Redesigning The Way Your Company Works

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, play, and interact with our world. Whether your company is a single or multiple branch office operation, with industrial facilities or mobile public and field workers — developing a clear, concise program requires careful consideration and detailed risk and resource assessments.

Unique challenges require unique customized solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for businesses and workforces all across Canada. Public health departments, government leaders, and associations provide continual streams of information where business owners and executives must analyze this information to the best of their ability, providing direction in the creation of customized solutions for their business.

Barantas Inc. (Barantas) has remained focused on the core principles of prevention and safety services offering clarity and direction to company programs and operational procedure development.

Barantas can assist in any of the following key areas:

  • Business re-opening plans and implementation strategies
  • Operational redesign of workspace management
  • Worker inter-personal safety prevention programs and methodologies
  • Workforce programs for office, industrial, municipal and education sectors
  • Construction project-specific pandemic enhanced programs and inspections
  • Health and safety manual and policy development
  • Personal protective equipment supply and sourcing (masks, gloves, face shields)

Barantas provides comprehensive, long-term protection strategies and a personalized partnership anchored by our commitment to service excellence.

Redesigning Workplaces in a Post Pandemic Era

Our national reach and multi-disciplinary approach to safety management allow you to access a complete suite of health and safety services for a fraction of what it would cost you to source these services individually.

Barantas interactively works with you in evaluating and developing your new workplace strategies and worker health and safety management. Our goal is to collaboratively provide our expertise and knowledge to your key persons or teams, building a sustainable, internal infrastructure focused on the health and safety of your workforce.

We utilize a FIVE phase process. This process begins with a data acquisition phase, where we learn and understand your business, through to ensuring your teams can execute, monitor and continually adapt your program to meet today’s and future challenges.

Our process is based on the following principles:

  • Risk Reduction: Focused on reducing risk through prevention methodologies using the hierarchy of controls.
  • Individual Health and Safety Protection: Ensuring your company is taking the precautions reasonable for the protection of workers, employees, clients and affected individuals.
  • Maintenance of Applicable Requirements: Continual monitoring of authority directives, legislative requirements, and corporate due diligence best practices combined into a preparedness program able to adapt to changing environments and new directives.
  • Education and Sustainability: As part of working with your team through the five-phase process, our goal is to ensure understanding and application of the principles and methodologies for key team members ensuring an ability to assess, respond and adapt to continual change in both external factors and internal business decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR 5 STEP PROCESS https://www.barantas.ca/the-five-phase-process/

For a full version PDF of this document https://www.barantas.ca/pandemicmanagement/

 

 

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Municipalities and the Use of Technology During the Pandemic

If our current situation due to COVID-19 has had any positive impact, it is that municipalities who have been hesitant to adopt technology are now realizing just how vital it is. In the past, many municipal employees were unable to work from home due to technology limitations and concerns about the protection of confidential information. Let’s take a look at how some municipalities are adapting to the “new normal”.

 

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO

While other municipalities have set up a system allowing many staff to work from home instead of reporting to town offices, in the case of Wasaga Beach, the risk of an information breach has prevented them from allowing staff to work off-site.

“We had a cyber-attack almost three years ago that has made us wary of the security of confidential information being transmitted over the Internet from off-site locations,” said Communications Officer Michael Gennings.

“We have implemented many of the measures that other municipalities have, including work shifts to increase physical distancing. Should the pandemic situation change, the municipality will consider its options at that time.”

“Staff that must stay home are required to use vacation time or explore a leave. The bulk of our workforce remains onsite. Some have taken leaves.”

Wasaga Beach council is meeting via video conference for regular meetings, and in council chambers for closed session meetings.

 

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

The City of Medicine Hat has laid off 170 workers – about 15% of its workforce – and has deferred filling many summer positions as it wrestles with closures and budget stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Hall is attempting to conduct as much business as possible, but with less physical interaction and higher safety standards. “The City of Medicine Hat has taken the approach that it’s business as usual during an unusual time,” said Dennis Egert, the city’s corporate services commissioner,  pointing to online, teleconferencing, or directing resident queries via email rather than in-person meetings. 

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Despite the roadblocks presented by COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s municipal elections will go forward as scheduled. Electors from all 49 provincial municipalities will go to the polls on October 17 in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act stipulation that elections be held every four years on the third Saturday in October.

Chuck Porter, Minister of the province’s municipal affairs department, told reporters “At this point, we see no reason why municipal elections can’t move forward. We’re all adapting to do business differently these days and certainly we will work with (municipalities) to offer support where we can.

