Please Don't Die at Work Today: Safety Training

Posted by Amanda Nieweler

on April 28, 2015

In Canada, 4 Workers Die Each Day. April 28th Is the National Day of Mourning

The National Day of Mourning has spread to about 80 countries around the world.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), an employer has a general duty “to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”.

stock photo construction crane

Last week in downtown Toronto, a construction worker fell to his death while working on a construction site. He fell from the 17th floor of a building while trying to strip a piece of plywood. Unfortunately, this tragedy will be repeated more than 1,000 times this year.

The number of people killed at work each year in Canada has risen for the past 15 years. This is in contrast to almost every other OECD country where the incidence of workplace fatalities is declining. There’s no time like the present to ensure companies have their policies and procedures in place on their health and safety program, and strengthen their risk mitigation strategies.

A clear, concise policy statement should reflect management’s commitment, support and attitude to the health and safety program for the protection of workers. This statement should be signed by the employer and the highest level of management at the workplace, indicating employer and senior management commitment.

Reasons for Health and Safety Programs or Policies in the Workplace (source)

  • to clearly demonstrate management’s full commitment to their employee’s health and safety
  • to show employees that safety performance and business performance are compatible
  • to clearly state the company’s safety beliefs, principles, objectives, strategies and processes to build buy-in through all levels of the company
  • to clearly outline employer and employee accountability and responsibility for workplace health and safety
  • to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • to set out safe work practices and procedures to be followed to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses

An Effective Policy Statement (source)

Depending on the type of business or industry, there are many differences in the content of corporate policies. But what’s important is the clarity with which they identify functional responsibilities over authority.

An effective policy must:

  • involve, and have buy-in from, senior management in the preparation of the policy
  • be seen as consistent with the company’s objectives of operating in an efficient and predictable manner
  • be relevant to the company’s needs, not adopted from another workplace
  • be accepted as equal in importance to the company’s other policies

Safety Training

Training and communication on policies is what puts things into action and starts the ball rolling. It raises awareness and instills knowledge. There are individuals in organizations who are going to be on the front lines and are more likely to be involved in safety issues. These employees need more comprehensive and frequent communication on the health and safety program in order to prepare them to protect themselves and others from harm, or death. If a company is global, training needs to be received in an employee’s native tongue.

A company’s health and safety program is all part of the overall compliance program. Download an eBook on compliance program’s top 10 best practices.

eBook: 10 Best Practices to Build a Strong Compliance Program