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Blog Posts

Navigating Alcohol and Drug Dependency in the Workplace
February 2024


We came across an interesting article recently (link below) that delved into the complexities of alcohol and drug dependency in the workplace. It got us thinking about the delicate balance employers face in ensuring safety while supporting their employees.


Here’s a breakdown of the key insights:

The Issue

Alcohol and drug dependency in the workplace pose serious safety risks. Employers must navigate the delicate balance between ensuring a safe work environment and accommodating employees with dependencies.

Legal Considerations and Case Precedents

Recent legal cases highlight the legal complexities surrounding alcohol and drug dependency. Courts recognize dependency as a disability, triggering a duty of reasonable accommodation for employers. Notable cases like Teamsters Quebec underscore the importance of accommodation, while rulings such as Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. emphasize the significance of pre-incident disclosure of dependencies.

Policy Recommendations

Employers should adopt policies that encourage disclosure of alcohol and drug dependencies without fear of reprisal. Proactive measures, including training initiatives, can raise awareness and compliance with these policies.

While these recommendations provide valuable guidance, it's essential to remember that every workplace and situation is unique. Employers should consider consulting legal and HR professionals to tailor their approach to the specific needs and circumstances of their organization.

Link to article:

Manitoba Hydro Station Construction Presentation
Managing Safety In a Multicultural Workforce: Strategies for Success Presentation
December 2023


We want to thank Zac Czarnecki, P.Eng., PMP, and the Manitoba Hydro Station Construction Contracts group for extending the invitation to speak at their 2023 Year-End Day of Learning and Wellness Awareness. It was a wonderful experience reconnecting with familiar faces and discussing insights into the safety challenges encountered by members of the newcomer workforce.

As a first-generation Canadian, Iqbal grew up listening to his father's stories about the challenges he faced upon arriving in Canada in the 70s and undertaking various blue-collar jobs. These challenges included navigating unfamiliar cultural norms, language barriers, and adapting to different roles within the workforce.

The event provided a valuable platform to share perspectives and foster awareness about the barriers faced by newcomers and solutions to address these barriers. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the conversation and promote a workplace learning and well-being culture.

Managing Safety In a Multicultural Workforce: Strategies for Success Presentation
November 2023


We're excited to announce Iqbal's upcoming collaboration with CSAM for an impactful presentation on the critical topic of Managing Safety in a Multicultural Workforce.

We'll delve into the transformative power of embracing a diverse workforce and explore the unique safety challenges it brings to the forefront. The session is designed to equip operational and safety leaders with strategies, methodologies, and the tools needed to overcome these challenges. Our goal is to ensure safety remains a top priority in the ever-evolving landscape of a multicultural workforce.

Join us on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024, for an enriching discussion. This presentation isn't just about information; it's a collaborative effort to shape the future of safety in our industries.


Key Presentation Highlights include:
1️⃣ Factors Driving the Multicultural Workforce Discussion
2️⃣ Potential Areas of OHS Liability
3️⃣ Cultural Impacts on Safety
4️⃣ Newcomer Safety Challenges
5️⃣ Strategies to Assist with Newcomer Safety Challenges

PPE Basics Course Presentation
CSAM The Safety Conference
December 2023


We're thrilled to share that Iqbal will be facilitating the PPE Basics Course at the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba's The Safety Conference 2024, happening on February 13th and 14th. The PPE Basics Course equips attendees with valuable insights into different types of personal protective equipment, their protective functions, proper usage and maintenance, and the necessary regulatory guidelines.

CSAM: THE Safety Conference is an annual two-day event hosted at the RBC Convention Centre. It's designed to provide participants with practical, hands-on training and education that enhances and celebrates workplace safety. This remarkable conference issues over 2500 training certificates each year and attracts 1500+ registrants.


Ensuring Public Safety: The Fort Gibraltar Incident
November 2023


A tragic incident occurred in May 2023 at Fort Gibraltar in Winnipeg, where an elevated wooden walkway collapsed and injured 18 people, mostly children, during a school field trip.

