October 2015 - Revised

Safe Lift and Transfer - An Investment Worth Making  

October is Global Ergonomics Month. This dedicated time helps us to focus on increasing awareness and promoting the application and inter-relationship between people, the workplace environment for better efficiency, comfort, productivity, health, and safety.    
This is a great opportunity to explore and give greater attention to the work environment. One such topic or area of focus, is the reduction of Musculoskeletal Injuries, MSI's, within the healthcare environment. We know that MSI's are the most common time loss claims reported to WCB by healthcare workers and that 50% of these MSI claims are related to some type of manual lift or transfer task such as, resident /patient lifting, transferring and repositioning.
A comprehensive safe lift and transfer program is the best practice approach that will not only help reduce workplace injuries, but will foster teamwork, strengthen a work safe culture and be in compliance with OHS legislation.
In this issue of our AWARE-NS newsletter, you will find information about:
  • the AWARE-NS AGM
  • an update on the Proactive Compliance Blitz for healthcare Working Group
  • tips on combating safety complacency 
  • AWARE-NS training schedule
  • a update on Steps for Safety 
Yours in safety,
Susan Dempsey, Executive Director, AWARE-NS

AWARE-NS held a successful AGM on September 24, 2015.
We are pleased to share with you our 2014-15 Annual Report

Janet Everest - Chair  (Member at Large)
Sheila Rankin - Vice Chair (Acute Care)
John Brookfield- Treasurer (Labour)
Mark Williams - Member at Large
Ty Walsh - Front Line Workers
Sandra Graham Muise - Community Residential Home
Darlene Chaisson - Facility based Long Term Care
Arlene Morrison - Facility based Long Term Care 
Allan Chalmers - Home Care/Home Support 
Dennita Fitzpatrick -WCB
Judy LaPierre - Community Services 

Thank you to our out going Board Members Patricia Bland and Patricia Bishop-Grant for their commitment and hard work over the past years.
The Connection Between the NS Workplace Safety Strategy  and Safe Resident Handling Mobility (SRHM)   

In March 2013, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education (LAE) and the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia released the 2013-2017 Workplace Safety Strategy. The overall goal is to make Nova Scotia the safest place to work in Canada. 
The strategy identifies 6 pillars:
  1.   Leadership
  2.   Safety Culture
  3.   Education and Training
  4.   Small and Medium Enterprises
  5.   Inspection and Enforcement
  6.   Performance Management and Measurement
Within the Inspection and Enforcement pillar,  a proactive compliance inspection blitz within long term care is being planned to raise awareness of workplace hazards and risks as they relate to musculoskeletal injuries, and the importance of safe resident movement and handling.
Over the past number of months, a working group co-lead by WCB and LAE with representatives from AWARE-NS, HANS, DHW-Continuing Care, and Labour have been working together to develop information, tools and resources that will help long term care organizations develop and implement Safe Resident Handling Mobility (SRHM) practices. 
AWARE-NS is pleased to host  this collaborative safety initiative on a webpage dedicated to SHRM. You will have easy access  to information, tools and resources which are only a 'click' away. Be sure to check in regularly, as we continue to add information being developed.
The Inspection Blitz by LAE will be planned for early 2016, allowing time for organizations to examine, develop and implement policy and practices to meet legislative requirements. 

Ceiling lifts have been purchased and installed - What about inspections to ensure safety?
Like a car, once you have made the purchase, a preventative maintenance plan is required for your investment to ensure safety and reliability for the long term.
Inspection and maintenance of ceiling lifts and slings is a basic requirement. 
  • Lifts and slings should be inspected before every use, and more formally on a monthly basis. 
  • Mechanical lifts (portable and ceiling lifts) should also be tested annually by a qualified person.
  • FAQ - Patient/Resident/Client Lifts
 The following links will provide you with more detailed information:

Also, the following link will take you to a presentation given in 2011 by Jeremy Dann from the Clinical Engineering Group at HANS. We encourage you to watch it, even if only for the first few minutes. Jeremy tells a few stories of lift failures that resulted in injuries to staff and or patients / residents / clients. These really highlight why inspections and testing are so important. If you can watch the entire presentation, please  click on the link:

