December 2013

Health & Safety

A year in review: Steps taken to protect the health and safety of Canadians

Today, Health Minister Rona Ambrose highlighted the Government's key accomplishments in protecting the health and safety of Canadians in 2013.

"Our Government made important headway in the areas of innovation, patient safety, and the tabling of effective legislation for the benefit of all Canadians," said Minister Ambrose. "We have a lot to be proud of in Canada and we will continue to make concrete investments and take action to protect our health and safety."

Health Council of Canada profiles Home First program in new video

Today, the Health Council of Canada launches a new video highlighting “Home First,” an initiative by the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network  (MH LHIN) and the Mississauga Halton Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) that supports seniors’ desire to be at home, not in hospital,  while they wait for space in a long-term care home. This is the sixth and final video in the Health Council’s “Innovations in Reducing Wait Times” video series.

Nova Scotia to clarify rules governing safety infractions in workplaces

Labour Minister Kelly Regan says the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act are a first step to new regulations that will help her department focus on more serious infractions, repeat offenders and workplace safety education.

Regan says the regulations expected next year will include details on when administrative fines should be levied.

Government releases new health and safety strategy

The province has released a new integrated health and safety strategy that will guide the Ministry of Labour in setting priorities to prevent injuries and create a culture where health and safety is at the centre of every workplace.

The new strategy is closely tied to the recent introduction of mandatory health and safety awareness training for Ontario workers and supervisors, which will be enforced by the ministry July 1, 2014.

Mandatory Health and Safety training coming soon

The Ontario Government has introduced a regulation to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that would mandate that employers provide health and safety awareness training to all workers and supervisors effective July 1, 2014.

This article includes the specific changes and requirements that must be met and also provides a link back to some of the training modules that are available to help you meet these new standards.

Human Resources

Are you closing for the holidays?

Many organizations will close over Christmas and New Year this year, but even those that don't will have skeleton staff as many workers take the time off.

An HRM reader poll found 46% of readers said their workplace was closing over Christmas and New Year, with 53% remaining open on the days between the statutory holidays.

Five tips to keep staff happy, productive and engaged during the holidays

Focusing on employee engagement isn’t just placing some version of a teamwork poster on the wall or simply saying “Good job” and patting an employee on the back at the end of the day. Although it’s a good start, if this is where your effort ends, it will most likely elicit cynicism and a dismissive attitude. True employee engagement is a business management tool and an investment in the one asset in your company that can deliver exceptional experiences: your people.

Here are five ways to begin to engage employees and boost morale as we enter into the 2013 holiday season.

Could ‘stay’ interviews help you avoid exits?

Losing a star employee is never fun. Most organizations have learnt to gain some positive from this by conducting exit interviews, which provide an opportunity to learn what may have caused the high performer to jump ship.

According to Robert Walters’ whitepaper, The Exit Process: How to Gain Valuable Insights to Build a Better Workplace, which surveyed 300 hiring managers and 700 professionals, 80% of professionals give honest and constructive feedback when leaving a position.

Is this the perk all your staff want?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch – unless you work at Google or one of the many other companies now offering free meals to their employees.

The link between healthy employees and productive companies is becoming increasingly clear as wellness programs and fitness incentives take off. Offering healthy meals to employees is one way to encourage them to embrace a healthy lifestyle, instead of asking them to choose between a greasy takeaway meal or getting up early to make lunch.

Young women closing workplace gender gap

Young women seem tantalizingly close to achieving gender equality in the workplace, at least when it comes to wages, a new report from the Pew Research Center suggests. But it remains to be seen whether motherhood will slow their strides, as it did for women before them.

As of last year, female workers ages 25 to 34 were making 93% of what men of the same ages earned — much closer to wage equality than earlier generations, Pew found. Between 1980 and 2012, the gap has gradually narrowed for American workers, as wages rose for women and dropped for young men.


Prostate cancer screening: The debate continues

Early detection of prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test has remained a controversial topic for several years. The PSA test is often used as a tool to help detect prostate cancer before men develop symptoms, and before the disease has a chance to spread beyond the prostate.

Most groups agree that the decision to screen for prostate cancer with the PSA test should be the result of a detailed discussion between a man, his physician, and any others who may help the decision-making process, such as a spouse, family member or friend. Various decision aid tools are available to help with this process.