According to city documents, the walkway had several structural issues, such as a rotten support beam, insect damage, wood rot, and wear and tear. The last documented inspection of Fort Gibraltar was in 2006, which is clearly inadequate for a facility that receives thousands of visitors every year.

This incident highlights the importance of having an inspection program in place. Inspection frequency should be based on risk assessments, and the fact that Fort Gibraltar needed constant repairs should have prompted a better and more formal inspection program. Moreover, a preventative maintenance program could have also helped to identify and address the problems before they became critical and caused harm.

If you're seeking expert guidance in establishing a robust inspection program, we'd love to help.

Meeting Manitoba's Workplace Safety and Health Act Requirements: Your Workplace Safety & Health Program Guide
October 2023


If you are an employer in Manitoba with more than 20 full-time regular workers, you need to know about the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Act Section 7.4 Workplace Safety and Health Program requirements. This is a mandatory program that aims to protect the safety and health of workers at your workplace. In this blog post, I will explain what the program is, what it requires from you, and how it can benefit your business.


What is the Workplace Safety and Health Program?

The Workplace Safety and Health Program is a written document that outlines how you will prevent and respond to hazards and emergencies at your workplace. It is based on the Workplace Safety and Health Act, which is the law that regulates occupational safety and health in Manitoba. The program must include the following elements:


  • A policy statement that shows your commitment to safety and health

  • A hazard identification and control plan that describes how you will assess and manage risks

  • An emergency response plan that specifies the resources and procedures for dealing with emergencies

  • A responsibility statement that assigns roles and duties to everyone at your workplace

  • An inspection schedule that sets the frequency and scope of workplace inspections

  • A chemical and biological control plan that covers the use, storage, and disposal of hazardous substances

  • A contractor management plan that ensures the safety and health of other employers or self-employed persons working at your workplace

  • A training plan that provides workers and supervisors with the necessary skills and knowledge

  • An investigation procedure that explains how you will investigate accidents, near misses, and refusals to work

  • A worker participation procedure that encourages workers to be involved in safety and health activities

  • A procedure for reviewing and revising the workplace safety and health program every three years


Why do you need a Workplace Safety and Health Program?

Having a Workplace Safety and Health Program is not only a legal requirement but also a smart business decision. By implementing a program, you can:


  • Reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among your workers

  • Improve productivity, quality, and morale at your workplace

  • Save money on workers' compensation, insurance, and legal costs

  • Enhance your reputation as a responsible employer

  • Comply with the Workplace Safety and Health Act and avoid penalties


How can you develop a Workplace Safety and Health Program?

Developing a Workplace Safety and Health Program may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You can start by:


  • Reviewing the Workplace Safety and Health Act and its regulations to understand your obligations

  • Consulting with your workers, supervisors, safety committee, or representative to get their input and support

  • Conducting a workplace assessment to identify existing and potential hazards

  • Developing policies, plans, procedures, and schedules based on your assessment results

  • Providing training, education, and communication to everyone at your workplace

  • Evaluating, reviewing, and updating your program regularly to ensure its effectiveness


If you're looking for assistance in developing or updating your Workplace Safety and Health Program, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you navigate the path to a safer, healthier, and more successful workplace.


Remember, a Workplace Safety and Health Program is not just a piece of paper. It is a living document that reflects your commitment to creating a safe and healthy work environment for everyone. By following the program, you can protect your workers, your business, and yourself.

Transforming Safety Cultures
September 2023

At IQ Safety Solutions, our mission is clear: to make workplaces safer and foster a culture of safety.

Recently, one of our valued clients shared some heartwarming feedback that reaffirms our commitment to this cause. He said, "Since partnering with IQ Safety Solutions, we've seen a real shift in safety. People are taking it more seriously, and it shows when I visit our sites."