“We’ve done things in the past like electronic voting, by-phone voting in some circumstances. So I think there are a number of options that are out there for us to be able to vote this coming fall.”

How is your municipality dealing with social distancing, council meetings, and more? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing … [email protected]

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Older adults could be our ticket to prosperity after the pandemic

It has certainly been a challenging period in all our lives both personally and professionally.

This is one reason why I wrote this article which highlights how the pandemic has unfortunately reinforced ageist bias on one hand, and yet has been able to take advantage of the skill, expertise and experience of older medical professionals on the other.

As businesses emerge from the lock down, they may benefit enormously from a cohort of older adults who still want to contribute by working. I see this as a win-win for all. If you can circulate the article to friends and/or on social media, or if you know of any companies, businesses, organizations who might benefit from Top Sixty’s expertise as they resurface, I would greatly appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks for your help as we fight one of the last socially acceptable “isms”.

Warm regards,

Helen

See Helen’s Profile

 

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3 Communications Tips for Managing Anywhere, Anytime (plus a Free Gift!)

We’re in approximately week 5 of working remotely for many and it is likely working better for some than for others. As the leader, you may be wondering how you can better manage your relationships with the people on your team while working remotely.

 

There are two critical considerations that contribute significantly to improving relationships and engagement. The first, is that we don’t all have the same communication style; and, the second is that we aren’t all driven/motivated by the same things.

In this article, we’ll start by sharing three tips to help you improve your communication with the people on your team when working remotely.

It’s not a one-size fits all!

We tend to all have our own communication preferences and style. Some of us have a higher energy level and some don’t. Some of us tend to gain our energy from social interactions while others may find that draining.

The key point to remember is that people like people like themselves. Ever hear of birds of a feather? And no, opposites don’t naturally attract.

First you have to understand your own communication style. Are you forceful, decisive, strong-willed or do you tend to be low-key, mild and a collaborator? Are you a person who is magnetic, enthusiastic, demonstrative or are you more restrained, controlled, non-animated and more reserved? Perhaps you are the person that tends to be more patient, steady and relaxed or are you more active, flexible, and fat-moving? Lastly, maybe you tend to be more dependent, neat, careful and always have lots of research on a topic or maybe you’re more uninhibited and unconventional. You may say that you have a variety of these traits and that may be so, but each of us has a primary communication style that most people see most of the time. 

So what happens when you are communicating with someone that is the opposite of your style? Might the other person sometimes tune out? Do you sometimes tune out when someone is speaking that is quite different from you? If you’re more of that direct communicator and I’m the opposite, do I drive you nuts when I come in with pages of data and absolutely need you to understand every single point I’ve uncovered? Likely. After all, didn’t you ask me to give you the key highlights? How’s that communication working out?

Remember, people buy from people they like and people like people like themselves.

Learn to People Read

People reading isn’t as difficult as it may sound. With a bit of background knowledge you can start people reading anywhere anytime. One of the keys to people reading is not talking but rather observing. When we’re talking, we’re not listening. At the end of this article, you will have a chance to receive a free personalized Working From Home report and in that report that are some clues to identifying others’ preferred communication styles.

What verbal and non-verbal cues is the person giving you? Perhaps you’ve just finished yet another team zoom meeting. Granted it’s more challenging to pick up on non-verbal cues on virtual calls but you know your team so you should be able to pick up on clues. Do they appear drained after calls or are they leaving wanting more? It’s often more important to observe body language and what is not being said than to what is being said.

Learn to Flex…your style that is!

When I talk about flexing your style in communication workshops, people sometimes ask me if that isn’t manipulation. It’s only manipulation if the intent is not honourable. The #1 thing you can do to improve communication with anyone is to meet them where they are.

Flexing your style is the art of adapting your style to match the style of the person you are communicating with. It helps create that symbiotic cadence. If the other person is more reflective, has a lower tone of voice and a slower pace in speaking than is normal for you, try flexing your style to mirror those behaviours. It will take a lot of conscious effort and practice to get good at it but you will start to see the benefits before too long.

It’s as easy as 1…2…3

Your people aren’t all one size thus your approach can’t be a one-size fits all either. Take the time to connect with each member of your team one-on-one for the purpose of listening. Start with an observation using self-responsible language or with an open-ended question…and then listen and observe.

As you become better at the super skill of people reading, you and your team will reap the rewards of improved communication, relationships and engagement.

Our gift to you and your organization – The Working From Home Report

During this unprecedented time, our partner TTI SI has created a special Working From Home report. The questionnaire is the same highly-validated research-based questionnaire used for all our behaviours reports but this report has been designed to be easy to digest without the need for individual or group debriefs. No strings attached. You won’t be solicited if you take us up on our offer. TTI SI’s goal is to give away 10,000 of these reports each day in North America.

