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?”