Pinnacle Journey – 2021 Pinnacle Award RecipientsLisa Thibault
At the 2021 Pinnacle Awards, we were thrilled to recognize many employers for outstanding health and safety achievements in 2020 – particularly the twelve companies accepting Pinnacle Awards.
“There is no doubt that 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for B.C. manufacturers,” said Lisa McGuire, President and CEO of the Alliance. “We are honoured to recognize companies committed to keeping their people safe from injury and illness in the workplace.”
Each level in the Pinnacle Awards— from Topaz to Diamond—highlights a new level of health and safety commitment and performance by companies who have earned and maintained the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE or COR for manufacturers).
We award the Topaz to companies that have successfully developed and implemented a health and safety management system that meets the COR/OSSE standard. In the first year of the pandemic, five companies committed to undertaking this challenging work.
We talked to two of them about what that meant to their organizations.
“When I started with the company, we were already talking about OSSE/COR,” said Steven Glemnitz, eCycle Solutions, “We were committed, but it was always sort of a ‘dream’ on the sidelines for quite a while. Even though it was a very difficult time with COVID, we were committed to OSSE, and we wanted to achieve that level of excellence.”
“You can’t help but have great customer service – great customer experiences – great products for customers—if the team is taken care of number one,” said Justin Van de Velde, CEO, Hevvy/Toyo Pumps. “And safety has to be part of that equation for us.”
Breanne O’Neil noted that when it came to starting their OSSE journey at Toyo during the pandemic— when many of their office staff were working remotely—she didn’t have any issues getting people to do their part to make their big goal happen.
“Everyone really stepped up and understood why we were doing this and wanted to improve and impact how they could,” she recalls.
The Sapphire Award recognizes companies whose owners or executive leaders demonstrate a clear commitment to health and safety. The qualification criteria for this award are shifting for all OSSE-certified companies in 2022.
Companies that continue to maintain the eligibility criteria for Topaz and Sapphire and reduce their injury rate below the average rate of their industry classification unit over three years are eligible for an Emerald Award. Two more BC manufacturers earned Emerald status this year.
For Emerald Award recipient Magnum Trailers, many of the processes that were part of their “normal” OSSE maintenance had to be adapted during the pandemic to keep workers safe. That included moving to virtual meetings and reducing the number of people involved in physical inspections. Crystal Holek, Director of HR and Safety, was never concerned about whether they could maintain their OSSE certification during COVID-19, as the processes had become ingrained in their everyday operations.
Three more employers joined the ranks of Ruby Award recipients this year, maintaining the high standards of the Topaz, Sapphire, and Emerald awards while also improving their WorkSafeBC Experience Rating by 10 percent over three years.
“The benefit of us being OSSE certified is that it outlines a best practice for your health and safety program,” said Kirk Munroe of Ruby recipient Gate Gourmet. “I think our OSSE certification provided with a framework for dealing with COVID – and any other risk that comes up in the workplace as well.”
Kirk advises companies considering OSSE certification to take little steps as you’re building and focus on the things that will have the most benefit to your company while you build on it every year.