6 Ways to Combat Safety Complacency on the Job
Published from OHS Insider 
September  22, 2015
Complacency can be a factor in near-misses, injuries and fatalities in the workplace. For example, workers may skip steps in a procedure because they're rushing, bored or lazy. They may also fail to pay proper attention while doing a task they've done thousands of times before without any issues. But all it takes is one problem or hiccup for a routine task to suddenly become dangerous.
Signs of worker complacency may include not using required PPE, unsafe use of equipment or skipping steps that should be performed to ensure safety and quality.
Safety professionals should take steps to address worker complacency before it becomes a serious problem. You should enlist the help of your frontline managers, who work closely with workers. Give them these suggestions on ways they can combat safety complacency:
1. Practice what you preach. Be a role model. If your workers see you working unsafely or not wearing PPE, what message does that send to them?
2. Engage all workers in reporting unsafe conditions or near misses. Quickly respond to all concerns. And during your safety meetings, mention safety issues that have been raised and discuss what has been done to address them.

3. Encourage your workers to watch out for one another and say something to co-workers they see working unsafely or taking shortcuts. These interactions should be respectful, with a focus on expressing concern for the other person's safety.

 4. Encourage workers to plan ahead before starting any task. They should think about what could go wrong and how to protect themselves from workplace hazards.


5. Encourage workers to share their ideas for safety improvements during safety meetings.

6. Invite workers to be part of the OHS program by leading or co-leading a safety meeting or joining your JOHS committee.





Workshop 3 is ready to roll! Heather Matthews, AWARE-NS and Louise Barker, WCB are ready to share the next step in the "Steps for Safety" series of workplace violence prevention workshops. You'll come away with increased knowledge, better communication skills and a tool to help with seamless integration into your organization.


E-invites have been sent out to organizations and we are pleased with the response so far. You can accept the invite electronically or  register with Trisha by contacting her through the following methods:


902-832-3868 ext 104

1-877-538-7228 ext 104 


To get the most of these kilometeres travelled, you'll note that Heather will be re-offering Hazard ID in the afternoon. You may register for this as well, if needed.



Steps for Safety Workshop 3


Hazard ID


November 18 - Waterville

Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre 

November 18 - Waterville

November 24 - Sydney

Grand Lake Fire Hall 

November 24 - Sydney 

November 25 - Baddeck

Alderwood Rest Home

November 25 - Baddeck

December 1 - Yarmouth 

NSCC Burridge Campus 

December 1 - Yarmouth

December 2 - Liverpool 

Liverpool Legion

December 2 - Liverpool

December 8 - Amherst

Wandlyn Inn 

December 8 - Amherst

December 9 - Antigonish

St. Martha's Regional Hospital 

December 9 - Antigonish

December 14 - Bedford

Northwood's Ivany Place 

December 14 - Bedford

December 15 - Truro

Wynn Park Villa 

*January 13, 2016*

Location TBA 


                     Tools for Life Conference
On October 23, 2015 the AWARE-NS team of Heather, Kenzie and Trisha travelled to beautiful Greenwich, NS for the 10th Annual Tools for Life Conference and Exhibit.

We had the opportunity to speak with people who have taken our training both in-class and online and received fantastic feedback about how AWARE-NS's hard work is paying off and how our vision of safe and healthy people, safe and healthy workplaces is making a positive impact in the lives of the organizations and employees in the health and community services sector.
We also made numerous connections with new organizations whom we can provide support and training for as we continue to move forward. 
Heather facilitated two mini-sessions, engaging audiences to live the message of the Internal Responsibility System everyday; at work, at home and in your community.

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
Upcoming Events...

Canadian Patient Safety Week
October 26-30, 2015

You can order information packages directly from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, here:
Health Achieve East
November 2-3, 2015
Make sure to check the Training calendar for regular updates.



New Courses...
WHMIS 2015 (GHS)

NS OHS Act and Regulations
(for JOHS committee

Steps for Safety- Preventing Workplace Violence