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Posts by Christina Hryniuk

Five Things to Know about Ergonomics in the Workplace

- by Christina Hryniuk

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of matching work tasks to the body. Good ergonomics introduces designs or interventions to promote safe posture and less stress on the body to help improve productivity and decrease Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI) and Musculoskeletal Disorders(MSD).

According to the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB), almost 71 percent of time loss injuries in 2018 were related to poor ergonomics such as poor working postures, repetitive motions, excessive force etc. A dramatic leap from 2015, which was at 40 percent. According to SAFE Work, that MSI claims cost almost $38 million that year.

Hazards include poor working postures, excessive physical and cognitive demands of the worker, improper height reaching zones, lighting and temperature to name a few. A major factor in MSI and MSD’s is repetition (how long, how often).



So why is knowing about ergonomics important?

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are something you should be worried about.

MSD’s slowly develop over time and the soft tissues in your body – nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints – are most susceptible to MSD’s. Injuries like carpal tunnel and tendonitis (aka-tennis elbow) are key examples of MSD’s and these injuries become worse over time (repetition).

You may not take it seriously at first, but over time your discomfort will increase in severity if you keep returning to the same, strenuous activities. At some point, your body will not be able to recover. The three main factors involve force (how much you lift, push, and pull), repetition, and your body temperature. Contact stress and vibration are also common hazards that wreak havoc upon the body if left unchecked.


You need to recognise the potential risks associated with MSI hazards in your job duties

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional truck driver, dispatcher, mechanic or office employee in the Trucking industry, all workers need to be aware of the ergonomic hazards

Rotate your job tasks when possible

It helps to reduce repetitiveness and fatigue, so it goes without saying that you should be taking scheduled breaks and paying attention to fatigue levels, as these are contributing factors in how much energy you will exert in performing tasks.

If you are a manager or employer, you can implement an MSI/Ergonomics Program

As an employer you can create job descriptions that can help determine the risk factors associated with MSI/MSD’s and use it to make a decision on changes like: upgrading tools/equipment/furnishings or changing the routine involved with the tasks.

For more information on ergonomics and workplace safety training, contact us today.


 

4 Benefits of Training for CPR-C Certification

- by Christina Hryniuk

Obtaining your first aid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Level C certification is a valuable asset. It qualifies you to step in and make a difference in case someone needs serious help and prevent serious injuries to others around them at home, work, and in public.

If you are contemplating on getting Standard First Aid and CPR-Level C and AED certification, learn more about why it’s worth it below.

CPR Saves Lives

Most obviously, being CPR certified is that you can help save someone’s life. Most people don’t know how to react or what to do in emergencies, and that could lead to fatal consequences to those who need immediate assistance before paramedics arrive.

Reacting instantly in a life-threatening situation is vital.

In cases of cardiac arrest, performing CPR quickly is pivotal because it will prevent the situation from becoming critical. By attaining knowledge and hands-on training, people who receive their certification will have the skills and information they need to act.

At home or out in public, training can also save the life of a friend or family member.

CPR intervention:

  • Drowning
  • Trauma
  • Electrocution
  • Drug Overdose

More People Need to Know CPR

Not enough people possess the training necessary to aid others in emergency situations. This means that many bystanders fear they’ll make mistakes or cause harm to the person in need of help. Therefore they don’t intervene. Even those who do try to help don't know the correct procedures to follow to ensure the safety of the person in need of help.

With standard first aid with CPR-Level C and AED certification, you will know exactly what to do if the unexpected occurs.

Knowing CPR Increases Confidence

Many emergencies occur unexpectedly, it’s vital that individuals who intervene have confidence and cognizance to make the correct decisions. With the skills you learn from CPR, you will confidently react in emergency situations. Seeing someone approaching the situation calmly and assuredly also puts bystanders at ease and decreases panic.

CPR-C Certification is Easy to Complete

People are unaware how easy and quickly it is to receive your certification. RPM Trucking Industry Safety offers full day workshops (8 hours). It’s also not limited to specific people or those with medical backgrounds. Anyone can become certified and put their skills to use to save the life of a co-worker, friend, or loved one.

Our first-aid CPR course provides the skills needed to recognize and respond to cardiovascular emergencies and choking for adults, children and infants. It includes training in the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as well as first-aid (e.g. cuts, scrapes, bleeds, bloody noses, fainting, seizures, how to use an EpiPen). The course is suitable for workplace requirements and certified by the Canadian Red Cross.

RPM's Emergency First Aid with CPR Level C & AED training is a member benefit only.
In order to register your company must be registered with RPM and currently working towards or have achieved SAFE Work Certification.
For more information contact us by phone 204-632-6600 or email info@rpmsafety.ca


 

The Benefits of Getting Occupational Safety and Health Certified

- by Christina Hryniuk

What is an occupational safety and health certification?

