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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Page 19 of 35

20 Canadian Occupational Safety THE FIRST ITEM on the agenda for every new employee at Kitchener- Wilmot Hydro is meeting their department heads; the second is talk- ing about safety. "Right in the door, they're being indoctrinated into our safety cul- ture," says George Minow, manager of health, safety and wellness. The Kitchener, Ont.-based util- ity provides electricity to more than 93,000 houses and businesses across a service area of 404 square kilometres and has a staff of about 190. Whatever job a new hire is going to be doing at the utility company, they will go through an extensive orien- tation program. Safety orientation combines in-person and online train- ing, with a large emphasis on learning rules and procedures. Power-line tech- nicians, whose safety orientation is one week long, spend a day and a half with the safety department learning about the safety culture, expectations, the risks of their jobs and how these risks will be controlled. New office workers spend two to three days engaged in safety orientation. The utility's daily job planning program, based on the concept of serious injury and fatality prevention, is considered a model by Ontario's plan of how we're going to prevent injuries and fatalities. Each person is involved in job planning; it's the pro- cess of engaging your mind in what you're doing today," Minow says. The safety team, with input from field workers, engineers and the joint health and safety committee, regularly reviews and updates the job-planning process. Right now, it's in the trial phase of a method that aims to help workers focus on the most important elements of the process by "de-clutter- ing" it; for example, eliminating some forms and reference materials. An integral part of the company's ergonomics program is the ergonomic wellness team. Created in 2005 to draw attention to musculoskeletal disorders, the team meets bi-monthly and works proactively on ergonomic solutions. It is made up of more than 10 per cent of the company. With turnover, Minow estimates more than 20 per cent of current employees have served on the ergonomic wellness team. "It is the envy of many utilities for the field staff representation we have, the work we do and our success, which is due to our members and support from senior management," he says. Ergonomics is even part of the orien- tation program. Every new hire is given a handbook on ergonomics and learns about risk factors and how to report issues. Each new person also completes a Back and Lifting Safety online course. Since the ergonomic wellness team's inception, soft tissue injuries have gone down by 66 per cent. Senior managers are very involved in OHS. Health, safety and wellness initiatives are included in manage- ment's annual goals, including those of the president and CEO. Senior man- agers attend and make presentations at safety meetings, participate in work observations and participate in the joint health and safety committee. The safety team conducts a staff survey at least annually to determine safety culture and progress. It also com- pletes external audits every five years and internal audit programs regularly. "Safety is our first core value. It is when we talk to our supervisors — all of them want their staff to go home safe," Minow says. "They put in the effort because none of them want to be in a position where that doesn't happen." Utilities and Electrical GOLD Waterloo North Hydro SILVER SILVER Burlington Hydro Infrastructure Health and Safety Associ- ation. Following this program, everyone begins the workday by reviewing the jobs for the day, step by step, and iden- tifying hazards and barriers. Barriers, or controls, are graded according to effect- iveness, with the goal being to have at least one top-level barrier or several barriers. Each person is then assigned tasks and must sign a form saying they understand their role for the day. "The job-planning process is the first line of defence with regard to our plan to do work safely every day. We need every day to make an effective GE HEALTHCARE has found ways to take safety to field workers all across the country. The Mississauga, Ont.- based company sells and ser vices equipment to hospitals. About 200 of its 500 employees are field work- ers, working from their own homes and travelling alone to hospitals. The field workers who install and service equipment face electrical, radiation and chemical hazards. "Making sure they have everything they need to work safely, getting the information and the tools to them, when they're scattered all over the country is a challenge," says Paul Desiri, director, environment, health and safety. One way the company meets this challenge is by having local managers conduct regular safety inspections in person with field service representa- tives. The manager inspection checklist covers site safety, safety risk assessments review, training, personal protective equipment, emergency preparedness, vehicle inspection and chemical man- agement and other safety areas. "The managers are the ones who are out there; they are the eyes and ears of safety. So we train them to do the inspections and have them do them. It's very effective that way," he says, adding that this also creates an oppor- tunity for a manager to discuss safety one-to-one with field workers. Inspection results are categorized according to severity, and corrective actions are identified to address gaps. These gaps are entered in the online EHS management system, so they can GOLD Canadian Blood Services SILVER Health Care GE HEALTHCARE Safety by design. Canadian manufacturer of specialized mining equipment engineered and built to perform underground.

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