Most Canadians have experienced lower back pain or dysfunction at some stage in their lives. This nagging pain may have kept them from the activities they enjoy and affected their quality of life. While many back injuries may be caused by trauma, lower back pain or injury may occur because of poor spinal stability or improper mechanics of the spine. It may even be caused by subtle repetitive movements or positions that cause damage over time. The good news? With a bit of time and effort, you can help reduce the chances of spinal injury or pain with “the Big Three” core exercises.
Although legalization of cannabis in Canada is expected to go ahead this spring, employer education remains a missing but necessary part of the legalization equation. Employers must adapt to legalization in a way that respects workers’ rights while maintaining a safe, healthy working environment.
Our working population is getting older. Since 2001, the proportion of workers over the age of 55 has spiked, and seems to still be on the rise. According to some projections, by 2021 nearly one-quarter of the working population may be 55 or older (compared to 10% in 2001 and 17% in 2009). Like any demographic trend, the aging workforce will be accompanied by a range of challenges and benefits. Here’s how you can manage both effectively.
During the month of February, you may see friends, co-workers and fellow Canadians wearing red to promote Heart Health Month. This 28-day long month will help bring awareness to a disease that is the second leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 17.3 million deaths worldwide every year. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy lifestyle choices and manage their medical conditions properly.
SureHire now offers lead health monitoring, a medical surveillance program designed to protect the health of workers who may be exposed to lead. You may already be aware of lead’s toxicity and the harmful effect it can have on people who ingest or inhale it. Implementing a lead health program can help protect your workforce from the harmful effects of exposure.
Hepatitis is known as a “silent disease” because symptoms may not appear until considerable damage to the liver has been done. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to lessen damage to the liver and can prevent you from spreading the virus to others unknowingly. Prevention of hepatitis is the key and, fortunately, there are many steps Canadians can take to protect themselves.
The government of Canada has announced that it will be introducing a comprehensive ban on the use, production, and export of asbestos, the cancer-causing mineral that until recently was a commonly used building material. The substance has already been banned in around 50 countries worldwide, prompting Health Minister Jane Philpott to admit that the move toward a comprehensive asbestos ban is “long overdue.”
Crystalline silica is becoming well-known for being a potential health hazard in jobsites across Canada. It is used extensively in many industrial applications because of its unique physical and chemical properties. Health concerns arise when silica-containing products are disturbed by grinding, cutting, drilling or chipping, creating respirable particulate.
Silica, or silicon dioxide, is a naturally occurring material. In its crystalline form, it is commonly known as quartz, and is the earth’s second-most common element. Silica is not on its face dangerous, but when disturbed can create silica “dust"particles which when inhaled can clog the lungs, making it difficult to process oxygen.
The Canadian Mental Health Association estimates that around one in every five Canadians will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime, meaning that you almost definitely know someone at your workplace who is affected. Here’s how to make work safer and more productive for those who suffer from mental illness.
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.
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.
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.
Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a condition most commonly seen in workers required to use powered equipment with high frequency vibration or high impact (such as chainsaws, jack hammers, drills, grinders, or sanders). When a worker uses or handles a vibrating object, the vibration is transmitted to the hands and arms. Repeated vibrations cause blood vessel constriction in the hands and arms, reducing blood supply while working. The vibrations can cause neurological, vascular, and musculoskeletal injuries. The effects of HAV are cumulative and both frequency and amplitude play a role in the injury process. As with most overuse/repetitive injuries, the more exposure you have in your job the more likely you may develop the condition.
You may already know that strenuous or repetitive activities at work can lead to injuries and disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. These types of injuries are called workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders, or WMSDs, and can cover a range of conditions characterized by pain, swelling, or tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, or nerves (Turner, n.d.). The good news is that the risk of WMSDs can be greatly mitigated with the implementation of a few simple preventative measures.
As we enter into the hottest, driest part of the summer, it’s especially important for outdoor workers to observe safe practices when it comes to working in the heat. If you work outdoors during the summer months, you are at a considerably higher risk of heat-related illness than most members of the general public.
Athletes know the benefits of initiating a training session with a dynamic warmup. Have you every wondered why these athletes are back on the playing field so quickly after an injury, while someone from work may be on disability leave for weeks or even months with a similar injury?
The answer is simple: most people are not treating their bodies the same way that an athlete would.
Mental illness has quickly become the leading cause of disability claims in Canada and now, more than ever Canadian companies are realizing the significant link between stress, mental health, work claims and absence. According to experts at Health Canada, mental illnesses are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour and can be associated with significant distress and impaired functioning.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a cardiovascular disease associated with versatile risk factors such as obesity, smoking, high cholesterol and hypertension diabetes. VTE includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein—usually in the leg or pelvic veins. Unfortunately, VTE is common and can be deadly.
“One week after Christmas and the first week in January is probably prime time for these scam artists, because they know they’ll be getting a lot of sign-ups. They practically sell themselves and they don’t have to push It.” said Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and the author of the book, “Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals.”
Over the past few days, social media, print stories, and the news have extensively covered the recent suicide of Robin Williams, one of Hollywood’s most treasured comic actors. As a result, the spotlight has turned to facts around mental illness and the devastating effects of addiction and depression when left unmanaged.
I had the opportunity to attend the Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association (AOHNA) conference in Banff last month. This was an opportunity for several different disciplines to come together to share and learn about many aspects that could affect the health and well-being of workers, employers, and our communities as a whole.
I had the pleasure of listening to Barb Banford speak at the AOHNA Symposium last week. She is as funny as she is intelligent, and put into perspective how the normal physiological and mental changes we experience can have an impact on the workplace.
Work is, unquestionably, good for our health. It not only provides us with income to support our families, it also gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Research has shown that despite being injured, returning to work in some sort of capacity (modified duties) is often better for recovery than long periods away. Injured employees off work longer than six months have only a 50% chance of ever returning to their job.
Diminished health, whether the result of work or non-work-related activities, reduces the quality of life and income potential for employees, as well as negatively impacting those dependent upon them.
Organizations that protect their employees from the risk of injuries or illnesses create a more vibrant, engaging and highly performing workforce.