Setting up and managing a Chemical Inventory can be a difficult task, even when you think you have done your research or have prepared yourself with a spreadsheet or list to follow. The difficulty comes when you begin attempting to cross-reference Chemicals with the Vendor SDS, which may create significant problems if you are unable to do so.
Tracking chemicals in the workplace requires detailed knowledge of all possible “hiding places”. Chemicals can be found in the strangest places –and they can be easily overlooked.
It is not always obvious that certain items can also be considered “chemicals” – did you know that welding rods and certain building materials (IE. insulation batts, bricks) may be hazardous if exposure to by-products occurs? As a result, you may not be able to perform risk assessments for the whole site. Chemicals often interact explosively with other chemicals, so storage location may be a problem if you need to have multiple chemicals with a certain distance between them. The Inventory must identify the distance between chemicals so that appropriate incompatibilities reporting can take place.
Chemical Inventory and Safety Audit made easy…
Green Lights and MySDS will work with you to determine which procedures and information are necessary for your business.
We will conduct a physical inventory of all hazardous chemicals including *consumer products.
*Consumer products are products that do not require a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when purchased by a consumer in a retail setting, however, some of these products do require an SDS when they are brought into the workplace (example: paints, hand soaps, inks)
We will compile a list including:
• Chemical name (i.e Acetone)
• Amount – unit of measure (i.e 1 litre)
• Container type (i.e Glass bottle)
• Manufacturer (i.e Aldrich)
• Exact location (i.e Building C, Warehouse Office, Shelf A)
We will also update the chemical inventory database when you:
1) Move to a new location
2) Acquire a new hazardous chemical
3) Your inventory volumes change more than 10%
4) You remove a chemical from your inventory
A company must declare their inventory status even if there are zero chemicals in stock when their inventory is conducted.
Other areas that may need to be reviewed during a Chemical inventory or Safety Audit:
· Designated Substances
· CAS Numbers
· Hot-Spot Identification
· Chemicals Incompatibility reporting
· Hazardous Substances reporting
· Dangerous Goods reporting
· Radioactive materials, biological materials (or etiological agents), or controlled substances;
are maintained in separate tracking systems.
We do ALL the work. We keep you compliant!
Green Lights Environmental is the sister company of MySDS inc.
In short: leaders create risk, and managers reduce it.
LEADERSHIP ANTICIPATES THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE, AND MANAGEMENT ANTICIPATES THE WORST. While leadership invites others to follow, management ensures the followers are following.
Leadership is the act of inviting others to a new and better future. A leader inspires and creates change by casting a vision of a destination that is different, better, and achievable.
Management is the ensuring things happen by creating, communicating, and monitoring expectations. It tracks individual people to see that they perform as expected, as opposed to inspiring a number of them.
Leadership skills can be summarized as those skills relevant to interacting with large groups of people, and to inspiring and creating vision. Conversely, management skills are those which are relevant to interacting with individual people, and to specifying and monitoring performance.
Many of the skills required to lead people are also the ones used to manage people. However, the expression of these skills can be significantly different. For instance, a leader needs to effectively communicate to be compelling and inspirational, and a manager needs to effectively communicate to be precise and personal.
Because of the skillset overlaps between management and leadership, it is quite possible that a single person assumes either of these roles.
Want to learn more about leadership? Check out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP.
Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used!
If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might be right. A British study found that stress induced by a bad boss lowers immune response, and participants were more susceptible to a cold virus.
As with much in life, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. A bad boss might victimize you, but you choose whether to be a victim. Strong leaders don’t wait, they initiate. If you have a bad boss, you can decide that he or she’s not unbearable and live with your situation, fire your boss by leaving, or practice upward leadership with some boss management.
Boss management or leading upward is one of the most popular topics on our website. Recently The Globe & Mail published my column on Five Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss in their Leadership Labs section. I condensed years of writing and coaching on this topic into five steps:
- Strengthen your credibility and relationship
- Check your timing and approach
- Don’t wait, initiate
- Speak up
- Fire a bully boss
Click here to read the column for a brief description of each step.
