"Transformational" - how one company sums up WSPS' Safety Group

Dec 01, 2016

Transformational Safety GroupApollo Health & Beauty Care is going on three years with no lost-time injuries, and recently earned a 100% score on a health and safety audit. What's their secret?

This light manufacturer of premium private label health and beauty care products is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable workplace for all employees. But for Christine LaRochelle, Director of Human Resources for Apollo Health & Beauty Care, the nuts and bolts of its success lies in WSPS' Safety Group.

"We signed up for WSPS' Safety Group in order to build a robust safety culture," explains Christine LaRochelle, Director of Human Resources for Apollo Health & Beauty Care. "We wanted something that not only met our legislative compliance requirements, but provided a best-in-class program. This was the quickest and easiest route for getting to that level of achievement," says Christine. The result: "transformational."

Located in Toronto, Apollo Health & Beauty Care has 390 full-time employees, plus 100 to 150 temporary associates on any given day, "depending on what we're running," says Christine. "We have multiple production lines. It's a very busy environment."

Apollo was already compliant with health and safety requirements, but when Christine joined the company in 2010, she immediately noticed a lack of interest in health and safety. "This was completely contradictory to the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Apollo's corporate culture," she says.

Having belonged to WSPS' Safety Group in her previous position, Christine knew what the program could offer. Within weeks she had sold Apollo’s management team on the program and attended a local Safety Group meeting.

Safety Groups is an annual performance-based rebate program developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Businesses join for one calendar year at a time, and work collectively on five health and safety program elements that help reduce injury frequency and severity, often achieving dramatic results.

In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, WSPS members collectively achieved:

  • a 7.14% drop in lost-time injury frequency,
  • an 11.08% reduction in injury severity.

These results earned them a $6.2 million rebate.

From a list of approximately 50 elements, each member selects four to work on throughout the year that they think will improve their health and safety performance. All members also work on a fifth common element. Members learn how to implement the elements at local meetings facilitated by WSPS consultants who share their expertise and encourage them to exchange ideas and best practices with each other.

For Christine, an element on the roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers was the starting point for energizing Apollo's commitment to health and safety. "The element helped us create a robust internal responsibility system, where all levels of staff understand how they can contribute to safety success," explains Christine.

This includes Apollo's management team. Charles Wachsberg, president and owner, took a personal interest in selecting and monitoring the progress of Safety Group elements each year. "Not only is it good business sense to place safety as a top priority in the workplace, but it demonstrates commitment to our employees and accountability at all levels of the organization to do things the right way," says Charles.

Safety Groups Advantage Program (SGAP): taking the Safety Group experience to the next level

By the end of 2014, Apollo Health & Beauty Care had completed its fifth and final year in the Safety Group, having successfully implemented all 25 elements of a health and safety program.

To sustain momentum, the company joined WSPS' 2016 Safety Groups Advantage Program. Under SGAP, participants continue in WSPS' Safety Group program. Instead of implementing elements, members develop and conduct a comprehensive audit of their health and safety management system.

"It was a logical option for us," says Christine. "By conducting annual audits, we're able to identify opportunities to continue strengthening and improving our health and safety management system."

This has helped the company achieve impressive results. Most notably, three years with no lost-time injuries, and earned a 100% score on its first SGAP validation audit - a level of excellence not typical of first year participants. Apollo also earned a WSIB Certificate of Achievement as a leading contributor to the Safety Group chapter's overall high results in 2015.

"Not that long ago," says Christine, "health and safety was viewed as a cost of doing business. But through WSPS' Safety Group program it's become a focal point for engaging employees. And for celebration."

Achieve your own dramatic results

Registration for WSPS' 2017 Safety Group closes December 31. Learn more by:

  1. visiting out our Safety Group page,
  2. watching a 5-minute pre-recorded webinar.