Evidence that a culture of safety is growing in Saskatchewan was on full display at the 7th Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership Charter event, which was hosted June 9 at Regina’s Queensbury Convention Centre.
More than 320 business leaders from across the province gathered to hear speakers deliver heartfelt messages and share examples of the work they have done to enhance safety in their organizations.
Never before have so many business leaders gathered at this event. The number of Charter signatories to the Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership Charter reached a new high. (You can view photos below.) Plus, the first ever Mission: Zero Awards were handed out.
Peter Federko, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board, shared examples of how Saskatchewan businesses are moving in the right direction when it comes to workplace health and safety. Since 2008, there have been 10,000 fewer workplace injuries brought to the Workers’ Compensation Board. He also pointed out that Saskatchewan has improved from having the second-highest to the fourth-highest time loss injury rate in Canada.
Felipe Fuentes delivered a sincere message and incredible insight as the keynote speaker. Fuentes, the global vice-president for environment and health and safety with Finning International, shared a story of a call he made to a family that lost a loved one on a job site. He also shared his thoughts and best practices about implementing and managing safety procedures with Finning.
He stressed on-the-job training helps workers to see what they are doing, as well as what could possibly go wrong and how those procedures can be corrected. He also spoke of how supervisors and not management should be the ones who design new safety procedures. He said it creates a different level of understanding.
“Whenever we talk safety, we aren’t talking about numbers. We are talking about people,” Fuentes said during his presentation.
Fuentes’ presentation was followed by a panel discussion that featured Beth Vachon, Grant Beck and Malcolm Eaton, who all shared anecdotes of workplace health and safety in their respective industries. Vachon is the CEO of the Cypress Health Region, while Beck is the president and CEO of Graham Group. Eaton is the mayor of Humboldt.
Beck’s dedication to workplace safety is close to his heart. He shared the tragic news that he has lost a brother, a sister and a close friend to injuries, all of which were preventable. In addition, during his travels to and from his home, Beck passes a memorial site of a worker who died on the job at a Graham site.
Meanwhile, Mayor Eaton, who comes from an educational background, supported the exciting news about a pilot project to be instituted at schools within the Prairie South School Division that aims to make younger children more aware of safety risks around the schools, playgrounds and in their communities.
Eaton also shed some light on his city’s Safe Communities Humboldt and Area organization. It’s a not-for-profit group that is dedicated to eliminating injuries while promoting a culture of safety through the promotion of injury prevention programs and education.
Since 2005 when Safe Communities Humboldt was introduced, the city has earned the highest ranking in Canada five times, including from 2007-10 and again in 2012.
Vachon, meanwhile, acknowledged that the mantra in health is “do no harm.” Yet she admitted to a high injury rate among health care staff. She added, though, that most injuries that occur are caused by repetitive actions and are preventable.
As a result, the Cypress Health Region has modified duties for all staff with hopes of having injured workers return to their jobs sooner, and has worked with physicians on these approaches and practices.
Vachon noted that since these modified practices have been implemented, the injury rate has decreased significantly. But she said the work to prevent workplace injuries isn’t done. The goal for her health region is to have no harm to patients and zero injuries to staff.
Wrapping up the event was the Charter signings. Forty-seven more leaders committed to the Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership Charter by signing it during the event. These latest signatories join the 433 government, industry, union and community leaders who have already signed the Charter and committed to its seven principles. This means the wave of Saskatchewan people touched by Mission: Zero grew to more than 400,000 when you include employees and their families.
Finally, it was time for the presentation of the Mission: Zero Awards. There were 140 organizations applying for consideration. That list was scrutinized to arrive at nine finalists in the three categories – small, medium and large employers. These awards are handed out to businesses that showcase their advancement of health and safety practices in the workplace and demonstrate sustained improvement in their injury rates.
The winners in the three categories were Failure Prevention Services (FPS), the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC).
Some photos from this year’s event:
(*Click the image to enlarge it.)