"A lot of our Safety Group members have "ah hah" moments," says WSPS consultant Jon Beveridge. "Especially in their first year." These moments - the product of learning and networking at regular meetings - often lead to dramatic performance improvements and cost savings.
According to results for WSPS' 2012 group, businesses that participated successfully shared a $6.3 million rebate based on these results:
manufacturing sector reductions in lost-time injury frequency rate (LTI) of 14.29% and injury severity of 19.43%,
services sector reductions in LTI of 11.76% and injury severity of 16.64%.
How the program works
Safety Groups is a performance-based rebate program developed by the WSIB. Participating businesses receive rebates of up to 6% on their WSIB premiums if they collectively improve their health and safety performance. WSPS is a program sponsor, and consultants like Jon Beveridge lead Safety Group chapters across the province.
The program, which runs for one calendar year at a time, helps businesses improve their performance by providing a networking forum in which members set individual goals, discuss challenges, and develop solutions. From a list of safety topics or "elements" provided by the WSIB, each member selects four to initiate or improve on in their workplace. Each element is an essential component of a health and safety program. All firms also work on a fifth common element. For 2014, the common element was first aid.
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 health and safety goals. Ongoing support includes professional advice, information, products, and services.
The networking experience
"The whole spirit and intent of the group is networking," says Jon Beveridge. That's what appealed to Dan Bailey, general manager of Milo Food & Agricultural Infrastructure & Services?(Milo-FAIS) in Wheatley, Ontario. He's a first-year member of Beveridge's chapter in Windsor.
With a cold storage capacity of 200,000 square feet, Milo-FAIS is one of southern Ontario's largest cold storage and food processing facilities. The company provides fully computerized warehouse facilities and distribution services, as well as various services required for processing fruit, vegetable and fish.
Milo-FAIS contracts ongoing health and safety management to a consultant who is on retainer 24/7, helps with policies, inspections and training, and visits the site twice a month. Nevertheless, Bailey recognizes that ultimate responsibility for health and safety rests on his shoulders.
Before Milo-FAIS, he had never been directly involved in health and safety. "And with safety there's always something to learn," says Bailey, "so I felt it prudent to learn more by being exposed to the various members of the Safety Group."
"At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that we are on top of safety. These sessions are very helpful in terms of letting us know what's coming down from the WSIB and the Ministry of Labour. If I can get the jump on it and be proactive, it makes my work with the consultant much more productive." Milo-FAIS's approach to health and safety appears to be paying off. The operation is fast approaching three years without a lost-time injury.
For businesses that remain with the program from one year to the next - as do 75% of Beveridge's members - it's an opportunity to create in a collaborative environment up to 25 standards and the processes required to implement and sustain them.
For Beveridge, it's also about helping members learn to manage rather than react to health and safety. "It creates much more peace of mind to be able to say, 'We haven't had an injury in a year. Or two years. Or three.'"
Find out more
Learn about WSPS' Safety Group online. 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: