One Size Does Not Fit All

by Lisa McGuire, CRSP, CEO of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC –  There is no single approach to delivering occupational health and safety (OHS) within manufacturing. The Autumn Issue of our Newsletter examines some of the pros and cons of four different approaches to OHS, discusses how changes to education are being shaped to support various OHS resource solutions, addresses safety culture, and reviews a looming change in legislation that will have a major impact on the safety resource: the legalization of cannabis.

Many models exist for the OHS role: through the HR department; by combining Quality, Environmental and Health & Safety into one role; by hiring a full-time OHS professional; or assigning a senior management representative supported by external 3rd party OHS resources such as the Alliance’s Safety Program Support (SPS) program. In situations where OHS responsibilities form only a part of the employee’s responsibility, supplementary training will be essential to their success.

OHS personnel in BC endure high turnover rates. Recent studies reveal that 20% of all OHS personnel change employment each year! Government, industry, the Alliance and educational institutions such as Kwantlen and BCIT have come together to understand why this is and how to best meet industry’s needs. For many current and future OHS professionals, they will need to broaden their skills and knowledge to effectively support industry.

Regardless of the OHS model adopted by Alliance Members, achieving effective safety performance requires real commitment from senior management. Executive management defines “what is important” through their acts and decisions, thus shaping an organizational culture of prevention.