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Why be ADA Compliant?

November 29, 2016
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The success of your business is enhanced by your ADA compliance.

Not only is it crucial for your business to comply with rules and regulations, but also reflects your sensitivity towards the needs of the disabled individuals within your community.

Our EMC professionals are always ready to assist in making your mark within the ADA world.

 

 

Raise Safety Awareness Within The Workplace

November 23, 2016
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Colour attracts attention and can be used effectively for safety purposes.

A triangle depicts:
1. Caution / Potential Hazard
2. Danger / Definite Hazard

Ensure your business remains compliant with government regulations while maintaining employee safety.

Harnessing Your Habits for Good

May 31, 2016
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We all beat ourselves up over our habits.

Habits we want to change but find extremely difficult to make it happen.

How can we harness our habits?

First of all we need to be realistic.  Many of us try to change multiple things at the same time.  Unfortunately, trying to reach all of your goals at the same time is a way to reach none of them. A modest person is realistic.  He or she recognizes that there are limits to their time, energy and resources.   The goal is to make improvement gradually.

How to get started:

Start by making two lists

  • Be realistic – a list of good habits that you want to build on and a list of bad habits that you need to get rid of.  Make them as long as you like as you like
  • Prioritize the items on your list numbering them in order of importance to you
  • Choose a few habits even  one or two from each list and focus on those then move onto the next one or two you would like to focus on.  Speed up the process by replacing a bad habit with a good one.  An example could be calling a friend or relative first when you get home in (good habit) instead of watching too much TV (bad habit)
  • Manage your environment…we need to make it harder to do the wrong thing and easier to do the right thing.   For instance, if we want to eat less junk food we need to stop buying it and having it available.  When temptation strikes giving in will require more effort than not giving in make it easier.  If you plan to exercise in the morning set your exercise clothing next to your bed the night before…. the easier it is to get started the more likely you will follow through.
  • Choose friends wisely.  We want to have friends that reinforce good habits not ones who encourage habits that we are trying to break.
  • Take a long range view

Some say that it takes 21 days to cement a new habit.

In reality though, it can be much shorter or longer depending on the individual.   We don’t need to be discouraged though.   We need to cultivate a long range view.   What counts is not how many times we fall but how many times we get up again.

Never conclude that a relapse is a permanent failure.

Expect to face some setbacks as you work towards your goal.

Focus on the times when things went right.

Reinforce your successes rather than dwell on your setbacks.

And finally, never give up!

Workplace Violence & Workplace Harassment Policies

May 30, 2016
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The management of every corporation should be committed to the prevention of workplace violence as they are ultimately responsible for worker health and safety.

They should take whatever steps are reasonable to protect their workers from workplace violence from all sources.

Management should be committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.

Workplace violence means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause a physical injury to the worker
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to  a worker
  • A statement or behaviour that is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker

Examples of workplace violence include:  verbally threatening to attack a worker, leaving threatening notes or sending threatening emails to a workplace, shaking a fist in a worker’s face, wielding a weapon at work, hitting or trying to hit a worker, throwing an object at a worker, sexual violence against a worker, kicking an object the worker is standing on such as a ladder or trying to run down a worker using a vehicle or equipment such as a forklift.  All incidences of workplace violence should be reported to a manager for a complete investigation.

Workplace harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct against a worker in a workplace – behaviour that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

The comments or conduct typically happen more than once, several times in a day or several times over a longer period of time (weeks, months or years).

Workplace harassment can involve unwelcome words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating or demeaning to a worker or group of workers.

It can also include behaviour that intimidates, isolates or even discriminates against the targeted individual(s).

Workplace harassment often includes repeated words or actions, or a pattern of behaviours, against a worker or group of workers in the workplace that are unwelcome.

This may include:

  • Making remarks, jokes or innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate or offend
  • Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form
  • Bullying
  • Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or e-mails or
  • Inappropriate sexual touching, advances, suggestions or requests

Workplace harassment also includes psychological or personal harassment such as harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, colour, sex, religion, disability or sexual orientation.  See Ontario’s Human Rights Code for a complete listing.

Workplace harassment should not be tolerated from any person in the workplace.  Everyone in the workplace must be dedicated to preventing workplace harassment and all should be held accountable.

Unwanted behaviours need to be addressed early to minimize the potential for workplace harassment to lead to workplace violence.

The harassing or violent person may be someone the worker comes into contact with due to the nature of their work.

This may include a customer, a sales person, a supplier, a co-worker or supervisor.  The person may be someone with no formal connection to the workplace such as a stranger or a domestic/intimate partner who brings violence or harassment into the workplace.

