In the manufacturing industry, safety must be top of mind at every level of the organization. 

I think we would all agree that workplace safety should be at the forefront of every manufacturing company. With companies focused on worker productivity and production goals at the same time though, it can sometimes be hard to prioritize safety.  

So how do companies find a middle ground that supports employee and workplace safety while at the same time meeting financial and other corporate goals? 

First, let’s take a quick snapshot of the genesis and current hierarchical structure of worker safety in Canada. From online health and safety advocate Canadian Public Health Association

Also that year (1974), the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), an agency of the Government of Canada, was created by an Act of Parliament. CCOHS is mandated to promote safe and healthy workplaces to help prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. The Centre is governed by a Council representing three key stakeholder groups: government, employers, and workers.

Today, workers are covered by provincial or federal labour codes depending on the sector in which they work. Workers covered by federal legislation (including those in mining, transportation, and federal employment) are covered by the Canada Labour Code; all other workers are covered by the health and safety legislation of the province they work in.

That’s a good high-level view of the governmental structure for worker safety in Canada. The bottom line though, is that the primary impetus is on the individual manufacturing company to provide a day-to-day work environment that is safe for employees.  

One sure way to boost workplace safety awareness is to get the right stakeholders involved and empower them. 

If safety is going to be a priority, it has to be pervasive and persistent throughout the company. This starts with the executive team and extends to the manufacturing floor.

A trusted partner can also help you to recruit with safety in mind. As a leading manufacturing recruitment agency in the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario, HCR Personnel Solutions is a valued resource for employers and workers. HCR is proudly affiliated with ACSESS – Association of Canadian Search, Employment, and Staffing Services.

In this post, we’re going to discuss six steps to help you create a more safety-conscious workforce and a safer workplace. 

We’ll drill down into these six critical action items: 

  • Make Safety Your Number One Priority
  • Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
  • Set Safety Goals
  • Educate Your Entire Workforce on the Basics
  • Accountability Is Key 
  • Staff for Success

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started. How do we all do a better job protecting our employees from injury or even death on the job?

Make safety your number one priority.

According to The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) there were 271,806 workers compensation claims in 2019, the last full year reported, which was an increase from 264,438 the previous year. There were also 924 workplace fatalities. 

That’s too many workplace accidents.  

We’ve all heard of, and possibly even been personally involved with accidents, injuries, and fatalities in the workplace. I think we would also most likely agree that all accidents cannot be prevented. So there’s really no “one size fits all” solution to workplace safety.

However, implementing some time-tested, common-sense safety policies and practices will go a long way toward creating a safer work environment for your valued employees.

Human resources policies and safety frameworks that are codified into practice and strictly adhered to by all stakeholders are critical to an effective safety platform. And it has to start at the top, with executive management.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

If employees see management taking safety seriously and prioritizing it, the rest of the company will naturally follow suit.

Secondary to the physical and psychological human damage from workplace accidents are the financial impacts. When workers are compelled to miss work due to on-the-job injuries, they may temporarily miss out on some compensation and benefits. There could even be some form of permanent disability.

The hiring and human resources teams may also have to source temporary or contract workers to replace injured employees. 

The bottom line is that workplace injuries cause serious harm and disruption to businesses and their most important assets; their valued employees.

That’s why it’s imperative that when your safety team sets policies, and develops safety practices and procedures, that they are universally adhered to. No exceptions!

Set goals.

As a human resources professional, your primary responsibility is to ensure the health and well-being of all employees in the workplace This should be done within your corporate and industry guidelines. You can educate management and staff on good safety practices for your specific industry and market. 

Measure these goals regularly. Companies should incentivize their safety teams when safety goals are achieved. They should challenge them to constantly improve, and demand improvement, when goals are not met. Safety is too important to ignore or place on the back burner. 

Educate your entire workforce on the basics.

Manufacturing companies need to effectively educate their workforce on safety basics. You can use signage, employee information portals, online documentation for policies and practices, and training sessions.

Safety training needs to be an ongoing part of the onboarding process, which can last upwards of six to twelve months. It should also be reinforced informal safety training meetings. These meetings should take place at least on a quarterly basis. 

Your safety team should start with the basics.

 Here are just a few basic training suggestions from online information platform Lifehack:

  1. Know the Risks 

There are some jobs that are going to come with certain risks. It is important that you understand these risks before taking on a certain job. 

  1. Reduce Stress in the Workplace 

Many people don’t realize that workplace stress can lead to work-related injuries as well as illness. 

  1. Take Breaks 

It is important that you take breaks as they are scheduled, and even more often if you are able. 

  1. Be Careful When Lifting 

If your job involves heavy lifting, moving heavy items around, etc., make sure that you are doing the work properly. 

  1. Use Mechanical Aids 

Mechanical aids are there to help you, so take advantage of them. 

  1. Check out Safety Resources 

It is always a good idea to check out tips on various safety resources from time to time. There may be new information available that can help you stay even safer in the workplace. 

  1. Know Your Surroundings 

It is important to know your surroundings in the workplace so you can assess any possible risks. 

  1. Keep Good Posture 

When you are working, make sure that you keep good posture. This is going to help keep you from having a lot of back, neck, and shoulder pain, and help to avoid back injuries. 

  1. Have Accessible Emergency Exits 

If there ever is an emergency, you need to know that all emergency exits are easily accessible. 

  1. Report Unsafe Conditions to Management 

It is imperative that your supervisors are aware of any unsafe conditions in the workplace. 

And most importantly, when in doubt about the severity of an accident or injury, call 911!

Accountability is key.

These basic training suggestions, or something similar, can form the framework of a comprehensive safety regimen and training and policy framework.

Remember, accountability is key, and that starts at the top. Everyone in your organization should feel that they are responsible, to some degree, for employee safety. Encourage reporting of accidents, near-accidents, and incidents that could have led to accidents. Encourage suggestions to improve safety as well.

The more empowered and encouraged your employees feel, the more they will participate in safety-first programs and initiatives. 

Staff for success.

Your company’s safety record can be a huge selling point for hiring teams and human resources professionals throughout the hiring process. Online safety resource training company The Health & Safety Institute (HSI) recently reported:  

Millennials rank personal safety as their top workplace issue, according to an American Psychological Association survey…

One often-overlooked selling point recruiters miss is occupational health and safety performance, particularly in this era of promoting—and hiring for—organizational “culture”. This is true for all industries, especially the trades, and other high-risk work environments.

Recruiters, both internal and external, need to be highly conscious of the importance of workplace safety to employees and prospective employees.

We can help you recruit great employees with a safety-first mindset. HCR specializes in temporary, direct-hire, and custom solutions in general labour staffing, automotive assembly, production, heavy machine operation, and forklift throughout Ontario.  We are experts in the industries we serve, and with deep roots in the region, we understand the challenges facing both employers and job seekers. 

Whether you’re a company searching for reliable and skilled workers or a candidate looking for new job opportunities, HCR has solutions. We match great people with great career opportunities every day.

Why settle for just anyone when you can hire the best candidate available? 

At HCR, we are anything but a typical recruitment firm, and you will notice that difference immediately. Your recruiter will get to know you and your company first. Once we understand your company’s hiring goals we can start the search and hire process. 

At HCR, we go far beyond promises. We are committed to providing responsible, capable, high-quality employees who come to your site prepared to work. When you work with HCR, one of the leading light industrial and general labour staffing agencies in the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario, you can expect the maximum return on your investment.

Get in touch with us online today, or call one of our recruiters at 416-622-1427. You’ll be glad you did!

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