Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

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 40 of 51 41 benefits are felt throughout the organization. BGIS is a multinational facility management company facing challenges to mental and physical health and safety every day. It meets those challenges from the top down. Senior leadership states safety goals, encourages engagement and recognizes employees when problems get solved. "Safety is not a priority, it's a value," says Mary Lou Sinclair, associate vice president, Health, Safety & Environment at BGIS. "We say that making sure everyone goes home safe and sound at the end of the day is a value." Sinclair says that, as a cultural value, safety permeates the organization. Programs such as Ask Gord (Hicks, Global CEO at BGIS) and Ask Mike (Greidanus, President – Canada at BGIS) allow employees to bring questions and concerns directly to senior leaders who then act on the contributions of their employees. "Leadership sees safety as important and worth their time," Sinclair says. According to the survey, close to 60 per cent of organizations with leading safety policies see senior leadership driving the conversation around safety. That's compared to less than 20 per cent at the start of their journey, where the conversation is about compliance. At BGIS, employees are celebrated for bringing an issue forward, not reprimanded for bypassing their manager or blamed. In doing so, they create a culture of safety that emanates from the top down. When safety issues are on the rise, the company holds a "stand down" meeting to address what's going on. When successes come on the safety front, though, they hold a "stand up" meeting. Compliments are handed out as the organization "Leadership sees safety as important and worth their time… if you're a senior leader, it's not enough to just outsource to your safety manager." Mary Lou Sinclair, BGIS reflects on what it has done well. "We've created an expectation that, if you're a senior leader, it's not enough to just outsource to your safety manager," Sinclair says. "You need to manage it the way you manage finances, IT and security… because, at the end of the day, you' ll know your employees are going home safely." For Brownell and the WSPS team, the sort of senior leadership buy-in on safety that has proved a differentiator for BGIS must now become essential to all organizations. In the wake of the crisis, and in the lead-up to re-openings under the continued threat of COVID-19, they say it is crucial for senior leaders to reflect on their role in safety and how they can create both a culture of safety and a more sustainable future. "As we emerge from this, we hope leaders debrief and take stock of the vulnerabilities that this crisis has exposed in their workplaces and ensure the proper plans are in place to protect their employees, customers and communities," Brownell says. "We hope, as well, that they also have 'Plan B' at the ready. Plans are essential, but as we've all witnessed with the events this year, it's also necessary to be able to flex and adapt as needed to suit the situation." The free Leadership Survey White Paper is available at COS Brought to you by SURVEY RESPONDENT CATEGORIES 12% LEADING (L) Health and safety is treated as a strategic priority 28% PROACTIVE (P) Board plays an active role in health and safety 33% MANAGING (M) Focused on day-to-day health and safety 22% REACTIVE (R) Addressing issues as they arise 4% START OF JOURNEY (S) Starting to understand what health and safety involves

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