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									Premium Coverage
Forecast Predicts 50% Snow, 70% Back Injuries
Back injuries and pulled muscles are among the potential health threats from using poor technique when shovelling snow. While most people recognize that shovelling snow is very hard work, and can put severe stress on your heart, fewer people recognize the stress and strain that it places on the low back. Shovellers sustain injuries every year from repetitive twisting, improper lifting, over-exertion, or simply by trying to shovel too much snow. Many of these injuries can be prevented by taking the time to prepare and consciously think about how to move properly. Cold tight muscles are more likely to strain than warm, relaxed muscles. Take time to stretch and prepare your body for activity with a simple warm up of marching on the spot and a few shoulder circles.

Winter 2006 Volume 4, Issue 1 Premium Coverage is a seasonal newsletter created and issued by HED Insurance and Risk Services. The information provided in this newsletter is intended to be general in nature and should not be taken as advice or as a recommendation about insurance. For specific details regarding insurance protection, refer to the Terms and Conditions of your policy. If you have any questions or concerns please call 1-800-665-8990.

Follow these tips to get a handle on safe shovelling:
Choose a shovel that’s right for you. A shovel with an appropriate length handle is correct when you can slightly bend your knees, bend forward 10 degrees or less, and hold the shovel comfortably in your hands at the start of the shovel stroke. A plastic shovel blade will be lighter than a metal one, putting less strain on your spine. When you grip the shovel, make sure your hands are at least 12 inches apart. This will increase your leverage and reduce strain on your body. Always keep one hand close to the base of the shovel to balance weight of the lift and lessen the lower back strain. Lift the snow properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow. This will help prevent the low back from twisting and “next-day back fatigue” experienced by many shovellers.

Tackle heavy snow in two stages. Begin by skimming off the snow from the top and then remove the bottom layer. Avoid overloading the shovel. Take frequent breaks when shovelling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back. Do standing extension exercises by placing your hands on the back of your hips and bend backwards slightly for several seconds. Dress warmly to conserve your body temperature. Wear proper footwear with good tread to help avoid slipping or falling. If you have a health problem or are not in good shape, do not even consider snow shovelling. Find someone ahead of time to help. Don’t wait until there is a lot of snow on the ground before you figure out how to remove it. – Source: Canadian Physiotherapy Association; For more information, visit


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Employee Benefits
By holding a mirror up to your own actions and remembering that there is always time to be polite and considerate – say thanks, compliment achievements, and deal with people in an open, well-mannered way – you can spread respect throughout your workplace.

A Little Respect Goes a Long Way
Demonstrating Respect
With a little effort, attention and patience you can create an atmosphere where respect grows. Below are a few tips on how you can help your workplace to function at its best. Recognize co-workers’ achievements and help. Offer praise to co-workers for a job well done or a simple, “thanks” if they pitched in to make your work a little easier. Show your appreciation and watch how a few simple words can improve relations and make someone’s day. Don’t make negative comments or jokes about co-workers. Accept and respect different lifestyles, religions, etc. Work to understand rather than exclude and keep an open mind. You may gain new insights and uncover common ground. Be a good listener. Show you care and respect co-workers’ ideas by giving them your full attention during conversations. Let colleagues speak without interrupting and actively listen by: using eye contact, summarizing what they say, asking clarifying questions and offering open, courteous feedback. Include others. Make an effort to get feedback and ideas from colleagues. Doing so lets co-workers know you value their input and boosts team spirit. Remember there are many right answers. Instead of forcing others to accept your ideas, stay open to other possibilities. The most successful teams are those that can pool the strengths of each person to achieve a final result everyone is happy with. Don’t pry. Respect others’ right to privacy. Pressing coworkers for updates on personal circumstances won’t win you allies. Less forward questions such as, “How are you doing these days?” or “Is everything alright?” show you care without stepping into personal territory. It also gives the person an opportunity to tell you as much as they feel comfortable sharing. Don’t be a space invader. Everyone has his or her own personal boundaries; a good rule of thumb is to stay about an arm’s length from co-workers when talking. Standing too close makes people nervous while keeping too much of a distance suggests you’re afraid. Also knock before entering an office and try not to interrupt co-workers on the phone or in meetings. Admit when you’re in the wrong. Taking responsibility for your actions shows others consideration and will earn you more admiration than scrambling to deflect blame. Sometimes a simple, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” is just the thing to smooth over a rough situation.

When Disrespect Turns into Bullying
Just like schoolyard bullies who browbeat to get what they want, workplace bullies cross the line by ‘shoving’ their way to their goals. They may do this by excluding, intimidating, threatening, belittling or verbally/physically abusing the people around them. The cost of bullying is high: it can shatter confidence, inflict emotional stress, and trigger depression in its victims. If it seeps into the workplace it can get in the way of employee concentration, productivity and morale. Spot the signs of bullying behaviour: • Verbal attacks (e.g. raised voices, shouting, pointing fingers, rude gestures) • Becoming angry or aggressive when others don’t meet their expectations • Openly or indirectly threatening others • Instigating gossip or rumours about co-workers • Openly excluding people or giving them the ‘silent treatment’ • Intentionally embarrassing, demeaning, irritating or intimidating people • Physical attacks – the most obvious and extreme form of bullying – such as throwing items, kicking, punching, or shoving to get what they want