A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama why he didn’t hate the Chinese Communists. Now they have some bad bosses! The Dalai Lama replied, “They have taken over Tibet, destroyed our temples, burned our sacred texts, ruined our communities, and taken away our freedom. They have taken so much. Why should I let them also take my peace of mind?”
It has been a spring that many will say there was nothing to smile about. It was cold, rainy and dark. From all the rain we have beautiful green lawns and flowers starting to bloom. Again there are many people in parts of the world that are not smiling with all the rain causing flooding and destruction. I wanted to take this opportunity to write about smiling and how contagious it may be in our workplace and for our clients.
Some people are always smiling, cheerful, and they seem to brighten up a room. Their positive attitude and gusto are identified by those they come in contact with. Moreover, we have all encountered those have the opposite effect on people-the “doom and gloom effect.” we often refer to one’s attitude and yet what is that? It is your mental state or the position you take regarding life.
Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” If you take the word “OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE,” some people see the “no where” while others see “now here.” So is the glass half empty or half full? Often the difference between success and failure is not linked to how we look, how we dress, or how much education we have; it is based on how we think!
Great leaders share the same thought; knowing that a positive attitude is contagious. As leaders, it is vital that we display a positive mindset daily. After all, if we expect our employees to express positive attitudes, we should model such behaviours for them to see.
Each day we have a choice of whether we elect to display a positive or negative attitude. Daily, we encounter negative attitudes at work and in our personal lives. If you remain positive amongst pessimism, you can be contagious.
Some times it is not that easy. I have found some tips I would like to share to help you be positive from “Attitudes are Contagious. Is Yours Worth Catching” by Patti Wanamaker.
- – people love to be around enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious and draws others to you like a magnet.
- – if you want to stay positive, stay away from people that drag you down. Associate yourself around like-minded people.
- – smiling makes it all better. Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known as the feel-good hormones. It is a lot easier to adopt a positive attitude when you feel good!
- – positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, while negative thoughts lead to an adverse reaction.
- – limit your complaints. Whining and griping about anything and everything will not create a positive attitude. When you are complaining, you are spreading negativity.
· If you want more success in your leadership role and to have a positive impact on your employees, then make sure your attitude is worth catching.
Many of you are thinking, what is there to smile about, and why maintain a positive attitude when there are doom and gloom around us? Research has shown that there are health benefits of smiling in the workplace. We are dealing with conflict, mental health issues and have difficult situations arising every day as we manage our workplace. Interestingly many years ago, it was declared that “the smile is the best medicine for the happiness of humanity.” Later scientific research explained the effects and physiological benefits of smiling for a healthier life. Smiling can be beneficial, in dealing with illness, pressures of everyday life, stress at work, and smiling can even substantially change the quality and forecasts of our lives.
Would life not be better if people smile regularly? I think smiling every day would keep you away from the doctor and feeling self-confident. Try these:
- By smiling, we can reduce the level of stress hormones. Smiling helps us to increase the number of antibody-producing cells and improve the effectiveness of other cells.
- Smiling is good for our general health. Smiling 100 times is equivalent to ten minutes of rowing or cycling in fifteen minutes.
- Sometimes we just want to laugh or cry. That means you want to release all the pent feelings in your head, making you feel both physically and mentally better. So to reduce anxiety smile often, even when you are not happy. Smiling at others will, in turn, help them be happy.
- Smiling can take you from being angry, stressed, feeling guilty, and negative to putting you in a more favourable frame of mind. Smiling will make you change yourself and improve the attitudes and thinking to other people to the better.
- When people can view an event that may be frightening as funny, they may be able to feel more content and see the events occurred just merely as a “challenge” in life, rather than a threat.
