Manitoba NAOSH Week


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For your SAFETY Dig safe Your life is on the line. Have underground utilities located and marked. or call 1-800-940-3447 No one expects to be injured at work, but the sad truth is that it can happen to anyone. North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week is a reminder that everyone needs to make workplace safety a daily habit. Built by Associations COLLABORATION HAS PROVIDED NEW ENERGY FOR MANITOBA'S SAFETY SECTOR By Pat Rediger T he spirit of collaboration has enabled North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week to really succeed in Manitoba in recent years. "Before I got involved with NAOSH Week, the main supporters were the people who have al- ways supported occupational health and safety – the public sector, very large industry partners and a few associations," says NAOSH Week co- chair Mike Gordon. "Now there are way more people who want to get involved." This year, there are major events taking place throughout Manitoba, from Morden and Stein- bach to Winnipeg, Brandon and The Pas, all aim- ing to focus the attention of employers, employ- ees and the general public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community. In trying to cast a larger net and raise the pro- file of NAOSH, Gordon notes that the Manitoba NAOSH committee has benefitted from an influx in association membership. "When you're reaching out, it's hard to go company to company or industry to industry. The great thing with these safety associations, and why they've been so valuable on our com- mittee, is that they can reach all of their mem- bership with a newsletter, email or a posting," he says. "Instead of our committee having to send 300 emails to try and get the attention of people, one email by each group reaches hun- dreds of members." This spirit of collaboration has buoyed the safety community. SAFEWork Manitoba was es- tablished as a unified prevention organization and COO Jamie Hall says staff quickly realized that there are lots of safety and health organiza- tions in the province with great intentions, and if these groups were to collaborate they would have a better chance of achieving their goals. Today, the Manitoba NAOSH committee has representation from major organizations across the board, including the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, Safety Services Manitoba, the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba and the Incident Prevention Association of Manitoba. "We're seeing a renewed energy," says Hall. "If you look at safety and health issues decades ago, it was often a case of crisis management — something bad happened and we needed to make sure it didn't happen again. We're able to step back now and identify that the job is too big for any one organization to take on. I think that the conversation has shifted to, 'What role does each of us play in the process?' When we're working together, we can serve the needs of employers and workers in the province better than working apart." The partnership between these groups has also led to the recent creation of three new safety associations in Manitoba – Manufactur- ing Made Safe, the Motor Vehicle Safety Associa- tion of Manitoba (MVSAM) and Risk Professional Managed (RPM) Trucking Safety – all of which pitch in with NAOSH efforts. The Manitoba Motor Dealers Association launched MVSAM in May of 2015. It provides industry members with safety and health ser- vices specifically targeted to working environ- ments, while also making it easier for employers and workers to engage in positive safety and health practices. In January of 2016, the Can- adian Manufacturers and Exporters unveiled Made Safe, which includes representatives from industry, workers and safety professionals. The ultimate goal of the group is to accelerate the advancement of manufacturing in Manitoba. The RPM is a program of the Manitoba Truck- ing Association (MTA). Terry Shaw, MTA execu- tive director, says the creation of RPM stems from discussions that started in June of 2012 regarding how the association could provide greater value for its members and the industry with the creation of some industry-specific tools to address workplace safety and health. "We absolutely believe that the training, men- torship and certification work being done will positively impact our industry members. Truck- ing is no different from any other industry in that our most valuable asset is our people," says Shaw. "The services RPM provides are going to enhance the working environments and tech- niques of our industry members with the ultim- ate outcome being a safer, and therefore more successful, Manitoba trucking industry." While NAOSH Week has gained momentum in Manitoba and the safety culture in the prov- ince has changed for the better, Hall says the ultimate goal is to ensure that every employer and worker in the province will have the ability to get their safety- and health-related services from an industry-based program. "In 2014, 15% of companies