Monday, July 07, 2008

Much, much more than a guide about Workplace Safety

This manual is on-line and well worth checking out. Even if you think workplace safety and health is incidental to your work (and you shouldn't think that, since the "workplace" is where a helluva lot of us spend a lot of time), this manual includes some great material on group process, self-study and more. For example, it includes "committee basics" such as "ground rules" and "effective chairing"; "Communication skills" including "active listening" and "asking open questions. This manual outlines a five step process to This 372 page document details a five-step process for researching and identifying workplace safety issues, and coming up with and implementing solutions including organizing and mobilizing when necessary. You'll also find a 67-page "Committee Process Toolbox" that includes such things "Ground rules for Healthy Conflict" and the "Triangle Model (to analyze racism and discrimination)". And, of course, there's a 150-page "Health and Safety Toolbox" which, i'm very excited to see, includes workplace and body mapping processes to identify sites of injury. Jump straight to page 299 to see "Mapping Tools to See the Workplace with "New Eyes". I know these as processes developed by Dorothy Wigmore, an educator and trade unionist of long-standing. I've used the body mapping process in popular education workshops and i am always startled, if pleasantly, to see how much we can learn about our bodies and our history of injury that, sadly, we often take for granted, thus missing the opportunity to make connections with others who have suffered similar injury. Without making these connections there is little opportunity to do the necessary organizing to change things for the better. So, do yourself a favour and download this manual for your work.

Kudos to the WCB's Community Initiatives and Research Program (CIRP), the Manitoba Government Employees Union , the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), and the consultants that wrote this guide: Joyce Rankin, Laurie Todd and Dorothy Wigmore. Terrific work!

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