Here's a glimpse of our approach in action:

📜 Policy Revamp: We started by updating their subcontractor policy to be more prescriptive of our safety expectations.
🤝 Personal Touch: One-on-one meetings with subcontractor leadership were crucial. We rolled out the new policy, ensuring they not only understood it but also signed off on it.
🧑‍🏫 Hands-On Support: Site monitoring became a top priority. Our team actively coached, mentored, and educated employees.
🍕Incentives & Accountability: With full company support, we promoted safety through rewards like pizza and gift cards, fostering a positive safety culture. Simultaneously, site supervision ensured accountability for repeat safety rule violations through disciplinary action.

We're proud to have played a part in transforming their safety culture, and we're committed to continuing our journey with this client. While there's still more work to do, it's reassuring to receive positive testimonials about the impact we've had thus far. Safety isn't just a checkbox; it's a way of life.

Transforming Safety Culture: A Case of Commitment & Action
September 2023

Safety Culture.jpg

In a recent article (linked below), a company's journey from a tragic incident in 2018 to a profound shift in its safety culture is truly remarkable. This shift also led to a groundbreaking decision—a worker's termination for a serious safety breach, despite a clean disciplinary record.

The arbit
rator overseeing the dismissal case highlighted key actions that defined this transformation:

  • Education Matters: The company invested significantly in educating its workforce on safety policies and procedures. Regular training and toolbox talks became the norm.

  • Consistency is Key: Enforcing safety policies consistently became a cornerstone. Just months earlier, two employees were terminated for non-compliance, sending a clear message. 

  • Adapting to Learn: After significant events, such as the two terminations, the company revised its policies and retrained its staff accordingly. They didn't just react; they proactively adapted.

Safety transformed into a non-negotiable value.

Change is possible. Commit to a safer workplace, educate relentlessly, enforce policies consistently, and adapt as needed.

Article link:

Construction Safety Association of Manitoba Classic Golf Tournament 
August 2023


Had a fantastic time last week sponsoring a hole on behalf of IQ Safety Solutions at the CSAM Classic Golf Tournament! Big thanks to the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba for their crucial role in industry safety.

I'm also very grateful for the opportunity to serve as an independent auditor for the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba, where I'm continuously exposed to a diverse range of safety management systems and various construction types—making every day a chance for continuous learning.

Subcontractor Safety Management System Blueprint: Building Blocks for Success
August 2023

When it comes to subcontractor safety, a strong strategy is an absolute must. At IQ Safety Solutions, we've crafted a comprehensive Subcontractor Safety Management System that acts as our roadmap to success. Let's delve into the essential components that form the foundation of a robust and effective system.

1. Foundation: Pre-Qualification
Think of pre-qualification as the bedrock. It involves assessing subcontractors to ensure they align with your safety, health, and environmental standards. At IQ Safety Solutions, we rigorously evaluate potential partners, setting the stage for a safety-centric partnership.

2. Framework: Safety Policies and Procedures
Every blueprint needs a robust framework. Develop safety policies and procedures that are clear and actionable. Make sure subcontractors comprehend and follow these guidelines, fostering a collective dedication to safety standards.

3. Structural Integrity: Competent Supervision
Emphasizing strong subcontractor supervision is paramount for success. This ensures a vigilant and capable eye guiding every task. Implementing robust processes to ensure subcontractor supervision is competent, experienced, and aligned with your safety management system adds an extra layer of assurance.

4. Know-How: Training and Certifications
Upholding subcontractor excellence hinges on their commitment to equip their teams with the right resources—in this case, comprehensive training and certifications. It's imperative that subcontractors ensure that only trained and certified professionals handle tasks, whether involving specialized equipment or adherence to specific safety protocols.

5. Building Safety Awareness: Hazard Assessments
Subcontractors must conduct hazard assessments before starting work and whenever changes in their work environment occur. Communication is paramount; ensure subcontractors are aware of potential project hazards before commencing tasks.

6. Blueprint Updates: Continuous Monitoring
Blueprints evolve, and so should your safety management system. Implement regular formal and informal inspections. This keeps subcontractors accountable and ensures adherence to safety policies.

