June 2015

Message from our Executive Director


Last month, we were privileged to hear Key Note Speaker Martin LaTulippe at the Nova Scotia Health Human Resource Sector Council AGM. Through his contagious energy and impactful words, he talked about the importance of collaboration. Through humour, and his story telling,  he reminded us of the importance of being 'present'. Do not be deterred by past experiences that de-railed initiatives, or failure to act because of an uncertain future, but remain focused on today. Reach out to people who inspire you, leverage resources and build trusted relationships through positive interactions. He shared his formula E + R = O.  'Event' plus 'Response' = 'Outcome'. Channel your energy on the 'Event'.  How you respond will affect the 'Outcome'. Whether tackling a project, making a decision or taking the time to say a simple 'thank you ..great job ' to an employee, your 'Response' will affect 'Outcome'...the future... tomorrow.  We are all working to 'Outcomes' and we want to feel good about achieving positive results.

His presentation was filled with safety leadership messages, that inspire us to continue to work together in collaboration. Support one another. Recognize good work and find ways to help one another building safety leadership competency during uncertain times and system challenges.

This issue of the newsletter brings news on important topics such as the S.A.F.E.R. Leadership model, updates on WHMIS 2015 (GHS), Steps for Safety Workshop 2 and upcoming Workshop 3, patient lifting and transfers, recent hazards noted in our sector, important dates to mark on your calendar and much more.

Susan Dempsey 


The following are a few highlights from the Board of Directors Meeting held April 23, 2015.
  • The Governance & Nominating Committee have been diligently working on revising the policy manual. By the end of July all policies will have been reviewed and reworked.
  • The Strategic planning session was held in September 2014, the Executive Director and Board have been working steadily to complete the strategic directions and action plan for 2015-2018. 



S.A.F.E.R. Leadership


When you look at your organizational structure and safety culture, do your leaders really place safety above all else by demonstrating this belief in all that they do?


I recently attended a function where Dr. Kevin Kelloway from Saint Mary's University spoke about the S.A.F.E.R Leadership model http://awarens.ca/safer-leadership The data acquired in this study came from members of the healthcare sector.


This model is being trialed in New Brunswick and new data will be released in the Fall. Keep your eyes open for an update.


Trisha MacIsaac

OHS Coordinator 





We often hear from participants of our training that they love us and what we do! That is wonderful to hear, but we'd like to know more. 

Please let us know what your organization has implemented since participating in our training sessions. Your feedback is valuable and may be included at our AGM in September!





Feedback can be sent to info@awarens.ca                   


We're looking forward to your participation. Thanks!  

Patient Lifts and Transfers - Watch Your Back!

Musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) caused by strains and sprains, are the number one cause of occupational incidents in the health and community services sector. We often attribute these types of incidents to patient lifting and transfer techniques. Does your organization have a program for safe patient lifts and transfers? Check out our website for tools:

Patient lifts and transfers, Soteria

Slips, Trips, Falls...and Call-Button Cords

Do we think about some of the not so obvious hazards that can affect how we complete a task? For example, the freely hanging call-button cord.  During the month of May there were three separate reports to the DLAE involving a staff member becoming entangled in the call-button cord. One of these incidents resulted in an employee suffering a broken ankle!

Be on the look out for any hazards at your workplace and share these concerns with immediate managers and supervisors. It might be time for a revised risk assessment of the work area. Remember, to provide healthy and safe quality care to our clientele, we need to take care of ourselves and one another.

Trisha MacIsaac

OHS Coordinator 




WHMIS 2015 (GHS) Update


The federal Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation was

amended February 11, 2015 to align with the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS). No changes to provincial WHMIS have been made.


During the transition period referenced in the new federal legislation in Gazette II (http://

canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-02-11/pdf/g2-14903.pdf )., suppliers of "hazardous

products" will be allowed to comply with either the old system (WHMIS 1988) or the new

(WHMIS 2015).

All suppliers must provide product information in compliance with WHMIS 2015 by June 2018.


Due to the supplier transition provisions contained in the federal legislation Nova Scotia employers must proceed as follows:


1. If there are no products with WHMIS 2015 safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels in the workplace, the employer continues to comply with WHMIS 1988 requirements.