How to Handle a Workplace Bully
Handling a workplace bully is a daunting task. You may feel intimidated and wish the problem would just ‘go away.’ But this rarely happens: as long as the behaviour is tolerated it’s probably not going to disappear any time soon. Below are a few suggestions that may help. Raise the issue. Calmly and directly tell the offender his/her actions or words are hurtful and unacceptable. Your colleague may be surprised by your concerns because he/she unintentionally upset you. Be clear. Explain that if the situation continues you will take it to the next level. Don’t ignore it. Studies show that over 96 per cent of employees are aware of a co-worker being bullied. Don’t silently consent to bad behaviour: instead approach the target of the abuse and offer your support. Know your workplace harassment policies and procedures. Today, many organizations have workplace policies in place to address situations involving inappropriate conduct. Allowing rude or bullying behaviour to continue may seem simpler but, in the long run, it can pollute your workplace’s atmosphere and create a ‘toxic’ environment. – Source: Warren Shepell (

Commercial Insurance
Never drive in the rain with your cruise control on! If the cruise control is on and the car starts to hydroplane – when your tires lose contact with the pavement – your car will accelerate to a higher speed and take off like an airplane.

Winter Tire Safety Tips
Snow Tires
Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions. If you intend driving in severe winter conditions, install four winter tires that meet the “snow tire” designation on your vehicle. These snow tires will assist you to control your vehicle safely in slippery conditions.

Remember Also:
• Install four winter tires – To help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions, Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada recommend that you install winter tires in sets of four. • Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction, and size degrades the stability of the vehicle and should be avoided. • As a tire wears, snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators have reduced traction and should not be used on snow-covered roads or in severe snow conditions. • Proper air pressure extends tread life, improves safety, and reduces fuel consumption – all vital factors in saving energy and protecting the environment. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so be sure to check the pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been out all night. (For more information on proper tire inflation, please see our publication “Riding on Air” at – Source: Winter Tire Safety Tips,, Transport Canada, 2005. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2005.

Other Tires
Tires marked “M + S” – or “mud and snow” tires, also known as “all-season” tires – continue to provide safe all-weather performance, but may not always be suitable for severe snow conditions. Wide, high performance tires, other than those that are specifically designed as snow tires, are not suitable for use on snow covered roads. You may consult the list of tires that bear the “snow tire” symbol on the Transport Canada web site or you can contact tire dealers or manufacturers to obtain information on which models meet this new designation.

Denying Burglars “A Leg Up”
It can be easy enough for a burglar to break into your The tools that you keep in that shed or garage – such as axes, cutters, electric drills, home without you offering a helping hand – or a leg up. saws, pliers, and hammers – can also be used by a burglar to force his way into the home. These tools should be securely locked away, preferably inside the home. An upstairs window or skylight can be a tempting point of entry. There’s no sense encouraging burglars to get Burglars love anything that will hide their activities. During the summer, keep trees, into your home via these routes. Don’t leave ladders hedges, and bushes trimmed so that burglars are denied their cover. At night, keep outside your home, or anything else a burglar can climb, the outside lights on, or install a motion-sensitive floodlight that shines a spotlight such as an old TV tower for a roof antenna that you don’t on any intruder when movement is detected. use any more. A high percentage of burglaries occur because people fail to lock up, or leave their Keep ladders locked up in a shed or garage. Better yet, leave them inside the home. keys in the door. That’s truly leaving out the welcome mat to a thief. If any tree branches extend right to your upstairs windows, cut them. Otherwise, Don’t hide an extra key outside. Burglars know all the popular hiding spots, and can you’re offering a burglar a convenient climb and a perch right next to your windows. simply let themselves in the door. You also have no way of knowing if someone has Second-floor windows are often unlocked because we tend not to worry about found the key and made a copy to be used in the future. If you’re worried about anyone coming in through them. But burglars can get into even high-rise apartments losing your keys, leave a spare set with someone you trust. by climbing from balcony to balcony, so a second-floor window doesn’t pose a – Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada tremendous challenge. When you leave the house you should always lock your For more information, visit upstairs windows, just as you would your front door or downstairs windows.

Stress Stoppers
Stress Stretch
When you are under stress, tension accumulates in your neck and jaw. Take a minute to gently and slowly move your head from front to back, side to side, and in a full circle. For your jaw, stretch your mouth open and slowly move your lower jaw from side to side and front to back. (NOTE: If you notice any pain or if you have had any injuries to your back, neck or jaw, check with your doctor first.)

Set a SMART Goal (and achieve it!)
Privacy Act HED is focused on respecting your privacy and maintaining confidentiality of information. We have safeguards in place to protect your personal, business, and financial information which adheres to the Ten Privacy Principles as covered by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act ( To learn more about HED’s commitment to privacy and security refer to our Web site: Unrealistic goals that never seem to be reached add to your stress level. Try setting one goal for yourself this week using the SMART approach: Specific – Pick one small goal and write it down. Measurable – Can you count it or check it off a list? Achievable – Is it realistic? If not, make it smaller. Rewarded – Decide how to reward yourself when you reach your goal. Time-limited – Set a specific, realistic date to finish or achieve your goal.

and keep it on hand for stress emergencies. Go to the library and borrow a book by an author who can make you laugh. Read the daily comics in the newspaper. Or, phone the funniest person you know!

Walking Breaks
Walk away from stress. Instead of sitting down for another cup of stress-inducing caffeine on your coffee break, lunch hour or when you’re at home, try going for a stressrelieving and energizing walk. If you don’t like walking by yourself, try forming a walking club with two or three of your co-workers or friends. - Source: Canadian Mental Health Association For more information, visit

Comedy Break - Laugh at Stress
Set aside some time for laughter, your body’s natural stress-release mechanism. Rent your favourite comedy video. Tape a TV show that you know makes you laugh


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