Dick Graham is proud to see how a culture of safety is being spread beyond Regina’s airport.
“The biggest win over the past year is the strength of our occupational health and safety committee,” said Graham, who became president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority in March 2015.
“It is ensuring we have policies and procedures that make it possible for people to demonstrate their safety day in and day out.”
“We are starting to see individuals proud of how they work who are then taking it home to their children and nieces and nephews to talk to them about how to work safe.”
Safety is a key element of core operations at an airport. It is in the business of securely transporting passengers to their desired destinations. Graham is responsible for ensuring it meets or exceeds all applicable safety, security and environmental regulations.
“There is no room to be unsafe,” said Graham.
“Safety is not compromised in anything we do.”
While he was the one to re-sign the Saskatchewan Health and Safety Leadership Charter, Graham says the commitment to safety within his organization extends far beyond the executive offices. It is embraced by all 55 people on the airport authority’s staff as well as the 1600 who work on site as contractors.
“We needed to recommit our organization and team to the principles and beliefs of the Charter,” said Graham.
“A time comes when you need to reaffirm what you believe, not just how you act.”
The Charter is a tool Safe Saskatchewan uses with leaders in the province as it works to shift the culture to one focussed on preventing injuries. Leaders who sign the Charter are invited to join the Leadership Learning Community and continue the discussion.
Gord Moker, CEO of Safe Saskatchewan, says Graham demonstrates how business leaders in Saskatchewan can influence the culture.
“I was struck by his passion for injury prevention and the leadership he has already demonstrated in health and safety for the employees, contractors and families of Regina Airport Authority.”
Graham sees two main factors influencing how a safety of culture can be further spread throughout Saskatchewan. First, he sees a business case for reducing and eliminating injuries on the job. A reduction in Workers’ Compensation Board premiums demonstrates to Graham that business leaders in the province have committed to ensuring their workplaces are safer. However, he believes with more work, that premium could come down further.
Second, he sees how recruiting employees can bring the focus of an organization back to safety.
“There is an expectation, especially in the younger generation, that they are working for an organization that respects who they are and what they bring.”
That means employees consider whether a potential employer values safety. Those that do are more likely to attract those employees.
So, the cycle begins. Leaders who value safety and commit to zero workplace injuries attract employees. Those employees commit to policies and procedures created to maintain their safety. They then go home to explain this to children, instilling a value and expectation those children will carry with them to their future careers.
Graham is one of hundreds of leaders in the province who have signed the Charter and committed their organizations to Mission: Zero. It is a call to action and a goal for employers to achieve zero workplace injuries. Those who sign the Charter get help to measure and monitor their organization’s injury prevention awareness.
The intent is that by reducing, then eliminating injuries at work, this mindset will spread beyond workplaces to keep Saskatchewan residents safe at home and in their communities.