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					 ALBERTA                                  VOLUME 18 NUMBER 5                        May 2010

  Alberta’s Premier Health, Safety and Environment Emagazine for Home, Business and Community

DISTRACTED                                                              Alberta lays down
                                                                        the law on busy

                                                                              Protect yourself from an unsafe environment

         The Safety Network
                Click here for more info
    May 2010 Page 2
WORKSAFE ALBERTA                                                                                                                                                May 2010 Page 3
                                                                 people injure themselves when in the tub.                         Roofs

                                                                 When showering or bathing, remember:                              It's difficult to work on a roof. If you own a house, you might
                                                                 * Use caution when stepping into or out of the tub. Use a         go up on the roof several times a year. You might need to
                                                                 high quality tub mat to reduce the chance of slipping.            clean the eaves troughs (rain gutters), fix the chimney,
                                                                 * When a person slips, often there is nothing to grab on to.      adjust the antenna, put up Christmas lights or replace
                                                                 Installing grab bars, like handrails, can help save someone       shingles. You might also need to check the roof for leaks
                                                                 from a serious fall. Make sure the grab bars are securely         before winter. Roof work can be dangerous if you ignore
By Martin Lesperance                                             mounted into the wall studs and not just into drywall or tiles.   proper safety precautions. If you fall you can be injured or
  Falls are one of the most common                               * Have a bath mat ready to step on when getting out of the        killed. When you work on a roof, how can you protect
causes of injuries at the worksite and at                        tub or shower. Water makes a floor slippery.                      yourself from falling? There is no easy answer. Safety
home. They can cause minor injuries,                             * When you stand up getting out of a hot bath, you may            precautions and the right equipment can help.
such as a twisted ankle. They can also                           become dizzy. Stand up slowly.                                     Remember these safety tips if you plan to work on a roof:
cause serious injuries such as a fracture,                       Ladders                                                           * If you're not comfortable working on the roof, hire
a severe head injury, or a back or neck                          Ladders are useful tools. We use them for painting, cleaning      someone. It will be worth the peace of mind.
injury that involves spinal cord damage.                         gutters (eaves troughs), washing windows, and putting the         * Use safe ladder techniques. See Ladders.
Falls can result from simple things such                         angel on top of the Christmas tree. But without the proper        * Use scaffolding or a man-lift if you need them.
as tripping on a curb. They can also                             safety precautions, using them can be dangerous. When             * Stay away from power lines!
result from more dramatic situations                             purchasing a ladder, make sure you're buying one that is          * Wait for a calm, dry day. Stay off the roof if it's wet or icy.
such as tumbling down a flight of stairs                         appropriate for the job. Don't use a 4-foot ladder for a job      Avoid climbing on steep roofs.
or sliding off a roof. You don't have to                         requiring a 6-foot ladder. Make sure the ladder is strong         * Don't carry tools and supplies up the ladder with you. Use
fall from a height to be injured. Slipping                       enough to support your weight. When using extension               a rope to pull them up after you. You'll need both hands for
on level ground can cause serious injury                         ladders try to have someone hold the ladder steady while          climbing the ladder.
when you land.                                                   you're on it. In winter, there might be slippery surfaces;        * Place your tools where they won't fall off the roof and
 In North America, falls account for 5                           make sure the base of the ladder is in a safe position so it      injure someone. Keep bystanders away.
deaths each year for every 100,000                               won't slide when you're on it. Avoid setting the ladder up on     * Wear rubber-soled shoes when working on a roof.
people. The National Safety Council                              ice.                                                              * Use extreme caution when installing your Christmas
reports that in the U.S. alone, over 8,500 deaths occur          Using a step ladder                                               lights or shoveling snow off the roof.
every year from falls in or around the home. And for every       * Make sure the ladder is in good shape; it shouldn't wobble.      This information was taken from the book, “I Won't be in to
