Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: safety

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to safety.

How to Stay Safe and Secure this Holiday Season

It’s December and the holiday season is underway! Hanukkah began yesterday, the Christmas rush is buzzing, parties are non-stop and vacation plans are being finalized. With all of the excitement, there is always the risk of some people’s holidays being derailed by thefts, injuries or other preventable tragedies.

Regardless of your plans over the next month, it’s a good idea to pay a little extra attention to safety and security. Have a quick scroll through this infographic from Iron Security and remember to share it with your family and friends. None of these tips require a whole lot of extra effort but can make a huge difference in how you enjoy the coming weeks.

How to Stay Safe and Secure this Holiday Season

Workplace Health & Safety for Independent Contractors

You’re an IT professional working at a comfortable desk in a cozy office, what could possibly go wrong? Compared to working on a construction site, very little; however, health and safety hazards exist in offices and still require attention. From slips, trips and falls to mental health to ergonomics, there are health and safety considerations for all office professionals. Independent contractors need to understand their responsibilities and those of their client.

Who’s Responsible for an IT Contractor’s Health & Safety

To start, please note that this post is not intended to provide legal advice in any way. Our goal is to ensure you’re starting the right conversations and discussing any concerns with your lawyer.

According to OHS Canada, clients can’t necessarily “delegate safety”. At the highest level, all clients and companies always have a responsibility to provide basic human rights, including a workplace free of discrimination and harassment. However, specific health and safety responsibilities between clients and independent contractors can be a grey area and there are various legal cases demonstrating the complexities. Each province across Canada has its own variations of their health and safety laws, with all industries and situations having a number of differing variables.

To protect themselves and their employees, it is not uncommon for clients to include their health and safety regulations as part of their contract agreement with all independent contractors. Such documentation could include all of your responsibilities in protecting yourself and others while on the client site, as well as an outline any hazards of which you should be aware while working there. Clients may also conduct background checks before hiring, specifically to ensure that you will comply with all regulations and are not a risk to their business.

If something goes wrong and coverage is required, independent contractors should air on the side of caution and assume that they will require their own coverage. As an example, in Alberta, the Worker’s Compensation Board does not require clients to provide coverage to any incorporated contractor, regardless of whether you have an account with them or not. Just as important, if you hire an employee in your contracting business, you take on additional responsibility and are required to ensure coverage for them as well.

You already know that as an independent contractor you’re not entitled to the same rights as regular employees of a client. It’s important to note on the health and safety side of that, according to this article from WorkHoppers, this includes the right to file complaints for free to the Ministry of Labour. Instead, IT contractors may incur some legal costs involved in the same complaint process.

What Can IT Contractors Do to Ensure Health & Safety?

There are simple steps you can take to ensure a safe workplace, as well as reduce your risk as an independent contractor:

  • Ask questions before and after starting a contract about policies and procedures, ensuring you have a clear understanding of all hazards and expectations.
  • Make suggestions to your client if you notice the work environment could be better. Concerns may be directed to your supervisor, your client’s HR department, or to your recruiter who can further investigate.
  • Ensure you have your own coverage through your provincial workers’ compensation board. For example, WSIB in Ontario or WCB in Alberta.
  • Help maintain the health and safety of your client’s employees. You’re required to follow your client’s on-site regulations (and you should generally act like a decent human being), plus it’s good business practice and failure to do so could cost you future work.
  • Consult with a lawyer if you have any concerns.

Have you come across any health and safety issues or concerns in your IT contracting career? If so, we’d love to learn about them and how they turned out. Sharing your experiences will help other contractors understand and prepare for these dreadful situations.

How Hackers Get Around Two-Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication is an extra security measure a lot of people have begun to use to further protect their accounts and personal information from being hacked. This authentication method sends a text to your phone with a code that must be inputted within a minute to log in.

However according to Tech Insider’s interview with Kevin Mitnick, hackers have ways to even bypass this. An example he uses is when Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson had his twitter hacked. While there’s no need for constant paranoia, this video suggests tips to stay aware of the common tricks hackers use.

Pet Winter Safety Guide

We’re now into the holiday season which typically means cold weather but warm memories with family. We go through many traditions to care for family over the holidays, from preparing large feasts to giving up our bed so Grandma doesn’t have to sleep on the couch. On top of all of that, do you remember to consider the furry members of your family?

If you have pets at home, ensure the holiday busyness doesn’t interfere with how you care for them. This infographic from Petsitters.org provides a few tips to keep cats and dogs warm and safe from typical holiday hazards.

Pet Winter Safety Guide

Holiday Hazards to Avoid This Season

The holidays are a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends. Unfortunately, there are also many accidents throughout the season that could have been avoided.  This infographic from Leavitt Yamane and Soldner explains some of the most common hazards and how you can avoid them.  As you start preparing and heading for parties, please keep these tips in mind to ensure a safe and happy holiday season!Holiday Hazards