News & Articles

New Year's Resolution: Sleep Hygiene in '17!


There are some important changes you can make to set yourself up for sleep success. Below are few tips from our publication "99 Tips & Tricks - A Practical Guide to Surviving Fatigue."

Getting good quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being. Not only does adequate restorative sleep promote mental focus and clarity, but can also help prevent serious accidents and disease in the future. There are some important changes you can make to set yourself up for sleep success. Below are few tips from our publication "99 Tips & Tricks - A Practical Guide to Surviving Fatigue".


  • Cover all sources of light in the bedroom including phone chargers, clock radios, smoke detectors, and other electronic devices. Any light (even the smallest amount) is bad when trying to sleep. 
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom. Fido is cute, but his movement and noise disrupts your sleep. Also make sure his nails are trimmed: walking around on hard flooring during the night is noisy! 
  • Your feet have the poorest circulation and there is evidence that wearing socks to bed helps you fall alseep faster with less waking episodes during the night. 
  • Stop using backlit devices at least 3 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from the screens prevents melatonin production. If you must use a device close to bedtime, make sure you enable the "night shift mode" available on most tablets and smartphones. 
  • When your mind won't shut down, write your thoughts down in a journal to get them out of your head. 
  • Incorporate a regular pre-sleep routine such as a warm bath or reading a book to signal your body that it's time for bed.


Want to learn more? Order copies of the booklet "99 Tips & Tricks - A Practical Guide to Surviving Fatigue" for your team - only $4.95 ea + S&H.



Deck the Halls- Ergonomically!


The holidays should be joyful, not painful. We've compiled some helpful ergonomics tips to prevent musculoskeletal injuries as you prepare for the holiday season.

The holidays should be joyful, not painful. We’ve compiled some helpful ergonomics tips to prevent musculoskeletal injuries as you prepare for the holiday season.

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be a dangerous task: if not done properly, it can cause serious back injury including strains, sprains, and even slipped discs. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, close to 30,000 snow shoveling back injuries are reported each year! here are a variety of snow shovels on the market today, including ergonomically-designed shovels with slightly bent handles or with secondary handles to limit bending and keep your back in a more comfortable position. 

Various types of ergonomically-designed snow shovels

Here are some additional snow shoveling tips to help you prevent injury this winter:

  • f you’re able to simply push the snow (much better than lifting and throwing), a wide faced shovel is ideal.
  • If you have to scoop and toss the snow, use a lighter weight version with a narrow head to reduce the stress on your back. This is especially important if you’re dealing with heavy, wet snow!
  • Scoop snow by squatting with your hips/knees – don’t bend at the waist.
  • Keep the shovel outside in the cold rather than in a warm porch or garage. This will reduce the amount of snow that will melt and freeze to the shovel.
  • Treat shoveling as any other strenuous exercise: warm up and stretch before you head out and be sure to perform a back extension every few minutes to relieve the tension in your muscles and discs.

How to do a back extension stretch

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and dress in layers.
  • The top of the shovel handle should reach your chest while standing next to it.
  • Push and scoop in the direction that you’re going to throw the snow to avoid twisting of the back.
  • Start early – keep up with the snow so you are shoveling a smaller volume at any given time.
  • For extreme amounts of snow, hire a snow removal service or negotiate a deal with a neighbour who has a snowblower.
  • If you have your own snowblower, help out the neighbours that need it. Santa may provide a little extra in your stocking!

Hanging Lights

When installing lights on your home or trees, make sure the ladder is tall enough to access your immediate work area without over-reaching. Not only can this cause you to lose your balance and fall from the ladder, but this repetitive action can also cause shoulder strain and soft tissue injury. Make sure the ladder is on firm footing and move it as you go so you aren’t forced to reach long distances.  Better yet, have someone to help you move and stabilize the ladder. Reward them with eggnog.

Tackling the Tree

Artificial Christmas trees can be heavy and bulky in their packaging, and are typically stored in inconvenient locations such as the attic or crawlspace, which may cause you to handle the tree while on a ladder or hunched over.  

