You know it’s coming—the blistering heat of the summer months. It’s a time many have been waiting months for.

But while those blistering hot summer days offer opportunities to hit the beach or whatever seasonal enjoyment you may prefer, they can also present a safety issue in the workplace, one that should be addressed now.

Warren Clements, an occupational hygienist with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, says everyone in a business has a role to play in keeping employees safe. “Employers, supervisors and workers all can make a difference in their workplace.”

The WSPS offers a 10-step plan of action to help.

For employers

1. Put a policy and procedures in place, based on risk assessment. If heat stress is considered a hazard, consider conducting heat stress measurements and developing a control plan, including engineering controls such as insulating hot surfaces.

2. Train all employees during orientation on the policy and procedures. Include heat stress symptoms, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone starts showing symptoms. Heat stress training is particularly critical for young and new workers, as well as all manual workers. Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health shows that heat strokes, sunstrokes and other heat illnesses disproportionately affect those on the job less than two months.

Steps for supervisors

3. Acclimatize workers to hot conditions, and watch out for de-acclimatization. Workers can lose their tolerance in only four days.

4. Schedule work in the hottest locations for cooler times of day. Build cool-down breaks into work schedules. Adjust the frequency and duration of breaks as needed. “Taking a break means going to a cooler work area or providing workers with periodic rest breaks and rest facilities in cooler conditions,” says Warren.

5. Get to know your workplace and your workers. “Are there certain jobs at elevated risk? Is anybody working outside today? Keep your eyes and ears open: ‘Is so-and-so looking a little different from how he normally looks? A little more flushed? Sitting down more?’”

6. Ensure ready access to cool water in convenient, visible locations. Workers need to replenish their fluids if they are becoming dehydrated.

7. Supply protective equipment and clothing as needed, such as water-dampened cotton whole-body suits, cooling vests with pockets that hold cold packs, and water-cooled suits.

8. Monitor weather forecasts. “If it’s Tuesday and you know superhot weather is coming on Thursday, ask yourself, ‘Who will be working then? What will they be doing? Who should I watch out for?’”

9. Be extra vigilant in extreme conditions. “Check on workers frequently. If you can’t do this, then assign a temporary pair of eyes to do it for you.”

Steps for workers

10. Watch out for each other and speak up. “People suffering from heat stress don’t always recognize their own symptoms. If anyone’s behaviour is ‘more than usual’ — more sweating, more flushed, hyperventilating — it could be a sign of heat stress.” Other signs could include rashes, muscle cramping, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.

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The Federal Government is accepting applications from eligible applicants interested in receiving funding from the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which is intended to help  businesses to improve accessibility and/or safety for people with disabilities. It does so by supporting the capital costs of renovation, construction and/or retrofit activities and the provision of accessible technologies in workplaces and communities across Canada.

The deadline for the current round of applications is July 6, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The improvements made must be addressed through renovation, construction and/or retrofit activities or through the provision of accessible technologies, in facilities where people with disabilities work or could work in the future. While proposed projects can address accessibility needs that are specific to one current or future employee, the measures/features to be implemented must be usable/transferable to other current or future employees facing similar accessibility barriers, and must remain with the organization for their use (e.g. an accessible workstation with adjustable counter tops and cabinets with pull-out shelves meets the objective, whereas hearing aids would not).

A full explanation of the program, including a guide that employers can use to determine their eligibility, can be accessed HERE.

 

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It’s just days away and nominees in some 16 categories for this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala (#OBAASL17) are getting ready to put their best foot forward on the stage at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

The event, the most significant in the business calendar for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, takes place Friday, June 16, beginning with a “red carpet” walk in front of the Imperial Theatre and culminating with a spectacular awards ceremony.

It’s sure to be a memorable night, the preparations for which began last December when the call for nominations went out.

Once nominations were received, panels of judges went to work in combing through submissions.

And it all comes together next Friday, June 16 at 7:00 PM.

Be sure to get your tickets NOW—online at www.imperialtheatre.net or by phone at (519) 344-7469. And we’ll see you there!

*parking is available for no charge at Bayside Mall for the OBAA participants!

#OBAASL17

 

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The countdown is on! Only two weeks to go and the excitement is growing! Fast approaching is  this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Gala, on Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

Time is running out.  Get your ticket now and ensure  you’re part of it all!

We really want to see you there.  So, drop what you’re doing (safely, of course) and get in touch with the Imperial Theatre’s box office. A link to the “buy tickets” page can be found HERE.

The box office phone is (519) 344-7469.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s 2017 OBAA gala, proudly sponsored by Libro Credit Union.

 

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The City of Sarnia is inviting the public to weigh in on future plans regarding the transit service levy. The proposal is to have all Sarnia property owners, including those located more than 450 metres from a bus route, pay the transit levy and share in the costs.  Read more about the potential costs/savings and see if you are already paying the levy, by location, here.

Businesses are encouraged to give their feedback by completing a survey (before June 22 the deadline has been extended to August 4), emailing transittax@sarnia.ca or attending a public consultation meeting on June 19.

To participate in the public consultation session, scheduled for Monday, June 19, immediately before City Council’s regular meeting, contact the Clerk’s office prior to noon on June 14, 2017, although there is no requirement for registering prior to a public meeting.

