Small businesses too can benefit from WSIB premium rebates

Oct 09, 2014

Receiving chequeWorkplace Safety & Prevention Services' Safety Groups program is an ideal fit for small business owners and managers who want to prevent injuries - and earn a rebate in the process - but are challenged by a lack of resources and expertise.

"Commitment's not the issue," says WSPS' Alison Beer. "It's not knowing what has to be done or how to do it. "That's how the Safety Groups program helps."

Beer is a health and safety consultant who also heads up an Ottawa-based Safety Group chapter. Businesses that successfully participated in WSPS's 2012 Safety Group, the last year for which results are available, shared a $6.3 million rebate after dramatically reducing the frequency and severity of injuries. In one year, participants in the

  • manufacturing sector reduced their lost-time injury (LTI) and injury severity rates by 14.29% and 19.43%, respectively,
  • services sector reduced their LTI and severity rates by 11.76% and 16.64%, respectively.

Safety Group members achieved this by working independently and together to implement core elements of sustainable health and safety programs customized to the needs of their particular workplaces.

How the program works

Running for one calendar year at a time, the program provides a forum in which members set individual goals, discuss challenges, and develop solutions. From a list of safety topics or "elements," each member selects four to initiate or improve on in their workplace. All members also work on a fifth common element. These elements are essential components of a health and safety program.

Throughout the year, members work together on implementing their elements, attending five half-day meetings. WSPS consultants facilitate the meetings and direct members to resources that can help them achieve their goals. Ongoing support includes professional advice, information, products, and services.

How your business would benefit

If you joined a local WSPS Safety Group chapter, you would receive

  • help with understanding and meeting your health and safety obligations, "so you're not blindsided by the consequences of an accident," says Beer. "I don't want to scare people, but a serious injury could have a catastrophic affect on a small business. If you don't have a health and safety policy and program in place, the legal consequences alone could mean a conviction or a serious financial penalty."
  • information on new and upcoming legislative and regulatory changes. "It's not easy keeping up with rule changes, or figuring out how to comply. We give you advance notice, and then guide you through the compliance process."
  • access to government representatives and experts in a safe and confidential setting. Depending on what your Safety Group chapter schedules, you could hear from Ministry of Labour, WSIB or Office of the Employer Advisor representatives. "This is a unique opportunity to ask questions one-on-one in a safe environment."
  • access to resources and professional expertise that can help you build a sustainable health and safety program. Chapter leads work one-on-one with member firms and help them gain access to WSPS resources, many available at no cost. Members can also tap into expertise they don't have on staff or know how to find, such as a WSPS ergonomist, industrial hygienist or machine guarding expert. "Brain resources," Beer calls them.

Small businesses that don't already have a health and safety program often don't realize what risks their people and their businesses are facing, says Beer. WSPS's Safety Group program helps business owners and managers reduce or eliminate those risks, protecting their people and their livelihood.

Go online now to find out more about WSPS' 2015 Safety Group.