Workplace Safety & Prevention Services president and CEO Elizabeth Mills has announced a new national award celebrating organizations that excel in leadership and the promotion of health and safety, not just in their own workplaces but in their networks and beyond.
Mills made the announcement during the Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine's recent 2014 Canada's Safest Employers awards ceremonies. Mills is a member of the award program's judging panel, and the new award represents an additional category under the Canada's Safest Employers awards program.
The Health + Safety Culture award, which recognizes organizational culture's essential role in health and safety, is an initiative of Ontario's CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network. WSPS is a founding member of the network, alongside Bruce Power and The Conference Board of Canada.
"There are tremendous stories of transformation in organizations across the country," says Mills, "and this award will shine light on them so we can raise awareness of the value of a healthy and safe organization and inspire others to strive for the same level of performance."
The first Health + Safety Culture award will be presented next October as part of the 2015 Canada's Safest Employers awards ceremonies. WSPS and Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine will work together, with involvement from the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network, to complete the nomination criteria. These criteria will be announced at WSPS's 2015 Partners in Prevention national health and safety conference and trade show in April.
As conceived, the award will be presented to an organization that possesses such qualities as:
an exceptional level of trust and openness between management and employees,
a commitment to engaging employees in meaningful decision-making,
the active involvement of upper management in organizational health,
the commitment of people's time and use of company resources to promote safety,
the use of leading indicators to inform decision-making,
performance objectives that are tied specifically to the health and safety of the organization.
Harnessing culture and leadership
Both the award and the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network aim to harness the transformative power of organizational culture and leadership. The network comprises a growing group of leaders - CEOs, directors, operational and informal leaders - who are stepping beyond the bounds of their own organizations to spur health and safety transformation on a much larger scale.
"We cannot overestimate the power of organizational culture and leadership combined," says Mills. "This network is designed by leaders for leaders, all facing similar challenges and opportunities: How do successful businesses translate health and safety into a competitive advantage? What best practice experiences can they share, especially around culture and leadership?"
Many organizations committed to health and safety are finding that their performance has plateaued. "They've implemented standards, they have solid health and safety systems in place, but they're still not achieving zero injuries," notes Mills. "Integrating health and safety into organizational culture is the next step, and we all have a lot we can learn from each other."
Learn more about leadership and culture by checking out the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network, including the Health + Safety Culture Award.