fatality, many are injured. Seniors are more likely to be        Check all nuts and bolts for tightness. Make sure there are       Work Today - Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play”
injured in falls than any other age group.                       no cracks in the steps or in the beams of a wooden ladder. In     by Martin Lesperance. To order this book or to find out more
Help prevent falls by practicing good housekeeping and by        metal ladders, check for kinks or bends.                          information, go to and click on books and
taking care on stairs, in the bathtub, on ladders, and on ice    * Put the ladder on a firm, flat surface. The ladder could tip    products. Sign up for his free safety newsletter at
and snow.                                                        over if placed on soft ground. If you must use it on soft Martin is a fire fighter/paramedic whose
Stairs                                                           ground, place its feet on a piece of ¾-inch plywood that is at    humorous talks stress that safety should be a twenty-four
 As a paramedic I have often been called out to attend to        least 10 inches wider and deeper than the base of the ladder.     hour concern.
someone who's fallen on the stairs and been seriously hurt.      This support will act like a snowshoe or ski to distribute the
Often the cause of a serious fall on the stairs is misjudging
the end of the stair.
Afew things to keep in mind about stair safety:
* Keep stairs in good repair.
                                                                 ladder's weight.
                                                                 *Open the step ladder as far as it will go and make sure the
                                                                 spreader arms are locked in place.
                                                                 Using an extension ladder
                                                                                                                                   Sucides/Accidents on the rise
                                                                                                                                    Accidents and suicides claim more Canadian lives than car
* Make sure the stairway is well lit. Replace burned out         * Make sure the ladder is in good condition. It should have       crashes and falls put together, a new Statistics Canada study
light bulbs quickly.                                             no cracks, large chips, kinks or bends.                           says.
* Handrails can prevent a fall by helping you keep your          * The ladder should have non-slip feet.                            Excluding diseases, complications from pregnancy and
balance. Make sure the handrail is secured properly. Check       *Use the ladder on firm, even ground. If the ground is            genetic disorders, accidental injury is the most common
to see if it will hold an adult's weight. If not, try using      uneven or soft, place the feet of the ladder on a piece of ¾ -    cause of death among Canadians, followed closely by
longer screws to secure it. Handrails aren't for show; keep a    inch plywood that is large enough to support both feet.           intentional self-harm, which includes suicide.
hand on the rail when using the stairs.                          * Secure the top of the ladder (tying if firmly to something       Transportation crashes were third most common and falls
* Avoid leaving objects on the stairs. Toys, books and other     stable) to help prevent the top of the ladder from moving.        were fourth.
things should be kept off the stairs.                            * The correct angle for an extension ladder is 75 degrees.         According to Statistics Canada, more than 6,300 people
* Stairs aren't a play area. Establish a “no-running-on-the-     Here's how to estimate this angle: Stand with your toes           died in 2006 from accidents unrelated to transportation,
stairs” rule in your home.                                       against the feet of the ladder. Keep your back straight and       and about 3,500 people died because they intentionally
* Avoid using area carpets at the top of stairs. If the carpet   hold your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder level.    harmed themselves or committed suicide.
slides, it can result in a tumble down the stairs.               Your fingers should reach the ladder. Here's another way to        Just over 3,000 people died from traffic crashes and
* Thick padding or carpet on stairs will reduce the usable       determine the correct angle: make sure that for every four        2,580 people died from falls. Rounding out the top five,
width of the tread.                                              feet up the ladder is one foot out from the building. In          about 1,086 people were poisoned to death.
* Keep all carpets and plastic runners, etc., secure at all      industry, this is called the 4 to 1 ratio.                         While traffic accidents were by far the most common
times. If a tack that was securing the runner comes out, the      Two fire fighters were on a ladder when they opened up the       type of fatal accident, other, less frequent, accidents were
runner can slide and cause a fall.                               nozzle of the fire hose. The force from the water pouring         also noted in the study. Four people died from being
Bathtubs                                                         from the hose pushed the men back, tipping the ladder over.       struck by lightning and six people were killed by
  Fiberglass and porcelain shower floors and bathtubs            One fire fighter broke his arm as a result. (The ladder may       avalanches or landslides. Twelve people drank themselves
become even more slippery when wet. This is why so many          not have been at the proper angle.)                               to death.

                                     Back Pain
                                     Back pain is one of the most common conditions experienced by adults. Strained back muscles
                                     and ligaments often result from improper or heavy lifting, or after a sudden awkward movement.
                                     On the bright side, back pain rarely has a serious cause. With regular activity and proper body
                                     mechanics you will often heal and feel better within a few weeks.

                                                                                      Visit:                                                                                                                                                  May 2010 Page 4
                                                                   they have got used to enjoying for the rest of their decor. So
White Isn't the Only Colour                                        now the choice is there. Why not check out some of the
                                                                   amazing shades available, and go for something that will
W hen Choosing Gr een                                              really stand out?
                                                                   You can buy arched doors online as well a range of composite
Windows and Doors                                                  front doors to suit the style of your house and they also add a
By Carlos Sintan                                                   level of security to it as well.
 There are obvious benefits to considering the improvements
which offer the highest likely returns on their cost over a long
period. This means that, if the owner intends to stay in a house
for a long period, those returns will increase over that time.
                                                                   Home Inspections
So what are the most viable and prominent features of a home
that is eco-friendly inside and out?
Greater demand for lumber and hard wood has led to these
                                                                   made clear
                                                                    Many real estate companies are engage in home inspection
resources being heavily over-exploited. Hence, trees and
                                                                   firm. Findings and report of qualified inspector of property
other non-replenished natural resources are becoming more
                                                                   ensures that an investment of the buyer is safe and secure.        inspection nowadays allows inspectors to perform their task
and more depleted.
                                                                   Appraisers know the importance of home inspection for              in various stages of the property's construction.
 In order to ensure that this never happens again, home
                                                                   properties on sale. Though, this is an added cost on part of the    How to get a home inspection certification? Getting one is
builders and home owners should choose uPVC as a material
                                                                   buyer it is a plus in order to complete a decision whether to      not easy and cannot be completed in a week or few months. It
for their door and window frames.
                                                                   buy or not. Home inspectors offer an evaluation of work on         requires a series of trainings and education because a sizable
 One major problem which for years has held people back
                                                                   the condition of the houses and provide notes on the               knowledge of theories is being taught. The foundation starts
from plumping for uPVC has been that it has long been
                                                                   additional work needed. Home Inspection Certification can          with taking up a course in order to be a qualified inspector.
associated with one colour - white. Thankfully, that is now far
                                                                   be obtained when a series of course or training has been           Then, choosing a professional organization and maintaining
from the case, and composite front doors are now available in
                                                                   completed. It is known to be a high paying job nowadays.           a membership. Certifications are provided by many different
a range of stunning and distinctive colours. This makes it far
                                                                     To distinguish the importance of home inspection                 training schools. Part of getting a home inspection
easier to make a home which will really stand out from its
                                                                   certification from other fields of studies, consider the           certification is teaching the students to identify the kinds of
neighbours, as owners can be as bold as they want.
                                                                   following examples- In Information Technology, a CCNA              defects in home that may incur additional cost to buyer. A
For instance, if a house's decor features a dominant colour, it
                                                                   certification is needed as a proof of one's ability to have a      home inspector, in the end, provides a report after examining
is now possible to choose a colour for external doors which is
                                                                   foundation of working with Cisco routers and switches. On          the entire property. There are classroom and online courses.
different, but which complements it, for example, black to go
                                                                   the medical side, there is certification and training for          Information is vital and continuous learning is important.
with red, or yellow as a companion for blue.
                                                                   phlebotomy. It is a high paying job that involves the process      Keeping up with the latest trends and updates gives a
 Modern uPVC doors and windows offer excellent heat-
                                                                   of collecting sample specimens for blood test, urinalysis and      qualified home inspector an added new knowledge and
retention properties, and the latest glass technology has
                                                                   cultures. In real property industry, a certified home inspector    become more marketable.
produced windows and doors which do an equally effective
                                                                   shows that a person is a professional and qualified to provide      Even if the real estate industry is unsteady, there are many
job of keeping the cold out, and keeping the warmth in - and
                                                                   an assessment on the overall condition of a house before           houses being sold and bought. It signals strength in home
here, colour is not an issue.
                                                                   selling or buying. In a more detailed ways, the certified ones     inspection career. Consumers are increasingly becoming
 There's no longer any need to be tied down to choosing the
                                                                   do not stop from scrutinizing the outside of a home, but, he or    aware on every detail of their property. provides this kind of
same finish as everyone else in the street. It took some years
                                                                   she will further check the inside of the house. Visual damage      services.
for uPVC doors and windows to become available in wood-
                                                                   can easily assess but those unseen damages like cracks              Kenneth Prybylski reviewed on how to get pass on Home
effect finishes - but as with many technological innovations,
                                                                   underneath floorings may not be found. A new home                  Inspection Certification.
once the dam was burst, manufacturers could really let
their creativity flow and give homeowners all the choice

