Celebrating Safety Excellence

Safety Above All. A tragedy at Dinoflex sparked a change in the company’s approach to safety

In every company, different factors can motivate the journey to safety excellence.For Dinoflex, the turning point was a workplace fatality. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dinoflex Group, and CEO Mark Bunz reflects on how safety became the most important core value of their business.

“In August 2013, disaster struck as one of our employees was killed on the job, and that day changed Dinoflex forever,” Bunz says.

Bunz knew at that point that something needed to change. The safety practices that had served the company for 25 years needed retooling. That’s when Dinoflex turned to the Manufacturers Safety Alliance of BC. Shortly thereafter, their OSSE journey began. Bunz notes,

The Alliance began to make an impact almost immediately by painting a picture of the OSSE journey and conducting the initial inspection of Dinoflex’s safety program.

This inspection and gap analysis provided a clear roadmap for their journey. Together, Dinoflex and the Alliance prioritized the company’s needs. The Alliance provided general and specialized training, insight, and expertise to help them close the gaps in a manner that fit the pace of their business.

“Dinoflex Group has a multi-faceted culture,” Bunz says, “and we have 4 core values that guide the success of our business on a daily basis: Customer Intimacy, Business Innovation, Extreme Ownership, but first and most important is ‘Safety Above All.’”

“We positioned Safety Above All at the top because of our history, because of the present, and because of our future,” Bunz says.

Dinoflex was founded by Sabine Presch, backed by her father Peter Presch, an early pioneer of polyurethane chemistry in Germany. Sabine operated the business for 20 years, primarily focused on producing high quality flooring for the sport and fitness industry. This was a precursor to today’s complete offering of sport, fitness, commercial, and retail recycled rubber surfacing products for both interior and exterior.

Presch sold the business in 2008 to Vancouver-based Pender West Capital Partners, who continue to invest in the growth of Dinoflex Group today. A $3.5 million expansion and upgrade this year will increase capacity and efficiencies to ensure that Dinoflex and the Group’s polyurethane blending business, International Polyurethane Solutions, remain competitive in their respective markets.

At Dinoflex, Bunz comments that a big part of a safety culture is the entire team taking ownership, not just for themselves but because they also know it is their responsibility not to let any of their co-workers do their work in an unsafe manner. “At the end of January, we achieved 1,720 safe work days without a time-loss incident, far exceeding any record in the 30-year history of the company,” says Bunz.

“That is a testament to our culture, our employees, our leadership, and our passion for continuous improvement within our safety program. We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of safety excellence as we are guided by our first and most important core value, ‘Safety Above All.’”

Make It Safe 2018: Innovate, Inspire, and Transform

As October’s Manufacturing Month drew to a close, 120 safety professionals from a diverse group of British Columbia manufacturers gathered at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster for Make It Safe 2018.

In its 12th year, the sold-out Make It Safe conference brought together health and safety leaders, workers, and educators in a unique forum. From Minister Jasmeet Singh Bains’s welcoming message and a high-energy opening keynote with Stuart Ellis-Myers, to Paul Krismer’s inspiring closing session, Make It Safe challenged attendees to put new ideas to work to transform their workplace culture.

Two full-day sessions provided intensive training for frontline leaders, managers, and HR professionals. Seventeen full day and partial-day workshops gave attendees an array of options for focused professional development.

Popular sessions offered insight into industry hot topics such as cannabis policy and enforcement in the workplace and engaging orientation programs for millennials.

Workshops connected the dots between lean manufacturing and safety, introduced innovations in machine safeguarding, and provided practical solutions for incident investigation. Attendees learned leadership best practices and gained new tools to manage stress, prevent MSIs, and better equip their safety teams.

An expert panel brought together leaders from government, industry, academia, and the Manufacturing Safety Alliance to discuss steps to standardize the OHS profession for the manufacturing industry.

In addition, exhibitors Chemscape Safety Technologies, Blackridge Solutions, and SiteDocs Safety Corporation introduced innovative products in manufacturing safety. At Wednesday’s networking dinner, SiteDocs was awarded the Make It Safe Innovation Award for its time-saving, paperless safety document management app.

To all who made time to be away from their businesses to attend, and to the sponsors and exhibitors who helped make this event possible, the Alliance team extends our warmest thanks.


To view photos from Make It Safe 2018, visit safetyalliancebc.ca/event-photos/2018-make-it-safe


Save the Date:

2019 MAKE IT SAFE  Conference & Trade Show
October 24–25, 2019
UBC Campus, Vancouver

BC JobConnect: Helping integrate immigrant employees into the workforce

When workers are hard to find, one organization helps employers hire the right people and integrate them into the Canadian workplace and society.

BC’s low unemployment rate means there are close to 3,000 unfilled position in manufacturing companies. One source of prospective workers is new immigrants.

For the past 10 years, employers that wish to attract, hire and retain qualified immigrant talent have accessed solutions, tools and resources from the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC), a not-for-profit organization. According to Elizabeth Good, IEC-BC’s External Relations Strategist,

“Many companies have an interest in increasing the diversity of their staff but wonder how to hire and integrate new Canadians. That’s where we help with online tools and resources, webinars and regional seminars.”

One of IEC-BC’s online tools is BC JobConnect, a customized platform connecting BC employers with newcomer job seekers. About 18% of registered employer partners on BC JobConnect are manufacturers.

Employer partners can use the platform to identify qualified talent by searching keywords or occupations and access job seekers’ profiles. They can also post positions on BC JobConnect. The site has close to 900 registered workers, 169 of whom have indicated a desire to work in manufacturing.

When a company becomes an employer partner, IEC-BC program staff works to connect it with qualified newcomer candidates. IEC-BC also helps employers smooth the entry of workers who are new to Canada.

