Worker Representative Excellence | Sharleen Dean, Daiya Foods

A business culture that values health and safety requires leadership on the floor as well as in the c-suite. The 2019 JHSC Excellence individual award recognized this quality in Daiya Foods lead hand and worker representative Sharleen Dean, who demonstrates leadership by example and models safe working practices.

~By Jennifer Wiebe

A leading producer of plant-based foods, Daiya Foods products are available in 25,000 grocery stores across North America and internationally. In her role as Lead Hand at Daiya, Dean has been an employee spokesperson for her department and shift for the past four years.

Employees routinely approach her with health and safety-related questions. “Sharleen is always willing to lend a helping hand to work with new hires to introduce them and transition them to the safety system at Daiya.” notes HR Manager Jaspreet Mann. That system begins with a new hire checklist and detailed review of Standard Operating Procedures.

“Sharleen will take the time to ensure all employees are aware of who the first aid attendant is on shift,” Mann adds, “and what procedures employees need to follow in the event of an injury.”

An advocate for the company’s stretching program, Dean assists and monitors team members to ensure that they are doing their stretches correctly. In addition, she actively monitors team members to identify any signs of early MSI symptoms so that team members receive support through education and awareness before symptoms get worse.

As part of the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) since its inception, Dean has worked with both management and team members to foster and improve the safety culture.

Along with Dean’s regular work responsibilities, Mann notes that she also proactively participates in workplace safety duties such as inspections and hazard identification. Dean took the time to develop a daily inspection checklist that is now used at the start of each shift to ensure all equipment is set up safely.

Sharleen is always willing to lend a helping hand to work with new hires to introduce them and transition them to the safety system at Daiya.

“Sharleen contacts the right department when there are immediate safety concerns on the production floor,” Mann adds. “She provides detailed notes and photos to support her concerns.