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Psst…can we talk? Mental health in the workplace and initiating change

​Mental health problems or illness is one of the top three drivers leading to short or long term disability claims in Canada, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in the workplace needs to be a top priority for all. Learn to recognize signs of mental illness in a co-worker, friend or even yourself with these helpful tips.
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Changing a valve? The ‘Flange Hanger’ will eliminate the need to hold it in place, reducing strain on your body.

At the Alberta Health & Safety Conference ( held this past October in Banff I had the opportunity to meet James Courtenay, President of Flange Hanger. Prior to his current role Mr. Courtenay owned a maintenance and construction company that served the oil field. He has worked in the oil and gas field, specifically providing maintenance and operating equipment for 14 years. Mr. Courtenay explained that over his career, he had injured his back more than once. He found one of the most difficult tasks to be changing a flange or valve. Quite often the valve was heavy, it needed to held in an awkward position (high or low to the ground), and it needed to be held for an extended period of time while the bolts were put in place.

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Ladder Climbing and Grip Strategies During Holiday Decorating

Falls from ladders represent a significant injury event in Canada and the United States. Annually, more than 40 000 people are injured in Canada (OHS Canada), and falls from heights are reported to be the 2nd most prevalent injury-causing event in the United States (U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011).

While many of these injuries occur in occupational settings, the number of ladder-related falls are also high when performing activities at home. Perhaps this is no more obvious than during the Holiday Season in December, as many of us climb on ladders to install lighting and decorations both inside and outside of the house.

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It is time to check your child’s backpack (and maybe even your own!)

Did you know that 82% of children report back pain related to their backpack?

Now that we’re a couple of months into the school season, it is a good time to check your child’s backpack and what is being carried inside. I’m mainly thinking about your child’s backpack, and if you are a teacher, then also your student’s backpacks. However, if you carry a backpack for work (or other activities) then you should also take a look at your backpack and how it may be affecting your comfort.
Children carry their backpacks to and from school daily. Depending on their grade and homework demands, the backpack could hold a binder or two, a textbook or two, lunch, and a set of gym clothing and shoes. Carrying a heavy backpack is concerning for anyone, but particularly for children during growth spurts.

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Pregnancy and Office Work, Part 1:

General health guidelines suggest that sedentary office work is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children, provided there are no pregnancy complications. However, the physical changes that occur for a women’s body do have an impact on postural and work outcomes, and this may increase the risk of musculoskeletal discomfort/injury. In this blog, we outlines these changes and relevant considerations for the pregnant office worker.

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Why choose a Vertical Mouse?

In nearly all occupations computer time makes up a significant portion of the work day. This is especially true for knowledge workers, who generally complete their work in an office environment. With the large proportion of work time dedicated to computer use, much of this relates to interaction with the mouse to perform various actions.

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Reviewing a Compact Split Keyboard

What is the impact of your keyboard choice? A 2010 article outlines a trial of a split, adjustable ergonomic keyboard and separate number pad (the Kinesis Freestyle Solo keyboard with accessory package), and compares outcomes with this keyboard to the use of a traditional “standard” keyboard model (1). The split, adjustable keyboard included “clip-on tenting” accessories that can incline the keyboard 10 to 15 degrees, reducing the amount of pronation in the forearm. The ability to open and completely separate the keyboard to reduce ulnar deviation is also possible with the design.

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Road-Trip Ergonomics

In this blog, we will help you to understand the risk factors associated with developing discomfort during long period of driving, and how to avoid them so you can enjoy your trip.

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Modified Work - Important Considerations

Modified work, according to Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta, is temporary changes to regular job duties as a result of injury, which may include: changes to work tasks, environment, work load (hours or schedule), or equipment. It may also include work normally performed by others or specially designed job duties. Modified work has been cited to improve return to work outcomes by reducing a worker’s time away from work, providing a work rehabilitation opportunity through safe and realistic work duties, and reducing costs associated with a claim. However, for modified work to be successful it must include productive or meaningful duties, and be safe for the worker within their temporary work restrictions. Given my personal experiences with modified work, I must also add that it is also important to consider the personality of the worker.

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Product Review – MotionHeat Rechargeable Heated Glove Liners by Power in Motion

The key to effective intervention for cold-related finger/hand pain may be maintenance of hand and finger temperature during work operations. However, hand actions and the use of specialized safety gloves, which have limited insulation, are likely to result in constant heat loss from the hands. A method to provide heat energy for the hands and fingers might be a more effective intervention.

Heated gloves have been commercially available for a long time, but in most instances these gloves are inappropriate for industrial work. They are often too bulky, or they have wiring that restricts movement and can create performance/safety issues. Furthermore, commercial models have the heating units in the palms of the gloves, and have limited mechanisms to heat or warm the fingers – which is of primary importance to prevention/abatement of symptoms.

Fortunately, there is a locally-available product that has overcome these issues. Power In Motion’s MotionHeat Rechargable Heated Glove Liners.

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