Workplace safety culture pays you back

workplace safety cultureWe use the term workplace safety culture when we often talk about health and safety. Your OHS roadmap plays a huge role in helping you understand the most effective ways to build your safety culture. It helps you choose the most effective OHS management system for your organization.

What’s in this article?

  • Workplace safety culture determines your success
  • An OHS management system will help you shape your safety culture
  • It’s time to make health and safety your competitive advantage
  • Paradigm shift in employers attitude towards health and safety
  • OHS programs will earn rebates and recognition for you

Workplace safety culture determines your success

In a webinar hosted by 4S on Jul 22, Rodney C Cook, Vice President, Workplace Health and Safety Services, WSIB Ontario said “You may have heard the popular term coined by Peter Drucker ‘culture eats strategy for lunch’. Moreover, what it essentially implies is that your company’s culture always determines success regardless of how effective your strategy is.” Furthermore, Rod also said that “when you speak of culture, programs such as the WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence offer a great deal of benefits to employers enrolled in such programs by using the culture tool.

An OHS management system will help you shape your safety culture

In a webinar with 4S on Jul 22, Ron Kelusky, Chief Prevention Officer, MLTSD said “back in 2009 on the Christmas eve there was a swing stage collapse that resulted in a Tony Dean report. What’s more, there were 42 recommendations, one of which was to create a CPO. In fact, one of the recommendations was to start looking at the importance of creating a standard. Moreover, the idea was to promote creation of interest in employers for developing a systemic approach to health and safety. Furthermore, the main idea was to encourage implementation of a OHS management system that employers can sustain.”

Ron also said that “the construction industry started to approach the OHS management systems through the COR™ program. COR™ started in Western Canada and it migrated into Ontario. The OGCA, is an early adopter in trying to encourage businesses to start focusing on OHS management systems.”


IHSA COR certification as an OHS Management System

Certificate of Recognition (COR™) of the IHSA  gives you a good reason to start building a sustainable safety culture. In fact, you need to have a strong safety culture to achieve and maintain COR™ in Ontario. COR™ process looks at three major aspects:

  • Documentation of your policies, processes, and procedures to meet compliance
  • Performance of internal and external audits to ensure that whatever is being documented is actually happening
  • Building a ‘safety culture’ through a sustainable health and safety program.

CLICK HERE to know more about how to get COR™ certification in Ontario.

Other OHS management system that can help you build a strong safety culture are ISO 45001:2018, which is a global standard for Occupational Health and Safety.

It’s time to make health and safety your competitive advantage

In the Jul 22 webinar with 4S, David Frame, Director of Government Relations, OGCA said that “preliminary reports coming from the IWH research say that if you invest $3,600 per employee, you are probably getting around $7,000 worth of value back, and that’s huge. Therefore, health and safety is a good investment.”

David also said that “I want you to take a look at the programs and not just look at the results of the program you get back. Let’s just say it cost you $10,000 to participate in WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence program and you are probably only going to get $5,000 back. You are going to say I don’t see the benefit in that. However, where the benefit really is that the WSIB Excellence program is just giving you a down payment in the payments you are getting back. You are probably getting a 200% response back. That leads us to the paradigm shift from ‘safety is a cost of doing business’ to ‘safety is a competitive advantage’.” As a safety conscious employer, you will retain top employees, build a strong corporate image, and reduce your rate of accidents and injuries.”

Paradigm shift in employers attitude towards health and safety

Workplaces may differ, activities may differ, and so may the risk of carrying out those activities. However, the big question here is how should companies be viewing safety at the workplace? Do they view it as a mandatory requirement as per law? Or do they need to view it as a wonderful opportunity to provide a safe workplace to their workers? Remember, they can do this while engaging well with their workers.

The second approach is the highly desirable one. In fact, if an organization succeeds in making safety an integral part of its culture over the long term, it creates a sustainable program. Further, this adds to the brand value. Importantly, workplace safety and corporate brand image go hand-in-hand. We all know what happened to British Petroleum’s global brand image after the massive oil-leak tragedy. Therefore, understanding and respecting the correlation between company brand and workplace safety is crucial. Hence, working towards building a sustainable safety culture is one of the best ways to ensure brand leadership.

What’s more, effective health and safety is the number one way for employee retention.

OHS programs will earn rebates and recognition for you

In Ontario, you only have the WSIB Excellence and OHS Accreditation programs to earn rebates on your WSIB premiums. If you are already enrolled in the WSIB Excellence program and earning rebates, you can earn further rebates by enrolling in the OHS Accreditation program.

If you are just starting your journey with basic compliance, you can consider enrolling in the WSIB Health and Safety Excellence program. It will provide you with a good starting point to build a strong program working your way towards safety culture. You will reach a crossroad where you can, depending on your nature of business, decide the choice of your OHS management system.

If you are a manufacturing or industrial business, you can choose ISO 45001:2018 as your OHS management system. For construction businesses, COR™ can be an effective OHS management system. That said, if you have a wider national or international presence in the construction business, you can consider ISO 45001:2018 as well given your wider scale of operations.

Regardless of whether you choose WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence, COR™, or ISO 45001:2018, you can surely consider enrolling for MLTSD’s OHS Accreditation program called Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers.


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