Actual warning label from an artificial tree box

Consider these tips:

Proper lifting technique

  • Make sure you have someone else with you to reduce the awkward and heavy lifting.
  • Use proper lifting technique: keep your “nose between your toes”, squat at the hips, and keep the weight close to your body. In fact, proper lifting should be used for lifting all boxes of decorations, not just the tree.
  • When securing the tree in the stand, kneel down closer to where you are working instead of bending over at the waist.  
  • Let the kids decorate the lower half of the tree so you don’t have to bend down. Stick to the upper half.

Gift Wrapping

You may find it surprising that wrapping gifts can also lead to back injury. Think about the last time you wrapped gifts. Were you spread out of the floor, twisted into a pretzel? Did you hold the paper with your nose while struggling with the tape?

  • Gather all your materials in one place before you get started and wrap gifts on a higher surface such as a countertop so you aren’t bending unnecessarily.
  • Use a pop-up tape dispenser that fits on your hand so you don’t have to contort yourself to hold the paper in place while you tape it.
  • Rather than wrap, use gift bags. No contortion required!

Everyone at SIX Safety Systems wishes you a safe & happy holiday season! 



Coping with Holiday Fatigue


The holidays are a festive time, but let’s face it, all that travel and celebrating can be exhausting! We’ve compiled some tips to help you stay rested and keep you singing fa-la-la-la-lainstead of fa-fa-fa-fatigue.

The holidays are a festive time, but let’s face it, all that travel and celebrating can be exhausting! We’ve compiled some tips to help you stay rested and keep you singing fa-la-la-la-lainstead of fa-fa-fa-fatigue.  


Travel Tips

There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed, but during the holidays, chances are your squatting on someone else’s turf.  Here are a few tips to get the best sleep you can while sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings.

  • If you’re staying in a hotel, ask for a room far away from the elevator and all the traffic it brings.
  • Bring an eye mask in case the curtains don’t darken the room enough. Or, use clothespins or hairclips to hold the curtains closed.
  • Don’t forget the earplugs to block out the celebrations in the room next door (wink, wink!)
  • If your hosts have pets (or young children), keep the bedroom door closed to discourage them from entering and disturbing your sweet slumber.
  • Use your new Christmas socks or scarf to cover up any light sources in the bedroom. All light is bad light when trying to sleep.
  • If you’re staying at someone else’s home, let your hosts know what time you would prefer to get up so that they know not to muzzle the kids and not bother you before you’re ready.
  • Bring your own pillow (especially if you have allergies) to optimize your sleep and prevent a kink in your neck.
  • Travel with anti-histamines. They produce a drowsy effect that can help you fall asleep when the house is noisy, and they don’t have the addictive or narcotic effect of sleep medications.
  • If you use a C-Pap device, make sure you bring it with you. There are travel versions available for easier packing.


Stick to a Schedule

Our bodies’ circadian rhythms crave routine, including a set sleeping schedule. However, if you find yourself invested in an all-night Christmas move marathon, or catching up with family and friends over one too many libations, a mid-day nap may be just what you need, but make sure you stick to the rules!

  • Limit your nap to 20-40 minutes to avoid falling into a deep sleep or, commit to at least two hours so you can complete a full sleep cycle and wake up back in the lighter stages.
  • No nap is too short. Sometimes a five-minute nap is all you need to kick start the festivities all over again.

If you’re traveling between time zones, there are more rules to follow:

  • If it’s a short trip (2-3 days) to see Aunt Bertha and Uncle Herbert, or if you’re only travelling across one or two time zones, stick to your home schedule. For example, if you normally go to bed at 11PM EST, make sure you still go to bed at 11PM EST even if it’s 9PM MST.  
  • If it’s a longer trip (3+ days) or across multiple time zones (hello jetlag!), slowly adapt your routine towards the time at the new location that you’re headed to.  A few days prep can make all the difference!


Watch the Indulgence

The holidays are a time for indulgence and who are we kidding, most diets go out the window until the new year. However; what we eat and drink can have a big impact on our sleep!

