Health and Safety Newsletter December 2011

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

New Year’s Eve is a night to have fun and celebrate the coming year. However, safety is a must when participating in the festivities. Whether you’re staying in and celebrating with friends and family, or you’re traveling to a party or city bash, following a few safety tips will ensure that you’re safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight, ringing in 2012!

  • Please don’t drink and drive! Arrange a safe way home ahead of time. If you do not have a designated driver, be sure to keep numbers of taxi companies in your phone so you can call a cab to take you home.
  • Keep an eye on your drink, regardless if it is alcohol or not. It is easy for someone to be vulnerable when in a room full of people and loud noises. Don’t accept any drinks from a stranger.  If someone wants to purchase you a beverage of any kind, be sure to get it directly from the bartender, waiter or waitress.
  • If hosting a party at your home, ensure your guests have a safe ride home and that hazards such as icy walkways and stairs are taken care of.  Ensure your smoke alarms are working and a fire extinguisher is on hand, especially if cooking, burning candles, etc.
  • If you have pets, ensure you keep them in a safe place. Their ears are sensitive to loud noises from things such as fireworks.

We can’t predict what could go wrong in every situation, but we can include enough caution in our party planning to keep ourselves, our family, friends, guests and pets as safe as possible. Regardless of how you choose to ring in 2012, remember to be responsible and aware of your surroundings!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have been on the rise across the Lower Mainland, with cases of them reported to be in libraries, hotels, homes – including a few homes where Spectrum employees work.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood causing rashes and infections. Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene. It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence. Bed bugs are not transmitters of human disease.  Vancouver Coastal Health prepared this brochure to provide more information on Bed Bugs:

http://www.vch.ca/media/8-Bed%20Bug%20Pamphlet_Aug_2011.pdf

How do you know if you have bed bugs?

Bed bug bites are the best way to determine if you have bedbugs. The grouping of bites is a good sign and you should start checking for mold like spots on your mattress.

If you suspect you have an infestation, you should contact a licensed exterminator. You can use some do-it-yourself tips to assist in eliminating them, but your odds are a lot better when a licensed professional is involved.

Here are some recommendations for employees who may encounter bed bugs when they are working in people’s homes:

  • Minimize the amount of personal and work related items taken in to the home (clothing, purses, bags and equipment)
  • Check all clothing and equipment after leaving.
  • Wear light colored clothing for easy detection and avoid wearing clothing with cuffs.
  • If taking items in to the home, hang them up as opposed to placing them on furnishings

For more information on bed bugs and safe work guidelines, review this presentation from WorkSafe BC:  http://www2.worksafebc.com/PDFs/healthcare/June9_Info_Session/Presentation4_Bedbugs.pdf

We all have a right to safe working conditions and Spectrum as an employer has an obligation to respond to concerns about unsafe situations.  For more on Worker Rights, the Worksafe Regulations on reporting unsafe working conditions are linked here: http://www2.worksafebc.com/publications/OHSRegulation/Part3.asp