Spring Cleaning for a Cause: EHSP hosts book drive for Calgary Reads

EHSP employees got ahead on their spring cleaning and decluttered their book shelves for EHSP’s first ever Spring Book Drive, held in April 2018. The month-long event resulted in a 1 cubic metre box, filled to the brim with books. All books collected were donated to the CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale, a 3-day fundraising event for Calgary Reads.

Calgary Reads is a non-profit organization that helps support schools and communities to provide free books and literacy resources to children and families across Alberta. Supported by thousands of Calgarians bringing in their gently used books, the Big Book Sale is Calgary Reads’ biggest fundraiser.

The 16th annual Big Book Sale was held on May 11 – 13, 2018 at the Calgary Curling Club. Calgary Reads raised $345,000 from the event. The funds will be used year-round to support the organization’s initiatives and programs.

“Supporting this cause is a sustainable practice,” Paul MacKinnon, Partner at EHSP, said. “Children’s literacy contributes to the social sustainability of communities by bringing families together and enhancing education opportunities.”

“The book drive also aligns with EHSP’s sustainability mission. We’re maximizing the materials and resources we already have by using the books on our dusty bookshelves to help grow the minds of young readers.”

In case you missed this year’s Big Book Sale, Calgary Reads accepts gently used books throughout the year and are always welcoming more volunteers. For more information on Calgary Reads, the Big Book Sale, and how you can contribute, check out their website:

CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale 2018

Alberta OHS

Ready for the Bill 30 Alberta OHS Changes?

Alberta OHS Act changes take effect on June 1, 2018. Are you ready? How does your health and safety program measure up?

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act establishes minimum safety standards in Alberta workplaces. These laws are enforced through inspections, investigations, orders, administrative penalties, fines and prosecutions.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Worker’s Rights – enshrined
    • Right to know, right to participate (in workplace health and safety), and the right to refuse dangerous work.
  • Obligations of Worksite Parties – expanded
    • Now include: owners of worksites, prime contractors, suppliers, service providers, self-employed persons, and temporary staffing agencies.
  • Joint work site health and safety committees (HSC) and representatives – now mandatory
    • Safety committees will now be required for all employers with 20 or more workers at a work site and work lasting 90 days or more.
  • Harassment and Violence – clearer definitions
    • To address workplace bullying and physical and psychological harm.
  • Written Health and Safety Program – now required for employers with 20 or more workers
  • Incident Reporting (to Alberta Labour) – updated
    • Injuries resulting in a worker being admitted to hospital must be reported to Alberta Labour, replacing the previous two day requirement.
    • “Potentially serious” incidents that had potential to cause serious injury to a person, but did not – must also be reported to Alberta Labour.

Do you need a gap analysis done to measure your safety program against the new Alberta OHS Act changes coming into effect June 1, 2018? We can help you create an action plan to bring your program up to compliance. Contact us today at info@ehsp.ca or at 1.877.243.6838.

Asbestos

Global Asbestos Awareness Week: What do we know about asbestos?

Asbestos. The word strikes fear in the hearts of building owners and inhabitants alike. Marketed as “Canada’s White Gold” in the past, this known carcinogen has become the subject of much confusion and debate in the public sector. Even though it’s been recognized as a toxic material since the 1930s, it’s curious how we still must worry about asbestos exposure in the buildings we live and work in today.

With the 14th Annual Global Asbestos Awareness Week (hosted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization) underway, we thought we’d help shed some light on why asbestos is so prevalent and dangerous, what public offices are doing to deal with the asbestos-related issues, and how building owners can protect themselves.

Why is Asbestos Everywhere?

Asbestos is “everywhere” because before the 1980s, it was considered to be one of the most useful materials in the world! It was highly valued for its durability and versatility

The use of asbestos can be traced as far back as 3000+ years ago when inhabitants of what is now the Scandinavian region strengthened their pots and other cooking utensils with asbestos fibre.

It became more prevalent during the Ancient Greek and Roman periods as they discovered its fire-resistant properties. Asbestos was incorporated in all types of fabrics including royal wear, headdresses, towels, tablecloths, and napkins. It was also used to insulate buildings and ovens, and even as wicks for temple lanterns.

In the medieval period, asbestos was used to insulate armor. The rich and the noble also collected Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, which included their famous non-flammable cloths. Charlemagne was said to have owned an asbestos tablecloth that he used to impress guests by setting it on fire and removing the cloth undamaged.

The industrial revolution realized the development of countless asbestos products. With powered machinery and steam power gaining popularity, a means to control the immense heat required to create power was needed. Asbestos was the perfect material to insulate steam pipes, turbines, ovens, and kilns.

The demand for asbestos was so great that asbestos mines all over the world started opening. In Canada, the first commercial asbestos mine opened in the 1870s, soon followed by Russia, Australia, and South Africa.