7. Creating a Safety Ecosystem: Recognizing and Enforcing
Add a layer of accountability with a well-defined enforcement and disciplinary framework. While it's crucial for subcontractors to understand the consequences of violations, it's equally important to recognize and applaud safe subcontractors who consistently demonstrate positive safety behaviours.

8. Final Inspection and Performance Evaluation
Just like a construction project concludes with an inspection, your safety management system needs one too. Maintain thorough records of safety actions, incidents, and compliance. Additionally, use this opportunity to assess how subcontractors have performed throughout the project.

Enhancing Supervisor Competency: Manitoba Company Penalized $45,000 for Workplace Injury Incident
June 2023

Throughout my career, I've witnessed the profound impact that competent supervisors have on creating and maintaining safe work environments. These individuals:

  • Possess a wealth of knowledge regarding regulations and standards;

  • They are meticulous when identifying and assessing potential hazards and risks; 

  • Their exceptional communication skills enable them to effectively convey safety instructions and expectations to their teams; and

  • They go above and beyond by cultivating positive safety cultures within their crews through coaching and mentoring.

I've also unfortunately seen the detrimental effects that non-competent supervisors can have on their crew's safety and well-being. In fact, a recent judgment serves as a stark reminder of the consequences that can arise from inadequate supervisory familiarity with safety hazards:

  • A Manitoba company was fined $45,000 by the Manitoba government for a serious workplace injury. 

  • The incident occurred when a steel column fell, causing severe injuries to a worker's foot.

  • The company pleaded guilty to charges under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, acknowledging their failure to ensure that all workers, especially supervisors, were well-versed in safety hazards.

This unfortunate event highlights the critical importance of competent supervisors who possess the knowledge and skills to proactively identify, mitigate, and communicate safety risks. It underscores the need for companies to prioritize the development and training of their supervisors to maintain a safe work environment.

The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety does a great job highlighting several key competencies that supervisors require. These include:

  • Effectively directing and organizing work;

  • Informing workers about actual or potential hazards; 

  • Ensuring they are aware of and complying with the applicable laws and regulations;

  • Providing safety instruction and training to workers;

  • Addressing worker concerns;

  • Enforcing compliance to work methods, procedures, and required safety equipment; and

  • Taking every precaution reasonable to protect workers.

Touchscreens VS Physical Buttons: Which is Safer for Your Car Interface?
May 2023



Recently, I purchased a new vehicle and have found myself drawn to the touchscreen interface's seemingly endless features. Whether I'm changing the radio station or adjusting the climate controls, my eyes are frequently wandering to the screen. Recently, this shift in attention caused me to miss an exit, urging me to re-evaluate my touchscreen usage. It prompts the question: is a touchscreen interface safer than physical buttons?


Studies have shown that physical buttons outperform touchscreens in most safety-based driving situations. Drivers take longer to complete touchscreen tasks and are more likely to make errors when using them. One study found that drivers took an average of 4.6 seconds to complete a touchscreen task, compared to 1.4 seconds for a physical button task. Another study found that voice-based and touchscreen technology caused drivers to take their hands, eyes, and minds off the road for more than 24 seconds to complete the task.


Why is this concerning? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of a crash.


If you have a touchscreen vehicle like mine, don’t fret. For every problem, there are endless solutions, so let's explore some together:

  • Familiarize yourself with the key touchscreen locations and sensitivities that you frequently use in your vehicle. This knowledge will help you navigate the interface more intuitively, reducing the need for extended visual attention.

  • Take advantage of preconfigured settings to minimize the need for interaction while driving. Set up radio stations, climate controls, and other frequently used functions beforehand, ensuring quick and convenient access without diverting attention from the road.

  • Unless it's an emergency, avoid using the touchscreen while the vehicle is in motion. Plan your interactions with the interface during stops or when parked to maintain focus on the primary task of driving.

  • One of the benefits of newer vehicles is the steering assistance controls. Use these convenient buttons to manage audio controls, phone functions, and other essential features without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

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