2.If the employer receives a product that has an SDS and label complying with WHMIS 2015, they must comply with the WHMIS 2015 requirements. This includes, but is not limited to:


a) Training under Section 4 of WHMIS including content consistent with WHMIS 2015 for SDSs and labels for workers who may be exposed to hazardous products.


b) Acquiring up to date SDS's. The employer is not required to ensure the SDS is within three years of its latest revision as this requirement has been removed in WHMIS 2015 for suppliers. However, since suppliers must update SDSs as soon as significant information becomes available, an employer, must ensure they are provided with the most current version of the supplier SDS each time a hazardous product is purchased.


3. If the employer receives a product that complies with WHMIS 2015, and their employees are not yet trained on WHMIS 2015, they may store the product until such time as they have completed the WHMIS 2015 training as per section 3(2) of the current WHMIS regulations.

Where an employer has products that meet both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 in the workplace, the employer must comply with both systems concurrently. This includes ensuring workers have either Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) or SDS's readily available, hazardous products are labeled and employees are educated and trained. Training regarding safe use, storage, handling and disposal is the same in both old WHMIS 1988 and the new WHMIS 2015. The differences in education will be around the content and significance of the label and new information on SDS's.


Information obtained courtesy of DLAE OHS News - June 2015.


*To our subscribers, please note: due to these changes we require extra time to prepare our WHMIS 2015 (GHS) self-directed learning recording. We anticipate having this ready by the end of July 2015. Thank you for your understanding. 



Voting Member Recruitment 



To learn more about becoming a voting member including commitment and application click here.




Completed applications can be submitted to the attention of Catherine Martin, Executive Coordinator via catherine@awarens.ca









WORKSHOP 2 RECAP                                                                  


Our Most Recent Steps for Safety Workshops, Step 4, were heavily focused on Incident Reporting and Investigation. Heather and Louise were in high spirits while travelling the province to share this information at nine different locations. Checkout upcoming dates for the continued Steps for Safety training in the sidebar of this newsletter.


Pictured below is the long term care team from Tideview Terrace in Digby, showing their commitment to Workplace Violence Prevention with fantastic t-shirts. Way to go!


            AWARE-NS Appearances and Winners!!






During the month of June we were fortunate to participate in several activities including the Health Sector Council AGM, CCANS conference at Liscombe Lodge and the Northwood Research Symposium. At each location we drew a name from the attendees and the lucky winners took home a $25 Tim Horton's gift card.



Debbie Stewart - HSC AGM

Michael Fairn - CCANS

Leona Kearley - Northwood Symposium



201 Brownlow Avenue, Unit 1Dartmouth, B3B 1W2

Phone 1-877-LETS-ACT (538-7228) Local Phone 1-902-832-3868 
Fax 1-902-832-3445
In This Issue





We are offering the following sessions below in the communities indicated:


New! Steps for Safety: Workshop 3 and re-offering Hazard ID


November 18

Berwick - King's Regional


November 24

Sydney - Sydney Fire Hall

ovember 25

Baddeck - Alderwood


December 1

Yarmouth -  NSCC Burridge Campus Room 147

December 2 

Liverpool - Liverpool Legion

December 8

Amherst - Wandalynn Inn

December 9

Antigonish - St. Martha's Hospital

December 14

Northwood, Ivany Place


December 15

Truro - Wynnpark Villa


*Dates are subject to change.



Sign up now by emailing training@awarens.ca


Make sure to check Heather's calendar for regular updates.





WHMIS 2015 (GHS)






Workplace Violence Prevention General Awareness 







Upcoming Events







September 24, 2015 



Tools for Life Conference and Exhibit at Horton High School, Greenwich

October 23, 2015

Tools for Life



Health Achieve East November 2-3, 2015

Health Achieve East 










Summer Is Here!!


  • Stay hydrated


  • Wear appropriate clothing i.e. hat when outdoors, light weight clothing


  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater and reapply as needed (sweating, swimming)


  • Avoid over-exertion. Take short breaks as often as possible.


  •  Tell someone if you aren't feeling well and move yourself to a cooler location out of direct sunlight.



  • Applying cold cloths behind the neck, under armpits, in the groin area and on the forehead will help to lower the body's temperature.


Enjoy our beautiful weather safely this summer!