There are times when smiling, and laughter can be contagious. If you smile more than you can make other people around you also smile more. So by smiling yourself, you can reduce the stress levels of people around you and change their moods. Maybe even improve the quality of social interaction, and reduce your stress level as well.
They say that optimists have a stronger immune system and can fight disease better than the pessimists. There is a link between a positive attitude and good health, which is measured in many different ways. In general, researchers have discovered that optimistic people are more healthy, and they have a stronger immune system.
According to the British Organization of Dental Health, a smile has the level of stimulation as eating 2000 chocolate bars.
A smile does not cost you a cent, and it is easy to spread. A recent study showed that preschool children laugh 400 times a day, but the time we reach adulthood, we just laugh an average of 17 times per day.
So take the challenge and smile more often and find things in your lives that you can laugh about.
Stay great and healthy.
Monika B. Jensen PhD is Principal of the Aviary Group and can be contacted by email at [email protected]
You already know muniSERV.ca offers a full suite of tools for municipalities – most of which are free.
But, we’re always on the hunt for even more new and innovative tools and resources to help Canadian municipalities – and we’ve found another perfect partner!
We’re pleased to announce that muniSERV.ca has entered into a partnership with GoByDesign, for their innovative new platform – BoxOfDocs, The Ultimate Sharing Platform For Canadian Municipalities.
Whether you are updating your existing bylaws or policies, or looking to develop new standards, and want to see what similar municipalities have in place, BoxOfDocs is here to help.
*Bonus Partnership Offer
Now, when you register for free on muniSERV, you can also activate your Free Trial of the BoxOfDocs, Municipal Premium Membership, which lets you effortlessly share documents with other Canadian municipalities and gives you with access to thousands of documents your municipality uses daily!
If you have not committed to being an active member for either muniSERV or BoxOfDocs yet, now is a great time to join both and network with other Canadian municipalities to take advantage of valuable tools and services offered under this new partnership.
Founder & Principal,
muniSERV & muniJOBS
October is Mental Health Month. Recently there has been bigger mindfulness of the impact of mental health problems on individuals and the workplace. The economic impact is realized through direct treatment costs to the health care system as well as indirect costs, such as reduced or lost productivity due to absenteeism.
Mental health problems account for about half of employee absences due to illness each year in Canada for example, 3.5 days lost per employee per year are due to mental health problems. It is estimated that mental illness results in 35 million lost workdays each year in Canada.’
Employees living with mental health problems may feel and behave out of character at home and work. There may be feelings of things not quite right, yet they are unable to pinpoint the problem. Their co-workers, supervisors and family members may start to notice a change in mood and behaviour.
Signs that indicate an employee or colleague may have a mental health problem are:
· Regular late arrivals or often absent
· Lack of teamwork or an over-all disinterest in working with co-workers
· Lower output
· Increased mishaps or safety problems
· Numerous complaints of exhaustion or unexplained pains
· Difficulty focusing, not being decisive or forgetting things
· Making apologies for missed deadlines or poor work
· Decreased attention or involvement in one’s work
· Working excessive overtime over a prolonged period
· Expressions of outlandish or grand ideas
· Displays of irritation or pointing the finger at others
It is important to highlight that people behaving in these ways may be just having a bad day or week or dealing with a difficult situation in their personal life that may be temporary. A pattern that continues for a more extended period, however, may point to an underlying mental health problem.
Stress is a consistent part of life and work, and it can be positive or negative. Unwarranted hurtful stress through life events, including workplace issues, can contribute to mental health problems. Work itself can be expected to generate a certain level of stress associated with meeting deadlines and expectations, the need to feel valued and the loss of control over one’s time.
There are many causes of workplace stress. One key to effective stress management is maintaining awareness of the potential stressors and readiness to address them before they become problematic. Some of the most critical sources of work-related stress are listed below.
