in words what they are going through when trying to explain it to another person. It can be incredibly scary to experience an episode or an attack. Dark, negative thoughts flood your mind, you don’t feel like yourself without understanding why, or your heart races. Going through an episode, having an attack, or experiencing some symptoms can not only negatively affect your personal life, but also your productivity at work. So, how do you know when to take a day for your mental health?

When You Have Not Been Taking Care of Yourself
Whether you have had lack of sleep, haven’t been eating, or you are not maintaining personal hygiene, it’s time to take a day for yourself to get caught up on these daily routines. Self-care is important in reducing stressors and maintaining a healthy balance.

When You’re Distracted
You can experience being fixated on a particular task or idea when you’re having an attack. Whatever it may be, take the time to complete this task to minimize stress and anxiety. Being distracted at work will only lessen productivity, increase mistakes, and can worsen the symptoms you are experiencing.

When You’re Going to Appointments
Sometimes it’s best to take the entire day off to re-set your mind. If you’re going to see a counsellor or therapist, or even re-filling a prescription, it can be very emotionally and physically draining. Take the time to address your needs to get yourself on the mend.

When You’re Experiencing an Attack or Episode
When you experience an attack or episode, you may not feel safe being around others, especially in a work setting. You may feel judged, or crowded by others trying to help you when you just need to be alone. Sometimes you need time by yourself to recharge. Practice some deep breathing, have a bubble bath or hot shower, and rest.

How to Create a Supportive Workplace Culture

Each year, employers lose billions of dollars due to absenteeism, sick days, and presenteeism (at work, but not overly productive) . Though employees do not have to disclose their diagnosis to their employer, they may choose to share that they are enduring health challenges. With this in mind, below are some ways employers can create a supportive workplace culture to help reduce stressors and promote healthy minds and happy workers.

Employees are Human Too
Though employees are hired to perform and fulfill daily tasks, to meet and exceed goals, and to be innovative and productive, caring for workers extends beyond an employee’s job performance. It includes caring for the employee as a whole. Support their work-life balance, instil trust and respect, be understanding and thoughtful – employees are more than work resources.

Build Trust
Trust is the foundation for any relationship and one of the most important things employers, supervisors, and employees can instil to creative a positive work environment. Exemplifying that you are honest, responsible, and accountable demonstrates trustworthiness and reliability, which will encourage workers to be open and honest in return.

Open Communication
Having an open-door policy assists in creating a positive work environment as it encourages interaction where employees can share their concerns and opinions. However, with open communication, you have to remember to be receptive and positive when employees come to you, otherwise trust will be diminished and two-way communication will dissolve.

Give Employees Autonomy
When there’s mutual trust and open communication in a relationship, giving employees more independence is be easier. When employees have autonomy, they feel empowered and less micromanaged, thus encouraging productivity and creativity, which results in a more positive self-perception and increased job satisfaction.

Recognize Accomplishments
Some companies may have incentives for their employees for achieving a goal, for closing a deal, or for completing a task in a timely manner. They may be rewarded with a free lunch, time off, gift cards, or a team outing. Don’t just give them their reward, ensure that you acknowledge and recognize their achievements. Receiving praise makes employees strive harder to achieve more goals. Acknowledging accomplishments and rewarding target goals shows appreciation. Employees feel more satisfied and are more motivated when they feel appreciated.

Establish Wellness Programs
Investing in a well-established wellness program has a plethora of benefits for your employees: lowered expenses in return, lower absenteeism, productive and efficient workers, and job retention and satisfaction. When employees have these types of programs in place, they feel supported and will experience positive health benefits.

Changing your workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight and no one can expect everyone to be on board and embrace change right away. If you do implement any of the above support methods or others, note it will take commitment to make these adjustments to your organization, time, trust, and leading by example, especially from the top-down.

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Be A Leader  BE A LEADER

Mohamed Soliman & Russ Bamsey

Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator

At OSG, all of our staff are Health and Safety Leaders. This month we are featuring two outstanding leaders: Mohamed Soliman and Russ Bamsey.

Mohamed Soliman

Mohamed S

Mohamed is OSG’s IT Manager. He joined the team 1.5 years ago, and we struggle to imagine what we ever did without him! Mohamed does it all — including looking after the little things, like ensuring everyone’s email is working and setting up new equipment. Mohamed holds a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering (M.Eng) and is a Certified Project Manager (PMP), and it’s a good thing he is, because Mohamed’s role extends far, far beyond the day-to-day. He uses his education, training, and vast experience to manage OSG’s ambitious large-scale projects with an aim to improve work flow and efficiency through better processes and innovative and advanced IT solutions. Mohamed’s passion is apparent in all of his work, and he enjoys finding solutions to IT challenges as they present themselves. Around the office, Mohamed is known for always having a listening ear, and for his enthusiasm toward new projects and ideas. Outside of work, Mohamed is a dedicated family man who enjoys getting in some world travelling — when he can! He has practiced both karate and Kung-Fu extensively in the past, and these days he’s working on mastering nunchaku and ping-pong!

“Risk is inevitable, so do your best to be ready with your back-up plan”

-Mohamed Soliman

Russ Bamsey

Russ B

Russ Bamsey is an OSG trainer and consultant. He has been part of the OSG training team for almost eight years. Russ is an experienced and knowledgeable confined space consultant, having completed many confined space assessments and reports for various clients. Russ finds satisfaction in helping people and organizations overcome safety challenges with accessible training and consulting. Russ enjoys spending his free time at his cottage in Northern Ontario, and he has his eye on spending his eventual retirement there. He looks forward to the long days of summer and watching the trees turn colour from the front porch. If you asked him, Russ might tell you he doesn’t like change much; however, I think that the change from the hustle and bustle of the training life to the relaxed cottage life is a change that will suit Russ just fine when the time comes!


