Member Success Stories
Premium rebates are only part of the equation when determining if safety groups is the right fit for your business. You also need to look at the positive impact that a reduction in injury/illness frequency and severity would have on your bottom-line. Workplace injuries can be expensive - costing your business direct costs in the form of increased premiums and legal costs, as well as often high indirect costs associated with employee turnover, downtime, and reduced productivity.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour estimated the average direct cost of a lost-time workplace injury in 2007 was $21,800. Indirect costs are estimated to reach between 5 and 20 times direct costs. WSPS Safety Group has averaged an annual reduction in Lost-time injuries (LTI) of 17% over the last five years. Even if that reduction helped prevent even one LTI in your workplace over that time, the cost savings would be considerable.
Prevention is the best strategy and safety groups can help you build your program and capabilities.
How WSPS' Safety Group helps one business send its employees home safe
It's a truism that every employer wants their people to arrive home safe at the end of the day. But truisms weren't enough for JSW Manufacturing, a small, familyrun metal fabrication company in Bracebridge, Ontario.
"We felt there was more we could do, but we weren't sure how to go about it," explains Eddy Whitworth, the company's health and safety coordinator. "We were looking for a road to take that would lead us to a safe working environment, and make best use of our time and effort in the process."
JSW Manufacturing started down that road by joining WSPS' Safety Group, an annual performance-based rebate program developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
Participating firms receive rebates of up to 6% on their WSIB premiums if they collectively improve their health and safety performance. So far WSPS Safety Group members have shared in an average rebate of $7-million per year, the largest rebate of all Safety Group sponsors in Ontario.
At the beginning of the year, participating firms select, from a list of 50 items, 5 elements of a health and safety program that they think will improve their health and safety performance. The firms learn how to implement the five elements at local meetings facilitated by WSPS consultants, who share their expertise, direct the members to WSPS resources, and encourage them to contribute ideas and best practices with each other. In successive years, members choose additional elements to work on.
While earning a rebate was part of the appeal for JSW Manufacturing, says Eddy, "our goal is to build a safe environment, a safe team, a safe culture, and an effective, ongoing health and safety system. WSPS' Safety Group enables us to be part of something larger that offers us structure and guidance."
One of the elements Eddy has found particularly helpful this year is WHMIS 2015. "If we weren't part of WSPS' Safety Group, I'm not sure we would have had any idea that WHMIS is changing."
"Our experience has exceeded our expectations," continues Eddy. "In addition to the structure and guidance, we now have a network of contacts who support each other with anything that comes up between the group meetings."
"Most recently, I had a question about disposing of sand used in sandblasting. How do you go about that? You can't just take it to a landfill. Instead of wasting a day or two trying to figure out what to do, I was able to get going right away in the direction we needed to take."
WSPS consultant Kirsi Henry, who facilitates the local Safety Group chapter that JSW Manufacturing belongs to, says the company's experience demonstrates any firm can improve its health and safety performance, regardless of size, so long as they're committed. "Even though JSW Manufacturing doesn't have a full-time health and safety person, they've been steadily building a comprehensive health and safety program. They consider the JSW team as family and believe in doing what's best to protect everyone."
Find out more about WSPS' Safety Group
WSPS' Safety Group: earn a rebate while finding focus for your H&S program
"Before joining WSPS' Safety Group, I felt a bit like the Tasmanian Devil," says Drew Douglas, health and safety supervisor, for the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. "We already had a successful health and safety program in place, we just didn't have the management system.* I'd start working on one component of our system over here, then spin over and do a little bit of work there. I'd be all over the place."
Then Rama First Nation joined WSPS' Safety Group. "When I went to my first meeting and understood how it works, I thought, 'This is the roadmap to a management system.'"
Whether you're at a "management system" level like Rama First Nation, or just starting to build a health and safety program, WSPS' Safety Group can help take you to the next level. It's an annual performancebased rebate program developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Over one calendar year members work together on five health and safety program elements designed to reduce injury frequency and severity, often achieving dramatic results.
In 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, WSPS members collectively achieved a:
- 13.24% drop in lost-time injury frequency
- 18.97% reduction in injury severity
These results earned them a $6,386,984 rebate.
Members join a local chapter for one calendar year at a time. From a list of 50 elements, each member selects four to work on that they think will improve their health and safety performance. All members also work on a fifth common element. They learn how to implement the elements at meetings facilitated by WSPS consultants who share their expertise, direct the members to WSPS resources, and encourage them to exchange ideas and best practices with each other.
For Rama First Nation, 2017 will be its fourth year as a member. Drew describes Rama First Nation, located near Orillia, Ontario, "as a small government service, or a small community, with 500 employees providing all the same services a municipality would offer, and more." Rama First Nation is also the landlord of Casino Rama, which welcomes up to 20,000 visitors every day.
In Drew's first years as a Safety Group member, he saw the WSIB compensation rebate and the "roadmap" approach as the program's greatest benefits. "The roadmap really helps you focus each year on those five pinpointed pieces of your health and safety program." But now for Drew, it's the networking. "Being able to talk to other members - 'Hey, what did you do for this element,' or 'How did you evaluate that' - is huge to me."
Networking takes place during and between meetings, as individual members reach out to the entire group and each other. For instance, this summer Drew and another member organized a joint health and safety committee exchange, where Drew and his counterpart attended each other's meetings. "That was really an enlightening experience," he says.
For the future, Drew has a greater vision for WSPS' Safety Group. "At the time Rama First Nation joined, we were starting to align our health and safety vision with our own cultural values and our First Nation ideals. We were also planning to implement an overarching risk management program that would be in line with CSA Z1002 - Hazard identification and elimination and risk assessment and control. Now that I've seen how beneficial the Safety Group has been, it's my dream to spread the word to other First Nations. 'This is the way to do it.' Perhaps with a dedicated First Nation Chapter…"
How WSPS can help you
- Check out our Safety Group page for a program overview.
- Watch a 5-minute pre-recorded webinar.
- Attend a 90-minute WSPS Safety Group info session taking place this fall in a number of communities across Ontario.
- Interested in implementing a management system approach to health and safety? Learn more about WSPS' management system consulting - a systematic and proactive approach to workplace health, safety and wellness that promotes process consistency, efficiency, continual improvement and employee engagement.
* A health and safety program is a combination of activities, procedures, and facilities designed to ensure and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. A health and safety management system is a risk management process tool that helps to identify and then eliminate or control hazards. Key to the systems approach is a comprehensive set of triggers that direct next steps.