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Mental Health, the Workplace and You


Picture someone: they eat a lot of junk food and have a pretty poor diet in general. They don’t exercise, they have a sedentary job, they can’t wait to get home from work so they can sit on the couch and watch Netflix, and they probably smoke and drink too…but they’re not sick. Is this person healthy? Most people would say “no”. (Also, sorry if this is you. I’m not picking on you, much of this description comes from personal experience at one point or another in my own life. I promise. I’m just trying to make a point, please read on.)

Let’s look at someone else: they are under a lot of stress at work, both from deadlines and difficult coworkers, maybe someone dealing with family problems, and they’re concerned about the economy and future job prospects. They are exhausted about reading about terrorist attacks and mass shootings and climate change and all of the other overwhelming aspects of today’s world. On top...

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Why yesterday was so important


Happy Day-After-Labour-Day, everyone! We hope you all enjoyed a well deserved long weekend. For our part, we headed to the mountains, spending time with family in Hinton and Jasper and showing our French exchange student our gorgeous province. It’s good to be back to the office after some restorative time away.

As we settle back into the daily routine, we want to reflect with you all on the meaning of the holiday we just enjoyed. For business owners and workers, Labour Day is more than just a long weekend or an excuse to picnic. Those are the byproducts, and we all appreciate them, but they’re secondary to the outcomes of a movement that began in the streets over 130 years ago.

It was March 1872 when a group of printers in Toronto decided they’d had enough. Their work weeks were too long—at least 12 hours in most cases, and reliably 6 or 7 days a week. Their requests for reprieve were dismissed outright by employers as “unreasonable,” so they...

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Here’s why your team works safely


Last month, we asked frontline workers across Alberta to share why they follow safety rules at work. We knew what we expected to hear, and we were prepared to be surprised, but we don’t think any of us would’ve been 100% accurate in predicting everyone’s motivations for safe work practices. Here are some of the results so far (and yes, the survey is still open. If you’re a frontline worker in Alberta, we’d love to hear your perspective!).

88% of respondents ranked “ I want to get home safely” as the MOST important reason they follow safety rules at work.

One respondent ranked “I want to get home safely” as the LEAST important reason for following safety rules at work. Huh.

About 50% of respondents ranked “To comply with legislation” as the SECOND MOST important reason for following safety rules at work. The other half ranked “To protect my coworkers and the public” as their SECOND MOST important reason.


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Why do we need safety legislation, anyway?


Last month, we asked some of the smartest minds in the industry, “Why did you get into safety?” Your answers, deeply personal and rooted in service, astounded and impressed us…and brought up even more questions! So this month, we’re curious about one of the big external factors that has shaped many of our decisions to serve in the safety industry—that is, what role has safety legislation played in our province and country over the years? How did it start, how does any one piece of legislation get traction, and what is its place on modern jobsites?

We’ve heard from many frontline workers and small business owners that enforced legislation interrupts productive and efficient work. On the other hand, we’ve also read the stats that suggest legislation protects thousands of Canadian lives per year. As with most things, the best solution is probably somewhere in the middle, but in the meantime, we wanted to know more. And just like last...

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Getting the most from your safety program—part 3


Welcome to the grand finale of our 3-part series on getting the most from your safety program!

In Part 1, we talked about treating your safety manual like a cookbook.

Part 2 was about the importance of delivering the right message to the right audience.

Here in Part 3, we’re going to tie it all together with some tips on how to write a manual that your team actually wants to read. Because that’s the final piece of the puzzle, isn’t it? Even the best safety manual on the planet is useless if it doesn’t get read, and even if it does get read, it has to be understandable.

One thing we’ve heard over and over again from our subscribers and clients is that you appreciate the way we break down the convoluted technical requirements of your manuals and programs into clear and actionable language. Working with us means you can get back to doing when you do best, and remain confident that your safety program is an accurate representation of your company’s...

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“Why I Got Into Safety”


Safety is more than just a job. For those in the know, it’s a vocation and a calling, as well. We’re fortunate at Boreal Services Group to work with and be surrounded by some of the most dedicated safety professionals in the industry, and for this article, we wanted to put your stories front and center.

People get into this industry for a variety of reasons, ranging from personal experiences in childhood to seeing a need that wasn’t yet met. As you read these stories, we encourage you to remember the reason you got into safety, and to take a moment to recognize the value of your continued commitment. It is because of people like you that our provincial safety record continues to improve year over year. It’s because of you that workers get to go home safely to their families every night.

If you’re inspired to share, we’d love to add your story to this page, too. Email us with your photo and a short answer to the question, ...

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Getting the most from your safety program—part 2


(Click here to read Part 1.)

Safety Manuals and the Town Crier

At first blush, the town crier and your safety manual may not appear to have that much in common. Stereotypically speaking, one stands on the street corner screaming for attention, and the other sits quietly in a desk drawer, rarely acknowledged unless the auditor is due for a visit.

On closer look, however, the town crier and the safety manual are one and the same. In the 18th century, the crier was the most important conduit of information between the government and the people. Carrying a bell and relaying official proclamations, the crier was responsible for making sure the citizenry was informed about all the important news of the day. Today, your safety manual is the foundation of your organization’s safety program, and the most important way to transmit your safety culture to all team members. It speaks loudly, and at length, about what matters to your company.

Ultimately, crier and manual are both important...

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Deidra’s rookie safety mistake


Deidra here, with a confession to make: this past February, I made a rookie safety mistake.

I was visiting Sedona for the week, and in a burst of confidence and energy, I decided to head out on an afternoon hiking trip…solo. I know, I know—but it gets worse! Because in my excitement, I somehow forgot to tell anyone where I was going.

And then my cell phone lost service.

And then I lost the trail.

I was completely alone in an unknown area.

Fortunately, after a little bit of bush-whacking (cactus-whacking?), I came across a dried-up creek bed and started following it down, hoping that it would lead to the river I crossed when I started my hike. As it turns out, I was only a short distance from where I was supposed to be, and the story ends with laughter. It could have gone a lot differently, though. It’s embarrassing to think about the trouble I could have been in and how easily I could have avoided it—if I had just taken 20 seconds to text a friend...

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Getting the most from your safety program—part 1


Welcome to the first in a three-part series on Getting the Most out of Your Safety Program!

Let’s start with a pretty basic question that has a controversial answer…

What is a safety manual?

A safety manual (and I’m sure this definition will cause debate in certain circles) describes your safety management system (sometimes called a safety program). So, the next question is, “What is a safety management system?” Remember that your safety management system is NOT just your safety manual. Having a manual sitting on your shelf gathering dust does not mean that you have a safety program.

A safety management system is the set of policies, practices, programs, and processes used to “keep you and your workers safe” (as well as keeping property, the public, and the environment safe). It likely includes a safety manual, and the documentation used to implement a program, and I’m hoping there is also a training aspect of your safety program. It...

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The safety rule you forgot


Dean here! Many of you know that I love to cook, and that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen working on recipes and learning new techniques. One of my favorite resources for this is Cook’s Illustrated, a science- and research-based online magazine that shares both great recipes and thorough product reviews to help home chefs like me make the best decisions in the kitchen.

Recently, the magazine did a review on that most ubiquitous and essential of kitchen safety devices: the fire extinguisher. They tested eight widely available models, judging them on five different criteria:

  • The time it took to put out grease and towel fires
  • Ease of use
  • Overall performance
  • Cleanup (mess and fumes produced)
  • Time to understand operation

It’s that last one that caught my attention, raising an important question—how many of us have ever thought about how long it would take us to understand the safety equipment at our disposal in a real emergency?

Every workplace must have a fire...

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