You need to be prepared even if you aren’t in Japan

It was Friday March 11 and I was sitting at a client’s workplace. The TV was on and tuned to CNN.  News feeds from Japan’s largest earthquake were the main topic and probably will be for for some weeks to come.

It made me realize just how fragile we are as human beings.  I just so happened to be working with my client who mentioned that May 1–7 is “Emergency Preparedness Week”.

Here is some helpful information I found.

Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual event that takes place each year during the first full week of May. This national event is coordinated by Public Safety Canada, in close collaboration with the provinces and territories and partners.

During Emergency Preparedness Week, activities are organized across Canada to raise awareness of the importance of having an emergency kit; making an emergency plan; and identifying risks in the region. These three simple steps can help Canadians prepare for all types of emergencies.

Every Province has specific guidelines to follow. For more information, visit www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/

BE PREPARED

Emergencies can happen at anytime and occur anywhere, often without warning. An emergency can force you to evacuate your neighbourhood or confine you to your home or workplace. It can leave you without basic services such as water, gas, electricity, or a working telephone. Are you prepared?

Although Ontario has effective emergency management legislation and programs, individuals and families play a vital role in preparing for times of crisis when emergency services and other government resources may be strained. It is important that individuals and families prepare to take care of themselves for at least three days.

Individuals and families are best able to cope when they have taken the time to prepare before an emergency happens. Follow the links below for addition information.

Watch our Be Prepared Video
Be Prepared at Home
Be Prepared at Work
Be Prepared in the Car
People with Disabilities/Special Needs
Be Prepared for Specific Emergencies

Mark Wood, CRSP

Daylight savings can be dangerous

Every year on the second Sunday in March, the majority of Canadians and Americans turn their clocks ahead an hour for a much welcomed extra hour of daylight, and in the process they sacrifice precious minutes of sleep. So goes the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST), which continues until the first Sunday in November.

Based on analysis of a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics database that tracks how Americans use their time, employees on average get 40 minutes less sleep on the Sunday night of the switch to DST. That loss of sleep may not seem like much but a study by Michigan State University researchers has found that the Monday following the switch to DST can be a particularly dangerous one. These researchers analyzed information from the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health database of mining injuries from 1983-2006. Their research showed that there were 5.7% more workplace injuries and 67.6% more work days missed due to injuries on the first Monday following DST than on other days.

This research suggests that less sleep may increase both the incidence and severity of injuries. The increased danger isn’t just confined to the workplace. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) reports a higher driving risk the first Monday after DST. According to statistics averaged from 2005-2009, on the Monday following the start of DST, car accidents increased 23%.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people have a much easier time adjusting to the switch back to standard time. The same rates of accident and injury do not occur on the Mondays in November when people gain an hour.

So, as the second Monday in March approaches, pay extra attention to employee schedules, sleep, and safety, because as the statistics show, the gains in daylight with DST may come at a human cost.

Tips to ease the effects of the switch to DST

Rest up: Go to bed earlier to get your usual amount of sleep so you can be well rested and alert.

Defer the dangerous: Schedule particularly hazardous work later in the week (where possible) after employees have had more time to adjust their sleep schedules.

Plan ahead: Give yourself extra time to drive to and from work, especially during the Monday commute, to avoid a potential accident.

Step up the safety: Take extra safety precautions and assign extra safety monitors on days following the switch to DST to help avoid potential workplace injuries before they occur.

More information

Read the study: Changing to Daylight Saving Time Cuts Into Sleep and Increases Workplace Injuries (PDF), American Psychological Association

Get smart driving tips for Daylight Saving Time, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Posted by Mark Wood