Canada’s Criminal Code deals with matters such as violent acts, threats and behaviours such as stalking.  The police should be contacted in these situations.  Harassment may also be a matter that falls under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Joint health and safety committees and health and safety representatives have the same powers and responsibilities for workplace violence hazards as they do for other occupational health and safety hazards under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  They need to be aware of the risks and be able to recognize and/or report on them if necessary.  This may include a work stoppage if a violent hazard exists.

Every worker, manager or supervisor must work in compliance with this type of policy and the supporting program.

Workers are encouraged to report any incidence of workplace violence or harassment.  There should be no negative consequences for incidences reported in good faith.

What needs to be done if there is an incidence of workplace violence or harassment?

To report an incidence:

  • Contact a manager immediately.  Discuss the incident. Make note of the date and time of the incident.  If it is an immediate threat remove yourself from the scene and get help either internally or externally from a neighbour or call the police.
  • The informed manager then has the responsibility to properly investigate the incident and take the necessary disciplinary steps. The recommendations will then be discussed with senior management and action taken.

Management should pledge to investigate and deal with all concerns, complaints or incidents of workplace harassment or violence in a fair and timely manner while respecting workers’ privacy as much as possible.

The incident investigation should include full interviews of the parties involved and a recording of date and time of the incident.  A description of action items and time frame for completion will be noted and recorded as action is taken.

Nothing in any policy should prevent a worker from filing an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on a matter related to Ontario’s Human Rights Code.   Within one year of the alleged incident a worker also retains the right to exercise any other legal avenues that may be available.

The workplace violence and harassment policy should be consulted whenever there are concerns about harassment or violence in the workplace.

These are just a few tips for constructing your Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy.

For more information download a copy of Bill 168 which provides the background for this type of policy.

Qualifier:

Workplace harassment does not include minor disagreements between co-workers and any behaviour that would not meet the definition of workplace violence would not be considered workplace harassment.

Also reasonable action or conduct by an employer or manager as part of normal work function would not be considered workplace harassment such as changing work assignments, work schedules, inspections, explanation of dress codes and disciplinary actions.

Managing Stress

May 29, 2016
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Is stress making you sick?

So many of us feel that way…working long hours in a row without a break like a mouse on a treadmill that never stops moving.

In the UK, one out of five said that stress had made them physically ill during their career.  Even during this recession antidepressant sales continue to rise.

Why?

What are the causes of stress?

  • insecurity financial or otherwise
  • a demanding routine
  • interpersonal conflicts
  • a traumatic experience

Stress itself isn’t necessarily harmful – it can be the kiss of death or the spice of life.

The key is learning to manage it.

Since people vary in temperament and general health their ability to cope with stress varies greatly also.

What are some helpful suggestions to deal with stress?

  • Confide in a trusted family member or friend.   Studies show that the support of love ones helps with stress related disorders
  • Do not continually form a worst – case scenario
  • Try to give yourself some downtime and get adequate rest
  • Set sound priorities.  Simplify your life and alleviate added workload and expenses
  • Deal with personal conflict in a calm and rational way
  • Be forgiving… A forgiving attitude reduces stress
  • Make some lifestyle changes to reduce stress – healthy diet, sleep, exercise, take breaks, from work, learn to work with your hands or learn to play a musical instrument
  • and finally be kind to yourself…go for long walks on the beach or in a forest, enjoy a spa day or a vacation, take a day trip for a change of scenery, go for take a scenic drive,  get out of your head,  breathe  and take a moment to really stop and smell the roses…good health to you!

Boosting Your Self-Esteem

May 25, 2016
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Make a list of several things that you like about yourself.

For example:

I have a nice smile.  I am patient.  I am loving to my family.

Take your time and aim for 50 things, even if it takes weeks this do so.

Keep this list and look at a different section of it every day.

If something difficult is coming up read it all to show yourself that you have a lot to offer.

Set yourself a challenge

Start small – walk a block a day for instance.  Then when you achieve it accept praise from others.

Then bigger challenges – take a night class.

Do it, achieve it, accept the praise for it.

Be Assertive

Not aggressive, but set clear boundaries.

It means you value yourself and others can communicate with mutual respect.

Being assertive means keeping your body language open and confident and expressing your feelings if you are upset.

You need to learn to say “no” to unreasonable requests or express the need for more time if you need it.

Friends and family

Identify those around you that encourage the negative feelings and opinions you hold.

You must stop this by being more assertive and by limiting contact with them.

Spend time with people who will not criticize you but will listen to your feelings and help you to take action.

Work

Balance work and home life.

If you’re out of work for a long time volunteer so you don’t lose your confidence.

Hobbies

Learning a language, dancing, painting, writing, wherever your interests lie.

Try something a little challenging.

It will boost your confidence when you succeed.

Also:

Regular exercise, sleep, mindfulness and healthy diet all contribute to the improvement of a persons self image.

10 tips to keep you going:

It can be quite helpful to refer to these throughout the day to keep you positive and to boost your self-esteem.