  • Avoid late-night meals and snacking when our digestion is shut down.
  • Over-indulgence of alcohol  especially 2-3 hours before you go to bed not only increase drowsiness, but significantly disrupt sleep patterns and the ability to get into deep recuperative sleep. It also wipes out your memory.
  • Alcohol also increases snoring by causing the throat muscles to relax.
  • Salty snacks can cause dehydration, which makes you feel tired.
  • Eat breakfast to help stay alert throughout the day.
  • Sugary snacks and beverages give a quick energy boost, but after 30 minutes, can makes us crash and burn.

Don’t Blame the Turkey!

We all know the turkey drug… Tryptophan! Yes, it makes you drowsy and has a calming effect, but only when the tryptophan is activated. So what activates tryptophan? Carbohydrates such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and all the lesser regarded dishes at the holiday feast that we overdose on. If you just ate turkey and nothing else, you would be alert enough to do the dishes after dinner instead of crashing in front of the TV within 5 minutes of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. So stop blaming the turkey.



During the flurry of activities, set aside time to get out for some fresh air and exercise. Not only will it help keep the holiday pounds off, but it also does wonders to relieve stress and stabilize your body’s circadian rhythms for a better night’s sleep. Finally, make sure you schedule some quiet time for yourself – catch up on a book or take a relaxing bath. Before you know it, the holidays will be over and you’ll need a vacation!



Don't be a Sleepless Martyr


Observations on society's attitude toward fatigue as discovered through social media.



In this day and age, there is a growing trend among professionals that you need to do more with less. Check your email while your bagel is toasting. Make phone calls during your commute. Stay extra hours in the office to get one more report done. Companies are trimming their operating budgets and expecting their employees to do more with less. And in this tough job market, people are doing what they think is required to keep their jobs. This trait of being a sleepless martyr has become engrained in our north American society. If you leave work at a “normal” time and you’re not checking your emails and replying late into the night, you must not value your company and your job. You are clearly not working hard enough.

A Twitter search for #sleepisforlosers and #sleepisforwimps turned up thousands of results! Are we worried that people will think we aren’t productive enough if we make rest and self-care a priority? Are we worried that our employer will simply cast us aside and find someone who is more “superhuman”? Why do we think that being a walking zombie grabbing the closest coffee or energy drink is now considered a badge of honor? Sales of energy drinks are soaring year after year and there is a rash of amphetamine (“upper”) use among office workers.

I get it. We all have too much on our plates and not enough hours in the day. Work, family, exercise, and social obligations all take up our precious waking hours. Most people admit that when they need to accomplish more in the day, sleep is the first thing to get cut. Professor Russell Foster, at the University of Oxford, said

"People were getting between one and two hours less sleep a night than 60 years ago. We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle. What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems."

No one is actually superhuman and no one can survive on a compounding lack of sleep. Humans all need sleep and lack of it can cause a variety of negative health effects including various types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, mood swings, memory loss, skin problems, gastro-intestinal upset, and more.

There was a recent incident in the news here in Calgary. A Calgary transit train operator had worked over 12 hours on his shift and didn’t think he could safely continue operating the train. He stopped the train and the passengers on board had to wait about 15 minutes while a replacement operator arrived. Reading the social media comments uncovered a disturbing trend. While there were a few commenters that commended the operator for keeping the public safe, most of the comments were from angry passengers lambasting the operator for their wait time. Or other readers jumping in calling him a “crybaby” because he couldn’t “suck it up” and finish his shift. As the director of marketing for a company that studies fatigue and helps organizations mitigate fatigue-related risk, I applaud this man for knowing his limits and putting the safety of his passengers first. He also had to make sure he could get home safely. Driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. We can only hope this message spreads as we work to inform the public of the dangers of fatigue.

We need to take back our sleep. Prioritize your health. Tell your boss you need more time to finish the report. He may thank you that you are working on it with a clearer head. Luckily we have seen many organizations take sleep more seriously. Some companies and universities are installing “nap pods” or allowing employees to take naps and reap the benefits of a cognitive boost. I’d like to start a new social media trend, #sleepisforwinners. Who’s with me? Your body, your friends, your co-workers, and family will thank you.


Taming the Dragon


"Naga" is Japanese for Dragon... We help you tame the fatigue dragon! Learn more about the NAGA (Needs & Gaps Analysis) at the core of fatigue management. 

