Manitoba NAOSH Week


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C M Y K 1 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, MAY 1, 2014 By Holli Moncrieff For the Free Press S afety isn't something most of us spend a lot of time pondering as we go about our busy days. That's why North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week is a good reminder that everyone needs to make workplace safety an everyday habit. No one expects to be injured at work, but it can happen to anyone, says Mike Jones, Manitoba co-chair of NAOSH Week, which runs from May 4-10. "The one time I've had an ambulance come to the workplace, it was a lady in accounts payable. She left a drawer in her desk open, tripped over it, went flying and hit her head," Jones recalls. "NAOSH week is all about making health and safety a part of every job. It brings awareness to the fact that health and safety is important and that everybody plays a role in it." Mike Gordon co-founder of Workplace Engineering Solutions, is Manitoba co-chair of NAOSH Week with Jones, who is executive director of the Construction Safety Assoc. of Manitoba. A free community breakfast in the MTS Centre concourse on May 5 is the official Manitoba kickoff for the week, and Gordon notes there are a number of workplace and public events everyone can participate in throughout the week. "NAOSH Week is an opportunity to highlight safety with a series of networking events that bring awareness to the organization and safety as a whole," he says. The Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) is the leading organization behind NAOSH Week, which was launched in June 1997 through an agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The CSSE is a health, safety and environmental organization for professionals in Canada, with more than 4,500 members across the country. Its mission is to be a resource for professional development, knowledge and information exchange. "NAOSH Week is a week set aside to promote health and safety across North America. It's bringing attention to health and safety and wellness," Jones says. "Safety should be the focus every day of the year, but this week brings it to everyone's attention." This year's theme is Make Safety a Habit, and many of the events and presentations will focus on breaking a bad habit — distracted driving. Even though it's illegal to use a hand- held phone or other mobile device while driving, talking and texting are still among the main causes of distracted driving, Jones says. "The big thing at the moment is younger people texting. Studies have shown that while texting, people will drive the length of a football field at 55 miles an hour without looking at the road," he says. "We have lots and lots of people driving for work. It's not just those who drive for a living who are at risk." On the job, there were 12 acute hazard fatalities and 17 occupational disease fatalities in Manitoba last year, according to SAFE Work Manitoba's Manitoba Workplace Injury Statistics Report. There is some good news. In Manitoba, the provincial time- loss injury rate fell 41% over 12 years, from a high of 5.6 time- loss injuries per 100 workers in 2000 to 3.3 in 2012. Gordon says the goal is to have zero workplace injuries. "Anything more than zero is a concern," he says. "Occupational health and safety has always been a concern. There's a big push to get our message into every organization and company." Since wellness is a significant part of health and safety, some companies will offer fitness classes, chiropractic care and massage therapy sessions to their employees during NAOSH Week. "Health and safety is hugely important. It's great for everyone's morale to feel safe at work," Jones says. "Everyone needs to take health and safety seriously and make it a priority." The success of the NAOSH Week program is rooted in this community–based approach. Across the country, local, provincial and regional committees, comprised primarily of volunteers, coordinate NAOSH Week events and activities. Partnerships with government, business, suppliers, CSSE chapters, community health organizations and other safety groups provide the support, resources and network necessary to manage the NAOSH Week plans. CSSE Manitoba is the host organization for the community breakfast and NAOSH Week kickoff event at MTS Centre. The event opens with music from 8:15 a.m.- 9:30 a.m., followed by a brief presentation. Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration Erna Braun and a representative from the Workers Compensation Board will speak, and a keynote presentation on distracted driving will follow. The kickoff is open to the public. "Anyone can come. We're trying to get as many people as possible to attend," Jones says. For more information, visit the NAOSH Week website at Make Safety a Habit Manitoba naoSH Week 2014 • May 4-10 Be Safe NAOSH week iS A week Set ASide tO prOmOte HeAltH ANd SAfety AcrOSS NOrtH AmericA. NAOSH Week reminds Manitobans to make safety a priority at work, at home and on the road Workplace Engineering Solutions co-founder Mike Gordon (left) and Construction Safety Assoc. of Manitoba executive director Mike Jones are the Manitoba co-chairs of NAOSH Week. Photo by Darcy Finley

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