The program provides a way to recognize employers for safety and health performance. We partnered with SAFE Work Manitoba to create our program trucking Certificate of Recognition, which establishes this standard and ensures consistency throughout the province.

To meet the training requirements for Certificate of Recognition, you must complete certain training modules based on the size of your company.

For trucking companies with 20 employees or more the Certificate of Recognition requires 4 courses to be taken. They are Safety and Health Leadership, Principles of Safety and Health Management, Maintenance Auditor, and Safety and Health Committee.

Companies with two to 19 employees are also required to take 4 courses. They are Safety and Health Leadership, Principles of Safety and Health Management, Maintenance Auditor, and Safety Representative.


What are the benefits of certification?

For employers, the long-term benefits of attaining safety and health certification for their workplaces include, first and foremost, a safer and healthier workplace.

Your employees will have better control of workplace hazards and in turn help eliminate or reduce some of the most common health risks such as breathing problems, skin irritation, damage to muscles, broken bones, hearing damage, and reduced well being.

Another big benefit is the Premium rebate an employer receives once completing the process. Companies that become certified are eligible to receive a prevention rebate of the greatest of 15 percent of their premium or $3,000, to a maximum of 75 percent of their assessment premium. For example, an eligible employer who paid $4,000 in premiums for a given year, would receive a $3,000 rebate annually, representing 75 percent of their premiums. An eligible employer who paid $100,000 in premiums for a given year, would receive a rebate of $15,000 annually, or 15 percent of their premiums.

The numbers don’t lie. Last year, our certification program provided $630,000 in rebates to Manitoba trucking companies in 2019.

Based on Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba 2009 statistics, employers that achieve safety and health certification for their organizations have also been shown to have:

  • 42 per cent lower injury rates
  • 47 per cent lower time-loss injury rates
  • 37 per cent lower injury costs per worker from claims reported to the WCB
  • 49 per cent fewer workdays taken for time-loss injuries

How do you get certified?

  • Apply to the program through us.
  • Participate in our required training.
  • Implement and assess your safety and health system.
  • Pass an audit.
  • Complete an annual maintenance audit.
  • Receive your rebate.

For more information, or if you want to start your certification process now, please contact us by phone 204-632-6600 or by email. info@rpmsafety.ca

 

Noise Level Assessments : When can sound be harmful in the work place?

- by Christina Hryniuk

Noise is a common health hazard in the workplace. Exposure to loud noises can cause stress. It also makes it difficult for people to talk in a workplace. Prolonged exposure to excessive levels of noise can result in permanent hearing loss. That’s why it’s important to test the levels of noise.

What high noise levels do to you

When the eardrum vibrates, it moves three tiny bones in your middle ear. This movement transmits the vibration to fluid in your inner ear. The movement of this fluid is then picked up by tiny hair cells that transfer the movement to nerves. The nerves send signals to your brain where they are recognized as sound.

Exposure to high-decibel sound for a long time can eventually damage the tiny hair cells. As a result, fewer signals are sent to the brain and you don’t hear as well because the hair cells can’t be replaced or restored. The damage is permanent.


When can sound be harmful and for how long?

It depends on the intensity of the sound. Most sounds made by people and in nature are harmless even over a long period of time. Loud sound, however, can damage your hearing after long exposure.

If people are exposed repeatedly and for long periods, sound may start to be harmful at about 80 dBA. A 10-decibel increase to 90 dBA means the sound is 10 times more intense. As sound levels increase, exposure times for workers must be reduced.

In Manitoba, a three decibel per doubling rule is used. That exposure means for every three dBA increase in the noise exposure above 85 dBA, the worker’s exposure duration must be reduced by one-half without exceeding the exposure limit.



The Use of Noise Dosimeters

During the assessment a worker will wear a noise dosimeter for their shift, which will measure their noise exposure through the day and give them their average noise exposure. A worker’s average noise exposure is used to determine if they are exposed to noise over 80 dBA.

Employers must post written reports of these assessments in a visible location at the workplace, ideally on the safety and bulletin board. All workers then must be informed and trained on the noise level they will experience at work and the hazards that presents.

Another useful feature is that they will log the noise data so when downloaded to a computer, the time history of noise can be viewed. This gives the ability to analyze when and where high noise exposures occur.

RPM Trucking Industry Safety has five dosimeters that they lend to members for noise level assessments. If you want to become a member, you must register to become SAFE Work Certified. For more information on getting certified contact us.


 

The Importance of Improving Your Workplace with Psychological First Aid

- by Christina Hryniuk

By the time you read this blog post 50 workers will have called in to work due to mental health issues.

What we must remember is that mental illness is as real as other physical issues such as heart disease. There is undeniably a connection between mental and physical health.

Mental illness doesn’t just affect someone’s personal mental, physical, and emotional health. It also affects productivity of workplaces, peoples’ jobs, and quality of life.

This week, about 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems. In fact, about 70 percent to 90 percent of people with severe mental illnesses are unemployed.

