Tomorrow Together 2017 Annual Report
2017 was a very successful year for WSPS, in terms of exceeding corporate objectives. This report spotlights the progress WSPS has made in creating a foundation for the future, strengthening relationships and together, building a healthier and safer tomorrow.
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Our ISO 9001:2015 certification sets us apart and signifies our commitment to quality across all our processes, from identifying customer needs to developing and delivering targeted solutions.
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Research on the Move
WSPS supports evidence-based research projects across Ontario that advance the development of occupational health and safety resources and consulting services. As understanding the unique challenges in each area of the province is critical, WSPS was on board to support the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) in its launch of Canada’s first mobile occupational health and safety (OHS) research lab: M-CROSH.
Funded by the Ministry of Labour and partner sponsorships, the 40 foot moving lab provides a revolutionary method for conducting multidisciplinary OHS research. It also improves access to workers in northern rural communities and remote work sites, a group traditionally difficult to engage in field research due to location.
"M-CROSH was built to promote a positive health and safety culture in northern Ontario by establishing a physical presence in communities in which workers are provided opportunities to directly participate in and contribute to the research needs of the north," says Dr. Sandra Dorman, Director of CROSH and Full Professor in the School of Human Kinetics at Laurentian University. "In partnership with WSPS, M-CROSH expands CROSH's ability to drive prevention through research in northern industries, enhance awareness of the importance of OHS training and education programs, and promote unique opportunities to contribute to positive outcomes in the workplace."
The M-CROSH inaugural tour visited 12 northern Ontario communities throughout the summer of 2017. WSPS was on hand to participate in open health and safety discussions and establish contacts with researchers, academics and a variety of industries.
The field study gathered research on mental health, fatigue, mobile equipment design for accident prevention, vibration-induced injury prevention, heat stress, prevention of musculoskeletal disorders and more.
"In partnership with WSPS, M-CROSH expands CROSH's ability to drive prevention through research in northern industries, enhance awareness of the importance of OHS training and education programs, and promote unique opportunities to contribute to positive outcomes in the workplace."
Dr. Sandra Dorman, Director of CROSH and Full Professor, School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University
Health, Safety & Cannabis
The legalization of recreational cannabis requires employers to prepare for a new regulatory landscape. In 2017/18, WSPS was proactive in determining how to assist its customers with the resulting challenges.
"The first step," says Larry Masotti, WSPS Director of Strategic Partnerships, "was the establishment of our cannabis strategy- determining what WSPS should focus on and where we should partner with external organizations to ensure our customers have the information they need."
A core part of our strategy involves identifying potential health and safety risks as part of a hazard assessment and assisting in establishing or updating policies that deal with impairment on the job. "This is where we have zero tolerance for impairment," says Ted Moroz, President and CEO of The Beer Store and a member of the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network. "Companies must have well-documented, very tight policies."
Another priority was determining how to get information out to businesses. To get started, WSPS coordinated a series of cross-province Marijuana and the Workplace workshops with CannAmm Occupational Testing Services. A second series, featuring step-by-step policy development, was held in early 2018.
The next phase involved curating a list of reputable third-party providers to whom WSPS could refer customers for services such as legal advice and drug testing.
Through its CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network, WSPS hosted a roundtable event for leaders to discuss these topics and the wider issue of cannabis legalization's impact on the workplace. A subsequent whitepaper is available at ceohsnetwork.ca.
In 2018, WSPS will continue to raise awareness of impairment (using cannabis as an example), its impact on the workplace and how employers should respond.
"This is where we have zero tolerance for impairment. Companies must have well-documented, very tight policies."
Ted Moroz, President and CEO, The Beer Store and member of the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network
Making the Connection
For many businesses, the health and safety journey can seem intimidating. To assist them in navigating the landscape, WSPS has launched a forum where professionals can explore emerging issues, connect with peers and exchange health and safety best practices.
WSPS Safety Connection sessions have three goals: keep participants up to date with legislative changes; provide thought-provoking information; and offer topical, timely information in response to regional business needs. In an effort to reduce workplace injuries and promote an improved culture of health and safety in Ontario, the sessions are offered at no charge and held in various communities across the province.
Maria Middelveen, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at DEW Engineering and Development ULC, is a Safety Connection advocate and believes that opportunities to connect with and learn from other OHS professionals are critical. "Thanks to Safety Connection, I am better informed and feel supported in my health and safety journey. I have met people facing similar challenges, and walked away with new ways to solve common everyday issues."
"Ultimately, we want participants to leave with enough information and confidence to continue the conversation, be it with us, the contacts they’ve made at this event, or colleagues in their workplace," adds Carolann Quinlan-Smith, WSPS consultant and Safety Connection facilitator.
Between January and March 2018, WSPS held 17 sessions that attracted 295 participants. Representatives from WSPS, the Ministry of Labour and more delivered sessions on mental health and chronic stress, accreditation of health and safety management systems, falls, robot safety, noise, and occupational health and safety training requirements. Twenty-eight additional events are planned for 2018.
"Thanks to WSPS Safety Connection, I am better informed and feel supported in my health and safety journey."