  • Don’t compare yourself to other people
  • Don’t put yourself down
  • Get into the habit of thinking and saying positive things about yourself to yourself
  • Accept compliments
  • Use self help books and websites to help you change your beliefs
  • Spend time with positive supportive people
  • Acknowledge your positive qualities and things you are good at
  • Be assertive, don’t allow people to treat you with a lack of respect
  • Be helpful and considerate to others
  • Engage in work and hobbies that you enjoy

And finally, no one is happy all the time.

Having high self-esteem does not mean you will always feel confident about work or have successful relationships.

However, good emotional health and positive self-esteem are strong predictors of happiness.

If your core belief about yourself is mainly positive you may still associate with some of these behaviours but your ability to cope with them will be much better.

Identifying Low Self-Esteem

May 19, 2016
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Identifying Low Self-Esteem

What is self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can lead people to be depressed, to fall short of their potential or to tolerate abusive situations or relationships.  Too much self-love results in an off-putting sense of entitlement and an inability to learn from failures.  It can also be a sign of clinical narcissism.

Question is:  How do we find the right balance of accurate self-knowledge and respect for ourselves.

Self-esteem is not static or fixed.  Your belief in yourself can change as a result of circumstance and experience throughout your life.

Brief contrast:

High self-esteem:

  • Generally you see yourself in a positive light
  • HSE acts as a buffer when your confidence is shaken such as after the loss of a loved one, a loss of a job or the ending of a relationship

Low self-esteem:

  • Focus on your weaknesses
  • Focus on negative beliefs about yourself

LSE can affect mental health as holding on to negative beliefs lowers your resistance and ability to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  It can put you at a higher risk for developing such problems as eating disorders, depression and social phobia.  LSE can also be exacerbated by existing conditions such as panic disorders or schizophrenia.

What are the causes of low self-esteem?

It varies person to person as we all take a different path through life and have different inborn nature and temperament.  Experience and relationships with people have an important part to play.  Negative experiences in childhood can be damaging to self-esteem.  Harmful experiences can leave you feeling that you are not valued or important.   Since you have not had the chance to build up any resilience this negative view can become the view that you believe about yourself.  Significant negatives in adult life can shake a person’s confidence as well as lower their self-esteem sometimes gradually over time without the person even realizing it.

Examples of things that can lower self-esteem:

  • Abuse: sexual, emotional or physical
  • Neglect of your physical and/or emotional needs as a child
  • Bullying
  • Feeling like the “odd man out” at school
  • Bereavement
  • Being poor in a wealthy neighbourhood
  •  Peer pressure
  • Prejudice
  • Trauma
  • Underemployment
  • – Social isolation and loneliness and other factors

Key point:  The way you feel about these experiences will depend on lots of other factors but negative core beliefs about your intelligence, appearance and abilities will often be formed

What are some of the consequences of low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can interact with mental problems and exacerbate existing conditions making one vulnerable to developing other problems.

What are some of the other results?

Personal relationships:  LSE can cause you to form damaging relationships.  You may feel that you don’t deserve to be treated with love and respect.  This can result in friends, partner or family members trying to take advantage of you.

Social life:  LSE makes it difficult for you to hear criticism, makes you overly sensitive and upset easily.  You may stay away from activities that expose you to judgment.  It can leave you feeling lonely and frustrated.

Work:  LSE makes you feel that you are not competent or  intelligent.  It makes you avoid tasks because you don’t feel confident that you can do it perfectly.  It limits career development because of the lack of confidence.

Negative Behaviours:  You may try to escape from life engaging in taking drugs, unsafe sex or drinking too much.  You might develop aggressive behaviour to hide your vulnerability and protect yourself.

How can I increase self-esteem?

To increase self-esteem …challenge negative beliefs

It can be a painful process to identify your core negative beliefs so take your time and ask a friend or partner to support you.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my weaknesses and failings?
  • What negative feelings do people have about me?
  • Describe yourself I one word.  I am ——————
  • When did you start feeling like this?
  • Is there an experience or event that caused this feeling?
  • Do certain negative thoughts recur on a regular basis?

You might want to keep a thought diary over several weeks citing situations, how you felt and its underlying belief.  For example:

Situation A) Asked to deliver presentation at work

Reaction:  Told boss I was fine but I was anxious

Underlying belief:  No one will want to listen to me because I am not engaging

Situation B) You are invited to party

Reaction:  You lied and said you had something else to do

Underlying belief:  I can’t say anything interesting and I’ll look stupid all dressed up

Once you identify your core beliefs about yourself your challenge is to change them.

For example with situation B:  my friend really wants me to go to this party, he/she must find me interesting.  I was invited several times they must like me and so on.  One tip is that every time you hear something that you interpret as hurtful think about the reasons why the person might have said it.  Then you won’t interpret it as aimed at you.

See next blog on more tips on how to boost your self-esteem…