Belonging to the Safety Groups program has helped Global Architectural Metals substantially reduce its injury severity rate, even as the Welland, ON firm has ramped up production and tripled its workforce. But for Kyra Moate, the firm's health and safety coordinator, health and safety success is not just about numbers. It's also about process. Global Architectural Metals joined Safety Groups precisely because of what Moate describes as a stepping stone approach to building a comprehensive health and safety program.
In 2013, the last year for which results are available, WSPS Safety Group members reduced their injury severity rate by 16.35% and their lost-time frequency rate by 12.86%, earning themselves a collective 5.17% workers compensation premium rebate worth $6,763,820.
Developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the Safety Groups program helps member firms build and sustain their own comprehensive health and safety program. It’s based on the premise that an integrated workplace health and safety program is good for business.
WSPS's Safety Group is one of the longest running and most successful. Firms join one of roughly 30 chapters active across the province one calendar year at a time, for up to five years. At the beginning of each year, members select five elements of a health and safety program that will help them improve their performance. They learn how to implement these elements at group meetings where they can tap into WSPS expertise and resources, and the hands-on experience of other members. WSPS health and safety consultants facilitate the meetings and are available to members between meetings.
"This year I found the slips, trips and falls element particularly useful," says Moate. "A good deal of the hazards in our shop are related to this, and having a more structured program in place has allowed us to reduce the overall incidents in a measurable way."
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from heavy lifting are another potential hazard. Global Architectural Metals manufactures ornamental glazing curtain walls. "A typical piece of glass can weigh anywhere from 10 to 200 lbs.," she explains, "and by the time we're finished with a frame, they can weigh up to 500 lbs."
"Having access to WSPS expertise and resources, especially when developing new policies and procedures, really saves me time. The Safety Group meetings are also wonderful opportunities for networking. It's nice to walk into the room and know there's a whole group of people who know what you're dealing with - and can often help. The companies in our chapter may be diverse, but we often face similar hazards. Lifting 200 pounds can be hazardous no matter what you're lifting."
Find out how you can benefit from WSPS' Safety Group
Registration for WSPS' 2016 Safety Group program is now open.
- Learn more about the Safety Group. While on site, watch an 8-minute information webinar.
- Read what others have to say about WSPS' Safety Group and how it helped them improve their performance: