Celebrating safety: Achieving OSSE at Murray Latta Progressive Machine

We spoke with Todd Martin, Manager of Health, Safety Environment & Quality at Murray Latta Progressive Machine, about his company’s recent OSSE Certification.

Q Why was achieving OSSE important to you?
A Safety of our workers is very important to us, and we wanted to prove it. We wanted a robust and effective health and safety system to prevent injuries. Achieving certification to the OSSE Standard is the gold standard of health and safety in the manufacturing industry.

Q What the was process like?
A It was a long journey, and it’s not an easy road. You need everyone pulling together towards a common goal, and commitment from the top down. Achieving OSSE certification is a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.

Q How did your team feel about the celebration?
A We’ve been celebrating our OSSE certification all week with staff barbeques, safety training and numerous other special events. Everyone from our CEO to the newest worker in the company has a lot of pride in what we have accomplished. The company culture has completely changed, and that is the most rewarding part of the OSSE journey.

A night to remember 2019 Safety Pinnacle Awards Gala

On April 24, the Alliance hosted the 2019 Safety Pinnacle Awards Gala at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. More than 130 executives, safety leaders, and teams from 30 BC manufacturers and food processors attended. The keynote was delivered by Steve Rio, CEO of Briteweb and Nature of Work.

Beginning the evening, Christopher Lung, the inaugural recipient of the Daneen Skilling Scholarship in Occupational Health and Safety Studies, shared his personal story about the near-miss incident on a construction site that spurred his pursuit of an OHS diploma at BCIT.

Receiving this year’s prestigious Ben Hume Leadership Award, presented to a BC Safety Charter member for exemplary leadership, was Chris Inkster, president of Freeport Industries. Also recognized at the event were Ben Hume finalists Barry Marsden, chairman and CEO of Conair Group Ltd. and Perry McDougall, president of Goodwin Industrial Electric.

Each year, the Pinnacle Awards Gala recognizes manufacturers for achieving key milestones in improving safety in their workplaces.

THE TOPAZ SAFETY PINNACLE AWARD is granted to companies who have successfully developed and implemented a comprehensive health and safety management system to OSSE certification standards. This year’s recipients were Dinoflex of Salmon Arm, Kingfisher Boats of Vernon, and Victoria’s Viking Air.

THE SAPPHIRE SAFETY PINNACLE AWARD is given out to companies whose leadership has demonstrated strong commitment to safety through visible engagement as a BC Safety Charter Signatory. This year’s recipients were Surrey’s EWOS Canada (a Cargill company) and Keith Panel Systems of Burnaby.

THE EMERALD SAFETY PINNACLE AWARD is granted to companies maintaining their OSSE Certification, who have a senior executive who is a BC Charter Member in good standing, and who have been successful in reducing their Injury Rate below their Classification Unit (CU) average over a 3-year period. This year’s recipients were Sysco Canada Inc of Vancouver and EWOS.

Learn more about the Safety Pinnacle Awards Here:


New awards in safety excellence and innovation
This year for the first time, new awards recognized a Joint Health & Safety team and worker representative for safety excellence, and safety innovators in four categories:

JOINT HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE SAFETY EXCELLENCE AWARD Knight Signs of Delta, for their weekly workplace inspections, root cause analysis of near misses and accidents, and inclusive approach to safety.

WORKER REPRESENTATIVE SAFETY EXCELLENCE AWARD Sharleen Dean, from Vancouver’s Daiya Foods, for her example in modelling safe work practices and transitioning new hires to the safety system at Daiya.

Innovation in OHS Management: Surrey’s Garaventa Lift, for their commitment to safety with weekly toolbox meetings, as demonstrated by their transition through the WorkSafeBC PACE program from five per cent compliance to 100 per cent in 2018; and Richmond-based Pinnacle Renewable Energy, for developing an “Owning Safety” initiative to drive culture improvement across its operations in BC, Alberta, and now Alabama, USA.

Innovation in Safety Training: Garaventa Lift, for introducing multiple safety training programs to the company with the help of the Alliance and other safety agencies; and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, whose most successful innovation in training has been their Safety Champion program. Each of their operations conducts a joint peer and management selection process to identify hourly workers who will become Safety Champions.