A paper copy of the survey is available at City Hall.

Businesses and property owners are encouraged to get involved by participating in the survey or sending their comments to the City.

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Thanks to a decision by Sarnia City Council this week, new and existing businesses will soon be able to access BizPaL, a Canada-wide system designed to simplify access to information about business permits, licences and other requirements needed to establish, operate and grow an enterprise.

Once this is set up, information about necessary permitting will be available through the portal, which the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will add to www.slchamber.ca when that occurs.

Marg Misek-Evans, Sarnia’s chief administrative officer, said now that City Council has approved the municipality joining the network—at no cost to the City—the implementation process will begin, making sure that the administrators have information on all the various permits required for all business sectors.

There is no fee for businesses doing the search other than that which they will incur for whatever permit is being sought. BizPaL was set up by the Federal Government under Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in 2005. Provinces and territories (including Ontario) pay a fee for the use of the BizPaL network, but municipalities do not.

“This is definitely a service that our business community needs,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to updates regarding the implementation, which we understand will be coming shortly.”

 

 

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Members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce are welcome to participate in a conference call to find out more about the Industrial Conservation Initiative, a cost savings program for manufacturers. The program has recently been expanded to electricity consumers with an average monthly peak of 500 kW or more.

The 90-minute call is hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and takes place next Thursday, June 1, 2017, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Chamber boardroom at 556 Christina St. N., Sarnia.

Those who cannot attend in person are invited to email Monica Shepley, Manager of Advocacy and Policy Development, for options on how to connect to the call.

The call is designed to give Chamber members in the manufacturing sector an opportunity to speak with professionals connected with the Ministry of Energy and the Independent Electricity System Operator as well as with Matt Brunette, the new Energy Liaison at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

 

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, is looking ahead now that the Trump administration in the U.S. has notified Congress that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a “5 Minutes for Business” brief to members, Hendrik Brakel, the senior director, Economic, Financial and Tax Policy at the Canadian Chamber, has outlined what might be expected now that this 90-day “heads up” period has been initiated by the U.S.

“Every special interest and aggrieved Wisconsin dairy producer will have a chance to provide input during the consultation period,” writes Brakel. “Then whatever new agreement is negotiated must pass the (U.S.) House and the Senate.”

Brakel notes that “all three governments—Canada, the U.S. and Mexico—want NAFTA 2.0 wrapped up ASAP. Canada wants to end the uncertainty that is hurting investment, and for our partners it is even more urgent.”

Pointing out that the original Free Trade Agreement involving Canada and the U.S. took 18 months to negotiate (“and our governments were the closest of friends during this period—May 1986 to October 4, 1987”), Brakel questions whether it is even possible to renegotiate NAFTA as soon as some politicians would hope.

“There may be another way,” writes Brakel of the OCC. “The USTR (U.S. Trade Representative) referred to NAFTA modernization as opposed to renegotiation. In the past, NAFTA has been amended extensively without going back to Congress. We could add a chapter on e-commerce, fix the rules of origin and sign a bunch of side letters that could give the Americans the win they need.”

Brakel closes his “5 Minutes for Business” letter with a word of optimism: “Let’s hope they take what they can get. Otherwise, NAFTA 2.0 is doomed.”

The complete edition of this “5 Minutes for Business” (a downloadable PDF) can be seen HERE.

 

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The City of Sarnia is now inviting local businesses to apply for a grant to install a charge station at their location, the purpose being to provide free power for mobility devices.

A news release from Dale Mosely, accessibility coordinator for the City, said the “Charge n’ Go” initiative follows an initiative that took place last year where the City partnered with the County of Lambton for mobility device charging stations at 13 public buildings and spaces, including parks, libraries, City Hall, Lambton Shared Services and Lambton Public Health.

The “Charge n’ Go” initiative includes a grant of up to $500 to install charging stations and a starter kit that includes a sign and information on where to install the charging station.

By adding charging stations, businesses can:

  • Open their doors to more people;
  • Have a reputation of being socially responsible businesses;
  • Market the business in a unique way;
  • Be part of an inclusive movement in the City of Sarnia; and
  • Take advantage of further marketing opportunities.

The cost to businesses is said to be 17 to 25 cents per charge.

To apply for the grant, businesses can CLICK HERE to download and complete the online application or can contact Mosely at (519) 332-0330 ext. 3307 or by email: access@sarnia.ca.

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Ticket sales are going strong with less than 30 days remaining until the Chamber’s 2017 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala lights up downtown Sarnia and the Imperial Theatre on June 16.

You won’t want to miss out as the date gets closer, says Sharon Sielky, who chairs the volunteer committee organizing the event.

“We know that it’s often said that our community tends to be ‘last minute’ when it comes to securing tickets,” notes Sielky. “But maximizing their choice of seats is also important to some people, so now’s the time to go online at www.imperialtheatre.net or call the box office at (519) 344-7469.”

The June 16 event promises to be, as it is every year, one of the greatest events on the Chamber calendar, an opportunity to celebrate outstanding individuals and businesses who have been nominated and cheer them on.

Thanks go out to all the 2017 OBAA supporters, including lead event sponsor Libro Credit Union.

 

 

 

 

 

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