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SHIFTING GEARS TO YOUR FUTURE

Staying Safe At Work

Proper safety should be a priority for everyone and every organization. Sadly, this is not always the case, we constantly hear of companies being fined for safety violations or employees being injured due to unsafe work environments.  

 

Most recently two companies in British Columbia have been fined for not providing workers with the proper " information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety" ("Logging Company", 2019).

 

A hydro company received a fine when a worker was injured due to an electrical shock ("Peace River", 2019). In this case, the equipment was not up to safety standards and "the main electrical breaker extensions …were not functioning, the de-energization switches had been circumvented, and the main breaker switch-box isolation covers were in disrepair" ("Peace River", 2019). In addition on this site workers typically "access[ed] the main circuit breaker without following lockout procedures" ("Peace River", 2019). The company ultimately failed to do their due diligence and provide their employees with a safe work environment.

 

Similarly, a logging company was fined after an inspection found they "failed to ensure its workers had alternate means of escape from mobile equipment, and that equipment windows were maintained to provide clear vision to the operator" ("Logging Company", 2019). This is very concerning and reinforces the notion that proper training and active participation by employees is necessary in keeping a safe work environment.

 

Employees 'have the right to know, right to refuse unsafe work and the right to participate in identifying workplace hazards' ("Workplace Rights, 2014"). This means you need to report hazards, injuries and 'do not attempt something you can't handle'("Workplace Rights, 2014"). If you enter a worksite and feel unsafe because you have not been trained properly, you notice a broken piece of equipment or you see unsafe practices speak up! Bring your concerns to your employer or the Ministry of Labour.

 

There are a multiple things you can do as a worker to avoid injury and maintain a safe work environment. The first thing you can do is ensure you get the proper training, follow safety rules, wear the proper PPE and be supervised to ensure you are performing your work safely ("Workplace Rights, 2014"). You also need to be aware of the hazards in the environment before you start work and report unsafe practices and situations. If you are not sure how to perform a task you need to ask for clarification and do not do anything you are unsure or have not been asked to do ("Workplace Rights, 2014").

 

Kristen Wierenga

Canada Heavy Equipment College

 

References

 

"Logging Company Fined $27,000". Canadian Health and Safety: The Safety Standard Magazine, www.cos-mag.com. Publish date 2019-09-24, < https://www.cos-mag.com/convictions/41141-logging-company-fined-27000/?utm_source=GA&utm_medium=20190926&utm_campaign=COS-Newsletter&utm_content=729B5F94-CCC3-447C-88B5-9798D5693B08&tu=729B5F94-CCC3-447C-88B5-9798D5693B08>.  Accessed 2019-09-26.
 
" Peace River Hydro Partners Fined More Than $662k". Canadian Health and Safety: The Safety Standard Magazine, www.cos-mag.com .Publish date 2019-09-24,
. Accessed 2019-09-26.
 
"Workplace Rights". Ontario Ministry of Labour, March 2014 (Online) . Accessed 2019-09-26.

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How to Protect yourself on the Road - The Life of a Trucker

It is always important to be aware of one's surroundings, no matter how tough you think you are. There are potential risks out there for both men and woman, so it is vital to discuss safety for all people and for all drivers.

 

If you didn’t know already, rest areas can be very dangerous at night. For your safety, avoid getting out of the truck in dark areas. Always carry your phone with you and keep a good look over your shoulder if you have to get out in the dark. Be careful when walking between trailers, someone can be hiding under the trailer or on a catwalk.

 

Make sure to stay visible when you are out and about, avoiding getting hit in a parking lot; and it can potentially deter assailants.  Wearing reflective clothing allows you to be seen i.e. if someone did attack you and confrontation resulted in you being left laying on the ground, it would be much easier to see you if you're wearing reflective clothing.

 

Make your truck a safe place. Cover your windows when you are sleeping. Keep your valuables out of sight and always lock your doors. Always be prepared, be alert,  and have a plan if something were to go wrong. If you do get yourself in a situation where you are being attacked, make plenty of noise and remember that everyday items can be used as weapons for self defence.

 

In conclusion, not everyone is a dangerous person but know that danger is out there.  Keep your mind open and stay alert if something were to go wrong.

 

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Why Construction Equipment Maintenance Matters

Is it easy to avoid equipment failure if you keep on top of regular maintenance. It can help avoid project stalls, missed due dates and can save businesses hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

 

Regular equipment maintenance isn’t cheap. But your money is going to tuning up the equipment and seeing if anything needs to be replaced. By the end of the year, you’ll find that you spent less on your equipment than you had in previous years.