The Fatigue NAGA™ - Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis


We’ve Got Fatigue Covered… I think?

There are two scenarios that we regularly encounter when meeting with a new client. The first scenario is when an organization suspects they have a fatigue problem, but they really don’t know the size or scope of the risk, or the origin of the fatigue. In the second, they are confident they are addressing fatigue because they have already established (for example):

  • Educational sessions for employees to improve safety, alertness, and well-being
  • Screening programs for sleep disorders
  • Shift schedules that are accepted by the employees
  • A napping policy that includes sleeping pods or recovery rooms

Maybe your company offers similar fatigue mitigation strategies. In both scenarios, there is a lack of structure and metrics. Sometimes it’s a lack of clearly identifying where the fatigue-related risks are. Sometimes it’s due to the lack of established targets, or measuring the impact of the controls that they have implemented. Sometimes, it’s simply the lack of a formal management system.

What strategies does your company have in place? More importantly, to what degree are your initiatives successfully addressing your current and future needs? Completing a Fatigue Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis (NAGA™) can help you answer these questions and provide you with the necessary metrics to drive the continuous improvement process.                                                                         

Needs Assessment

SIX Safety Systems’ fatigue specialists have a comprehensive approach to evaluate your current needs for fatigue mitigation. This involves a high-level fatigue risk assessment to establish the extent to which fatigue-related risks are present. Many variables can be considered to establish the level of risk:

  • Are there fatigue-related incidents?
  • What is the impact of fatigue on performance?
  • Are there worker or supervisor complaints or concerns related to fatigue?
  • Do schedules exceed recommended guidelines based on fatigue science?
  • Is napping hidden or not formally discussed?

The needs assessment will also consider the extent to which fatigue risk management is required for your organization. There may be applicable hours of service legislation, labor agreements, fatigue management plans, and/or industry standards/guidelines. Company culture is also reviewed to determine the extent to which both leadership and employees understand they have a responsibility to manage fatigue.

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis compares actual fatigue risk management performance by an organization with potential performance. SIX Safety has scanned a wide variety of industries to establish recommended practices. Your organization’s initiatives will be assessed against these benchmarks to determine how well your organization meets required or recommended fatigue risk standards.

What Gets Assessed?

The Fatigue NAGA looks for elements of a ‘management system’ to ensure your approach includes plan, do, check, act and involves continuous improvement.
The focus is aimed at gaps in the system rather than problems with the employees. The more information provided to SIX Safety, the more detailed the Fatigue NAGA.
SIX Safety reviews information from:

  • Review of documents (policies, procedures, collective agreements, training, risk assessment tools, etc.)
  • Surveys of employees and management on shifts, alertness strategies, health & wellness
  • Interviews with stakeholders (leadership, employees, shift schedulers, safety committees, trainers, etc.)
  • Site visits and ride-alongs to observe tasks and work environments
  • Shift schedules for biomathematical analysis
  • Job Demands Analyses of targeted activities
  • Incident reports, investigation methodologies, and statistics

Head in the Sand?

Some companies may be hesitant to conduct a Fatigue NAGA in fear of the problems that might be uncovered.  Once a problem is known, actions that cost time and money will be required to address it. Maybe if they don’t know there is a problem, they don’t need to address it? 

This “head in the sand” philosophy is ultimately a losing approach.  Risks are present whether you choose to pay attention to them or not.  Just because you don’t formally know about an issue, it does not excuse you from responsibility or liability should something happen. All in all, it is better to know where there are gaps so that appropriate and reasonable risk controls can be applied.

You can’t Improve what you can’t Measure

The Fatigue NAGA considers over 100 factors. SIX Safety determines the degree to which each factor has been addressed in your organization. These assessments are translated into a weighted score. This numeric value helps establish how your efforts to address fatigue-related risk compare to industry standards. The results help you benchmark against best practices. Over the course of time, the Fatigue NAGA can be revisited and updated to demonstrate the degree of continuous improvements. The Fatigue NAGA not only identifies the level of fatigue risk and the effectiveness of your current initiatives, but also provides a comprehensive list of recommendations to help you address the gaps. Controls can be established to reduce fatigue-related risk, liabilities, and costs.