· Poor communication
· Incongruity in work demands, individual ability and amount of control over working practices
· Work overload and work underload
· Shift work and/or night work
· Segregation, isolation and/or unstructured support for home workers
· Short-term contracts
· Role conflict, uncertainty and changing roles
· The uneven weight assigned by management to consultation, support and control
· Lack of training for managers in communication and people skills
· Uncomfortable physical workspace
· Introduction of new technology, if not planned and gradual
· The culture of presenteeism, in which an employee feels the need to be seen working at all times
· Work-life imbalance
· Home-based stresses that support or feed off of work-based stresses
Managing workplace stress can include training for employees to raise awareness about the causes and effects of stress, as well as to learn skills for coping with stress at work and in their personal lives.
Research has shown that some job stressors are worse than others, such as jobs that continuously involve imposed deadlines over an extended period and give individuals little control over the day-to-day organization of their work (high demand/low control). These jobs can lead to more than double the rate of heart and cardiovascular problems. As well as significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression and fell of being undermined. High demand/low control jobs also lead to substantially higher alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drug use, and a significantly higher susceptibility to infectious diseases.’
Jobs that require high physical or mental effort but offer little in the way of compensation, status, financial gain or career enhancement (high effort/low reward) also affect employee stress levels. These jobs are associated with triple the rate of cardiovascular problems and significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and conflict-related problems
The health of workers does not have to be compromised by stress. Changes to the workplace can make for a more mentally healthy workplace, especially when employees feel adequately rewarded and have greater control of their work.
Mental health problems can seriously affect someone’s ability to work. If left untreated and the mental health problem worsens, the employee may need to stop working altogether.
On the other hand, employees may try to continue to work knowing that they are not performing to their usual standards. If mental health problems are acknowledged early, and proper treatment is obtained, most people can quickly return to their regular performance at work, and much unhappiness and suffering can be avoided.
Monika B. Jensen Ph.D
After Fernie: Ensuring Compliance and Preparedness
On August 29th WorkSafeBC released a 74-page report on their investigation into the tragic deaths of three men following an ammonia leak at an arena facility in Fernie last year.
According to the report: “Poor communication and inconsistent attention to internal auditing, inspections, incident investigation and emergency practice drills allowed for the development of hazardous workplace conditions.”
The report cites multiple Occupational Health and Safety Regulation failures by Fernie, as well as Workers Compensation Act failures by both the city and the service contractor. Fernie received the majority of the violations, including:
- emergency response procedures that were inadequate or not followed—including failures to train workers and conduct drills
- failure to perform hazard assessments and inspections of equipment to prevent unsafe working conditions
- failure to develop and implement an exposure control plan for ammonia
You can read the full report here.
The Fernie deaths are all the more tragic because they were avoidable. Armed with the knowledge of what caused this incident, it is critical to ensure that a similar event does not happen in the future.
Unfortunately, in our professional capacity we have found that numerous ammonia facilities have inadequate emergency response procedures, infrequently reviewed or conducted emergency drills and a significant lack of exposure training and preparedness. In the majority of these cases, management falsely believed they were compliant because they had passed a technical standards inspection and had a document or two on file for emergency response. The Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA) conducted a webinar on March 29th, 2018 and reported findings consistent with our own: ammonia facility management that failed to keep emergency plans current and practiced, and a lack of competency for unattended refrigeration equipment operators—including being underprepared to deal with a significant ammonia leak.
This false sense of compliance and preparedness most often occurs because management either doesn’t know the right questions to ask, or isn’t sure what a good safety and emergency program should consist of. The situation is made worse when facility managers do not qualify or review service contractors’ programs or methods and/or rely on EMS or fire services to cover emergency protocols, which is not necessarily in accordance with legislative requirements.
Between 2015 and 2018 in North America there have been at least 23 incidents of ammonia releases, including 8 fatalities.
Anyone responsible for the safety of others around ammonia is strongly encouraged to seek professional assistance in the development of their programs and procedures. This begins with responding to the following questions:
- How have you fully ensured the safety of all workers and the public in your ammonia facilities?