Innovation in Workplace Wellness: Pinnacle Renewable Energy for their weekly “Owning Safety Talks” created by their safety team and reviewed every Monday with managers and team leaders at each plant, and at crew talks; and Mauser Packaging Solutions in Langley, whose ergonomics program brings a consultant onsite for stretching with all shifts and individual recommendations for stretches to help with specific pain or discomfort. Mauser has also mapped out a walking path for exercising on breaks around the outside of their building.

Innovation in Workplace Culture: Soprema in Chilliwack, whose inclusive Safety Ambassador program involves the entire staff, promoting OHS as a new way of life for all employees. All employees are encouraged to identify hazards and assess risks and support the OHS Coordinator for the monitoring of the local OHS action plan; and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, whose online employee engagement tool has registered more than 20,000 employee hazard reports, suggestions for improvement, peer to peer safety conversations, and peer observations over three years. Every submission has generated a direct response to “close the loop” from a member of the management team.

Watch the Gala Video Here 

Safety Leadership in Action

Kerry (Canada) Inc., manufacturer of flavored syrup, recently achieved OSSE (Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence) certification with a successful audit of their Delta, BC facility. OSSE is the Certificate of Recognition for Manufacturers in BC.

Headed by the leadership of Lyn Peterson (Production Manager) and Rob Montgomery (health and safety coordinator), Kerry (Canada) Inc. secured the buy-in from the Kerry team, and upper management in formalizing a health and safety standard.

“Kerry is a big supporter of safety, right from the top of the chain in the east. They start every meeting with safety” says Lyn Peterson. “It has to start at the top. I didn’t have that at a previous employer and we weren’t nearly as effective in implementing change.”

Rob Montgomery was able to impact change with the support of his superiors. “If I’m having trouble with anything I can call my regional manager. I have that buy in from leadership.”

As a health and safety coordinator, Rob put his people skills to use to support the needs of his team. “We are a small plant. I know every employee that we have here and we are all friends. It can be hard to get up close and personal with workers in some of the larger plants. We are a family here.”

This culture of safety and care for each other is evident when mistakes are made. “We always tell people that if someone comes up to them and says, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong, or you’ve forgotten that’, to say thank-you and not to get upset. They are just looking out for you. We aren’t here to pick on them, we are there to help them.”

Kerry makes use of ‘Eye for Safety’ cards to address and communicate concerns in their operation. When an employee spots a hazard or any other item that needs attention they fill out a card and submit it to management.

“The key to making our ‘Eyes for Safety’ cards work is ensuring the staff knows we are listening,” says Rob. “We deal with them at our daily operations meeting each morning. We assign it, document it, and communicate it. To make it a little more fun and encourage buy-in we do a draw every month and award a gift card.”

The challenge of achieving OSSE certification was one that Lyn and Rob were ready for. “Working towards OSSE certification put the framework in place for us. The OSSE standard got us organized”, says Lyn. According to Rob, “Tal (Sperling – FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Advisor) was a huge help. She wouldn’t let me off the hook on key issues. If I had any issues, questions or concerns, she was always there to help me.”

Despite the huge undertaking, it was well worth it for Lyn Peterson. “I’d rather be involved in the work of certification than the accident investigation after wondering, ‘what did I do wrong?’ We have had well over 425 days without a lost time incident. We are incredibly proud of this.”

25 companies recognized at 3rd Annual OSSE Awards Gala

25 companies who have demonstrated exemplary performance in occupational health and safety were recognized with the Safety Pinnacle Award at the OSSE Awards Gala on April 27th at the Aria Banquet Centre in Surrey.

“This is an opportunity for us to recognize leaders in health and safety, leaders in manufacturing, and we want to do our best to put them on a podium,” said Lisa McGuire, CEO of the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC.

Chris Inkster, VP of Freeport Industries and winner of the Sapphire and Topaz Safety Pinnacle Award agrees with the importance of recognizing safety excellence. “It is really important that you celebrate your successes. We want to have our people recognized for everything that they’ve done and that they will continue to do.”

Daneen Skilling, Chair of the Board of Directors for FIOSA-MIOSA was impressed by the execution of the award winners. “Chatting with some of these people that have gone so far and done so much… you know they have actually walked the walk and talked the talk.”