Benchmark Assessment Sample

Take the next step towards improved safety, health & wellness, and performance. Contact SIX Safety to conduct your Fatigue NAGA today!


Substance Abuse in the Field Webinar


Thanks to everyone who joined us to learn about changes to the impaired driving laws and non-invasive drug screening technology.

The Drug-Impaired Driving Detection Act (Bill 230) had its first reading last month. Is your workplace ready for the new laws? We're partnering with Dräger to offer a free webinar on Tuesday, November 22 at 2:00 pm EST. During this informative webinar, you'll hear from top industry experts regarding fit-for-duty programs for the mining industry and other field operations, including the latest technology for non-invasive oral fluid drug & alcohol screening.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 2:00 pm EST
Duration: 45 minutes

Click here to register


Avoiding the Blue Light Blues


Your late-night screen habits could be jeopardizing your sleep. Find out how to minimize the effects of blue light. 

If you’re one of the millions of people who wind down before bed by reading on a device screen (95% of Americans admitted to this habit in a National Sleep Foundation survey), that late-night emailing and Facebooking could be jeopardizing your good night’s sleep.  Sleep experts agree that ideally, we should stop using smartphones, tablets, and laptops at least three hours before bedtime.

The light emitted from the screen stimulates the brain and signals us to enter a wakeful state. And more specifically, the blue light emitted inhibits your body from producing melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep. Not only does this blue light exposure disrupt your sleep that night, but it sets you up for future fatigue, circadian rhythm disruption, and the host of accompanying negative health effects including obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

In today’s fast-paced world it’s hard to follow the three-hour rule. Thankfully, major device manufacturers have heeded science and added a “night mode” into the latest versions of their operating systems. The feature works by removing some of the blue light emitted from the display and turns it to a warmer orange hue.  Everyone should take advantage of this simple step toward sounder sleep.

Apple’s “night shift” mode (for iOS versions 9.3 and higher) can be accessed from the settings menu under “display and brightness” and it’s simple to set a schedule for automatic engagement during the hours you use your device before bedtime.

For those using Android phones, activating this feature can be accomplished by downloading the “Night Mode Enabler” third-party app from the Google Play store.


Presidential Pillow Talk


Mike Harnett gives some witty insight into the effects of fatigue on one of the US Presidential Candidates.

By Mike Harnett, VP Human Factors

As Canadians, we sit back with beer in hand, (*insert team name here) hockey jersey on, orange-fingered and covered with the dust of cheezies (look it up), bemused as we channel surf during commercial breaks to catch glimpses of the chaos that is the American Presidential Election unfolding to the south of us.

I realize that we as outsiders should hold our opinions to ourselves. But come on… this is no ordinary election! Still, I will refrain from trashing/endorsing either candidate and instead, attempt to rationalize their behavior based on science. Ok, just Trump. I can’t explain Hillary.

As someone who specializes in fatigue management, perhaps I can shed some (blue) light on Trump’s communication style. Let’s look at the facts.

Fact #1. Last November, Trump eloquently bragged about his lack of need for sleep. “You know, I’m not a big sleeper,” he said. “I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find out what’s going on.”

Now we all like a good beep-de-beep now and again, but this lack of sleep has been an ongoing habit of his for over a decade. In 2004 in his bestselling book, Think Like a Billionaire, he wrote,

“Don’t sleep any more than you have to. I usually sleep about four hours per night.” There’s also been mention of him getting as little 90 minutes! Keep in mind that many groups use sleep deprivation as a form of mental torture.

There are two issues of concern with Trump’s slumber habits. First, he is not getting the essential amount of sleep for the brain and body to fully repair itself. The short term consequences will show up in real time, such as impaired judgement ("I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters"), trouble with complex decision making (“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”), reduced tolerances to stress and increased aggressiveness (“I’d like to punch him in the face”), and lack of memory consolidation (“I never said that”).

The long term consequences are even more devastating, with science now proving the link between restricted sleep and mood disorders, brain inflammation, and several dementias including the onset of Alzheimer’s.

And although research has yet to prove it, I’m sure there’s a connection to his hair.

