Thurs, June 2nd, 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.

Travel Rant and Safety Plants

I travel. A lot. I’m actually a bi-coastal worker – I live in Yukon, my employer, Bluedrop Learning Networks is headquartered in Newfoundland and we have customers around the world. Lately I’ve been ranting to my co-workers (and anyone else who will listen) about how frustrating many travellers, airlines and airports are and thought that I should write a blog as a cathartic exercise before I lose my mind on the next person in front of me at airport security who tries to bring a one litre bottle of Scope onboard in his carryon luggage (true story). Great idea, except I write a safety blog, not a travel blog. Crap.

Then my co-worker Charmaine pointed out that many of the travel irritants about which I can frequently be found ranting, are actually safety concerns too. Problem solved. I love Charmaine! Now I can use my travel rant to plant travel safety tips.

With most airlines charging extra for even one piece of checked baggage, more people than ever are trying to bring everything they need for a one month trip as carryon luggage. Based on how I’ve seen people struggling to lift a small suitcase into the overhead bin, part of their one month supply is a load of bricks. If you can’t comfortably use two hands and lift your carryon over your head before you leave your house, you will not be able to safely lift it into an overhead compartment on an airplane when you are also juggling your purse, a laptop bag, your airport lunch and that last minute coffee you had to have - all while under the intense pressure of the people behind you waiting not so patiently to get to their seat. Avoid the bumps, bruises, sprains and strains and pack light.

Don’t get me started on filled to the brim backpacks with hiking boots tied to the side by their laces and a large, stainless steel water bottle swinging wildly from the bottom via a carabiner attachment. Strangely enough, these backpacker airline travellers seem to forget about their unwieldy and dangerous load, carrying on like Mr. Magoo, oblivious to the injuries they’ve caused to the baby who got a hiking boot in the eye or the woman seated in 17D who got a full water bottle upside of her head. But I digress. To round off my carryon luggage rant, if you can’t fit your luggage near your seat NEVER put your luggage in an overhead bin behind your assigned seat unless you’re prepared to wait for the aisles to clear before you can retrieve it. That’s a freebie that has nothing to do with safety, although I suspect it will be very beneficial for the mental health of everyone behind you as they try to get off the plane.

Some of us suffer from allergies and airplanes are a particularly difficult environment for us – it’s not like we can leave and step outside for some fresh air. I know that I have allergies so I always take allergy medicine before flying; however, even when medicated, there are times on an airplane when the allergens are so bad, I react and get to spend the flight with a headache, swollen eyes and a runny nose. But I’m lucky – I don’t have asthma as well, which can turn an allergic reaction into some much more dangerous. Here are three tips (based on my real life experiences) for all travellers to help keep allergens under control on an airplane.

1. Don’t refresh your perfume or cologne immediately before boarding your flight. You smell fine.

2. If you bring your pet on board, leave it in its carrier no matter how strong the urge to take Fluffy out and keep her on your lap during the flight. Be strong; resist Fluffy.

3. Don’t bring flowers on an airplane. I don’t know why you would need flowers on an airplane (unless you were meeting a blind date in seat 6C), but if you must bring them, make sure they’re fully covered. Don’t wave your uncovered bouquet of lilies around raining down pollen on all the other innocent passengers while you try to find space for them in the overhead bin (which is already full from your over-sized luggage and the bag of gifts you bought for your kids at that airport kiosk).

I have many, many more safety issues that arise while travelling; however, blogs are not supposed to be books (according to the Bluedrop Blog Police). I hope that this blog has highlighted that safety, including workplace safety, extends far beyond the worksite into everything we do – from packing your suitcase so that you can comfortably carry it, to backpacking without attachments, to leaving your flowers at home.

Safety Forever!
Twitter: Bluedrop_LN