Help to achieve OSSE certification was needed along the way for a number of companies. “They were very supportive. Quite frankly I don’t think we could have done it to the level of success without the support of FIOSA-MIOSA,” said Blaine Tremblay of Marine Harvest. “This is a huge recognition and accomplishment for us and we need to be sure to celebrate our safety successes because safety is the key priority in our company.”

In the end it was an entertaining evening of networking and celebration. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to talk with our members, and inspire them to continue and really work together towards our vision of changing the culture of the manufacturing industry,” said Lisa McGuire.

More photos from the Gala at safetyalliancebc.ca/event-photos

Excellence in Manufacturing

Westbank BC manufacturer is the first company to achieve OSSE certification from the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Pooling System Program (SPS)

Freeport Industries enhanced its commitment to excellence by completing the Journey to OSSE earlier this year. Based in Westbank, the manufacturer of customized modular structures for residential, commercial and industrial clients is the first company to graduate the SPS program offered by FIOSA-MIOSA.

“We have always prided ourselves on excellence in manufacturing with a focus on quality, flexibility and speed. Our goals as an organization wouldn’t be achieved if any of these came at the expense of the safety of our employees” said Freeport Industries VP Chris Inkster. “By joining FIOSA-MIOSA’s Safety Pooling System we were able to share the costs of a health and safety professional while seeing a significant safety culture change within our organization.”

Freeport was able to make significant strides towards achieving OSSE certification because of SPS, the first of its kind in the Occupational Health and Safety world, which allows groups of manufacturers to share the costs of a safety advisor.

SPS Supervisor Jarlath MacKenzie manages Freeport’s pool and was able to share the combined knowledge of the 5 other companies when building Freeport’s health & safety program. He guided Freeport’s in-house safety team through all the steps required to implement an effective safety strategy and advised on training programs where needed. The fact that Freeport Industries is the first graduate of the SPS program is a special source of pride for Jarlath and the FIOSA-MIOSA team.

Jarlath considers Freeport Industries an example for all manufacturers in British Columbia. “They took full advantage of the opportunity to develop a Health and Safety program and were able to achieve OSSE certification in record time.”

Members of the FIOSA-MIOSA team visited Freeport Industries in June and presented Chris Inkster with an award to recognize Freeport Industries OSSE certification.

RIMEX Rises to Safety Challenges

From Rimex.com

On December 17, 2015, RIMEX Supply Ltd. reached an important milestone in the advancement and improvement of their industrial health and safety standards, when they were awarded the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) certification. The OSSE award is sponsored by the Food Industry Occupational Safety Association – Manufacturing Industry Occupational Safety Alliance (FIOSA-MIOSA), who provide a comprehensive and rigorous program to promote health and safety management in BC’s food and manufacturing industries. The program is endorses a best practices approach cooperation with WorkSafeBC. FIOSA-MIOSA provided in-depth guidance to set the highest possible standards for company-wide health and safety.

RIMEX is also proud to announce that their Agassiz manufacturing facility is the winner of the WorkSafeBC’s 2014 Innovations Contest. The Agassiz manufacturing team worked together on an ergonomics/safety project to reduce manual lifting and noise levels. The company used a participatory approach, consulting with their workers to improve the processing of half and full lock rings for wheel rims. Formerly, workers were lifting and lowering the rings (which weigh up to 50 kg.) as many as eleven separate times in the manufacturing cycle. Now, a streamlined process has been implemented in which each ring is lifted only twice. Workers actively developed, tested, and improved the solutions throughout the process.

We were very honored to be considered for this award. We try to involve our employees in all decisions which affect them and their working conditions. This was truly an example of the kind of success you can achieve with a participatory approach,” said James Read, RIMEX’s Agassiz Manufacturing Operations Manager.

Additional ergonomic improvements at Agassiz have involved reducing noise levels by introducing a rubber damper between steel plates in the stamping process. Plans are also in the works for further improvement, including adding a rotating table to turn the hefty lock rings and employing a hoist to eliminate manual lifting.

In parallel with its OSSE and WorkSafeBC successes, RIMEX is adopting the proven principles of “Lean Production”, which is a systematic method for eliminating waste within a manufacturing system.  The Lean concept focuses on enhancing production processes that add value, and reducing those that don’t. The principles of Lean manufacturing can be traced back to Henry Ford’s automobile revolution, but perhaps the most well-known contemporary proponent of the Lean system is Toyota, a company whose steady growth has focused attention on the benefits of Lean practices. The Lean system offers administrative tools and recommends procedural techniques that enable manufacturers to optimize production and increase value for customers.  RIMEX is capitalizing on the Lean formula by eliminating less efficient practices and exceling at the essential ones.