                                                                   E-mail your thoughts:
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       Contributing Writers
          Lakeland Simms
    Barbara Semeniuk, Erik David
             Kristian Jay                                                                                                                                                    May 2010 Page 5


                                                                                                                                                        Alberta cracks

By Erik David
Worksite News Service
                                                                                                                                                           down on
                                                                                                                                                         busy drivers
                                                                                                                                                  Pastoor believes hands-free phones should also
                                                                                                                                                 be banned.
                                                                                                                                                  Calgary MLA Art Johnston introduced a similar
Alberta drivers will have to keep both eyes on                                                                                                   private member's bill in the fall of 2008. Johnston,
the road at all times, or it will cost them.                                                                                                     a 25-year police veteran, called Wednesday's bill a
 The new Bill 16, proposed recently by the                                                                                                       personal victory.
Legislature, targets distracted drivers who                                                                                                       "I've seen people with video screens ... on the
phone, text or even groom themselves while                                                                                                       dash, I've seen people reading, I've seen a lot of
behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, could                                                                                                      horror stories," he said.
be hit with a $175 fine (demerit points are not                                                                                                    The legislation is unnecessary, said Wildrose
given).                                                                                                                                          Alliance MLA Paul Hinman. The province
 Bill 16 is an amendment to the Traffic Safety                                                                                                   already has a law that bans driving without due
Act.                                                                                                                                             care and attention, and Hinman said it's sufficient.
 Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette said                                                                                                     The offence yields a $402 fine and six demerit
he is always concerned about introducing                                                                                                         points.
legislation that restricts personal freedoms.                                                                                                     But Oullette said that law is constantly being
 "We want you, and everyone else, to get home                                                                                                    challenged in court, and the proposed legislation
safely every night to their families," Ouellette                                                                                                 will allow police to impose a less severe
said. "We will always be working on the                                                                                                          punishment.
Traffic SafetyAct to keep people safe."                             He said he hopes the government will return to the                           Drivers can use hand-held devices to contact
 Over the past few years, opposition parties have criticized      legislation in the future and consider including handsfree          emergency services, and the legislation would not affect the
Oullette for not acting more swiftly to introduce such a law.     phones. "We understand it's not there, but that's not the end       official duties of emergency service personnel including
Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Nova Scotia,                   of that discussion."                                                enforcement, fire and medical services.
Ontario, P.E.I., British Columbia and Saskatchewan all have          A distracted driving law without a ban on hands-free             The bill is expected to be debated in the legislature this fall.
bans on the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.            phones is proof the proposed legislation is not based on            The proposed legislation is expected to be debated in the
 The Alberta government wanted to get the legislation right,      science, said University of Alberta professor Dr. Louis             legislature this fall.
and Oullette said Bill 16 does that by expanding the law          Francescutti, who specializes in injury prevention and               However, it's been hard to use on distracted drivers, said
beyond cellphones.                                                public health.                                                      Sgt. Tony Simioni, president of the Edmonton Police
 "There's a lot more to distracted driving than just electronic    "There is absolutely no difference between hands-free and          Association, because judges require a high burden of proof.
devices, and we wanted to get that in there," Ouellette said.     hand-held cellphone use," Francescutti said. "It's not the          He lauded Bill 16 on condition it's easier to enforce.
  No jurisdiction in Canada has so far banned hands-free          hand-held part of it, it's the actual conversation that distracts   "It opens up some options to police to deter drivers from
cellphones and Bill 16 would allow drivers to use them.           you from the task of driving."                                      being distracted," said Simioni. "(Its value) really depends
Radio communications such as CB radios would be allowed             The law will have no impact on distracted driving-related         on how the courts view it and how much proof is going to be
for commercial purposes, and search-and-rescue services.          injuries and deaths without including hands-free phones, he         required."
 While a ban that included handsfree phones would have            said.                                                                Bill 16 would allow the use of hands-free phones, said the
been welcome, the Alberta Motor Association will support           Alberta's law should be stricter, Liberal MLA Bridget              government. Also, radio communications such as CB radios
the bill, spokesman Don Szarko said.                              Pastoor said, pointing to a $280 fine plus four demerit points      would be allowed for commercial purposes and search and
 "Hands-free would have been something we have indicated          for distracted driving in Saskatchewan.                             rescue services. Drivers could use hand-held devices to
in our research ... that has to be looked at," Szarko said.                                                                           contact emergency services. WSN