Fact #2. Second, and by his own admission, he’s a twitter addict and famous for using technology in the middle of the night. All of our backlit devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers) use blue LED. While any light exposure at night is bad, blue wave length is especially damaging as it prevents the production of melatonin, our body’s natural sleep hormone. It’s what helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. So even if he wanted to get more sleep, it could be possible that he can’t, and now he just believes (erroneously, as most people do) that his body doesn’t actually need more sleep than what it’s allowing him.

Now I can’t say for sure whether or not this is the case with Donald, nor am I suggesting he’s using these devices every night. He may have blue-blocking apps that reduce the blue light effect, or maybe he wears sexy orange tinted glasses to bed while tweeting out his latest gems, but even those controls won’t eliminate the problem completely. 

I suppose that we have to acknowledge that he could be one of the approximately 1% that carries a mutation of the DEC2 gene which plays an important role in regulating daily total sleep time requirements. These individuals have been known to function at the same level of most people but with needing only half the sleep to fully recuperate instead of 8 hours like the rest of us, but only for the short term. The science is quick to point out that there will still likely be long term consequences related to health impacts if this pattern continues over time.

Ok, so maybe he’s a mutant. Again, not saying there’s anything wrong with that unless you’re taller than a skyscraper and eating Manhattanites for breakfast. Just making a point.

In summary, I have attempted to explain why Donald Trump may be exhibiting extreme temperaments, poor memory, and unclear thoughts at times. As for Hillary, a Wikileaks document from 2011 reveals that she is regarded by her staff as a “champion napper” and big on caffeine to boost her alertness. If so, the drug test that Trump is insisting on may reveal nothing more than an overdose of Starbucks (think Tim Horton’s with twice the flavor but four times the cost). Rumor has it, she can afford it.

This is not a judgement on either one’s political skills or presidential aspirations.  Who am I to judge someone else’s country? Remember, I’m Canadian.

We’re nice!


Ft. Saskatchewan Fire Dept. Project


One of our human factors specialists had the opportunity to work with the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department on a fit for duty project.

By Natalie Hartlen, Human factors specialist

Throughout the past several months, I have had the opportunity to work with the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department on a fit for duty project. We’ve been examining all the job demands of a firefighter, including the psychosocial strains, the necessity of a high fitness level, and the toll that those late night calls do to fatigue levels. Finding ways to mitigate these risks will help to keep firefighters safe, as well as those that they risk their lives to help.

One of the highlights was joining the firefighters at the fire training facility in Vermillion, Alberta, and yes, the fire in that picture is as hot as it looks. That being said, this was a very eye opening experience; extreme temperatures, wearing full turnout gear, climbing stairs, pulling hose, all while keeping yourself, your team and the public safe.  The situations that firefighters are faced with on a daily basis can be extreme and stressful; mental and physical preparedness is of the utmost importance.

Together with a local health center and recreation facility we are working toward development of a comprehensive program that will account for the health of this department’s members, from pre-hire testing, post-incident observation, return to work procedures and a functional fitness program.

Through this project, the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department has exemplified their commitment to serving and protecting the public, as well as keeping their fire fighting team healthy, happy and above all else, fit for duty.



We will be exhibiting at North America's largest mining trade show, MineXPO: September 26-28, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

We will be exhibiting at North America's largest mining trade show, MineXPO. The show will be held September 26-28, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Visit us in booth # 26227 in the South hall. The show is so spectacular, that it only takes place every 4 years! All of the latest mining equipment and technology will be on display, including LUCI, our revolutionary fatigue & distraction monitoring technology. Come learn how LUCI can can keep your mining workforce safer by monitoring driver fatigue.




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AIHA Convention Award


Mike Harnett, SIX Safety's VP of Human Factors, was awarded the Donna Doganiero Award at the 2016 AIHA convention.

Mike Harnett, SIX Safety's VP of Human Factors, was recently awarded the Donna Doganiero Award for the Best Safety Crossover Presentation at the 2016 AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) convention in Baltimore. Harnett received the award for her presentation on the dangers of fatigue entitled "I'll Sleep when I'm Dead." The Donna Doganiero award is presented annually at the AIHA convention and selected by the Safety Committee of the AIHA. Harnett would like to thank the AIHA Safety Committee for this honour.


