Month: October 2013

Happy Halloween

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CCOHS Halloween

CCOHS staff wish you a safe and happy Halloween!

Dialogue with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce

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I was extremely pleased to be invited last week to speak at the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce – a large group of business leaders representing the Indian business and professional community here in Canada. The attendees, with a strong representation from small to medium-sized enterprises, demonstrated a concern for the well-being of their employees and were interested in the message of “promoting an injury-free workplace culture”.

Nurturing prevention into the workplace culture of an organization has become imperative in today’s competitive business environment, particularly as we come out of the global economic downturn, and as organizations struggle with changing societal expectations, demographic and cultural shifts, and the rise of work-life issues. This is the catalyst for leaders to create an engaged workforce committed to the success of their organization by understanding that health and safety must be an integral part of any business strategy and prevention is a fundamental component of economic growth. Prevention strategies must be recognized as necessary to business planning or they risk being marginalized and perceived as part of the problem instead of the solution in creating a robust and engaged workforce.

This evening was especially valuable for me during the networking session beforehand and the dialogue that occurred after my presentation. It was an opportunity for me to draw on my business experience as well as CCOHS knowledge to discuss with individual business leaders about their specific challenges with changing their workplace culture and to share experiences with organizational issues. It is also always critical for me to connect directly with our stakeholders and listen to their priorities so that we, as CCOHS, can become more effective in providing value and solutions to them towards the goal of eliminating injuries and illness in the workplace.

CCOHS Delivers its Message to a Global Audience

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This week I participated in an interesting group of meetings in Helsinki for CCOHS. My first day started with a roundtable meeting of a number of countries sharing experiences on return-to-work (RTW) practices and the effectiveness of various programs. I found it particularly useful to hear the scope of the challenges of addressing injured workers and the common issues faced among returning workers.

It is critical to the effectiveness of our organization to be able to dialogue directly with a diverse group of influencers of national policies and programs. We share a common vision and acceptance of the importance of disability management policies and practices, but we come to a common conclusion from different perspectives, challenges and senses of urgency. The cost/benefit/ROI models and demographic charts are compelling arguments for any organization to have a formal RTW program, but for a leader, it goes beyond that to social responsibility and the ability compete in an increasingly mobile and demanding labour market. How, and how quickly, we respond to the challenges of the new economic realities will determine our success in the next generation.

The following day I attended a preparation meeting for the 2014 World Congress of Safety – a global Congress that occurs every 3 years and attracts 8000-10000 delegates. CCOHS is honoured to be a member of the steering committee, along with DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) and NAOOSH (National Association of Organizations in Occupational Safety and Health of the Russian Federation), organizing the Symposium on Education and Training at the World Congress. The discussions went well into the night, with us having to turn out the lights and lock-up our host’s building (Finnish Institute of Health). We discussed format, a common theme and strategies to effectively communicate with a diverse group that are spread cross a continuum with respect to their needs and level of sophistication of their programs.

The third day was spent at an international conference on the “Culture of Prevention – Future Approaches”. It was a great opportunity to discuss our perspectives on creating a culture of prevention in the workplace and integrating safety into the business imperatives of an organization.