As technology moved from steam power to diesel, asbestos’ insulating abilities continued to be in high demand. By the 1930s, people had adapted its uses to the shipping, automobile, and construction industry. It was used for brake and clutch lining in cars. In ships, they used it for insulation to parts exposed to high heat. In residential, office and industrial buildings, it was used for fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, gaskets, pipe insulation, fire retardant coating, bricks, and cement. It was also incorporated into building materials as it increased the pliability of mastics and mudding compounds, and served as an effective acoustic dampener.

The trend continued until well into the 1980s, when medical journals started publishing articles on the harmful effects of asbestos. The medical community had been reporting on the dangers of asbestos for years (even in Ancient Roman times, Pliny the Elder, a naturalist and philosopher, had cautioned people against using slaves who had worked with asbestos because they had poor constitutions). However, they were disregarded due to the popularity of the material. It was only due to the increasing reports of diseases related to asbestos exposure that public attention was drawn.

In response to the growing statistics of occupational related illnesses and death linked to asbestos exposure, the government established strict processes to control and manage all aspects of removal. Unfortunately, with the millions of buildings and homes that were constructed using asbestos containing materials in the years prior, the lasting impacts of its extensive use was difficult to remediate.

What Makes Asbestos Harmful and What are its Effects

Asbestos, in its simplest form, is naturally occurring group of minerals which can split into microscopic fibres. Should the fibres become airborne, they can easily be inhaled and, due to their shape, imbedded to the tissues of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system.

Because asbestos is impervious to chemical degradation, the material remains in the respiratory system. This causes inflammation, which can eventually lead to various chronic health issues including the following:

  • Asbestosis: A disease that causes scarring of the lungs, making it difficult for the person to breath. This can be a precursor to Mesothelioma.
  • Mesothelioma: A rare form of cancer that causes scarring in the chest and/or abdominal cavity. Studies show that asbestos exposure is the only medically verifiable cause of this.
  • Lung Cancer: While this is most commonly associated to smoking, this can be made worse by asbestos exposure.

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in the workplace. In Canada, CAREX estimates 152,000 exposed workers. The Ontario-based Occupational Cancer Research Centre reports that this wide-spread exposure causes almost 2,000 new cancers each year in the country.

What is Being Done to Deal with the Issues?

The WHO declared asbestos as a human carcinogen more than 30 years ago. Partial bans are in place involving the use, sale, and import of asbestos in all G7 countries, including Canada.

In January 2018, Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced that Canada would be “…launching… new, tougher rules to stop the manufacture, import, use and sale of asbestos.”

In addition, asbestos removal and management is now highly regulated to protect workers and the public. Abatement of hazardous materials is often the first step taken before a demolition or renovation project can proceed. This requires strict adherence to building codes and safety legislation. In Alberta, only certified workers can participate in asbestos abatement.

What to Do if You Suspect Asbestos in Your Home or Workplace?

Brad Burwash, CRSP, Division Manager of EHSP’s hazardous materials consulting group, said, “If you suspect you might have asbestos, you need to do a comprehensive survey to determine asbestos types, quantities, and condition.”

“The best way to deal with asbestos in buildings if you find it is to ‘manage it in place’ if it remains undisturbed, otherwise some other specialized abatement techniques may be required.”

Closure

The legacy of asbestos in buildings will remain with us for decades. The solution to managing the exposure hazard and the ultimate health risk is proper assessment and management of the material.

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we are reminded that action is needed to keep our citizens safe and healthy. Awareness of the hazard is the first step in managing occupational illness and prevention is the best method to manage illnesses associated with asbestos exposure.

If you require more information and need to get help, there are numerous government websites that offer advice (check out our sources links!). You could also contact us at 1.877.243.6838 or at info@ehsp.ca.

Sources:

2018 CSE

Glyn Jones on Judging Panel for 2018 Canada’s Safest Employer

Glyn Jones will join a panel of twenty-four health and safety industry leaders to determine the safest employers in Canada as part of the 2018 Canada’s Safest Employers Awards, presented by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine (COS Magazine).

The Awards recognize Canadian companies that have achieved outstanding results in the promotion of health and safety to their employees. Nominations are open until June 1, 2018.

There are 10 industry-specific categories available: Building and Construction; Health Care; Mining and Natural Resources; Transportation; Chemistry; Manufacturing; Oil and Gas; Public Sector / Non-profit; Services; and Utilities and Electrical. There are also four special award portfolios which include: Wellness Award; Psychological Safety Award; Young Worker Safety Award; and Canada’s Best Health + Safety Culture Award.

Mr. Jones will be part of the thirteen-person panel to judge the winners of the industry-specific categories. He was also a judge for the same categories in 2011.

For more information on the Awards, please visit their website: http://www.safestemployers.com/

EHSP Safety Specialist on University of Alberta’s OH&S Advisory Committee

Jennifer McEnhill, project manager and safety specialist with EHSP’s Edmonton Safety Risk Management division, was appointed to be a member of the University of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Certificate Program Advisory Committee.

