WSPS' Safety Group: earn a rebate while finding focus for your health and safety program

Oct 06, 2016

safety group rebate"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 performance-based 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.

"Overall," concludes Drew, "WSPS' Safety Group offers you a path for achieving your safety goals."

How WSPS can help you

  1. Check out our Safety Group page for a program overview.
  2. Watch a 5-minute pre-recorded webinar.
  3. Attend a 90-minute WSPS Safety Group info session taking place this fall in communities across Ontario.
  4. 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.