Canadian Occupational Safety

October/November 2019

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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19 2019 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER At Dexterra we are all safety leaders! Dexterra provides quality facilities management and operations services that help businesses thrive. Our Don't Walk By program encourages employees to identify and report both safe and unsafe acts and conditions. We thank all our employees for their ongoing engagement and participation in health and safety every day! WATERLOO North Hydro's manage- ment team needs only to look at its employee history to realize why psychological safety is of upmost importance. Enduring an employee suicide in the 1980s — and a second one in 2012 — was an eye-opening experience for the hydro company employing 123 workers in Waterloo, Ont., says Will Stratford, manager of health, safety, environment and sustainability. "That definitely made us realize that this is not an isolated thing," he hydro workers are exposed to highly stressful scenes such as motor vehicle crashes, the programming is intended to benefit all staff, says Stratford. Seven years later, management's efforts appear to be paying off. "People here are now used to talk- ing about how they're feeling and when they're not feeling well and whether they're fit to do what they've been asked to do," he says. "It's very much part of their vocabulary now." Stratford notes that commitment from senior leadership helped steer workplace culture toward an environ- ment where civility and respect are expected, and mental health is embed- ded into business methodology. In terms of programming options, Waterloo North Hydro's efforts in mental health are uniquely tiered in three categories: minimal, medium and high investment. Minimum investment includes promoting opportunities within the employee assistance program (EAP) and tapping into local resources whenever possible. "We're very aware of our local Psychological Safety Niagara Casinos GOLD SILVER says. "Caring about the psychological safety and the mental health of our employees is an obligation; it's not a nice-to-have." The day following the 2012 suicide, Waterloo North Hydro implemented a psychological health and safety man- agement program. "There was huge potential for us to create an environment that brought out the best in people," says Strat- ford. "We tried to take a concept that is definitely not comfortable for a lot of people — and definitely theoretical — and we tried to make it practical." Psychological safety concerns were added to tailboard meetings. The pro- gramming targeted stigma associated with mental health issues and coaxed workers to become more comfortable to discuss the subject. And while some resources and we leverage them as much as we can," says Stratford. Medium investments include paying for lunch-and-learns and financial health seminars, as well as promoting a healthy work-life balance that allows staff the opportunity to use their lunch hour to work out or meal prep for their families. And a recent high-investment initia- tive saw the hydro company offer the Ways to Mental Wellbeing program for five weeks for interested staff. "It's really skill building," says Stratford. "It's building the skills of your employees to become more self-aware of their own needs and give them a pathway to become more mentally resilient." Reworking corporate policies to include care for mental health along- side physical safety has also benefited Waterloo North Hydro. Altering the language used in the workplace has provided assurance to employees that psychological safety is worthy of consideration. "It's a slightly different approach to a traditional process," says Stratford. "We've tried to connect people in a way that makes them realize that we don't just care about their work; we care about them." The company twice circulated the Guarding Minds at Work survey to employees — in 2012 and 2017. The aggregated data helped management direct programming toward areas that scored lowest, with results from the 2017 survey revealing that efforts to alleviate concerns had been successful. Also in 2017, Waterloo North Hydro offered a comprehensive mental health awareness program for all employees. Further, the hydro com- pany augmented its return-to-work process to include cognitive demands to create a more inclusive environ- ment that supports mental health. The policy applies to both work-related and non-work-related situations. the big scheme of things." Michelin Pictou County's leader- ship team walks the plant floor once a week, focusing on safety, quality and efficiency. The cross-functional team is made up of managers from different areas and different levels and is invalu- able in getting a "different set of eyes" on the floor, says Hunt. "We tend to see a lot of the managers of [a particular] area are used to look- ing at the risks that are out there and sometimes they don't see some of the risks because they just walk by it every day," says Hunt. Having this high-level team walk- ing the floor also allows some of the more serious issues to be expedited and resolved quickly. Additionally, it pro- vides a great opportunity for employees to chat with senior leaders about safety, and they often do open up to them about concerns they have, says Hunt. The company's Total Participation Program requires all employees to record a safety action that they have completed each month, which helps to highlight positive safety events. "It's fairly lightweight; it's not some- thing huge that people have to do but it takes some time to stop and think about what you have done during the month that contributed to safety on the site," says Hunt. "The program makes sure that everyone takes time out of their month to focus on safety and con- tribute in some way or another." Ensuring workers keep their mind on task is very important at the tire manufacturer. It is in the process of rolling out a new behavioural safety program called Max Your 10, based on NB Power's program Up Your 10. The name comes from the fact that we use only about 10 per cent of our brain power thinking about the here and now. Max Your 10 focuses on trying to get more out of that 10 per cent and being more aware during at-risk tasks. "People are worr ying about family, kids, money, aging parents — there's lots of things that can occupy your mind and take you away from what's right in front of you," says Briand. "If you see someone else not focused or drift- ing away or visibly distracted, then you can step in and say, 'Hey, are you in the 10?'"

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