Using the IEC-BC Toolkit, one BC company hired 22 Syrian refugees in 2016. Customized tools and resources, developed with input from both workers and employers, helped make new hires aware of worker rights and responsibilities and employer expectations, while helping employers understand the context and value of newcomers’ previous work history.

“The benefit of such a comprehensive suite of resources and online tools,” says Elizabeth, “is that employers of any size can review resources, both before and after hiring, and discuss with us how best to use them.”

Through its daily contact with employers, the IEC-BC has a deep understanding of the unique contribution new Canadian workers can make to a company. IEC-BC acts as a strong voice bringing the employer perspective to the development of employment policies, programs and services that support the integration of immigrant talent to BC’s labour market.

For more information and examples of employer tools and resources visit iecbc.ca

Freeport Industries: Sharing the value of safety in a diverse workplace

Keeping employees safe starts with effective safety orientation, a buddy system, and regular safety conversations in the workplace.

Freeport Industries Ltd. in Westbank has 80 workers who design and build customized modular structures for residential, commercial, and industrial clients in BC and Alberta.

While the number of employees remains stable, the demographics and diversity of the workforce constantly changes. BC’s building boom has given workers more options, so worker recruitment is continuous.

“We work with local schools, colleges, First Nations, and immigrant societies to encourage workers to come to Freeport,” says Jacqui Lloyd, Freeport’s Human Resources and Safety Manager.

“As a result of worker turnover, particularly in the lower-skilled positions, we are in a constant training mode, adapting our safety orientation and training programs to accommodate young workers, as well as workers with cognitive or physical limitations or cultural sensitivities.”

At Freeport, safety starts at the top. Freeport president Chris Inkster discusses safety at a monthly town hall meeting. Plants hold weekly Toolbox talks, and worksites have daily safety reviews. All subcontractors entering a site must prove they know and understand safety protocols.

New hires at Freeport receive an orientation from Jacqui, emphasizing the company’s safety program, and a site orientation from a supervisor. Each new worker is then matched with an experienced buddy for three months. The buddy makes sure the new worker understands both why and how to work safely.

Every couple of weeks, a skills report on what the new worker has learned and where more training is needed is filed. At the end of the three months, the new worker is assessed and, with a supervisor’s approval, moves to working independently on those skills mastered, while continuing with the buddy on skills that need to develop.

This On-the-Job* training system reinforces Freeport’s commitment to both training and safety, while allowing the company to monitor the learning of each worker and adapt training as needed.

Submitted Near Miss* reports are reviewed in the weekly Toolbox talks for “lessons learned.” Workers show a high level of trust and engagement in the safety program by consistently submitting Near Miss reports, even reporting their own mistakes so others may learn from them. These reports are also used to catch someone doing safety RIGHT—a way of giving co-workers recognition.

“When you see a workforce as diverse as ours working together, you can see the benefit of having safety as a shared core value.”

* To see examples of Freeport’s On-the-Job Training and Near Miss templates visit safetyalliancebc.ca/freeport


Safe seasonal employees: Long-term onboarding for short-term employees

When Sandel Foods in Chilliwack needs to supplement their 110-employee workforce with seasonal and temporary workers, they make sure these workers play an important role in their safe work practices. When seasonal and temporary employees transition to permanent positions, they have already started on a safety journey.

In 2016, the company had a serious workplace incident involving a temporary worker. Sandy Rowe, Sandel’s Human Resources Manager, says,

“That incident made us look at our whole program—how we hired workers, how we oriented and trained them, and how we documented our programs.”

“We constantly emphasize that the focus is first on worker safety, then food safety for our customers, and then on production. Our focus is on continuous improvement which can only happen when workers, lead hands, supervisors, managers, and executive all understand and are committed to their role in creating a safe work environment.”

Sandel has significantly reduced the number of temporary workers it uses, and has procedures to ensure temporary workers only perform specific tasks assigned to them.

Sandel hires a small number of seasonal workers between April and December each year to help during the busier baking season. Frequently, these workers become part of the regular workforce when the season ends in December.

Safety reps stand out by wearing blue hairnets

Safety reps stand out by wearing blue hairnets

Seasonal workers, who make up only 10% of regular staff, must go through the same health and safety training as workers hired for full-time positions. They are first given a 1.5-hour safety overview before going to the production floor where a supervisor or a lead hand will demonstrate how to safely use machinery.

Seasonal workers then are matched with a worker who mentors them. Only after a supervisor has observed each worker and deemed them competent, are they allowed to work independently.

To emphasize the availability of safety support, in places where all workers wear hair nets, safety representatives wear a blue net. This gives production workers a quick way to recognize who to approach first when there is a safety concern.

Sandel’s approach to safety is working. The number of first aid reports from January to September 2018 dropped by 50% over the same timeframe in 2017. Sandel has had Occupational Standard of Excellence (OSSE) Certification through the Alliance since 2013.

“Having completed the OSSE Auditor Course through the Alliance, Sandel is able to complete the necessary internal audits, and looks forward to the external audit coming in 2019”, says Sandy.

“Following the standards set out in OSSE and working with employees, we strive to send everyone home safely every day.”

Looking for ways to make PPE training more engaging and memorable?

The Alliance PPE Awareness poster series is a fun way to remind workers to wear their Personal Protective Equipment, while providing a positive, interactive learning opportunity.

  • Place these posters in different functional areas of your facility
  • Gather your workers around each poster and discuss any potential hazards specific to that area
  • With a highlighter or marker, have workers take turns circling the icons for the PPE required in that area

Download the entire PPE series! safetyalliancebc.ca/posters

PPE Awareness Poster Series