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Health and Safety News October 2012

Happy Halloween!

For many people, autumn events like Halloween are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats.

Below are tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Safety Tips for Halloween: 

  • October is full of chilly nights so make sure that costumes are loose enough to be worn over warm clothing but not so baggy or long that trick or treaters can trip over their costumes.
  • Choose brightly-colored costumes that will be clearly visible to motorists. For greater visibility, add or incorporate reflective tape into the costume.
  • Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters. Remove all objects around the outside of your house that could cause children to trip or fall. Turn your outside light on so children will know they can visit your home.
  • Check all commercially wrapped treats. Throw out any treats that are not wrapped, those in torn or loose packages, or those that have small holes in the wrappers.
  • If using decorative lights indoors or outdoors, use lights certified by a recognized organization such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the Underwriters’ Laboratory of Canada (ULC or C-UL). Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets. Do not overload extension cords.
  • Fireworks require permits or are banned in some communities and are very hazardous.  Please keep your distance.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have been on the rise within the lower mainland, with cases of them reported to be in libraries, hotels, homes, etc.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood causing rashes and infections. Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene. It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence.

How do you know if you have bed bugs?

Bed bug bites are the best way to determine if you have bedbugs. The grouping of bites is a good sign and you should start checking for mold like spots on your mattress.

Bed Bug Facts:

  • Bed Bugs are flat, brown, wingless and about 1/4 of an inch
  • They have 6 legs, shiny reddish-brown but after a good serving of your blood, they appear dark brown and swollen as in the picture below.
  • They can be seen with the human eye, but do a great job at hiding
  • Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases as of yet
  • They feed on human blood preferring to do it in the dark when you’re sleeping
  • Simply using chemical treatments will not remove the infestation
  • These bugs love to hide in the seams of your mattress including or other areas such as:
    • Sofa seams
    • Cracks in the bad frame and or head board
    • Under rugs, edges of carpets, drawers, baseboards and window casings
    • Behind light switches, electrical outlet plates, cracks in plaster
    • Backpacks, Sleeping bags, Cloths
    • Behind wallpaper, picture frames and other dark areas

If you suspect that one of the people you support has an infestation, contact your program manager to assist you with the next steps. You can also follow the tips here.  A licensed professional is usually required to ensure an effective treatment.

Staff can always refuse to work if they feel the working conditions are unsafe. You would file an unsafe working conditions report and the Safety Committee would explore the claim. For more information on Unsafe Work, you can read this on the Worksafe BC site.

It is important to ensure that all necessary universal precautions are being followed.  WorkSafe BC has provided the following information and guidelines:


Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

If you are currently enrolled in benefits, you are eligible to receive support from the EFAP.

Spectrum’s EFAP is known as LifeWorks, which is provided by Ceridian. It provides you and your immediate family with 24/7 access to confidential support and resources you need to manage almost any personal or professional issue, so you can lead a healthier, happier, more productive life.

What kind of problems or concerns can I get help with?

  • Parenting and Child Care
  • Education
  • Midlife & Retirement
  • Financial and Legal Issues
  • Work Issues
  • Health & Wellness
  • Emotional Well-Being 

To find out more about the EFAP and how to access it, please contact Human Resources.


Health and Safety Nominations

The Health and Safety Committee is accepting nominations for those who would like to join the committee. If you or someone you know would like to be nominated, please notify Naomi or Rachel in Human Resources at

Below are some responsibilities of an H&S Committee member:

–          Meet once per month-          Improve safety within the organization

–          Educate about safety within the organization

–          Review safety issues

–          Provide feedback on safety issues



–          Represent employees within safety related issues-          Review of incidents (WorkSafe claims)

–          Review Unsafe Working Conditions reports

–          Provide awareness to people regarding safety issues


Health and Safety members will review any WorkSafe claims within Spectrum; if you happen to have a WorkSafe claim please be aware one of our members will be following up on the incident. One of the main goals of the H&S Committee is to ensure that the same WorkSafe claim does not happen to someone else. We review the incident, come up with recommendations and then follow up with the Program Managers as a way of decreasing the chance that the same incident will happen again.


Every H&S member will receive training throughout their time on the committee as part of guidelines for an Occupational Health and Safety team.  Some of the training provided in the past has been on topics such as:

–          Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury

–          Infection Control in the Community

–          Violence in High Risk Communities

–          Accident Investigation

–          Claims Injury Management

–          Injury Prevention

–          Risk Assessment

–          Young/New Worker Orientation


Missed a Newsletter or Announcement and Want to Catch-up?

If you would like to view past inserts, please visit the link below! 

Have a Health and Safety Issue You Would Like to Report?

Voice your questions, concerns or issues regarding Health & Safety procedures or unsafe working conditions to Spectrum’s Health and Safety Committee by emailing us at:

How do I find out more about Spectrum’s Health and Safety Committee?

Visit Spectrum’s homepage, click on ‘Human Resources’ and then click on ‘Health & Safety’ on the menu to the left. View announcements, informational links, meeting minutes, upcoming events, contact information, and much more!

PDF Version for Better Printing and colourful graphics available here…