Champions of beer, responsibilities and health and safety

Sep 04, 2015

Beer StoreTed Moroz, President of The Beer Store, first discovered how deeply he felt about creating a healthy and safe workplace when he bumped up against the apathetic attitude of a boss who figured if employees weren't 100%, they should just go off on disability. Moroz believed the employer should do everything possible to care for employees and keep them in the fold. He didn't listen to his boss and he brought people back on modified work. Many still work with him today.

 

Throughout his career, he has seized the opportunity to challenge traditional thinking and transform attitudes and practices about health and safety. We had the opportunity to chat with Moroz about how he has engaged the entire team in this pursuit and how they are championing health and safety at The Beer Store and beyond.

Why is health and safety so important to The Beer Store?

TM: It's my responsibility to make sure employees have a great place to work. They are the heart of the organization. A strong employee value proposition that includes a safe workplace is healthy-heart food. We also have a lot of post-secondary students in the summer. Parents are putting their kids in my hands and trusting me to keep them safe.

What CEO wants the reputation of having her or his employees going home to tell their families they were injured at work because the employer didn’t care about safety and wellness?

There are also sound financial reasons for focusing on health and safety. Healthy, happy and engaged employees lead to increased customer satisfaction and, therefore, higher sales and market share. If you're smart about it, and you work in a safe and organized way, you can justify your efforts financially and avoid trouble. The costs of ongoing and regular training pales in comparison to those you will incur if employees sustain workplace injuries, which can be severe and very long-lasting.

How do you communicate the importance of health and safety to your team?

TM: Health and safety is our number-one core value and it is on the agenda of every meeting. We've branded our health and safety program "Getting to Zero" and we invest significant time and resources in ongoing training and communication about the program.

Every year - for approximately two months - the health and safety, wellness and disability management teams, along with senior managers, travel to stores in communities across Ontario to conduct health and safety training and information-sharing sessions. I attend as many as I can, and I speak about the importance of health and safety, as do VPs and Directors. We definitely walk the talk in this company.

Everyone is welcome to email or call me directly, and many do. We also have a provincial joint health and safety committee that conducts meetings across the province and local worker reps and supervisors are invited to attend.

How have you fostered such a deep sense of accountability and commitment to health and safety within the team?

TM: It is written right in our health and safety policy that all staff members are held accountable for nurturing a culture of health and safety. Everyone is accountable for ensuring that everyone goes home as healthy as they arrived. Employees and management alike who neglect safety rules and policies are held accountable, even those whose bad decisions lead to their own injuries. If they haven’t followed safety policies the consequences can be dire, and they are held accountable.

We encourage employees from all areas of the organization to contribute to the health and safety program, and the internal responsibility system is well managed and maintained in the program. Health and safety is on everyone's balanced scorecard and compensation is based on achieving a safe workplace.

Managers and supervisors lead by example and are responsible for promoting safety within their teams, including ensuring that workers follow procedures and guidelines and use prescribed protective equipment. Employees understand their role as it pertains to the internal responsibility system and are constantly reminded to bring forward any health and safety concerns.

How do you measure health and safety?

TM: All employees - senior management, front-line managers and workers - complete a robust training program annually. There are particular modules that must be completed based on one’s position in the organization, and there are a series of quizzes and tests that staff members are expected to pass. This enables us to test the performance of our health and safety system on a regular basis.

In addition, we measure injury and illness reduction each year, lost-time injuries, near misses, and all healthcare incidents, with the intention of getting to zero. We also review monthly inspections to ensure they are being completed properly and we track truck incidents and accidents.

In the unfortunate circumstance when an accident or near-miss occurs, many different people across the organization are expected to take action. Our employees understand their responsibilities as far as notifying managers and reporting incidents. Managers and supervisors ensure a full investigation is completed and that the information is shared across the organization and any actions that fall out of the investigation are followed. Worker health and safety representatives also assist with the investigation, and our health and safety team at head office provides the necessary support and coaching.

How do you recognize the efforts of employees?

TM: Recognition of safety achievement is important to us. We have several recognition programs that highlight achievements and the commitment of our staff. We hand out annual health and safety and safe driving awards, and we do shout outs to employees who have exemplified sound health and safety performance.

Every day we strive for zero accidents and zero incidents because we have a strong team of safety-minded people and I am proud of them all.

How does your commitment to health, safety and wellness extend to the community?

TM: The Beer Store is one of the most environmentally friendly retailers in the world. We take back all of our primary and secondary packaging and ensure that over a half-million metric tonnes of landfill are diverted on an annual basis. For the past 88 years, we have been recycling and reusing all of our packaging to the tune of 3,800 containers every minute every day.

All Ontarians, beer drinkers or not, rely on us to make sure that we are not serving underage children or serving people who are drinking and driving. We have a robust training program that teaches employees how to ensure customers are of legal drinking age, how to look for signs of intoxication, and ensure that those who have had too much do not get served or take the wheel.

And every year, thousands of Beer Store employees, represented by their local union UFCW12r24, managers, family members and friends, come together to raise much-needed funds in the fight against leukemia, lymphoma and blood cancers. In 10 years, this joint effort between the union and the company has raised over $11 million. We support regional events and charities, such as Rogers House in Ottawa, Terry Fox in Sudbury, or Habitat for Humanity in London.

Why have you made the decision to engage with the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network?

TM: I am a member of the network because I will do anything to spread the word and help others think like we do. We're not perfect by any means and we're always interested in learning what others are doing to achieve zero accidents. This is how we can make the world safer every day.

Is the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network for your organization?

Launched in 2014, the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network is a group of leaders - CEOs, directors, operational and informal leaders - who are stepping beyond the bounds of their own organizations to spur health and safety transformation on a much larger scale.

Helping to shape health and safety policy, this dynamic collaborative offers fertile ground for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, performance excellence and the advancement of a strategy for a robust cross-provincial culture of health and safety. Find out more.