- How are you ensuring that your service contractors have an ammonia program that is complete and compliant for emergency, maintenance and exposure control, and able to integrate with your facilities requirements?
- How thorough is your exposure control plan?
- How can you verify that your staff, contractors and operators are all competent in following the programs and procedures you have in place and are able to carry out an emergency response to a minor or major leak?
After the WorkSafeBC report on the Fernie incident, ignorance is not a valid excuse for noncompliance when it comes to ammonia safety. A lack of certainty or inability to thoroughly answer any of the above questions can indicate a significant risk to the occupants and users of your facility.
At Barantas, we have been building comprehensive and robust health and safety and emergency response programs since 2002. We go to great lengths to help ammonia facility managers, municipality directors and contractors appreciate what reasonable preparedness can look like.
A professionally performed audit is the only true confirmation of compliance and preparedness. Let us work with you to ensure you are taking every reasonable precaution to protect those who rely on you to keep them safe while inside your facility. By booking a professional audit today you are taking the first step in preventing an incident tomorrow.
Barantas Inc. – Is a full service provider for all your health & safety needs. See our profile
Home grow Canadian software developer Netfore Systems Inc., updated their popular AccessE11 Mobile Application to help increase productivity and reduce administrative paperwork for the municipal worker while in the field.
A long-standing problem that rural municipal workers face is the need for paper-based processes to record new issues or service requests while in the field because they too often have no data access. This is a productivity barrier that NetFore has addressed with the latest release of its popular AccessE11 cloud-based issue management software product and accompanying a mobile application.
“With previous releases of the AccessE11 solution, we significantly reduced the need for both municipal office and field staff to rely on paper to close the loop on managing citizen complaints and service requests”, says NetFore’s CEO Ken Workun, “however this did not completely solve the problem where a new issue is found by a work crew or a citizen raises an issue with a field worker directly”.
Understanding this issue, NetFore has introduced capabilities to add a complaint or service request from the AccessE11 mobile application even if the user has no data or internet access. “The real difference is the off-line functionality” comments Rene Villeneuve – NetFore’s Software Architect overseeing the project. “We made municipal issue management even easier by taking things one step further. When an AccessE11 user’s mobile device acquires a data signal or attaches to a wi-fi network, any new cases are automatically uploaded to the AccessE11 database”.
For By-Law officer Nancy-Ann Gauthier, the new off-line case creation feature “means that I can do my full job while on the road even when I do not have a data signal… I liked the mobile App before, but I love it now!” In the town of South Stormont Fire Prevention Officer, Nick MacGillivray finds the ability to create cases while on the road saves time and helps when a call comes to in from a citizen who has an issue with a burn permit, “I now can create the case where ever I am, in seconds, without having to go to the office or find a data signal”. Blake Henderson – Public Works Superintendent at North Stormont knows that the AccessE11 mobile application has saved loads of time and “has increased staff productivity.”
This new feature is now available as a core feature for all AccessE11 Mobile Application users.
Visit AccessE11.com to find out more.
Brad Pinch – Director of Municipal Needs at AccessE11
Often, when we hear about securing online systems against cyber-attacks the first thought is to invest time and energy into cybersecurity software. While this is important, and should not be downplayed, did you know that software alone will only defend against a small percentage of cyber-attacks?
The easiest way for someone to breach your security infrastructure is to employ the unsuspecting assistance of your users.
According to PhishMe’s 2017 Enterprise Phishing Resiliency and Defense Report, 91% of all cyber-attacks are a result of people who fall prey to Phishing Attacks. Of the remaining 9% of cyber-attacks, more than 75% are the result of other forms of “human failure” to secure information.
Phishing is an attack that begins with a very targeted email sent to your staff (and perhaps yourself), that often impersonates a service provider, colleague, family member or friend and entices you to click on a link or open a document. This action may include a request for private information that provides the perpetrator with the means to launch a secondary cyber-attack or it may launch an attack directly through the download of malicious software. Attacks can be in the form of spyware, malware, and increasingly ransomware and data theft.
