Look Who’s Using The SPS Pooling System

One of FIOSA-MIOSA’s major 2014 initiatives is the Safety Pooling System (SPS) allows up to six companies to share the cost of a dedicated safety professional.

With a two-year commitment, the safety professional takes the companies from the GAP Analysis, through an action plan and helps them work towards Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) certification.

OSSE has demonstrated increased and improved performance for the companies which have successfully achieved certification. OSSE enjoys a solid track record of providing value for those companies which have invested in it.

The first group to take advantage of the SPS initiative consists of six BC foundries: Freeport Industries, Highland Foundry, Magnum Trailers, Pacific Mako, Penticton Foundry, Robar, and Thompson Foundry.

We asked several members of the first SPS group how things are going so far.

Highland Foundry

Garth McKay, of Highland Foundry, told us, “Our main goals in joining the SPS group was to reduce the number of accidents and, in turn, reduce our WCB premiums and attain our OSSE certification. We wanted to ensure we remain competitive in the global economy.”

“We are a medium sized company and we were struggling with the decision to hire a full time safety officer to perform the work that the SPS is providing us.  When they (FIOSA-MIOSA) came to us with a proposal to achieve our goals without the need to hire a full time professional, it made complete sense,” he adds.

Robar Industries

Derek Morrison, of Robar Industries, said that for Robar while economics was a factor being able to promote a safety culture, and have their employees really think about safety was a more important  factor in the company’s decision to join the SPS group.

Chris Inkster, Vice President of Freeport Industries, told us, “We have found a great benefit to having Jarlath [MacKenzie, FIOSA-MIOSA’s SPS Coordinator] in the office every month for training, to answer questions, guide our safety program/progress and to support our efforts in successfully attaining OSSE. “

“In the past few months our safety culture has greatly improved.  We are very happy with the working relationship we are forming with Jarlath and FIOSA-MIOSA.”

Freeport Industries

One of the benefits of the SPS program is the sharing of best practices which occurs among the group.

“For us the most important aspect we’ve noticed so far is to have trained employees able to recognise hazards and learning how to reduce or remove them,” says Garth McKay, adding, “ We are also looking to have major gaps in our safety program closed with the help of the SPS.  The SPS program has started to help address some concerns like confined space entry procedures and other training, as well as having a formal return to work process.”

Chris Inkster says, “The SPS program has helped address our health and safety concerns through training. Having Jarlath sit in on meetings and be a resource for concerns and questions about investigations, Joint Health and Safety etc., has been a great help.  Our safety culture is improving day by day.”

How Does It Work?

In order to form an SPS group, FIOSA-MIOSA identifies and brings together a team of companies of similar size which do not have an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) professional and which face similar health and safety challenges.

The designated OHS Coordinator, though paid for by the pool, is employed by FIOSA-MIOSA and works with the companies in the pool and their employees to provide the very best safety management advice and resources in order to set up the protocols, practices and procedures required to achieve the OSSE standard.

Derek Morrison told us that, though it is early in the process, he believes the SPS program is already helping his company.

“The support that has been given to our staff by the FIOSA-MIOSA staff in promoting safety to all our employees has been very good,” he says.

Why Did We Develop The SPS?

FIOS-MIOSA is trying to address the need for companies who do not have a health and safety coordinator on staff, to access the qualified experts in the field of health and safety to be able to execute and administer an effective safety management system, especially when it comes to implementation of the OSSE standard.

The benefits were are trying to achieve for the companies which decide to participate include:

• Sharing best practices with other leaders within your network
• Acquiring a qualified OHS professional to build your program
• Enjoy the confidence of knowing that a qualified safety professional in helping you build a safety management system to address your specific needs and help you secure OSSE certification

Chris Inkster says that, with what he has seen so far, “SPS is a valuable service provided by FIOSA-MIOSA for small to medium businesses who don’t necessarily require a full-time safety professional, but who would like to improve the health and safety for their employees as well as their company’s safety record.  It is great value for your investment.”

“The most important aspect of the SPS program for Freeport is ensuring that all our employees go home without accident or incident at the end of each day.   Returning home to enjoy the evening / weekend with their families – healthy and uninjured.”

Brad Vanderlinde Achieves CU Change

Pacific Mako is a non-ferrous foundry. As such, according to WorkSafeBC, it pours metal at much lower temperatures than ferrous foundries, in smaller amounts and into lighter castings. This reduces the risk of burns and musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) and, according to WorkSafeBC, a change in classification.

Brad Vanderlinde, vice president of Pacific Mako, takes health and safety very seriously. He considers it a core value of his company and is deeply committed to the well-being of all of his employees.

Asked just how important health and safety are to his business Vanderlinde says, “As important as our core business. Supplying a ‘safely produced product’ is important to me. I have been exposed to this industry since I was 13 years old. I started working weekends, professional days, spring breaks and summer holidays at 16 years old.

“I have grown up with most of our employees. We all need to go home intact, safe and uninjured every night to our families. These people are like family. I have done most jobs down stairs, back then they were probably not safe. I wanted to make positive changes. I cannot ask someone to do a job for Pacific MAKO I would not do myself, period.”

It was therefore with some sense of frustration that he watched as the classification unit to which his company formerly belonged experienced growing incident rates and was ultimately moved in higher risk group because of its track record.

He approached WorkSafeBC, spoke to Labour managers and, eventually succeeded in having the Employer Classification Committee recommend the industry be reclassified to differentiate between ferrous and non-ferrous foundries.

It was a big win for Vanderlinde and the rest of the non-ferrous foundries.

Asked what he expected when he initially approached WorkSafeBC Vanderlinde says, “I was not expecting a response at all. It was a general rant. I was pissed off I had to attend a meeting discussing rate increases because my peers were not taking care of their shops.”

“I gave them a couple examples below: we are lighter, cooler, cleaner,” he says and then came the news that WorkSafeBC agreed with him.

As a result of the re-classification, non-ferrous foundries in BC have been moved to a lower-risk classification unit and a lower premium rate.

What does this mean for Vanderlinde? “Savings and a lower exposure, lower risk hopefully. The WorkSafeBC data supported our case that the non-ferrous foundries are far safer, and experience fewer accidents or incidents. We dropped from a rate of around $4.00 per $100 to $1.30 which has meant immediate savings,” he says.

Pacific Mako is member of the BC Safety Charter and strong believer in the movement for healthier and safer wokplaces. Asked what he would you say to a business owner who has yet to make the commitment to having a working health and safety management system, Vanderlinde responded saying, “Go work beside every employee in your business, Do every job and ask yourself if you feel safe. Can this task be done safer? Would you feel comfortable having one of your family members do this job?”