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


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:

Safety Forever!