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How a small business boosted health and safety with WSPS' free advisory service

Pine Grove Point resort Gladys Stoneham, part owner of Pine Grove Point resort near Algonquin Park, was finding it “daunting” to keep up with changes to health and safety legal requirements for her small business, spending hours on the Internet trying to find information. With up to 12 part-time and full-time employees during the summer months, “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything,” says Gladys. “That was the fear - because it’s the welfare of our employees.”

Enter Mark Kinnear Health and Safety Coordinator for the City of Peterborough and a volunteer with WSPS’ Small Business Advisory Service. This new service matches a small business with a health and safety expert who provides free advice on simple but effective ways to improve health and safety.

Mark’s expertise and Gladys’ proactive approach proved a winning combination. Working with Mark, says Gladys, “saved us time and money and ensured we are compliant and diligent in maintaining a safe work environment.”

How the service works

The Small Business Advisory Service is available to small firms with fewer than 20 employees. It offers at no cost:

  • access to a health and safety professional for up to 10 hours
  • one on-site visit
  • a review of the current status of your health and safety program
  • suggestions for program improvements
  • support with implementation and follow-up
  • resources and practical tools

Rewarding experience

Located on the shores of Benoir Lake and surrounded by the Haliburton Highlands, Pine Grove Point is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts who love canoeing, boating, camping, swimming, horseback riding, hiking and more. It’s also a gateway to the natural beauty of Algonquin Park.

“With over 100 sites, it’s a big operation in the summertime,” says Gladys. “So, with some exceptions, employees do everything. They might be driving a bobcat or golf cart, delivering wood, or cleaning bathrooms with various chemical products. Everybody needs to be well versed in rules around working safely. We take training seriously.”

Mark, a 20-year health and safety veteran, agrees. “Pine Grove Point has a really good training program. They have written procedures, do job shadowing, and allow only qualified people to perform certain tasks.” In fact, Mark was “pleasantly surprised” by the programs, practices and procedures Pine Grove had in place, noting, “They’re on the right track.”

Mark had some suggestions for improvement and found Pine Grove “very receptive.”

“Mark was fantastic,” says Gladys. “He pointed me in the right direction to find sample policies. I was surprised to find out some of ours were outdated.” Mark also suggested:

  • posting safety data sheets (SDSs) for the chemical cleaners in the cupboards where they are stored
  • posting all policies and posters, including the SDSs, in a central hub in the kitchen where employees sign in
  • controlling slip, trip and fall hazards in the store, such as removing an extension cord and re-labelling floor transitions

Lastly, Mark supplied Gladys with a link to WSPS' Small Business Centre showing what changes in health and safety from year to year. “No more frustration finding information,” says Gladys. “Now I just use the link to see what’s changed and how we need to update our policies and practices.”

Small Business health and safety resources