covered under the Workers Compensation Board had access to an industry-based safety program. With the new associations that have popped up, we're now in the range of 24%," Hall says. "We're hoping to in- crease that number. In over five years we want to get up to 60% of industry having access to an industry based program." A SAFE Work on Wheels expert demonstrates the importance of eye protection. Photo courtesy of Red River College What's Your Reason? NAOSH WEEK REMINDS US TO MAKE SAFETY A HABIT EVERY DAY By Holli Moncrieff " S afety is something every industry should be con- cerned with," says Laura La Palme, Manitoba co- chair of NAOSH Week. "It's not just about hardhats or equipment safety. It's things like: Are you sitting in the proper chair? Are your fire exits properly labeled? No mat- ter what your occupation is, there are safety concerns." NAOSH Week aims to increase awareness of workplace safety and health. This year's theme What's Your Reason? strives to get people thinking about all the reasons it's important to arrive home healthy and safe at the end of a workday. Mike Gordon, NAOSH Week co-chair and co-founder of Workplace Engineering Solutions, says that even though the number of workplace accidents has decreased in Manitoba, there's still room for improvement. "We're making progress, but every incident affects someone's family. We want everyone to get home safe from work," he says, adding that the ultimate goal is to have zero workplace injuries. "Workplace accidents have a lasting ef- fect. They affect people both physically and psychically." NAOSH Week was first launched with an agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in June 1997. The Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) is the lead- ing organization behind NAOSH Week. "There is a lot more awareness of NAOSH week now than there has been in the past," says La Palme, who is re- sponsible for marketing and business development with the Manitoba Trucking Association. "A lot of industries and individuals are celebrating NAOSH week with different events and activities." Many workplaces across Canada will be holding events in honour of NAOSH week. Since wellness is a significant part of health and safety, some companies will offer fitness classes, chiropractic care, and massage therapy sessions to their employees. This year, events will be held in Steinbach, Winkler, Mor- den, The Pas, Thompson, Flin Flon, and Brandon. "The event continues to grow," Gordon says. "We're getting as many people involved as possible and sharing their stories." NAOSH Week begins on Sunday, May 1 in Kildonan Park with the Steps for Life Walk, a fundraiser for the Threads of Life charity, which supports those affected by a workplace accident or injury. In Manitoba, the official launch takes place on May 2 at 8:30 am at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre. "We try to hold our launch in a different location each year," La Palme says, noting the renovations to restore The Met's historic building will be on the agenda. "We'll talk about the safety precautions they took during the major renovation, like how they kept the look and feel while bringing it up to today's standards. We'll discuss the safety procedures they put in place and how they protected the workers." Everyone interested in workplace healthy and safety is welcome to attend the event, Gordon adds. "It's a chance to network and talk to others who are involved," he says. "It brings a lot of different groups together." Companies can enter their NAOSH Week events and programs for a chance to win a national award in one of four categories: most innovative, best new entry, best rep- resentation of the theme, and best overall. "Every year that I've been involved, someone from Manitoba has won an award," says Gordon. "The awards get more people interested in having their own events." La Palme hopes Manitobans will take the message of NAOSH week to heart and make it a part of their daily lives. "I really hope people realize safety should be part of our culture. It needs to be a habit — it shouldn't be some- thing we have to think about, but something ingrained," she says. For more information about NAOSH Week and events, visit MANY WORKPLACES ACROSS CANADA WILL BE HOLDING EVENTS IN HONOUR OF NAOSH WEEK. SINCE WELLNESS IS A SIGNIFICANT PART OF HEALTH AND SAFETY, SOME COMPANIES WILL OFFER FITNESS CLASSES, CHIROPRACTIC CARE, AND MASSAGE THERAPY SESSIONS TO THEIR EMPLOYEES. THIS YEAR, THERE ARE MAJOR EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT MANITOBA, FROM MORDEN AND STEINBACH TO WINNIPEG, BRANDON AND THE PAS, ALL AIMING TO FOCUS THE ATTENTION OF EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTING INJURY AND ILLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE, AT HOME AND IN THE COMMUNITY. North American Occupational Safety & Health Week MAY 1-7, 2016 View online at MAKE SAFETY A HABIT. S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S , A P R I L 2 8 , 2 0 1 6

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