As a small business owner or manager, you face unique challenges. You march every day to the drumroll of cash flow. You juggle hats from accountant to operations to marketing in the relentless imperative to sell, service, and grow. And you're besieged on all sides by legislative requirements. Occupational Health and Safety Act? Stand in line, you say.
Yet, every one of the many resources available to help you design and implement an effective prevention strategy agree with this central truth: the bedrock on which an organization's efficiency and innovation stands is healthy and safe employees. If your workers are physically or mentally hurt or ill, they can’t focus on being productive and providing good customer service to help grow your business, however much they might like to.
"Workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities fall into the arena of 'preventable risk,'" says Paul Mansfield, Account Manager with our trusted partner, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). "One critical incident can wipe out an entire business. That's risk on a grand scale. Small businesses need to see health and safety as an investment in productivity, sustainability and profits, as well as in their reputation and corporate image."
WSPS has laid out the basics for small businesses in six critical steps to an effective health and safety program. The first in the series addresses how to "get it.".What is the "it" you need to get?
It is a straightforward, practical to-do item, a basic first task you must complete to start you on your way, and one that acknowledges that safety is part of human nature. We look out for workers in the same way we look out for family members: it's our collective responsibility as fellow human beings.
Get the basic first task behind you
The first thing you need to do on your way to a health and safety program is post mandatory documents where Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors expect to find them.
Why is this so important? Because it's the law, for one thing. The OHSA requires you to post specific items on a bulletin board where everyone can see them, such as the entrance hallway or the lunch room.
"Your health and safety board is often the first stop an inspector will make, regardless of industry," says Mansfield. "If your board isn't up-to-date, it sends a signal - much like a poor overall health and safety record - that bigger issues are lurking just out of sight. The completeness of your board goes a long way toward demonstrating goodwill and due diligence."
Another reason updating your board is important is because it's one giant, simple, feel-good tick mark that will nudge you into the slipstream of steps two to six.
You’ll find helpful links and downloads in the WSPS Roadmap for Small Business (look for it on www.wsps.ca/smallbusiness) for the basic documents that form the foundation of the Occupational Health & Safety Act:
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
Regulation 851, Industrial Establishments
Regulation 414, Farming Operations (if applicable)
Employment Standards Act (ESA) Poster
"Health and Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here" Poster
Your Company's Health and Safety Policy
Your Company's Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy
Regulation 860, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
Designated Substances Information (if applicable)
Occupational Health and Safety Explanatory materials
WSIB Form 82 - "In Case of Injury at Work" Poster
Regulation 1101, First Aid
Emergency services and numbers
It's an easy first step, and a simple way to avoid penalties. Why is it so easy? Because Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), our health and safety partner, also provides a Health and Safety Starter Kit that will provide you with almost everything you need.
Let's make this easier
You deserve to be on the simplest, fastest path to a healthy, safe and productive workforce. Check out all six steps to an effective health and safety program in the "Roadmap," "How-To Guide," and other resources offered on the WSPS Small Business Safety Made Easy, and find out how to get it, do it, write it down, watch for it, report it, and find it.