Workplace health and safety advocates are celebrating after Public Services and Procurement Canada released its long awaited national asbestos inventory. The forty-page document contains a list of every government building in Canada that contains asbestos, and its release marks a victory for health and safety advocates across the country. However, advocates also say there is still work to be done: Denis St-Jean, national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, points out that the list does not contain details about precisely where the dangerous materials are located, meaning that people are not being fully informed about the the risk.
Few people would deny that having a healthy, drug-free, physically fit workforce is important, especially for those who work in safety-sensitive positions. But not only do many employers not require workers in safety-sensitive positions to undergo vision testing, but some do not even have policies requiring workers to report vision problems at all.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women. An estimated 25 000 Canadian women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, with around 68 new diagnoses every day. Every October, we honour the women and men whose lives have been affected by this disease by remembering those who have lost their fight and by raising funds and awareness in the hopes of building a future without breast cancer.
As the federal government prepares to legalize marijuana in 2017, some employers are left wondering how their workplaces will be protected from the potential consequences. Oil and gas groups have been lobbying for changes to the upcoming legislation, arguing that more measures are needed to prevent individuals under the influence of cannabis from working in safety-sensitive positions. Cameron MacGillivray, CEO of Enform, suggested in a recent interview with CBC that marijuana use should be totally banned at any workplace where marijuana impairment could threaten safety. Unlike with alcohol, there is no clear consensus on what constitutes marijuana impairment.
Addiction affects the lives of thousands of Canadians. But despite how widespread the problem appears to be, there is little consensus among experts about the underlying causes of addiction, or even what the true definition of addiction is. Some consider addiction a purely physical phenomenon that occurs when a body requires a particular substance to function normally, but addiction can be much more complex than a mere physical dependence, and it nearly always involves mental and emotional factors.
Workplace injuries are an inevitable risk that accompanies any occupation, especially those in high-risk industries like construction, transportation, and resource mining. Workplace accidents are not an uncommon occurrence in Canada. In 2014, there were 239,643 lost time claims due to a workplace injury; in the same year, there were 919 deaths as a result of workplace accidents. Fitness-to-work testing can help reduce the risk of a workplace injury or accident.
Every year on August 31, the world observes Overdose Awareness Day and remembers those who have died or been injured as a result of a drug overdose. Substance abuse affects thousands of Canadians, with around 47,000 substance abuse related deaths occurring each year nationwide. Although Overdose Awareness Day marks an occasion of mourning and remembering, it is also a day of looking ahead in hope for a drug-free future.
You may have heard about BC’s public health emergency over the surge in fentanyl use and abuse over the past few months. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid (“narcotic”) medication estimated to be 50-100 times more potent than morphine, has also recently gained notoriety as the drug that caused Prince’s fatal overdose earlier this year. Now, the drug is becoming a grave health concern as it grows in popularity across Canada.
Despite the fact that most professionals recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night, about 30% of us get fewer than six hours on average. Most of us think we can simply yawn through the day without serious consequences, but the reality is that sleeplessness can be a real threat to your health, safety, and productivity at work.