Director, Employee Health and Safety,
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)
Why do you invest in safety?
Investing in safety makes good business sense. Many organizations say employees are their most important resource – we take this to heart. Demonstrating a commitment to safety is a great way to show staff that you truly care about their well-being. As a result, we consider safety in all we do.
What kind of returns have you seen on that investment?
We started our safety journey in 2009. Since then, we have reduced our total injury rate by 68%. Our employees have also become more involved in safety and are taking initiative to improve their workplaces.
What does Mission: Zero mean to you?
If you approach every incident as one that is preventable, you’re more likely to discover a solution. Our incident investigation process looks to find the root cause, a break down in our safety management system. A no-blame culture has been a part of our safety journey from the beginning. Blaming people for incidents leads to a negative workplace culture and drives incident reporting underground. The key is to get employees comfortable with reporting near misses so that solutions can be put in place before someone gets hurt.
What is one of your industry’s biggest challenges today?
The work in our retail stores and distribution centre is very physically demanding. We continually look for new ways to eliminate manual handling and/or reduce the risks associated with lifting. We have implemented post-offer/pre-employment physical abilities testing, safe lifting training, the monitoring of at-risk behaviours and a safety management system. We have also created stock storage standards and reduced the weight of our products.
We are currently looking for ways to design safety into our scheduling processes. Our lifting injuries are cumulative in nature, and we are hopeful that scheduled rest and recovery will help us get to the next level of safety.
What are three things you know now that you wish you’d known when you started this job?
I’ve learned that it’s important to run smaller pilots when you are implementing change. Also, change management communications plans are important to describe the WHY behind the changes. Finally, it’s important to know/understand the demographics of your workplace. I once rolled out a program that would have been well received by millennials; however, millennials only make up a small percentage of our actual workforce.
What is an item someone might be surprised to see on your desk?
Bonsai Tree. It’s been in my office for five years and has really grown. All great things start small.
Why is it there?
I love nature. I guess it adds something green to my office. However, the rest of my office is full of Roughriders paraphernalia, so lots of green in my office.
What is something you’ve learned about safety since you signed the Health and Safety Leadership Charter?
Leadership commitment and communication are two very important elements when it comes to building a robust and sustainable safety management system. When everyone knows what their safety responsibilities are and each person commits to live their responsibilities to the best of their ability, good things happen. Everyone, from the CEO to entry level staff, plays a role in creating and maintaining a safe workplace.
When new employees (or customers/contractors) walk into your company how do they experience your culture of safety?
Safety is a key part of our orientation for new employees. New employees are required to complete a number of safety courses prior to their first shift, pass a physical abilities test and complete a site orientation and tour. Safety conversations don’t simply start and end at orientation. Safety is front and centre in all of our work locations on a daily basis.
February 9, 2018 | Originally posted in SaskBusiness