Low compression alternative for breast cancer screening

Most women over the age of 50 should be familiar with the mammography screening procedures. A plate is pressed down to slowly flatten the breast while an X-ray image is taken. While this may not be the most comfortable procedure for anyone, compression of the breast can be particularly painful in younger women, who tend to have denser breast tissue. More importantly, the dense tissue in young women also leads to a lower chance of mammography being effective because the tumour is harder to detect using this test.

Privacy commissioner wants new criteria for entering health information in police database

On Nov. 25, Ellen Richardson of Toronto, Ontario, was denied entry to the US when she attempted to fly from Pearson International Airport to New York for a March of Dimes cruise. According to the Withdrawal of Application for Admission documents she received from US Customs and Border Protection, she was prohibited from entering the US because of "a medical episode" in June 2012 that a US official interpreted to mean she posed a risk to herself or others.

Canadian health care analytics ‘still in teen years,’ conference told

In southern Ontario a number of local health authorities are pooling data on millions of patients to create a huge repository of information that can be queried to help doctors and nurses being deliver better medical care.

“We’re still in our teenage years in analytics,” said Bill Pascal, an Ottawa-based IT health care consultant and former chief technology officer of the Canadian Medical Association.

Ontario reinstates basic health care for refugees

Ontario is joining five other provinces to defy the federal government’s refugee health cuts, saying it will reinstate essential and urgent coverage for claimants through a new temporary health program.
The new health program for refugees will cover hospital, primary, specialist, laboratory and diagnostic services and take effect on Jan. 1, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said Monday.

Product Recalls and Advisories

Revlimid (lenalidomide) - Risk of Liver Problems - For Health Professionals

Cobalt Pharmaceuticals recalls one lot of its anti-depressant Co-Fluvoxamine (100 mg tablet): potential serious risk to health

Phenytoin Sodium Injection USP 50 mg/mL - Potential for Particulate Matter in 2 mL and 5 mL Vials - For Health Professionals

Contaminated unauthorized natural health product (MaxHIMize)

Methotrexate Sodium Injection 25 mg/mL (2mL) – Recall Due to Possible Presence of Cracked Vials - For Health Professionals

XELODA (capecitabine) - Risk of Severe Skin Reactions - For Health Professionals

Marcaine 0.5%, Marcaine E 0.25% and 0.5% - EXPANDED Recall of 5 additional lots due to the possibility of embedded particles in the glass vial - Notice to hospitals

Propofol-II Injectable Emulsion 1%, (10mg/mL), 1000mg/100mL - Recall of Lot No. 29609DJ Due to Presence of Particulate Matter - For Health Professionals

Asacol 800 (2013-11-27)

ENDOMETRIN (100 mg Progesterone Effervescent Vaginal Tablets) - Voluntary Recall of Two Lots Due to a Possible Lack of Therapeutic Efficacy - For Health Professionals

Quantiferon - TB Gold Mitogen Tubes (2013-10-31)

Propofol II (2013-11-25)

Abbott Hi-Torque Connect Guidwires (2013-11-25)

Phosphate Injectable Products - Potential for Particulate Matter in Some Vials - For Health Professionals

Surgical and Laser Larygoscope (2013-11-18)

Smiths Emdical Blood Sampling Kits (2013-11-18)

Unauthorized weight loss products OxyElite Pro linked to multiple reports of serious liver injury in the U.S.

Excelsior 10/18 and GDC-Ultrasoft Labelling Systems (2013-11-05)

Risperidone- or paliperidone-containing products - Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) - For Health Professionals

Data-Cyte Plus 0,8 % (2013-11-14)

Updated Safety Information for Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents

Chloramphenicol 1% (2013-11-14)

Gadolinium-Containing Contrast Agents - Update on Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis/Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NSF/NFD) - Notice to Hospitals

Tulip Medical Products (2013-11-13)

Photon and Photon Plus Dental Diode Laser (2013-11-13)

Nobelactive Internal RP 4.3 X 11.5 mm (2013-11-12)

Advia Chemistry Systems (2013-11-11)

Fiberscopes (2013-11-11)

Breeze C3/C4 Mobility Scooters (2013-11-11)

Fibrintimer (2013-11-11)