James Read acknowledges, “As we’ve started our journey down the Lean Manufacturing road, we’ve been carefully and correctly guided into the participatory method. The rewards are obvious, especially for the positive morale that derives from true teamwork, calculated empowerment and education.”

As RIMEX Supply Ltd. flourishes and grows, it strives to improve productivity… but always puts safety first.  It embraces and enforces that responsibility in protecting it employees, conducting its work and contributing to the community.

We are proud to include RIMEX Supply Inc. in the OSSE Hall of Fame

Knight Signs Receives OSSE Certification

After completing their certification in 2014, Knight Signs, of Delta received their OSSE certificate on Thursday, Jan 29.

The company will be receiving two awards at the OSSE Awards Gala on April 29.

  • OSSE Award
  • Pinnacle Award

The OSSE Pinnacle Awards honour companies which go far above and beyond legal and regulatory health and safety requirements.

These trailblazers have not only achieved OSSE Certification, but have committed to the principles of the BC Safety Charter by becoming signatories.

Knight Signs has been serving retail commercial, construction and institutional clients with handcrafted exterior, interior, and custom architectural signage since 1968.

According to the company website, “We’ve designed, produced and delivered signage solutions for clients in every business, industry and public sector since Knight Signs opened for business in 1968.

“One of our first projects was a new sign for Mother Hubbard’s Bakery on West Broadway in Vancouver.

“From that small, local sign company, we’ve grown into an industry leader serving retail, hospitality, commercial, construction and institutional clients across Canada. Our head office and manufacturing plant in Delta, BC now have more than 75 employees as well as two busy regional offices in Calgary and Toronto and a new manufacturing facility in Mississauga.

“Knight Signs’ designers, client service and project managers, fabricators and installers stay ahead of the newest technologies, advanced manufacturing techniques, new materials and production innovations.

“We’re continually discovering new ways to create better products and we’re proud to deliver signage solutions for our clients right across Canada.

“We create signs that impact, inspire action and connect our clients’ brands with their most important customers.”

Vanga Products Receives OSSE Certification

Vanga Products (a division of Alpha Packaging) received its OSSE certification in 2014 and is one of the companies which will be honoured at the 2015 OSSE Awards Gala to be held in Burnaby on April 29.

The company was presented with their certificate by FIOSA-MIOSA on Thursday, January 29, 2015.

In 1974, a tool and die maker by the name of Gerry VanGaalen established Vanga Products, a mold production shop dedicated to supplying plastic containers to customers in Western Canada. After more than three decades of continual growth and innovation, Vanga now manufactures 82 million plastic containers per year for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical household chemical and food markets throughout North America.

Company Background

In 2007 Vanga Products moved into a brand new 60,000 square foot facility, including a state-of-the-art 20,000 square foot manufacturing area, they have become the bottle manufacturer of choice for customers looking for the best in quality, service and pricing.

In 2012 Vanga Products was purchased by Alpha Packaging becoming the 9th manufacturing plant within the Alpha group in North America.  Shortly after the purchase, more warehouse space was added for a new total of 100,000 square feet.

Customers can be assured that we have faithfully maintained our ability to be fast and flexible, regardless of order volumes, custom needs, or time sensitive requests.  “Our commitment to quality is second to none. We guarantee that we produce only the highest quality bottles.  We strive for quality in everything we do and throughout every facet of the manufacturing process. Be assured that we use only the highest quality resins, we strictly adhere to cGMP standards and we are Drug Master certified for Canada and the US.”

Special recognition must go to Karen Streed who was instrumental in developing Vanga’s Safety program and in leading the team in their efforts to accomplish the OSSE goal.


OSSE is BC’s solution for manufacturers seeking a comprehensive health and safety management system. Using a ‘best practices’ approach, in cooperation with WorkSafeBC, FIOSA-MIOSA is proud to offer significant financial rewards for successful completion of the OSSE Journey.

The program promotes equally the concept of managing health and safety with other components necessary for a successful business such as profitability and productivity.