Smiling children and spouses, friends and family fill photos that decorate a poster board on a wall inside the cafeteria at Finning’s Regina branch.
Those in the photos all expect their loved one to return home at the end of their shift at Finning. Teams there rebuild massive engines and transmissions on some of the largest and most powerful products on the heavy machinery market, including the D11 tractor, the biggest tractor on the planet.
It’s work that has the potential to harm employees. But keeping staff safe is a priority at Finning. That priority is why staff were encouraged by their managers to bring in the photos. It’s just one of initiatives at Finning aimed at changing the safety culture.
In late February, the Regina branch celebrated one year of being free of recordable incidents.
“This is a very proud day for me and for everyone involved,” said Jim Barks, the sales and marketing manager at the Finning Regina branch.
“This is something that is still in its infancy. One year is great, but I would like to see 10 more.”
“I don’t ever want to see someone going home hurt.”
“Everybody comes to work healthy and in one piece and that’s certainly the way we want them to go home so they can spend time with loved ones and with their families.”
The journey to one year of being recordable incident free was a “bumpy ride”, according to Finning Saskatchewan’s vice-president Tony de Sousa. In February 2016, Finning’s Regina branch saw four recordable incidents in that month alone.
“We have come on a journey and we understood it would be a journey and we’ve ensured that we’ve provided the right training,” de Sousa explained. “We still have a way to go because it can always reverse quickly. But we’ve set out goal to be injury free at all of our branches.”
But both Barks and de Sousa have noticed over the past several months, employees making a more concerted effort to make their workplace safer. Simple tasks like shovelling snow near entrances, or scattering salt or sand on outdoor walkways have become the norm.
To celebrate the achievement, staff were treated to a buffet lunch and had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Al Hancock, an adventure climber who has reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest.
de Sousa likened the Finning Regina achievement to Hancock’s experiences of mountain climbing.
Scaling mountain peaks requires patience – it took him almost eight weeks to climb Everest – proper training and always looking out for a friend or co-worker, Hancock explained. Those same factors play a role in safety in the workplace too.
“We do work in a dangerous field, but it is a calculated danger,” Barks said. “It’s about taking the right precautions. We have the right tooling to do it, we have the people with the right experience to do it. It’s just a matter of keeping safety in mind.”
Safety has been a priority for Finning’s Regina branch since the company took over the Caterpillar dealership in July 2015. At the time, management addressed the staff and stated that safety and improving workplace safety was a focus within the company.
Feedback from an employee opinion survey found Finning staff shared a similar focus.
“The number one reason why employees say this is a better working environment is because the safety has improved. They have seen how we view safety in the workplace,” de Sousa said. “For me, that was very encouraging.”
Finning staff were joined in their celebration by other special guests. Felipe Fuentes, Finning International’s vice-president for environment and health and safety, was there as was Safe Saskatchewan CEO Gord Moker, CEO of Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board Peter Federko, and others.