TTI SI has been on the cutting edge of the assessment solutions industry for over 30 years. They have administered over 30 million assessments worldwide in 115 countries in 47 different languages. Data norming and rigorous data analysis conducted by both internal research teams and independent statisticians help ensure our assessments are the most reliable and accurate tools in the market.

Ready? Click here. This link will take you to a page on our website where you can view a sample of the report, view answers to FAQs and a link to respond to the questionnaire to get your own personalized report. It only takes 10 minutes to complete. After you’re done, you will receive your report immediately in your inbox and will be taken to a page to download a PDF of our Action Plan worksheet for your personal use.

I hope you accept our gift and that you and your team use your personalized reports to improve working relationships. A fun follow-up activity is to have your team share their primary style from page 2 of the report so that you can all begin to see your behavioural similarities and differences and learn to appreciate what each person brings to the team.

Feel free to share this WFH report link with colleagues, friends and family.

Sophie Mathewson, PCC

Strategic Coach & Advisor

Prism Group Int’l

prismgroup.ca

Specializing in working with leaders that want to create more cohesive senior teams to achieve their purpose and vision

 

Sophie can be reached at [email protected] 

 

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Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

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The WE Approach to Online Meetings

Well I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this crazy unprecedented time.  As I prepare to go on yet another online meeting I was thinking about the previous normal and how meetings were often named as a #1 waste of time in the workday.  People can drift and disengage with meeting fatigue.  Good gracious, how are we going to keep focus online?

Firstly, lets all commit to show up on camera. It gives us a fighting chance. Next, apply the basics of an effective meeting:

  1. Make sure the meeting is necessary
  2. Clarity of purpose
  3. Have an agenda and publish it beforehand.
  4. Be clear why each participant is attending.
  5. Always remember the simple, common courtesies of life, particularly if you need to win support and build relationships. Make people feel welcome by creating a comfortable environment now more than ever!
  6. Promote openness and honesty in your meetings.  Create the psychological safety necessary for this and the quality of the conversation will be much greater.
  7. Ensure you keep time. People need to feel their time is valued.
  8. Contribution is important. Ensure all participants have opportunities to participate, especially those whose preference is to reflect and consider the views of others before speaking. They often have very valuable insights that should not be missed.
  9. Carry out regular and frequent summaries. This will enable everyone to check understanding and confirm what has been discussed/agreed. Research suggests that in effective meetings someone summarizes at least every 5 minutes.
  10. Record – In our current reality most online platforms can do so and then you can decide on options for providing access to the recording. Or old school it and have someone take notes and send that to all who participated.

Strive for continuous improvement. Obtaining feedback from participants on what was useful about the meeting and what could have been done differently is valuable information.  We can flatten our on-line meeting learning curves by actively listening and implementing improvements.

Remember that teams are cognitively and behaviorally diverse and if we follow the basics, we will help everyone engage in a meaningful online meeting experience! 

Now let’s effectively Zoom ourselves through this 😊!

Gail Green, President and CEO

Emergenetics Ontario

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Three steps from Surviving to Thriving!

Three steps from surviving to thriving!

Do you enjoy change? Does the unknown of tomorrow thrill you with anticipation and excitement for the surprises that await you? Are you eager and prepared for whatever the day throws at you?

I’m not.  There, I’ve said it.  Sometimes I’d rather just close my eyes and wake up in the morning and take whatever life tosses my way, one thing at a time.

As an entrepreneur, I don’t have that luxury.  Just as I’m sure you have days where you’d just rather…not. But you have to, because of responsibilities.

We do the best we can, we try to plan ahead, accounting for every eventuality and contingency, and hope that things go according to plan.  But they don’t always, do they? When things go awry as they have with the Coronavirus outbreak, we all are facing changes unlike any we’ve experienced before, and we have decisions to make.

For some people though, change is particularly hard. Making a decision with so little clear direction or reliable information can be daunting, even if you’re pretty comfortable with change. For others, it’s almost impossible to make a decision. Fear can lock them into a cycle of analysis-paralysis which is great for procrastinating, but unhelpful for decision making.

This simple 3-step process can be applied to almost any situation where change is evident or required. It can be applied organizationally, individually, whether you’re a leader or a follower. This universal approach is the first step in improving your ability to deal with change: Identify, Pivot, Adapt.

Identify

The first step is to identify the problem, and the source of the problem as best we can. In my business, classroom-based training and consulting services, the problem is obvious. Nobody wants to sit in a classroom (neither do I), and employers are actively laying off consultants first.