 

Safety is a top priority. By implementing regular maintenance, you improve the safety not just of the equipment but of the job-site. Preventative equipment maintenance along with proper training will help prevent injuries, it increases equipment efficiency and increases safety on the job site. You will have fewer set-back days which will increase your profit. Preventative maintenance checks for wear and damage, checks alignments and it helps keep all the parts working efficiently.

 

Regardless of whether the equipment seems to be running fine, it is  important to adhere to equipment preventative maintenance schedules. So the next time you consider postponing maintenance, remember, you don't want your equipment failing on a time sensitive project. Keep your jobs running smoothly, invest the time and money on regular maintenance for your construction equipment.  

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Mountain Driving Tips for Truckers

Viewing the mountains in the distance is a beautiful sight. But driving through them can be very dangerous, especially for a truck driver carrying tons of freight.  If you follow some basic safety rules and take advantage of the safety features available to you then you can quickly gain confidence on mountain routes.

 

To help with the challenges you may face, we have created these driving tips that new and experience drivers can take advantage of:

 

1. Always do a Proper Pre Trip Inspection

For any driver, on any terrain, a proper pre trip inspection is key to a successful route. Before you begin travelling make sure your truck is in excellent condition.  Be sure to check the brakes, tires, fluid levels and check for any leaks.

 

2. Have a full tank of gas

You never know when bad weather will hit so it is important to fill up your tank before you head out.

 

3. Use proper braking and shifting techniques

When making your descent, it’s a known guideline to be one gear lower than the one you came up in. Also, remember to brake and downshift before the downgrade.

 

4. Don’t rush

Take your time on the roads and leave plenty of room between vehicles. Going a little slower can't hurt and let people pass, it's not a race.

 

5. Beware of changing weather conditions

Mountain driving can be very unpredictable, so be cautious as visibility can vastly decrease within a matter of seconds.

 

6. Bring water, food and emergency gear

Be sure to pack extra food, water, and clothing; and take a first aid & toolbox kit along with you.

 

For new truckers, facing the challenge of mountain driving can be very intimidating. Pay close attention these tips and soon you will be ready to gain the confidence you need to make it through the mountain terrain.

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Tips to Increase Productivity in Construction

Productivity can be a problem in any workplace or life situation. In the construction industry it isn't any different. But there is hope for work place productivity improvements, because even if staff and supervisors made the smallest improvements business can increase and accidents can decrease.

 

Keep these tips in mind to help you through your construction project, whether big or small.

 

1. Improve communication

Communication between workers and supervisors is a top priority. Mistakes can be prevented and deadlines can be properly managed if there is good dialogue between staff. Also, proper communication can help avoid workplace accidents.

 

2. Create a detailed task list

Before you begin your work day it is a great idea to create a list of tasks. It is important to keep track of what is going on and when, making sure nothing gets forgotten.

 

3. Keep track of your inventory

Know how much stock you have. It will make it easier to order when you run out and also you will be well aware if stock goes missing.

 

4. Keep an organized workplace

Help prevent accidents by keeping your construction site organized and free of any hazards. You will find that jobs will get completed faster since you know where everything is.

 

5. Delegate Tasks

Each person has a special skill set and if you delegate the tasks correctly than you can use those skill sets to your advantage.

 

6. Train your employees

Invest in your employees and train them to their highest potential. A well-prepared employee will increase productivity, add value and safety.

 

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Substance Abuse in Construction

Regardless of age or gender, the construction industry has one of the highest rates of substance abuse and substance use disorders compared to other industries .

 

The good news is that the rates of substance abuse has dropped from previous years, but still, why is there such a high rate of substance abuse in construction? 

According to the book Addiction at Work: Tackling Drug Abuse and Misuse in the Workplace, there are probably several reasons that construction workers have relatively higher rates of substance use disorders.

 

Construction workers typically work long hours during the construction season. Individuals working more than 50 hours per week are far more likely to engage in alcohol use and substance abuse than individuals working less than 50 hours per week.
The nature of the work and the attitudes of many of the workers are similar to the “work hard and play hard” philosophy of this particular social group.

 

Since construction can be seasonal employment,  many workers may have long periods of unemployment. This may result in boredom or feelings of job insecurity.

 

In the construction industry safety is always a concern and a priority. Individuals with substance use disorders  increase the risk for accidents, have poor quality of work and drive up costs due to absenteeism.

 

How can companies help those battling with substance abuse? Policies regarding substance use on the job should be clearly stated. The consequences for abusing substances on the job should be outlined and understood by all workers. The goal should be to make sure that individuals do not come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while recovering from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

 

Addiction is a complex problem that affects every aspect of your life. Overcoming addiction requires reaching out for support and making changes to the way you live, deal with problems, and relate to others. Recovery is within your reach. And remember, you don’t have to go at it alone.