“Document, document, document!”

-Russ Bamsey


Next time you are in OSG’s London office, say hello to Mohamed or Russ. They are OSG Safety Leaders who embody safety culture in the workplace.

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Supervisor Competency Training

Written by Sharon Thornton | Sales Manager

Effective July 1, 2014, Ontario employers have to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The first of its kind in North America, the new regulation mandates basic safety awareness training for all Ontario workers and supervisors.

Expectations placed on a supervisor are always high. Our interactive workshop breaks down the responsibilities outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and how those responsibilities directly relate to the health and safety of the workers you supervise.

Our content aligns with the requirements outlined in the Ministry of Labour supervisor awareness workbook.

  • Identify the importance of the supervisor

  • Discuss the duties and responsibilities of the employer, worker, and supervisor

  • Discuss the role of the health and safety rep and the JHSC

  • Recognize the importance of working as a team

  • Identify how the supervisor fits in the Internal Responsibility System

  • Explain the role of the WSIB and Ministry of Labour

  • Support the rights of workers

  • Explain how to recognize, assess, control and evaluate hazards

  • Handle health and safety concerns

  • Recognize how to obtain health and safety assistance

  • Identify health and safety resources

  • Motivate employees to work safely

Learn more about our Supervisor Competency Training course now!

Learn More

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Health and Safety Champion

Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator

Company Name: Combined Metal Industries

Industry: Recycling and Distribution

Number of Employees: 250


Phone: 416.743.7730


Courses taken with OSG:

  • JHSC 1 Committee Certification

  • JHSC 2 Committee Certification

  • Safe Operation of an Overhead Crane

  • Overhead Crane Train-the-Trainer

  • Safe Operation of a Lift Truck

  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)


Combined Metal Industries: tip: “Health and safety is about CULTURE + PEOPLE!”

About Combined Metal Industries:

Combined Metal Industries (CMI) is a successful full-service metal distribution and recycling corporation. Since 1996 CMI has deal in both ferrous and non-ferrous markets across North America. CMI is proud member of both ISRI (Institute of Scrap Metal Recyclers) and its Canadian counterpart, CARI. Most recently CMI has been invited to be part of ISRI’s Circle of Safety Excellence. Their Environmental Health and Safety Manager, Wendy Sanche, has described the biggest health and safety opportunity at CMI as keeping training up-to-date, relevant and interactive while the business experiences rapid growth and expansion. To address the opportunity, the EHS Department has implemented a software program that tracks training for all staff and proactively sends reminders before training is due. CMI invests in its workers and Supervisors by providing  JHSC training and certification even if they are not members of the JHSC. CMI feels that this will help everyone develop an understanding of hazard recognition, assessment, and control, rights and responsibilities, how to interpret the legislation within the Act, and conducting efficient and effective job hazard analyses.

Combined Metal Industries is proud to be this month’s health and safety champion because they are using the training they received in OSG’s Train-the-Trainer programs to train smaller groups more frequently. This method of training allows for flexibility and greater frequency and higher engagement taking into consideration 24/6 production schedules. Training flexibility ensures that all workers receive proper training that does not just meet but exceeds current legislation. Wendy states that, “Our Leaders have a greater awareness of their roles and responsibilities, and they perform duties with more confidence. Developing in-house trainers raises the level of awareness, which decreases the likelihood of accidents.” Since completing JHSC, Overhead Crane Train-the-Trainer, Lift Truck, and Transportation of Dangerous Goods training, CMI leaders have noticed an increase in the number of team members taking on the responsibility of conducting training. This investment is in line with the personal growth of the worker and the overall growth of CMI. In addition to coordinating health and safety training with OSG, the team at CMI remains committed to implementing IT solutions to ensure that no worker is left untrained as the company continues to grow and employ more talented people. By using OSG’s Train-the-Trainer programs and implementing software solutions, CMI is able to maintain accurate training records and effectively manage CMI’s health and safety program.

For more information on Combined Metal Industries, please visit them on the web at

Completing an OSG health and safety training course automatically makes your company a champion. However, if your company wishes to be featured in OSG’s Be a Champion feature, please contact your Customer Relationship Manager to request a survey.

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Health & Safety in the News

Researched by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting

Federal government revises occupational exposure limit for asbestos

Ontario workplaces have become safer, claims annual WSIB report

Diamond Drilling Company Fined $200,000 After Worker Killed By Falling Tree

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Ministry of Labour Blitzes

Researched by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting

New & Young Workers – Employment Standards – Sectors Known to Employ Young & New Workers

May 1st, 2017 – Aug. 31st, 2017

New & Young Workers – Health & Safety – Industrial

May 1st, 2017 – Aug. 31st, 2017

Hours of Work – Employment Standards – Sectors Known to have a High Number of Hours Worked

May 1st, 2017 – Aug. 31st, 2017

Supervisor Awareness & Accountability – Health & Safety – Construction

June 1st, 2017 – July 31st, 2017

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Upcoming Health & Safety Events

Provided by Nick Hollinger | Marketing & Communications Manager

Southwestern Ontario 2017 PIP Conference & Trade Show

The 2017 Southwestern Ontario Partners in Prevention Conference & Trade Show is taking place at Bingemans Conference Centre in Kitchener on October 25th, 2017. Connect with local health and safety experts and better your workplace.

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