Identifying the source of the problem is also important because that’s how you can determine what your level of influence is. What part of the issue are you able to control? I know for example that the outbreak is like to come in waves over the next 1-2 years until a vaccine becomes available to the public at large. I know that it’s got a widespread infection rate which has resulted in businesses shutting down, mass layoffs, and an upsurge in people working remotely and self-distancing. I don’t need to know every detail, but this information alone helped me pivot.

Pivot

Pivoting is an intermediary action. When a basketball player is blocked, they pivot on one foot to shift their body in a different direction. We have 360 degrees of pivoting available to us, so choosing the direction you want to aim for really depends on the information you have available.

To help me make a direction-based decision, I use the hand method. I lay my hand flat on a surface and spread my fingers. My middle finger is the undesired direction I’m currently heading in, and that I know needs to change.  Each of the other four fingers represent four different options for changing direction.

I don’t worry that I don’t have all the information to make an informed decision…pivoting is about making a quick decision to evade trouble by retargeting myself to aim for a different outcome. Keep it high-level, broad strokes. The details come later. Can you think of four ways you can respond to the problem you’re facing?

Will one of those four “finger options” represent a higher chance of success for a better outcome? If none of the options is particularly better, then choose one randomly and prepare to pivot again. This may go on until more informed decisions can be made, or one direction becomes clearer than the others.

Adapt

Once you set a direction, make a list of all the things you need to adjust to make that direction work. 

Maybe you’re suddenly working from home 100% of the time. If you have a spouse, can you work together in the same house? What about the same room? Are you competing for resources? Do you have a quiet area for phone calls? How will you adapt your schedule? Do you have a support system in place?

For Get Up and Learn, I’ve adapted by delivering training virtually instead of in classrooms. Also, because it’s online, I’m delivering all training in 1-hour segments, which can be linked together to fill a morning or a day, delivered as lunch & learn virtual group sessions, or provided on a pre-scheduled basis for example.

Three steps from Surviving to Thriving

By following the Identify, Pivot, Adapt approach, I was able to determine the problem I was facing including a general idea of the scope, duration, and probable impact.

By pivoting I was rapidly able to determine the most at-risk direction (which was to stay the course and do nothing) as well as four other reasonable options. The best of those was to move everything online and virtual.

A lot of work went into adapting and will continue over time. The training material & resources, delivery methods, website content – all of it needed adapting as a result of the Coronavirus.

The best part is my business is well-positioned for the future and I can see many opportunities to grow that weren’t available to me under the old model. Following this three-step process not only helped me navigate the emerging crisis, but it also strengthened the business potential for the future.

Identify, Pivot, Adapt helped me determine what was right for my business, and it can help you make choices too!

Necessary Sales Pitch Section

Jim Longman, through Get Up and Learn provides consulting, contract, and training services for employers in all industries. Our soft skills training helps people develop new thinking and skills when it comes to handling change, making better decisions, and much more. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

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The pandemic is here. The luxury of time to plan has passed. We can help you stay operational…and stay safe.

The world is drastically changing and the Pandemic is now here. Municipalities no longer have the time to prepare. We are providing this information to help you Get Ready.

Get Ready is an Ontario-based company. Since 2011 we have been providing cloud-based Emergency Management, Business Continuity and Infectious Disease Outbreak programs to Municipalities, Healthcare and businesses across Canada.

Our Infectious Disease Outbreak Program has 4 main components:

  1. Cloud-based application with IDO best-practice policies, procedures, forms, signage, and communications
  2. Real-time Absence Reporting Tool
  3. Online employee Pandemic training
  4. Individual “Get Ready – Emergency” mobile App for all staff

Get Ready Programs meet CSA Z1600, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Ministry of Labour, PHAC and Health Canada standards.

Our cloud service maintains Federal government-protected B clearance, as well as, SOC2, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018 and PCI certifications.

The IDO Program is available for immediate deployment (onboarding takes 12-24 hours). The ROI is estimated to be 4 to 5 times the initial cost within two weeks of implementation.

Please contact us to learn how we can keep your staff healthy and safe and your municipality operating.

 [email protected]

1-888-217-2329

 https://getreadyglobal.com/programs-and-apps/infectious-disease-outbreak-program/

people with masks

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Is Your Municipality Ready for a Disruptive Event? Business Continuity Planning 101

Every municipality needs an Emergency Management Program.

There are a number of components that make up a comprehensive emergency management program, (i.e. Emergency Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Communications Plan, Employee & Family Support Plan, Pandemic Plan, etc.).