 

Resources in Canada

 

Clik Here, to see a partial list of mental health and addictions information resources.

 

Please call the Information and Referral service at 1-866-531-2600 for more information.

 

Sources:

 

https://sunrisehouse.com/addiction-demographics/laborers/

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Trip Planning Tips for Truckers

We cannot stress the importance of a  well planned trip. A well planned trip eases the stress of the day, raises a trucker’s comfort level and becomes a more profitable trip overall.

 

In the past a driver would plan his/her trip without the use of any devices. Fast forward to today a driver must plan around the electronic logbook and adhere to hours of service regulations.

 

Here are some tips to help plan your trip:

 

  1. Check the mileage of the delivery point
  2. See if you have enough hours to get to your destination
  3. Plan out your route, where you will stop and eat, where you will sleep, than see how many miles you have to make a day to be on time
  4. If you do not think you will have enough time to get where you are going, call the dispatcher
  5. Remember that safely is your top concern.

Good trip planning can mean the difference between successful run or a failed run. Make sure you take the time to plan ahead. Without proper planning obstacles can get in your way, such as,  becoming stranded in a storm, lost in a bad neighbourhood, or running out of hours to get to where you need to be.

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What makes Construction Workers one of the Happiest on the Job

Are you currently looking for yet another reason to consider a career in construction? Well, according to Fast Company article outlining which industries have the happiest employees, construction leads the way for happiest workers!

 

A career in construction can have its own challenges, but it is no surprise that construction workers are proud of what they do. Having the ability to point to a new bridge, new city landmark or new home etc.. and say "I built that" is a reward in itself.

 

Training programs and field work while on the job prepare students and workers so they can nail down their techniques and have a successful day ahead. There are also mentorships available and continuous coaching while on the job which helps build confidence and skill.  These opportunities will only increase as the industry looks for ways to meet the growing demand for skilled workers.

 

There is a lot of growth in the construction field and you are sure to find a rewarding and fulfilling career path if you enter into this skilled trade.  If you are new to the construction industry and looking to get an foot into an industry that values field experience, training in a registered college is a great way to start in your new career path. Canada Heavy Equipment College offers  trucking and construction courses that get you training you need.

 

There are many different factors that leads to happiness in the workplace. A combination of proper training, a sense of accomplishment,  to respect among co-workers and employers. Construction offers all these and more!

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The Facts and Hazards of Demolition

Some may say that demolition is the most exciting and quick phase of construction. But you do need to do it safely and with a sound technical assessment, regardless of what structure it is.

 

There are many  factors to consider when dismantling, wrecking, or destroying buildings and structures, such as:

  • Hidden structural materials that may need special handling—including asbestos, silica, lead, and other hazardous chemicals or substances
  • Structural design variations
  • Any form of approved or unapproved modification that changed the building’s original design
  • Undetermined strength or weakness of post-tensioned concrete and other construction materials
  • Hazards due to the corresponding demolition methods

Also, there are certain hazards that make this line of work particularly dangerous on its own. Some unpredictable factors include electrocution, toxic substances and fall hazards.

 

Don't get us wrong, demolition can be an adventure in itself, but just be careful when your in the demo process. It is important to stay safe, have a clear strategy, be aware of your surroundings, and of course, have fun out there!

 

Source:

 

https://www.360training.com/blog/demolition-hazards-construction/

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Limit your Distractions while Driving… They can Kill!

It is important to know what can distract you from the road. Being aware of your potential distractions  can help prevent accidents that could ruin your career, or worse, cause harm to others. Make sure to limit your distractions while driving. There are common driving distractions such as cell phones, eating while driving, screaming kids in the back. These are known as external distractions and can be easy to identify.

 

All around us are situations that could potentially take our eyes off the road. From changing the music to checking out billboards to even looking at the scenery - these all can divert our eyes from the road. But there are other types of distractions called internal distractions that one must be mentally prepared for. Such as, did you get enough sleep, are you upset about an argument, are you feeling alright? Any type of mental distraction can affect your ability to drive.

 

New drivers in particular need to watch themselves as they can become their own worst enemy. New drivers tend to over think their actions and thus lose confidence in their ability to drive. It's important not too dwell on your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Once the new drivers let go of their anxiety they can make way for developing their new skills confidently and can become open minded to continuous learning.

 

To the new and experienced drivers,  keep in mind that you have nothing to prove, trust in your skill as a driver. New drivers, understand that your fears about driving truck are normal, learning new skills take time and don't let your anxieties take over. Keep your distractions to low, keep your head held high and allow your confidence to build as a new driver.

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Contributors

Kristen Wierenga
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September 26, 2019
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Kim Lemon
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June 15, 2019
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Lisa Chambers
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November 12, 2018
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