Medium Employer Category
First Place – Hatch Ltd.
Hatch Ltd. views safety as an all-hands-on-deck operation. The global company, with offices in Regina and Saskatoon, has safety being emphasized not just from the leadership at the top, but with all employees.
“It’s not just managers and directors and supervisors that are pushing safety,” said Mike Fedoroff, general manager for Saskatchewan. “We have an engaged workforce and our employees take ownership of the health and safety program for themselves and their colleagues.”
Safety at Hatch also begins at the start. When new employees are starting out, senior leaders mentor new employees and emphasize the importance of safety in the workplace. Due to that focus, there’s been a major shift in terms of focus on safety.
“In decades past, a safety incident may not have been reported and therefore we weren’t able to identify them or solve them,” Fedoroff said. “Just because something was done a certain way for so many years doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it that way moving forward if we don’t feel it’s safe.”
A focus on safety at Hatch also goes beyond just safe practices in the workplace; it also means Hatch employees are active and healthy.
“We encourage an active lifestyle at Hatch and support slo-pitch teams and volleyball teams,” Fedoroff said. “Hatch employees have access to a gym on site to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Despite the size of Hatch as a large, global company, Fedoroff said the company’s operations in Saskatchewan benefit from its local employees living just down the street from one another.
“We are a global company, but locally we have safety leaders who are a part of the regular staff. You don’t have to have a specific title to point out a potential safety hazard. Every employee is welcomed to champion something they see as a potential risk and carry it forward.”
Second Place – Thyssen Mining
Thyssen Mining is one of these companies that knows it won’t succeed in safety unless its employees are the ones leading the charge and speaking up when something is wrong.
“Our organization has gone through many positive changes over the years, but the biggest improvement is the empowerment of our employees to feel comfortable and free to speak up about issues” said Dave Speerbrecker, Director of Health, Safety, and Environment for Thyssen Mining. “Communication has been our best tool with the focused efforts we put forth to communicate back to our employees about concerns they have raised. We ensure that everyone hears about the issues raised and what has been done to remedy said issue.”
The focus on safety and improvements in the workplace at Thyssen also means an improvement in morale, which leads to better recruitment and retention.
“Taking care of our employees and the people in the communities we work in is important,” Speerbrecker said. “People want to work where they are safe, and employers with poor safety performance struggle with attracting and keeping employees. We all know that high turnover and high incident rates go hand in hand.”
While things on the ground have definitely improved at Thyssen and there’s a continued focus on safety, there’s still more work to do to get to Mission Zero, says Speerbrecker.
“Have we achieved total success? No, not yet. Working with our employees in an engaging, productive way helps us maintain and improve our good safety culture and reduced the high turnover that can cause a safety culture to falter.”
Third Place – PINTER and Associates Ltd.
Ensuring his employees are safe when they’re at work isn’t just a legal matter for Lawrence Pinter, CEO of PINTER and Associates Ltd. For him, it’s personal.
Pinter, a survivor of an industrial injury, knows that the impact of a workplace injury can be far-reaching, beyond just a physical injury.
“When an employee is injured, there can be an impact on their standard of living and their family’s standard of living,” said Pinter. “There’s also a physical and psychological pain that the individual and the family endures, as well as that person’s fellow workers.”
Ensuring that the workplace is safe for his employees includes constant reminders of working safely, and a new safety program that includes safe work practices and procedures.
Regular safety meetings are held where potential hazards are addressed before construction season, and at the company’s corporate retreat in recent years the focus has turned to mental health.
In the end, Pinter knows that safety starts with leadership and with him.
“As a manager, I ensure all staff that they have my full support and the company’s full support when it comes to safety.”
Large Employer Category
First Place – Yara Belle Plaine Inc.
For the leaders at Yara Belle Plaine Inc., the health and safety of its employees isn’t just something for their company to check off on a list. Instead, it’s a deep a part of the company’s culture.
“If you have a culture where health and safety isn’t seen as a priority then you’re fighting an uphill battle,” said Aaron Bourque, the Health, Environment, Safety and Quality manager for Yara Bell Plaine. “When someone comes to work, they don’t come with the intention of getting hurt with a life-impacting injury or worse. As an employer, we feel it’s important to create an environment where a person can come to work and understand the risks that are present around them and give them the tools to manage those risks.”
That emphasis on safety as part of Yara Belle Plaine’s company culture has resulted in substantial improvements in safety.
Injury rates have dropped over the past several years – down about a third compared to five years ago.
Beyond the improvements on work sites, Yara Belle Plaine’s employees have taken the culture of safety away from the job site and implemented it at home with their families.
“We want our staff to take that safety mindset home with them so there’s less of a transition of that mindset between home and work,” Bourque said. “Dedicated family days for all staff where they’ll spend a day at a local park playing games. They’ll talk with the kids about the importance of working safely. A checklist program on job site where we ask employees to check systems and safeguards that are supposed to be in place. We’ll ask employees to take those checklists home with them several times throughout the year.”
Second Place – LutherCare Communities
It should go without saying that the quality of service and care of patients or residents is dependent on those providing that very service and care. However, too often this isn’t the case.
At LutherCare Communities, when staff know that their directors care about that, the quality of service and care is bound to be better, and employees are healthier and happier doing their jobs. At the top of the list at LutherCare is a focus on safety
This approach to safety amongst staff has resulted in the number of workplace incidents going down, and has improved staff morale.
“Our leadership team holds regular townhall meetings with staff at different sites and the focus has been on safety – we’ll ask staff if they have any concerns about safety in any aspects of their work environment,” says Vivienne Hauck, CEO.
For LutherCare, the culture of safety extends outside care residences into the homes of LutherCare staff.
“We have an active wellness committee that regularly hosts events for workers and their families,” said Hauck. “Recognizing the value of safe working habits becomes a part of who you are and not just at work.”
Third Place – Saskatchewan Research Council
After winning the top award in 2018, Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is again on the podium in 2019, confirming that they are once again one of Saskatchewan’s safety leaders.
Like many of the other award winners, employee safety doesn’t end at the doors to the workplace.
“To be safe after hours, we provide defensive driving training and provide personal protective equipment for home use,” said Mike Crabtree, President and CEO of the SRC.
As a result of the continued safety on focus, the number of lost time incidents have gone down, and the number of safety hazard observations – where employees actively observe a safety problem and modify behaviour to improve it – has increased.
“We have a proactive culture… Our employees actively plan and participate in emergency spill and medical drills, on their own initiative,” Crabtree said.