Friday, April 8th, 2016  
  Bluedrop Learning Networks: Safety Forever!
 
 

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Valerie Royle – VP, Workplace Safety & Apprenticeship, is responsible for providing national and international strategic direction by leading the Bluedrop product development and account management teams on Occupational Health and Safety Training Management Systems and Apprenticeship Solutions. These aspects focus on working with apprenticeship authorities, workers' compensation boards and OH&S authorities.





The World of Work is Changing – Again! When I started my career in the workers’ compensation system back in 1993, repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) were on everybody’s mind. How would we adjudicate these types of injuries? What evidence would we need? How could they be prevented? Surely these injuries would bankrupt workers’ compensation systems everywhere!

As it turns out, RSI’s did not end the world. We developed policies and prevention strategies to effectively mitigate these types of risk factors in the workplace and fairly adjudicate claims when RSI injuries did occur. The world of work changed and we adapted. Now, RSI’s seem like an easy problem to deal with when compared to the massive changes we are currently experiencing and those looming on the horizon.

Last week, my Bluedrop Learning Networks colleague, Charmaine, and I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety’s (CCOHS) Forum: The Changing World of Work. Bluedrop is proud to have been a silver sponsor for this event that once again turns our focus to what’s happening and changing in workplaces- and what needs our attention from a health and safety management perspective. All of the speakers were informative, many coupled information with entertainment and some were downright scary. How will we adapt to the changing world of work – again?

Dr. James Orbinski, former international president of Médecines Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, highlighted some major international challenges in his talk at the Forum, not the least of which is the Syrian refugee crisis. However, I found his presentation to be a beacon of hope as he talked about how passionate people who work together and take action can literally change the world. Dr. Orbinski provided two incredible examples: (1) the development and the implementation of the International Criminal Court and (2) the creation and work of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) that has resulted in affordable treatment for victims of AIDS in Africa (bringing the annual treatment costs down from $13,000 USD to under $100) – simply amazing accomplishments. In the shadow of such mazing human accomplishments, I hope everyone in the room was motivated to take action to make their own workplaces safer and healthier!

I have heard Dr. Linda Duxbury speak numerous times and she never fails to scare the pants off me. I know the demographic realities we face as the baby boomers age out of the workplace, but she has a humorous, yet incredibly effective, way of putting that reality front and centre. How will we cope with workload issues? How will younger staff want to be treated? How will technology fill the gaps in the labour market? What impact will these changes have on the health, safety and well-being of workers?

Every presentation at the CCOHS forum was thought-provoking and presented new challenges from a health and safety perspective, especially as the world of work continues to change. The CCOHS organizers did a great job in bringing together a diverse group of speakers and provided opportunities for delegates to learn from each other through networking breaks, integration of collaboration time in the program and through the innovation showcase. Thank you CCOHS!

As a technology company, Bluedrop Learning Networks is excited by the opportunity to see how our innovative solutions in the world of online health and safety training management can help workplaces navigate the changing world of work.

Safety Forever!


Friday, Feb 26, 2016  
  Bluedrop Learning Networks: Safety Forever!
 
 

heatherphotocolor2.jpg 

Valerie Royle – VP, Workplace Safety & Apprenticeship, is responsible for providing national and international strategic direction by leading the Bluedrop product development and account management teams on Occupational Health and Safety Training Management Systems and Apprenticeship Solutions. These aspects focus on working with apprenticeship authorities, workers' compensation boards and OH&S authorities.





A Chair is a chair, is a chair… If we really saw and understood the risk and potential dangers of every hazard to our health and safety every day, we’d wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and never venture out again. Life is meant to be lived. Yes, there are hazards everywhere, from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the germs on the handrail of the escalator at the mall, to the heavy machinery we use at work. What we need to do is be informed and to be smart about the hazards we encounter and mitigate the risks so that we can live our lives fully. At the most basic level, we should try not to create needless hazards ourselves.

Take a simple chair. So nice and innocent waiting for someone to sit on it. But wait! How could a chair be a hazard? A chair is a chair is a chair…. until it isn’t. Some of us, all too frequently, see a chair and think – look, a ladder! It is then that the simple and innocent chair becomes a major hazard. Allow me to expand using a common situation that occurs at work and at home.

You need to change a light bulb in a ceiling light (many of you already know where this is going, don’t you? Because you’ve done it!). Easy enough. Do you go to the storage room or the garage for a step ladder? Why do that when there’s a chair right there? In fact, you were sitting on it when you noticed the bulb was blown. So easy. So convenient. So wrong! Chairs were not designed to stand on; especially those with:

• Padded seats or cushions (creates an uneven surface);

• WHEELS!!!! (you know you’ve done this or seen someone do it);

• Swivel seats (Arghhhh!).

