Make it Safe Magazine | 2021 Safety Excellence EditionKathy Sigstad
The digital OHS magazine for manufacturers and food processors
In this issue
Many of us turned the calendar to 2021 with tentative optimism, stepping towards the recovery. What we experienced was another unsettled year, with pandemic uncertainty driving supply chain challenges, and climate change wreaking havoc in our province. In our businesses and in our everyday lives, we have scrambled to adapt.
The manufacturing sector has juggled increasing costs, unpredictable supply, and short staffing to deliver on commitments. In response, at the Alliance, we found new ways to support companies through shifting priorities and challenges—developing new training and resources and offering a custom mix of in-person and virtual support to address their needs.
Collectively in this past year, we have come to recognize that health and safety involves the whole person. That mental health has a place in business discussions. That resilience is a survival skill. Despite the challenges, while some businesses faltered, more than 60 new employers joined the manufacturing sector in 2021. Life goes on.
Unquestionably, the New Year will bring more change. Rising costs, skilled staffing shortages, and supply disruptions will continue to present new challenges into the New Year. How can we prepare and adapt to support our people through what is to come?
If nothing else, recent experience has shown us that the more proactively we plan, the better prepared we will be to adapt to whatever the New Year brings.
Looking ahead to 2022, my hope is for a year of renewal—of a return to more normal, building on the learnings of the past two years. Our commitment at the Alliance is to continue to help you support your people, prevent injury, and build a healthy business culture. We look forward to helping more businesses succeed in this sector, with plans in place to survive and thrive—and adapt with resilience. With systems in place to keep their people safe.
How can we best support you in the year ahead? We are at your service for health and safety advice, training, consultation, and certification. Call us for confidential assistance—your partner in health, safety, and injury prevention.
As we prepared for the 2021 Safety Pinnacle Awards this year, we had the privilege of filming a documentary with a dozen award nominees—manufacturers and food processors from across the province. What we saw in those businesses was adaptation. Perseverance. Unflagging commitment to health and safety.
Dedicated to our members across British Columbia, this film celebrates their resilience and commitment to their people.
If you missed the premiere at our virtual awards gala in October, I invite you to watch their stories.
The 2021 Pinnacle Awards
On October 17, we had the honour of hosting eighty members of our award-nominated BC manufacturing and food processing companies at the 2021 virtual Safety Pinnacle Awards.
Another 200 people have tuned in to watch the awards since then. In a unique online platform, we met to celebrate excellence in workplace health and safety.
The Pinnacle journey
Hear from the 2021 recipients
In an exceptionally challenging year for BC, twelve manufacturers and food processors stayed the course in their Occupational Standard of Excellence (OSSE) journey.
The Alliance was thrilled to recognize these employers for their outstanding health and safety achievements in 2020. Learn more about their exceptional journeys and what achieving OSSE has meant for their companies.
Safety excellence recognized
Get to know this year's winners
Each year, the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC recognizes manufacturers and food processors for excellence in health and safety. These awards support our vision of partnering with BC industry leaders to achieve cultural change and ensure safe workplaces for ALL employees.
We were honoured to recognize five companies at this year’s Pinnacle Safety Awards for their exceptional work in keeping their people safe at work.
When it comes to recognizing health and safety, frequent communication paired with positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage and promote safe behaviour.
Keep your rewards program simple and accessible to employees at all levels to increase participation.
Communicate about your health and safety program regularly and use your regular communication systems to acknowledge and celebrate employees who go above and beyond to promote health and safety in your workplace. Consider:
- Safety employee of the month posters
- Profiles in your company newsletter, intranet, and website
- “Thank You Thursday” emails that encourage staff to nominate and thank other team members for going above and beyond in safety.
Incorporate rewards or prizes into your safety program and acknowledge workers who have recently completed training on your health and safety bulletin board, in your newsletter, or at company meetings.
There are many safety behaviors you can recognize and reward in the workplace, including:
- Participating in inspections, risk assessments, and investigations
- Joining and attending safety committees
- Proper use of PPE
- Reporting hazards, concerns, incidents, and close calls
- Attending training
- Leading a toolbox talk
- Inspecting equipment before use
- Keeping work areas clean, safe, and clutter-free
Make It Safe on-demand
What you may have missed
We were excited to see industry come together for the 2021 Virtual Make It Safe Conference and OHS Trade Show.
With a record 544 registered attendees, Make It Safe connected business leaders, safety and HR professionals, and committee members with industry experts.
Beyond your eight hours
Why health and safety training is a year-round priority
There are risks in every workplace. No matter what you manufacture, the size of your company, number of employees and worksites, every workplace has its own unique hazards and risks.
And while it’s important for employers to ensure that their legislative requirements are met, the year-end time crunch makes it easy to lose sight of why health and safety training is important year-round.
An effective – year-round – health and safety training program is good for business.
Celebrating safety leadership in BC manufacturing
“I once received this simple but great advice: ‘Would you let your mom work here?” Applying this idea has always made it easier to see the gaps and do something about them.”
Nick Reiach, Senior Leader at Tupper Street Consulting and Alliance Board Chair, knows that building a well-run factory requires a foundation of safety. In fact, he believes that how a company manages safety directly correlates to how it manages other vital aspects of the business.
Your communicable disease program
In June of this year, a Provincial Health Officer statement signaled employers to transition from a COVID-19 Safety Plan to communicable disease prevention.
With the pandemic still impacting our daily lives, many businesses continue to operate with existing COVID-19 controls in place.
An effective communicable disease prevention plan, however, will help reduce transmission of all forms of illness in the workplace—including COVID-19.
New in training
X-ray safety in manufacturing and food processing
While x-ray machines are not new – they’ve been in use for decades in medical diagnostics – today, many manufacturers are using this technology in new ways.
Unlike their medical use counterparts – there is no national or provincial registry for x-ray machines in other industries, and many operators don’t receive the same extensive training as clinicians.
If you are using radiation-emitting equipment in your workplace, it’s critical to be aware of the hazards and review controls to keep workers safe around x-ray machines.
Ergonomics as a strategy
Poster presentation at the 2021 World Congress
Including ergonomics as a strategy is a smarter way to control occupational health and safety (OHS) issues in industry.
Alliance ergonomist Dr. Era Poddar explored this topic in her poster submission at the recent 2021 World Congress. Read about her research and the critical importance of ergonomics in manufacturing.
Meet our new advisors
Let us introduce you
Health and safety are constantly changing as new challenges impact how we care for our people in manufacturing and food processing. The pandemic, supply chain disruption, skilled labour shortages, and global warming create a growing demand for specialized services and training.
This summer, the Alliance welcomed two new specialist advisors – Pourya Ghani and Muhammad Qazi – to our team.
Beyond the mask
Life after the pandemic
Many of us dream of leaving health restrictions behind in a post-pandemic future, but a mask-free future creates anxiety for some. While the transition back to the naked face won’t necessarily be an easy one, it is time to start considering how you will feel when you return to a “mask-free” life.
Consider the impacts on your mental health as you navigate the complexities of covid restrictions in Beyond the Mask.