WORKPLACE SAFETY: A Loss Felt By Everyone

Sad Dog: A Loss Felt By EveryoneHave you ever seen an advertisement or a marketing tool that instantly grabbed your attention, possibly brought tears to your eyes or had an impact on you so great that you will likely always remember it? Many of us have and typically it is because something had occurred in our own personal lives that reflected the message of the campaign or image. The Workers Compensation Board, Alberta has taken short phrases and attached them to images that are meant to have an impact and hit us hard in an effort to cause us all to realize that workplace safety is vital and should be taken to heart. 
As I walked into the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) to assist with a training program, such an image has had an impact on me. It is an image of a sad faced golden retriever, lying in wait on a carpet beside a pair of used work boots located in the front doorway of a home. One of the dog’s caregivers, a Mother or possibly an Aunt, is shadowed in the background with a distraught looking child wrapped around and clinging to her leg, they both looked very upset. The five words scrolled across the poster read: 
A loss felt by everyone…
In 2013, 188 workers died from workplace injury or illness in Alberta! In honour of those whose lives were lost in the workplace, every April 28th the “Day of Mourning” is observed and trees are planted. The WCB created these memorable images and it is just one of the ways they are trying to get us to listen and take action against injuries in our work space. Another poster that affected me was created in memory of all the fallen workers and contains the first name, age and the illness or injury each individual sustained in their workplaces. It’s devastating to realize that these losses occur every year and that if we could only work safe, this list of names in future years would not exist.
This month the Oilfield Pulse magazine is featuring education. I feel truly compelled to take this opportunity to provide some insight into the value that the ACSA courses offer. These courses are made available to educate us on how to create safer work environments for ourselves and everyone we work beside. 
Further education is always a benefit, it opens our minds and allows us to gather new information that perhaps we were unaware of, after all, knowledge is power! We are constantly evolving and learning is part of our daily lives. In fact here’s a little statistic; did you know that we have lost more workers in Alberta in the last year to workplace injuries than the total amount of Canadian Forces soldiers serving in the entire Afghanistan war? I know! It’s unconceivable however the fact is, we did lose 188 workers in Alberta alone in 2013 due to injury or illness where they worked.
I have chosen to highlight the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA), whose curriculums offer exceptional, captivating and interactive learning models for participants. The courses provide the necessary tools to assist participants companies towards working safely at all times. Safety is everybody’s business in your organization. The growing annual statistics confirm that with 188 employees losing their lives in one year, safety where we work should be taken seriously. 
“The Mission of the Alberta Construction Safety Association is to provide quality advice and education for the construction industry that will reduce human suffering and financial costs associated with workplace incidents.” 
Through the interactive training model and with their experienced trainers, courses are held in the ACSA office locations in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray. This education is meant to have an impact and be pro-active in helping to change behaviours in the workplace that could cause injuries and fatalities or eliminate them altogether. Think about how many times in your work week where an accident could have occurred and you had a near miss? Perhaps an accident had transpired for example due to improper use of equipment or not wearing the proper safety gear? 
The ACSA and Alberta Human Resources and Employment, Workplace Health and Safety are all committed to helping employers and workers reduce losses caused by injuries and getting you home safely every day! The courses offered are thought provoking, the trainers ask the tough questions and provide solid answers that you can use while providing you with training tools and work books to take back with you.
The Alberta Construction Safety Association courses offer a positive place where classrooms are filled with interactive exchange and input from all parties in attendance. It’s where you leave feeling like you have gained valuable information, received added insight, and met new connections who also share a passion for creating a safe place to work. A place where you are provided usable tools to take back to your work environment and to where you live. 
Keep in mind that many of the programs can be of benefit to anyone interested in or responsible for safety in any company and of course to those interested in obtaining the “Certification of Recognition” (COR), the Small Employer Certificate of Recognition or SECOR certification for companies with no more than 10 employees covered under the company’s WCB account. Other popular programs include the HSA (Health and Safety Administrator Certificate) and the NCSO (National Construction Safety Officer Certification) which is recommended for H&S practitioners who wish to receive construction focused training and be recognized as an NCSO in other provinces.
Whether you are a small, medium or large business, the courses offer content that is invaluable. Anytime we are saving the lives of our valued staff and take the time to understand how to keep our work area safe we are adding value to our jobs. Utilizing educational tools, taking action and practicing what we learn daily can help us achieve the roadmap to a zero injuries work culture. 
A selection of course offerings are as follows and can be found with many other courses on the ACSA website at: In-house classes run from 8 am to 4:30 pm. 
If you are working for a company, are an independent contractor or someone who has been contracted out and work with a placement agency, it is also your responsibility to do your part to work responsibly so that you are not injured at work.
For companies and their supervisors who may require the services of temporary, permanent or contracted staff, you will want to work with a staffing agency who is as concerned about workplace safety as you are! At STEP Staffing, safety is embedded into our culture and is important to us as we work with an enormous amount of personnel who work with our client organizations every day. STEP Staffing recognizes and abides by the Alberta Health and Safety (H & S) compliance guidelines and knows and understands the employer’s responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws. 
Along with other H & S items on STEPS checklist, we also take the time to explain H & S responsibilities to all employees we manage by making sure they understand all the obligations prior to starting an assignment. As employers, STEP acknowledges and upholds the OHS legislation and we have taken that responsibility very seriously.
Going above the minimum standard is also part of our culture at STEP Staffing. Additionally, when it comes to promoting the safety of our internal staff and our extended group of employees who work for our clients, we go the extra mile. We take every precaution to ensure the protection and safety of our entire team wherever they work. We proudly work with licensed and certified vendors who assist us to ensure our employees are medically fit for work. STEPS one on one support to all employees and clients is part of our core values. Training a wide variety of employees on safety issues in the workplace is something we feel strongly about. 
A loss felt by everyone…by choosing to work safe, gain knowledge on how to do so and preparing to change the way you think about, “it will never happen to me”, can make all the difference in saving your life and protecting all of those you would leave behind from losing you too soon.
Connie Cook, BHRLR
VP Contractor Management