First, you have to successfully get onto the chair. It is at this point you notice that chairs are not the height of regular steps. Does this red flag on the play slow you down? No! You persevere and make it onto the chair even while holding the new light bulb.

Let’s add to the mix the fact that the chair is too short for the job so you’ll be stretching to reach the light while standing on the cushioned seat of the chair with wheels that is swivelling away from the light. The chair has nowhere to set down the light cover or the new or old bulb so now you are juggling glass, while stretching to reach the light while standing on the cushioned seat of the chair with wheels that is swivelling away from the light. Oh, but there’s more. Let’s put someone on that chair wearing a pair of four-inch heels or a nice sturdy pair of flip flops! My safety spidey sense is tingling just thinking about it.

So you fall off a chair! Big deal – it’s not too high. You won’t get hurt. Wrong again. Maybe you won’t fall off. Maybe you won’t get hurt if you do fall. Whether or not you get hurt all depends on you, how you fall and what you fall on. The outcome could range from an embarrassing episode, to a broken arm, to a massive head injury, to death.

Let the chair be a chair.

Get the step ladder.

The good news is that you can learn how to identify hazards, assess risks and find a safe way to work. OH&S training and education is broadly available but sometimes it’s difficult to find the right training when and where you need it and at a price you can afford. Bluedrop Learning Networks’ SafeToGo product provides an online one-stop-shop for safety training, making it easy to find the training you need to stay safe at work.

Find out more at: http://www.bluedroplearningnetworks.com/solutionohs.html

Safety Forever!




Friday, Feb11, 2016  
  Bluedrop Learning Networks: Safety Forever!
 
 

heatherphotocolor2.jpg 

Valerie Royle – VP, Workplace Safety & Apprenticeship, is responsible for providing national and international strategic direction by leading the Bluedrop product development and account management teams on Occupational Health and Safety Training Management Systems and Apprenticeship Solutions. These aspects focus on working with apprenticeship authorities, workers' compensation boards and OH&S authorities.





You can take the girl out of the safety industry… Life is like a box of chocolates. Wait, that’s already been taken. One small step for man. Drat – writing a blog isn’t as easy as it sounds.

What is easy, at least for me, is incorporating safety into everything I do personally and professionally. Perhaps this is due to my 20 years in the workers’ compensation business where I saw the results of preventable workplace injuries – the physical, mental, social, emotional and financial toll injuries can take on workers, their families, co-workers and communities. Or maybe it’s because the names of every worker who died on the job under my watch as President/CEO of the Yukon Workers Compensation, Health and Safety Board are etched forever on my brain. Whatever the cause, safety awareness at work or at home is as natural for me as breathing. Up Here Business Magazine once called me a “safety crusader on a mission”. And so I am.

I thought that the primacy safety had in my psyche would have receded when I left the workers’ compensation/occupational health and safety industry in 2012, answering the call of Yukon’s Premier to assume the role of Deputy Minister of Education. I was wrong. As DM, I was now responsible for the health and safety of over 1,400 employees as well as thousands of school children. I then thought that when I parted ways with Yukon Government in 2015 and started working with Bluedrop Learning Networks, my passion for safety would take a backseat. Wrong again. As soon as I saw the work that Bluedrop was doing with WorkplaceNL on a certification training registry that could track all the workers taking safety courses in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I immediately spotted the data as a leading indicator for prevention – the holy grail of OH&S authorities everywhere! It turns out that you can take the girl out of the safety industry, but you can can’t take safety out of the girl.

In addition to seeing the workplace injury, illness and disability prevention implications of Bluedrop’s products, I continue to drive my family and friends slightly crazy as I spot health and safety hazards all around me. This has spilled over to my Bluedrop co-workers; just yesterday, I launched into a diatribe about health hazards versus safety hazards when a co-worker casually mentioned that there were no hazards in our office environment. Before anyone knew what was happening, I had filled a whiteboard and was in full on lecture mode. (My co-workers love me. Really. They do.)

Now I plan to share my view of the world through the lens of safety with you through this blog. I have to warn you, there may be ranting. I sometimes can’t help myself. I do rant and roar like a true Newfoundlander. It’s in my blood. Rick Mercer doesn’t have the market cornered on a good rant; however, I can guarantee that I won’t be jumping into a frigid lake, or any other stunts that Rick does so well.

I will help you see the world differently, not so that you will be too afraid to venture out of your home, never to take a risk or have any fun, but so that you smartly identify hazards, assess the risk and mitigate appropriately. It’s truly not that difficult – you just have to know how to look.

Safety Forever!