In the Footsteps of Heroes


Mike Harnett shares her experience visiting NASA. She received a behind the scenes tour after presenting fatigue management concepts.

By Mike Harnett, VP Human Factors

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of presenting fatigue management concepts to the Occupational Safety and Health Cooperative Committee at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando. And yes, that's my foot in the photo, proving I was there! A huge shout out to Darcy Miller and Brian Gloade of NASA for inviting me to address such an important group of leaders, and for the once-in-a-lifetime behind the scenes tour. We've all witnessed that defining moment when, on the day of a launch, the astronauts exit through that infamous doorway littered with past mission stickers, smiling, waving, before being whisked away and strapped onto massive rockets that go where few, or no one, has gone before them. To walk the path of the astronauts as they made their way onto a Mercury, Apollo or Space Shuttle flight was humbling. To view the remnants of the Apollo 1 disaster site, and the debris collected from Challenger and Columbia… words simply cannot describe their courage, or the bravery of those who marched forward from the footsteps left behind.

Such legacies continue to drive space exploration forward and human factors is front and center in ensuring the safety of these noble missions. Their Human Systems Integration Division is world leading in the areas of human performance, human computer interaction, and technology design for both in-flight and ground operations. But its the people, the spirit, the camaraderie that is their heart and soul, proudly displayed through such ways as the signature wall of every worker who has helped to launch a space shuttle.NASA continues to inspire. In other news, the Canadian Space Agency is recruiting potential astronauts for two spots in its program. To date, they have received over 3300 applications. If only I was 30 years younger!

Darcy Miller and Mike Harnett on the Astronaut walkway surrounded by mission stickers.


Hit Presentation at National Safety Conference


SIX Safety's VP of Human Factors, Mike Harnett spoke about the dangers of fatigue at the recent Partners in Prevention conference.

SIX Safety's VP of Human Factors, Mike Harnett, spoke about the dangers of fatigue at the recent Partners in Prevention conference in Mississauga. PIP is the largest health & safety conference in Canada and experienced record attendance in 2016. Mike's presentation entitled "I'll Sleep when I'm Dead" received excellent ratings in the post-conference attendee survey. Here's what some of the attendees had to say:

"Speaker was very engaging, very funny. Thoroughly enjoyed the presentation."

"It was the best session of the day!"

"Outstanding speaker! One of the best sessions I've heard in 25 years of attending HSE/HR conferences. Very dynamic, engaging, and thorough."

"Very good presenter - kept us engaged & informed"

It was an honor to be a part of such a well-received event and we look forward to future participation. 


ASSE SAFETY 2016 Trade Show


We are excited to showcase our fit-for-duty workplace solutions for drugs, alcohol & fatigue at ASSE's SAFETY 2016 trade show in Atlanta! 

This is SIX Safety's first year exhibiting at the American Society of Safety Engineers' SAFETY 2016 trade show and we're doing it in style! We are deubuting a new booth in our 20x20 island and showcasing our fit-for-duty workplace solutions including LUCI fatigue and distraction monitoring technology. SAFETY is North America's largest conference and expo for health & safety professionals. The show will be held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center.

In addition to our presence on the exhibit floor, our VP Human Factors, Mike Harnett will be speaking about the importance of fit-for-duty solutions for any organization. Make sure you catch her presentation, "Fit for Duty: More than Peeing in Cup" on Wednesday, June 29 from 1:45 to 2:45 pm.

Show Schedule:

Sunday, June 26 - 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Monday, June 27 - 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday, June 28 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Register for a free expo pass HERE.

See you in Atlanta! 


"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"


According to Transport Canada, nearly 60% of Canadian drivers admitted to driving fatigued and 15% admitted they fell asleep while driving.

By Mike Harnett

I was pleased to be asked to be one of three featured speakers at the recent TRUXPO 2016 event held in Abbotsford, BC. Hosted by the BC Trucking Association, there were over 10,000 delegates and exhibitors that attended over the course of two days.