On a yearly basis, 175,000 full-time workers don’t go to work due to mental illness. Mental health is also the leading cause of disability in Canada and the cost of disability leave for a mental illness is double the cost of a leave for a physical illness.


Every year, about 355,000 disability cases are directly linked to mental and/or behavioral disorders. The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that:

  • 82 percent of responding organizations ranked mental health conditions in their top three causes of short-term disability (72 percent for long-term disability).
  • 30 percent of all short- and long-term disability claims are due to mental health problems and illnesses.
  • The average responding organization reported spending more than $10.5 million annually on absence claims.

Unfortunately as well, for truck drivers it is also very difficult to claim Workers Compensation if they suffer a traumatic event at work. So it is vital to have a program that allows employers and employees work through mental health issues and crisis.

RPM will be offering a psychological first aid training

Psychological First Aid training allows individuals to build a self-care plan through understanding and identifying how loss, grief, and stress affect them and in turn how to deal with it. This training also explores how they can care for others by identifying what it looks like when their friend or loved one is experiencing distress. The program focuses on four components including: look, listen, link and live. This means awareness that there is a problem, listening to yourself or others, and linking to resources in your community so that you can live fully.

Psychological First Aid is a resiliency-based program for everyone that offers prevention and coping strategies for dealing with different types of stress resulting from various types of trauma.

According to Trucking HR, more than 300,000 people across Canada in workplaces, schools and communities have received mental health first aid training, resulting in positive and long-lasting effects.


The Benefits of Psychological First Aid

Key outcomes include:

  • Significantly greater recognition of the most common mental health illnesses and problems
  • Decreased social distance from people with mental health illnesses or problems
  • Increased confidence in providing help to others
  • Demonstrated increase in helpful actions

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, there are three main reasons why employers decide to engage in Mental Health First Aid.

For one, the stigma surrounded by mental health problems is reduced. Psychological training makes it easier to communicate with someone experiencing a mental health problem.

Another reason it is beneficial is because one-in-five people will experience a mental health problem this year. Evidence shows that participants increase their awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems.

It also increases the confidence participants have in engaging with someone experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.

With RPM’s psychological training you will be able to protect your employees at all levels and create a safe space for them. For more information on when we will be offering psychological first aid training, contact us or call 1-(204)-632-6600.

 

Flat Deck Safety Tips All Truck Drivers Should Know

- by Christina Hryniuk

Truck drivers are exposed to risks of injury that are often preventable, however workplace injuries do happen and they land you in the hospital. It may seem like common knowledge for the tips below, but some may need a reminder.

Slips, trips, and falls

Last year 97 Manitoba truck drivers fell off a non-moving vehicle. Over 5 years, roughly 500 people in the industry fell as well. In fact, the single biggest cause of falls from a vehicle is driver error and failure to follow the 3-point contact rule.

Here is a refresher on how to stay clear of workplace injuries.

Explain dangers

Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are working on ramps, gang planks without skid- or slip resistant surfaces, dock boards, dock plates, construction plates, running boards, and ladders.

Remember that metal is slippery because of its lower force of friction and traction. Metal surfaces such as running boards, platforms on equipment and ladders, can become smooth and slippery with wear.


Identify controls

When you are working around a flat deck truck there are some key things to be mindful of. For one, make sure to clean your shoes/boots of any mud, snow, ice, or grease. You will also need to make sure the running boards, treads, steps, footholds, and platforms are clean and dry.

Other things to do:

  • Have a secure grip on the handhold before stepping up.
  • Don’t climb down with something in your free hand. Put it on the floor and reach for it when you are on the ground.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and any obstacles around you.

When you are mounting and dismounting maintain 3-point contact while getting on and off the equipment until you reach the ground, cab, or stable platform. This means one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot must always be on the equipment.

It may seem obvious, but don’t jump down when getting off the bed of your truck or other part of the equipment. Carefully step down while facing the equipment.


Roadside Safety

You must stay vigilant on the road because its likely that a non-commercial driver will be distracted by either their phone, eating, drinking, or in a rush. So, it’s vital to remember to avoid tarping or re-securing loads on the side of the road. Rest stops and parking lots are more suitable to make sure your load is secured correctly.

When on the road, remember to use your high-visibility outerwear. The more visible you are, the less likely it will be for you to become a victim of distracted drivers.

Securing loads

Making pre-trip inspections may seem tedious but necessary. You shouldn’t just go through the motions when doing a pre-trip inspection because you will overlook something such as a worn tie-down or bungee that’s about to break. This will harm you or people around you.

Secure your load with a heavy tarp, tie down straps, and/or bungee cords. If you use bungee cords, be sure to hook them facing away from the tarp.

Safety is important to RPM. This post wasn’t to have you make any ground breaking revelations but bring these simple guidelines forward for you to be mindful on the road.

For more tips, information, or to register to one of our courses, or inquire about safety certification for you or your company, contact us today.