Maria Middelveen, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at DEW Engineering and Development ULC
Spreading the safety message to Farming Communities
In 2010, the Farm Safety Association became part of WSPS. Since then, WSPS has been dedicated to finding new ways to help agricultural communities improve the safety of farming operations.
Almost 98% of Ontario farms are micro businesses with no or fewer than five employees.1 They look for easy-to-use, low-cost health and safety solutions and in 2017, WSPS focused on getting them the information they need through refreshed communication and distribution channels.
Responding to the need for resources, WSPS created The Farm Safety website at WSPS.CA/FarmSafety. It provides links to safety aids such as a do-it-yourself Farm Safety Starter Kit with simple templates, guides and tips that assist farm operators in understanding their responsibilities.
WSPS is also committed to educating farmers on risks such as large animal handling, grain entrapment, working with tractors and other farm-related hazards. In 2017, the association began utilizing a new series of conversation starters to raise awareness at community and industry events. "It's often the kids who really process the information and bring it home," says Linda Freiburger, a farm operator and member of the WSPS Rural Advisory Group. "They'll go back and keep their parents on their toes, encouraging them to break unsafe habits."
Also launched by WSPS in 2017 was the Farm Safety Gazette, a newsletter focused on agriculturerelated topics, complete with an Ask the Expert section offering advice from a WSPS consultant. The broadsheet format allows readers to post articles in the workplace.
One of the most effective ways to spread the safety message is through partnerships with community organizations. In 2017, WSPS established 44 new partnerships, distributed more than 90,000 resource materials and left 250,000 impressions through partner awareness education channels.
"It's often the kids who really process the information and bring it home. They'll go back and keep their parents on their toes, encouraging them to break unsafe habits."
Linda Freiburger, farm operator and member of the WSPS Rural Advisory Group
1 Based on WSIB and Ontario Federation of Agriculture data.
From Customer to Partner
WSPS and Longo's partnered to pilot a service that empowers organizations to manage hazards more efficiently and effectively. The result is WSPSGo, a flexible and adaptable tool for workplace inspections.
Employing 6,500 people, Longo's operates 33 grocery stores across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as GroceryGateway.com, an online sales and delivery service. For more than seven years, the company has been coming to WSPS for health and safety support.
Based on their strong relationship, Longo's challenged WSPS to create an inspection service that would reduce slow, manual processes; incorporate features for tracking, reporting and analysing data; and monitor action items relating to identified hazards. While the WSPS team worked on a web-based platform, representatives from both WSPS and Longo's created a specific inspection checklist and report template. Longo’s was the subject of the successful pilot and continues to access the platform on a subscription basis.
Within the first year of rolling out the new tool at Longo's (in combination with other initiatives), overall incident rates dropped significantly. "The new solution has really made inspections easier," says Simon Kaplansky, Longo's Occupational Health & Safety Manager. "It automatically generates customized reports. Managers then receive an automated notification and update action items online. It helps us measure proactive behaviours across the organization, and enables me to share with our business leaders analytical data that we were not able to easily tap into before."
WSPSGo can generate quality reports that can be viewed and downloaded, and allows pictures to be taken of each hazard identified.
WSPS is exploring options for offering this type of service to other organizations.
"The new solution has really made inspections easier."
Simon Kaplansky, Occupational Health & Safety Manager, Longo's
Planning for a Safe Future
The team at Andrew Peller Limited constantly looks for ways to improve employee safety.
The Ontario-based wine, craft alcohol and premium personal winemaking marketer and producer has been a part of the WSPS Safety Group for more than 12 years. It has also come to WSPS for JHSC Certification Training, machine safety assessments, and training on robot safety and lockout/tagout practices. However, the company believes the most important thing WSPS has assisted with is keeping it informed of changes in health and safety legislation to help it remain on track and plan for the future at all of its properties.
"WSPS helped us identify, prioritize and plan for improvements so we were not throwing good money after bad, but rather investing in our production equipment to improve both employee safety and overall production efficiency," says Lynne Matsell, Andrew Peller Limited's Environment, Health and Safety Advisor.
WSPS completed a machine safety assessment of one of the production lines at Peller's bottling facility in Grimsby and assessment of the second line wrapped up in 2017. "Peller has always been keen to acquire information and apply it to their operations," says Michael Wilson, WSPS Technical Specialist. "Last year, we saw what had been done since the first assessment. It's clear that a tremendous amount of effort went into those changes."
"The machine guarding report helps us keep the conversation going," says Matsell. "Some gaps have quicker fixes than others-you have to start somewhere."
The company's proactive focus on safety is producing great results.
Multi-department JHSC involvement, workplace inspections, reporting and investigating all incidents, and new employee training are important pieces of its health and safety management system. Nationally, Andrew Peller Limited has experienced a 95% reduction in lost-time Injuries over the last 10 years. "We're always discussing how we can do better with improving our safety culture as the company grows. There is a lot of support for safety at all levels across the company," adds Matsell. "It's just the way we do business."
"WSPS helped us identify, prioritize and plan for improvements so we were not throwing good money after bad, but rather investing in our production equipment to improve both employee safety and overall production efficiency."
Lynne Matsell, Environment, Health and Safety Advisor, Andrew Peller Limited