Learn business-building secrets from winners of the world's highest health and safety honour

Sep 05, 2014

Business buildingEvery September the U.S. National Safety Council announces the latest winner of the Robert W. Campbell award, the world's most prestigious health and safety honour. But you can learn any time from the collective experience of award winners, as well as WSPS' own team of health and safety management system experts.

WSPS is one of only 22 organizations worldwide that help the council review and select the annual winners. "These companies' journeys to excellence offer something for every business, regardless of where its health and safety system is at the moment," says John Hollands, a WSPS key accounts manager who has been a reviewer for the awards program since 2010.1

The Robert W. Campbell award recognizes organizations that achieve excellence through integrating environmental, health and safety (EHS) management into their business operations. Winners are selected through a rigorous, evidence-based review process. So that other businesses can benefit from winners' accomplishments, the winning submissions are converted into educational materials, including case studies, teaching notes, PowerPoint presentations, and videos. All are available online.

What the Campbell award winners have in common

WSPS Network News asked John Hollands what traits these winners share. "Winners come from many industry sectors, each with its own EHS challenges, but they all have a strong EHS culture that is clearly integrated into their business plans, strategies, and day-to-day operations."

Here are four other shared traits:

  • Senior management and the board of directors drive EHS excellence and innovation. Leadership teams and boards both have clear measurement metrics. "Boards should be driving the organization and asking hard questions. They don't necessarily need to know the answers, but they need to ask."
  • Leadership at all levels of the organization place EHS on par with business performance. "These are all highly successful businesses that have linked EHS with business performance. It's fully integrated."
  • Winners use a management system with a 'plan, do, check, act' approach. "The key to this approach is continuous improvement. Some winners have their own health and safety management systems and others conform to recognized standards, but they're all based on continuous improvement, and continuous improvement drives innovation."
  • Winners use leading and lagging indicators to measure performance. Leading indicators signal future events. Lagging indicators follow events.

How WSPS's involvement helps our member firms

"As one of only 22 reviewers," says Hollands, "WSPS has access to real world scenarios in which businesses have successfully aligned their EHS performance with business performance. It gives us insights into the inner workings of global leaders, enabling us to identify common challenges and best practices that we can turn into solutions for our member firms."

3 ways you can benefit from Campbell award winners

John Hollands identifies three ways you can put the award winners’ experiences to work for you:

  • Access the Campbell Institute's case studies and related resources, such as an online self-assessment to benchmark your business. The results rank you against best practice companies and generate hyperlinks to resources showing how you can improve your performance.
  • Join WSPS' Safety Culture Networking and Knowledge Exchange (NKE). These facilitated discussions enable participants to share ideas and best practices. Campbell award case studies are used as the basis for discussions. Contact John Hollands, 905 936 6833, john.hollands@wsps.ca.
  • Learn more about WSPS' management systems offerings. "Our role is to further your journey to excellence. You don't have to go the full distance to start generating benefits from a management system approach. It's about taking small steps toward structuring your existing health and safety program into a management system framework."

How we can help

WSPS has a highly experienced team of management system experts who can help you:

  • benchmark your health and safety management system against established standards - such as CSA Z1000, OHSAS 18001, and COR - and help you achieve compliance with them,
  • integrate your health and safety program into your operations by aligning it with key initiatives such as six sigma, ISO 9001, lean manufacturing, and balanced scorecard performance management.

WSPS also offers half-day and 2-day management system courses.

Find out more about these offerings.


1 The international Robert W. Campbell award, launched in 2003, is named after the National Safety Council's first president. The award is an initiative of The Campbell Institute, established by the council as a centre of environment, health and safety (EHS) excellence.