Trevor Linden Helps Make it Safe Conference Strike A Human Chord

While the Canucks had their plate full this week, facing some of their toughest competition in the Western conference, Canucks President Trevor Linden took time out of his busy schedule to speak at the Make it Safe Manufacturing Safety Conference and to make a young boy’s day.

“Trevor demonstrated what this conference was all about by stepping out of his busy and demanding life and touch someone who, more than anyone, needs to understand his right to have a safe and healthy workplace when he grows up,” said FIOSA-MIOSA CEO Lisa McGuire of Linden’s speech.

Beckett Cross delighted delegates at the two-day conference held in Burnaby with a discussion about hockey (Beckett is an avid minor hockey player) and traded stories with Linden during his address to delegates. When Cross mentioned he plays on a team with Kevin Bieksa’s son, Linden, after asking if the boys were any good, suggested the three of them should sit down and talk after the conference.

Cross later dropped by the BC Safety Charter exhibit to get an autograph (see photo).

The conference, devoted this year to the Return on Investment of People, Processes and Economics, is put on every year by the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC and brings health and safety professionals from all over BC and Western Canada together for two days of breakout sessions, panels and keynote speakers devoted to the latest developments in health, safety and well-being.

Linden spoke Tuesday morning about what he learned in his playing years about safety and how he transferred that knowledge and passion into the business world when he founded Trevor Linden Club 16 Fitness.


A signatory and strong supporter of the BC Safety Charter, Linden spoke passionately about his years at the head of the NHL Players Association and the many safety issues they had to deal with. He described how he was able to transfer the care for his teammates and fellow players to his employees at Club 16 Fitness.

“Leadership is about ensuring that all employees understand and share the values and characteristics of the organization,” Linden told delegates. Describing his mentor, former Canucks GM and coach Pat Quinn, as the man who taught how to be a professional and a leader.

“For Pat it always came down to respect,” Linden says. “He asked a lot of his players but he respected each one of us for our specific, unique abilities.”

Linden was but one of several BC business leaders and health and safety experts to address the conference.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Richard Pimentel, a Vietnam war vet, who changed history and tore down barriers for the disabled, gave a passionate address about Return-to-Work (RTW) programs and the need to have RTW programs focus on what injured workers can do rather than what they are unable to do.

“The price of support should not be your dignity,” Pimentel told the delegates.

make-it-safe-blog2-2014Kevin Burns, President and CEO of ZeroSpeak Corporation provided an inspiring address on the process successful companies use to instill a safety attitude and build an engaged culture of safety in their organization.

Burns told delegates that’s safety is much more than a book on a shelf.

“Safety is a process and you must trust the process,” he says.

By the end of his speech delegates were eagerly shouting out “Trust the process,” whenever he prompted them.

National Board member of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and past chair of CME’s British Columbia Division, Paul Boileau, addressed the conference on the savings business and industry can achieve by preventative action on health and safety.

Boileau is a passionate believer in the role of CEOs and business leaders in driving home the message of safety as an integral part of the culture of any organization. It was a message that resonated with delegates and was a central theme of the conference.


Return On Investment

Lisa McGuire, CEO of FIOSA-MIOSA, the host organization for the conference, set the tone of the conference by telling the representatives of BC’s manufacturing industry that the fact that it was now acceptable to talk openly about the return on investment in health and safety was a measure of how far industry in BC has come.

“Our theme this year – Return on Investment of People, Processes & Economics – speaks well, I think, to the tremendous distance we have come in recent years in our journey towards a better, safer workplace,” McGuire told delegates adding, “Today we can talk openly about the return on investment in safety. The truth is, is it is our people – the human beings who shape our success – which matter most.”

Workplace Health And Safety

WorkSafeBC, one of the sponsors of the conference, was represented by Chris Back, Manager, Industry & Labour Services, who introduced to new tools (ISIC and ESPTK) which provide the ability for business owners and safety professionals to track their own health and safety data and make informed decisions about how and where to allocate their resources in order to improve safety.

Dr. Paul Amyotte, a Professor of Chemical Engineering, and the C.D. Howe Chair in Engineering, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, spoke about mitigation measures and effective ways of increasing protection against the risks associated with combustible dust in the workplace.

Other topics addressed by guest speakers and industry experts included: machine guarding, workplace mental health and wellness, and our brains at work. Breakout sessions during the two days focused on issues such as: musculoskeletal injuries, ergonomics, the HR and OHS perspective on corporate culture and how to manage the new generation – Generation ‘Y’ which is entering the work force.

Special sessions were devoted to two of FIOSA-MIOSA’s most successful programs – the Safety Pooling System, which allows companies to share the costs of health and safety, and the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) which has become the BC Manufacturing Standard of Excellence.


OSSE is the accreditation program, offered by FIOSA-MIOSA, which is equivalent to and surpasses WorkSafeBC’s Partners in Injury and Disability Prevention Program.

The program includes a safety culture component and recognizes and rewards employers who go beyond the legal requirements of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by taking a ‘best practices’ approach and promotes equally the concept of managing health and safety with other components necessary for a successful business such as profitability and productivity.

Corrie Pitzer, founder of SAFEmap International, provided a rousing discussion of the human strengths which can drive each of us to accomplish incredible feats and the need for health and safety programs to never lose the human touch or forget to rely on the human element.

“People deliver safety to you every day,” he told delegates, adding, “If you don’t know why they are successfully providing you with that … you had better find out quick instead of focusing on rules, policies and procedures which list the things people should not do.”

In closing the conference, Lisa McGuire thanked Jeremy Slater, Regional Sales Manager for Acklands Grainger, and Master of Ceremonies for the conference. “Acklands Grainger is a valued partner on many of our initiatives and we highly value their support and contribution towards our collective vision of reducing injuries,” she said.

All photos by Arne Huse.