As a member, Ms. McEnhill will work with other OH&S experts to provide the University with advice on curriculum development, program review and updates necessary to keeping their program relevant and top of class. She will also be part of the group discussing ways to improve the program delivery and how the University can increase linkages to other safety professional societies and sectors.

Glyn Jones, Partner with EHSP, said, “This is a testament of the marketplace’s view of Jenn and her role as a leader in the safety field, and within EHSP.”

Congratulations on your appointment, Jenn. We’re excited to see how you will help grow the safety profession!

PMP

EHSP Project Manager Achieves PMP Designation

We are proud to announce that Erin Standen, project manager with EHSP’s Safety and Risk Management division, successfully passed her Project Management Professional (PMP) exam on February 15, 2018.

The PMP is an important industry-recognized certification for project managers. Obtaining the designation requires completion of a rigorous program of study and passing the PMP exam. Holding the PMP signifies that you understand and speak the global language of project management and are ready to help your company be leaders in efficient and effective project execution.

Ms. Standen provides workplace safety solutions and conducts health and safety audits. She adds PMP to her list of designations, which already includes Canadian Registered Safety Professional and Radiation Safety Officer. This accomplishment will be significant to EHSP’s mission of providing effective and efficient health and safety consulting services.

Congratulations on your achievement Erin!

2018 Service Awards

EHSP Honors Service Awardees

On January 20, 2018, EHSP recognized employees celebrating their 2-year, 5-year, and 10-year anniversaries with the company. The awarding ceremony was held during the annual EHSP Winter Party at the Rose and Crown Pub in Calgary, Alberta.

The awardees were:

2 Years

  • Justin Cybulsky, Project Coordinator – Calgary
  • Tim Ambery, Project Coordinator – Ottawa

5 Years

  • Ashley Bonser, Project Manager – Calgary
  • Jennifer McEnhill, Project Manager – Edmonton

10 Years

  • Brian Denny, Operations Manager – Calgary

EHSP started this tradition of commemorating the services of long term employees in 2015 when EHSP reached their 10-year milestone. Glyn Jones, Senior Partner at EHSP, said, “As a company just out of the start-up phase, it is important to acknowledge the hard work our employees have put in. To date, we have recognized 3 service levels.”

“We recognize employees who have been with us for 2 years, which is the time it takes to become a fully competent and contributing member of the team. The next level is 5 years of service, which symbolizes the first few steps taken on the journey towards becoming a ‘leader of the ranks.’ Finally, we have the 10 years of service level for employees who have stayed the course and have shown the leadership necessary to becoming a significant part of the company’s past and future.”

The awards took the form of silver clocks, varied in size and design, depending on the service level. “To some, the clock symbolizes a feeling of time pressure, which every successful consultant would have inevitably felt at some point in their career. A clock is also a reminder that time is valued, a limited resource that needs to be spent carefully, and invested in things that matter.”

“We have chosen a clock as the official EHSP service award because it tells time, reminding the recipient when they check the time that their contribution has been significant, and they are a valued and respected member of the EHSP team.”

Congratulations to the 2018 service awardees! We look forward to seeing you grow more in your career and with EHSP.

EHSP Adds 3 New CRSPs to Our Roster

The June 2017 Canadian Registered Safety Professional Exam (CRSPEX) proved to be a fruitful experience for EHSP. We are proud to announce that three more of our health and safety consultants can now add “CRSP” to their title. Congratulations to Kevin Schmidt, Operations Manager (Ottawa), Nancy Lee Fortin, Project Manager (Ottawa), and Ashley Bonser, Project Manager (Calgary)!

Tenacity and commitment to process were key ingredients that they brought to the preparation for this exam. Amidst all their work responsibilities, they were still able to focus on working towards and eventually achieving their goal.

Having the CRSP designation indicates a safety professional’s technical competence with the capacity to deliver service excellence. We look to our newly minted, Ottawa-based CRSPs to lead our team as we continue to grow our safety and risk management services in Ontario. We also eagerly await all the great things that Ashley will accomplish as she settles into her role of Project Manager for the Calgary branch’s Industrial Hygiene division.

Congratulations again Kevin, Nancy, and Ashley!

Our Edmonton office has moved

We are excited to announce that our Edmonton office has moved to a new location. Our new address is 4940 – 87 Street NW, Edmonton, AB  T6E 5W3.

To accommodate the continuous growth of our business in Northern Alberta, we have moved to a 3000 ft2 unit that has its own training room, a large board/meeting room, a full kitchen, and several offices. The unit is on the main floor, giving our visitors easy access to us. Free parking is also available.

Please note that while the address has changed, our contact information remains the same. For any service inquiries, we can be reached at 1.877.243.6838. You can also contact our Edmonton Operations Manager Bill Martin at 780.395.0700 or at bmartin@ehsp.ca.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new Edmonton home.