My presentation, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", focused on fatigue with an emphasis on personal control strategies. Fatigue is a common issue within the trucking industry, and is often overlooked. According to Transport Canada, nearly 60% of Canadian drivers admitted to driving fatigued (I suspect the other 40% are fibbing), and 15% even admitted they fell asleep while driving. Needless to say, it’s a major concern in the industry. A huge shout out to Annette Decaire and the Trucking Safety Council of BC for putting together the speaker series and doing a top notch job! 


Oral Fluid Drug Screening: Facts vs. Myths


There is no shortage of misinformation surrounding the science and legal implications of workplace drug screening.

There is no shortage of misinformation surrounding the science and legal implications of workplace drug screening. Oral fluid drug testing, being one of the newer testing technologies, is no exception to this fact. The team at SIX Safety Systems has pioneered the implementation of this highly accurate and efficient method of drug testing since 2006 and presents the facts about oral fluid drug testing in the workplace.

MYTH: Oral fluid is not accurate.

FACT: Oral fluid may have greater relevance to understanding the effects of drug abuse as oral fluid provides a “blood-equivalent” result, testing for the parent drug itself and not just the metabolite. This makes it possible to detect “recent use” more accurately than urine testing as the presence of drugs in oral fluid is usually directly related to the amount of drug in the bloodstream at the time of sample collection.

MYTH: Oral fluid testing is just as susceptible to cheating as urine.

FACT: Oral fluid testing is very difficult to cheat. First, sample collection is witnessed. Second, a donor cannot deliberately compromise or mask a sample provided as oral fluid is reproduced on average in 3-5 minutes; thus if the drug is present in the bloodstream, it will be present in oral fluid.

MYTH: The legal liability is high for a company to conduct in-house testing.

FACT: The extent of legal liability associated to a company’s Substance Abuse Policy will be determined by the objectives and application of that policy: How well is it documented? How well is it communicated? How consistently is the policy applied? In-house testing can make logistical challenges easier and be significantly more cost-effective for some companies. As oral fluid is non-invasive, presents no gender issues, and witnessed samples can be collected anywhere, in-house testing is a legally diligent option for some.

MYTH: Oral fluid POCT screens can be confirmed with urine lab testing.

FACT: This will increase false-positive and false negative rates. Oral fluid primarily detects parent drug compounds and urine drug metabolite, each with different detection windows and cut-off levels. Oral fluid must be confirmed with oral fluid and the reverse is also true, urine with urine.


Stretching? Are you Pulling My Leg?


Warm up and stretching routines better prepare the muscles and tissues of our body to tackle physical tasks.

Warm up and stretching routines better prepare the muscles and tissues of our body to tackle the physical demands that our tasks require of us. The warm up portion is designed to increase circulation to the major muscle groups of the body. This is especially important in material handling jobs where the muscle tissues are taxed or when working in colder conditions where muscle tissues are constricted and tight. Good warm up moves include marching, shoulder rotations, half squats, or slow and controlled boxing moves. These types of warm up activities will prepare the muscles and joints of the body for efficient and safe movement patterns. Stretching is best incorporated after blood flow is increased to the tissues. Think of your muscles like a rubber band. If you warm them up first, they’ll stretch easier and further.

Stretching is a controlled movement and abrupt movements like bouncing are not recommended. When stretching a muscle you want to hold the muscles in an elongated position for a few seconds and then slowly relax the muscle returning it to the original starting position. Only mild tension should be felt. If you're experiencing pain, STOP! You’re pushing too far. Stretching is not supposed to be painful. Job tasks and work environments are variable. As a result warm up actions and stretching activities can be incorporated throughout the course of the day rather than just at the beginning of the shift. We refer to these momentary breaks in work as “microbreaks”. For example, if you have to assume a stooped posture for an extended period of time, stretching in the opposite direction by performing a back extension will assist with counterbalancing the effects of the sustained stooped posture. Reaching in front all day (yes, you at the computer)? Clasp the hands behind the back and squeeze the shoulders together. Really, it’s that simple!

Contact us to schedule a stretching workshop for your organization or to purchase any of our handy stretching posters for your facility. 

SIX Safety Systems delivers fit-for-duty solutions that mitigate the risks associated with drugs, alcohol, and fatigue in the workplace. 



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