                                                                  proposed activities include: * texting, * reading, * writing,       another tool for police and the courts so they have flexibility
Highlights of the new Bill                                        * personal grooming, * entering information on GPS units,           in dealing with the complexities of distracted driving.
* Restricts drivers from holding/using hand-held/portable         and * using electronic devices like lap top computers, video        6) When will this law take effect?
communication/entertainment devices such as cell phones,          games or video entertainment displays.                              Bill 16 must still go through the legislative process. It could
laptops or MP3 players while driving;                              We are not talking about penalizing drivers for taking a sip       come into effect next spring 2011.
* Restricts drivers from reading, writing or attending to         of coffee, chatting with passengers or blowing their nose.           Go to for more information.
personal hygiene or grooming while driving;                       We are talking about those drivers who decide to put others
* Allows enforcement officers, at their discretion, to charge     at risk by watching movies, browsing for and downloading
distracted drivers;                                               'apps' or shaving while trying to navigate through traffic.
* Complements the current driving without due care and             3) What will the fine be?
attention legislation;                                            We are proposing a $172 fine for this offence. This amount
*Applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic SafetyAct.     includes a fine of $150 plus the 15 per cent victims'
To provide your comments and feedback on Bill 16 go to            surcharge. This fine is in keeping with the fines for other
Alberta Connects.                                                 traffic violations. There are no demerits points proposed.
FrequentlyAsked Questions:                                        4)Are there demerit points proposed for this offence?
1) Why is distracted driving such a growing concern?              No. It is felt that the dollar fine will encourage drivers to
Many factors have contributed to the current situation:           focus on driving. Drivers that exhibit what is deemed to be
* Technological advances over the last 20 years,                  more serious or risky behaviours could be charged with
* A perceived need to be connected to work and home at all        'careless driving' under the Traffic Safety Act. The penalty
times,                                                            for the existing 'careless driving' offence carries six demerit
* A perception that driving is an unproductive, second nature     points and a fine of $402.
task, and                                                         5) Will there still be a 'driving without due care and
* People trying to accomplish more in less time.                  attention' or 'careless driving' charge?
The result is that many drivers focus on secondary tasks          Yes. The new, proposed bill will compliment the current law
while driving, for example, using mp3 players or                  under the Traffic Safety Act – driving without due care and
programming navigation devices, talking on cell phones,           attention – or 'careless driving,' which will remain in effect.
text messaging, interacting with sophisticated entertainment      The penalty for the existing 'careless driving' offence is $402
centres, and personal grooming.                                   and 6 demerit points. This charge will be considered for
2) What kinds of distractions will be covered?                    violations deemed more serious when associated with cell
In addition to talking on a hand-held cell phone, the             phone/distracted issues. This new proposed bill will provide