When I was with the Office of the Fire Marshal I was responsible for emergency management and the development of these plans for the OFM. And now in these times of global uncertainty, I am once again reminded of just how important it is for organizations to have them – and particularly a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a plan that outlines the critical services to be delivered during a disruptive event and how full operations are going to be resumed after the event.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is, your BCP needs to address planning/mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

Generally, a Business Continuity Plan outlines:

  • Who is responsible for recovery actions

  • What is needed to deliver, resume, continue, or restore the municipality’s services

  • Where to go to resume operations if necessary, and,

  • How the municipality’s critical services and operations will continue to be provided during a disruptive event (detailed procedures for provision, recovery, resumption and restoration of services)

Basic Elements of a BCP

It is important to remember that while the unique characteristics of your municipality must be reflected in the plan, the basic elements detailed below represent the foundation on which every BCP should be built.

  • Gather the necessary Baseline Information – This is used to identify municipal services, where the service is located, who uses the service, dependencies, alternate service delivery, critical infrastructure, etc.

  • Conduct a Business Services Risk Assessment Needed to help identify areas of potential vulnerabilities and to examine current and necessary control measures to mitigate threats.

  • Undertake a Business Impact Analysis – Gathers information concerning the exposure and impact on the service should the service experience significant disruptions and assesses the potential financial and non-financial impacts of a disruptive event.

  • Develop a Business Continuity Recovery Strategy – Assesses the advantages and disadvantages, estimated associated costs and determines the recommended strategy for each critical service and the resources that may be necessary for quick recovery.

  • Identify Emergency Response and Operational Protocols & Procedures – This is a checklist of protocols and procedures that help to simplify the necessary activities even further (i.e. notification protocols, call trees, etc.).

  • Create the Business Continuity Plan

Of course, once it’s completed don’t let your BCP collect dust. Keep it dynamic by updating it to reflect any changes to personnel or processes, and practice it with your team so when a disruptive event occurs, like we’re experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization will be ready and well prepared to resume operations.

If you’d like to receive a free Business Continuity Plan template to help you get started or information on any of the other emergency management plans mentioned, please feel free to contact me. Susan Shannon at s[email protected]

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SDS Breakdown: What, When, Why & How?

What is an SDS?

SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet (previously called MSDS • Material Safety Data Sheet)

When do you need an SDS?

Safety Data Sheets are created for any product that is “classified as a “hazardous product” under WHMIS that is intended for use, handling or storage in a workplace in Canada.”

Hazardous product means any product, mixture, material or substance that is classified in accordance with the regulations made under subsection 15(1) in a category or subcategory of a hazard class listed in Schedule 2 Source

Safety Data Sheets are to be provided by the manufacturer or supplier. They can be a hard copy given in-person or mailed, or a digital copy on a USB, a disc or sent via email.  It is required that workplaces in Canada maintain an SDS library, whether hard copy or digital, and that it be readily available to all employees.

Metal worker wearing PPE at work with fumes surrounding him

What is on an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet is separated into 16 sections, below is a brief outline of what information goes into each section.

SECTION 1 – Identification

SECTION 2 – Hazard Identification

SECTION 3 – Composition/Ingredients

SECTION 4 – First Aid Measures

SECTION 5 – Fire-fighting Measures

SECTION 6 – Accidental Release Measures

SECTION 7 – Handling and Storage

SECTION 8 – Exposure Controls / PPE

SECTION 9 – Physical and Chemical Properties

SECTION 10 – Stability and Reactivity

SECTION 11 – Toxicological Info.

SECTION 12 – Ecological Info.

SECTION 13 – Disposal Considerations

SECTION 14 – Transportation Info.

SECTION 15 – Regulatory Info.

SECTION 16 – Other Info. (Dates, etc.)

How can you manage your SDS library?

Depending on the number of hazardous materials in your workplace, maintaining your SDS library can often end up being a full-time job! Because Safety Data Sheets are not always provided as easily or up-to-date as they are required, locating the correct copy often takes research, correspondence with the manufacturer and more.

Why do you need help managing your Safety Data Sheets?

Instead of taking up the time of a valuable employee in your company, hiring professionals for your SDS Management is the best way to go. We hire a lawyer to assist with our legal matters, and a plumber to assist with our plumbing, so why not leave this to the professionals as well. Managing your Safety Data Sheets is a matter of not only compliance with legal requirements, but they also provide the needed information to keep your workplace as safe as possible.

MySDS.ca can build and maintain your SDS library which can give you peace of mind, save you money and keep you compliant!

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