Last week, our leader of the Telelink Emergency & Safety division completed OH&S training in Newfoundland & Labrador. She is heading up an internal committee at Telelink to help ensure we are implementing up to date safety practices in 2021. I caught up with Robyn to ask her a few questions about the training this year.
Does your organization have an OH&S committee? If so, we’d love to hear some of the practices you’ve implemented this year!
OH&S Safety Training With Robyn
Q. You've just completed OH&S training - tell me about some of the things you've brushed up on!
We learned about the role and importance of the OH&S Committee, how to spot hazards and assess risk in the workplace, and the importance of finding and addressing the ‘root cause’ of an incident.
Consider the example of an employee slipping and falling in a puddle of oil left on the floor. One might think to themselves “well, the cause of the incident was that oil was on the floor”. However, as we can see the role of an OH&S committee is to dig deeper with a root cause analysis. An employer conducting a root cause analysis to determine whether there are systemic reasons for an incident should ask:
– Why was the oil on the floor in the first place?
– Were there changes in conditions, processes, or the environment?
– What is the source of the oil?
– What tasks were underway when the oil was spilled?
– Why did the oil remain on the floor?
– Why was it not cleaned up?
– How long had it been there?
– Was the spill reported?
With the above questions answered, the organization gains a deeper understanding of the incident and can take better preventative measures to ensure it does not happen again.
Q. Are there any updates related to COVID-19?
No, Covid wasn’t really talked about during the course, except that it is to be treated the same way as any other workplace hazard. Depending on the work being done, and the environment it is being done in, you can assess the risk and put protections in place (which I think we have done a great job at doing at Telelink).
Q. What are some of the measures taken at Telelink to help mitigate risk against COVID-19?
We’re limiting the number of people who work in the office, for starters. We have a few members of our team working in the office, but for the most part, people are still working from home. Beyond that, everyone who enters the building must wear a mask and use the provided hand sanitizer upon entry.
We have limited the use of shared space like the kitchen and each room has a sign indicating the maximum number of people that can occupy it at one time. There are arrows on the floor to reduce contact crossing paths and hand sanitizer around every corner.
Q. Is there any one piece of information you think employers/organizations need to pay special attention to or has been flying under the radar?
Definitely the risk of ergonomic injury. Now that the majority of us are working remotely, it is likely that we haven’t set up our workstations ergonomically. Everyone should take a look at where they are working, and make adjustments to ensure they can continue to do so safely and comfortably. Things like having your computer set up at the proper height to prevent neck strain, ensuring that you are getting up out of your chair every so often to move and stretch, and sitting in a chair that encourages good posture.
Practice healthy workplace safety habits
If you’d like to learn more about best-in-class safety practices get in touch with Robyn by leaving a comment below! She’s a wealth of knowledge and always eager to talk safety.
[Related article] On January 1, 2020, the Newfoundland and Labrador OHS Regulations changed requiring employers to develop, implement and maintain a written harassment prevention plan to address workplace harassment.
Many organizations are still getting the new workplace harassment plan in working order. Learn more about implementing a written harassment policy and finding a suitable 3rd party partner here.