Wombats Security’s – State of the Phish 2018 report– suggests that phishing attack frequency from 2016 to 2017 increased by 48%; phishing is on the rise because it continues to work. Hackers have quickly learned that it requires less energy to trick users into giving them access than it does to circumnavigate the sophisticated security systems deployed today.
6 simple steps that a municipality can do to protect themselves
Here are a few steps a municipality can take to minimize its chances of security breaches and cyber attacks.
- Stay Informed and educate your team
Much of the battle against phishing and spear phishing (personalized phishing) attacks is getting users to understanding what this type of attack looks like, so they are less likely to be duped. Phishing relies on basic human conditions:
- information overload and shortcuts our brains take to process the information,
- a desire to help those we care for and trust of information that (seems to) come from them,
- curiosity for new information.
These traits are well known to attackers and are exploited in order to get victims to click on a link or open a document. Emails look like they’re from legitimate sources: Microsoft 365, Google, Dropbox, PayPal, Adobe account, LinkedIn, credit card company and many more.
There is a great infographic called don’t get hooked: how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks from the Digital Guardian. Print it out and post it for all to see.
- Keep your software up to date
Malware is being created all the time and is designed to take advantage of newly discovered vulnerabilities in our general use software. Vendors are quick to update their software, but you must update your version in order to be secure. You should regularly, or ideally automatically, update your software:
- Browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc)
- Operating Systems (Windows, MacOS)
- Office Software (Outlook, Word, Adobe)
- Call before you click
Any email from a bank or colleague can usually be responded to directly, rather than via a reply or by clicking on a link. If there is ever any doubt, call your bank on the phone (using published numbers, not one in the email), or log directly into their website directly – not from the link in the email. By not taking the shortcut, fraudulent links can be avoided.
- Install anti-virus software and activate the Anti-Phishing toolbar if available
Antivirus software is designed to guard against known vulnerabilities. Even though today’s operating systems are more secure than ever, security tools look for malicious content in real time and provide an extra layer of scrutiny. And make sure you keep it updated as well.
Internet browsers can also be extended with anti-phishing toolbars. Such toolbars run quick checks on any site you visit and compare it a to lists of known phishing sites. If you stumble upon a malicious site, the toolbar will alert you about it. This is just one more layer of protection against phishing scams, and there are many that are completely free.
- Implement Secure Password Policies
As hard as it is to believe, the 10 most common passwords in 2017 were:
- 123456, 123456789, qwerty, 12345678, 111111, 1234567890, 1234567, password123, 123123, 987654321
It won’t take a hacker long to break these codes.
Equally important though – do not use the same password for everything: If you do, and someone gets access to one system, they can often get access to them all. If you struggle to remember passwords (who doesn’t) there are many excellent tools that can assist:
These programs store an encrypted version of your passwords on your computer and conveniently provide them when you need them. This means remembering only one password.
- Beware the Unknown Storage Devices
It is possible the free USB drive that is received from a tradeshow, or the one you found in the parking lot has a virus on it. Sites that sell marketing USB drives unwittingly provide ones that have viruses installed from the source in China, Russia, India, Korea and other countries (yes including the UK, US, and Canada). These were likely never checked by the company who put their information on the drive to give to you.
If a data storage device is not bought by your company or municipality from a reputable source then it should not be allowed on one of your computers, ever!
These are only a few ideas to help better protect your organization from cyber-attacks. The common element in each remains the same; people and their behavior represent the greatest risk but also provide the best defense against cyber-attacks. Any user can open the door to intruders, so ensuring everyone understands the risk and remains vigilant is critical. Investment in the human factor will pay off quickly and be more cost-effective than any other action.
For More Interesting Articles on Issues that Municipalities are facing please visit us at https://www.accesse11.com