Month: December 2013

On the Road to Safety

Date Issued:

During the past two weeks, it has been my privilege to connect with several diverse groups that represent the ever widening scope of occupational health and safety and prevention in Canada. It is always heartening to hear and share in the accomplishments of other organizations, and to understand how CCOHS can actively contribute to their successes. In this case, the organizations included the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), Parachute Canada’s Symposium, the ILO/CIS Network, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE).

First, I spoke with ESFI about CCOHS’s view of electrical safety issues from a national perspective, what the statistics are telling us, and the unique nature of the electrical industry, which has seen increases in injury rates. Interestingly, Canadian statistics show that the vast majority of injuries to electrical workers are not related to shock or electricity, whereas the majority of electricity-related injuries and fatalities occur to non-electrical personnel. Addressing these statistics was a great source of discussion, as well as the steps towards a culture of prevention of these injuries.

My workshop presentation at the Parachute Canada Symposium was an opportunity for me to hear first-hand not only about the challenges faced by groups dealing with community-based safety and health issues, but also the initiatives they have adopted to cope with these challenges. At the same time, CCOHS was able to provide a workplace perspective on how community and domestic issues are increasingly intertwined with people’s work lives. Again, some prevention strategies were shared.

My meeting with CSSE in Edmonton was a very open and frank discussion about new issues facing the safety profession and some progressive solutions to address both the legacy issues that continue to impact injury rates, and the new generation of hazards requiring our attention. It was also an opportunity to discuss Alberta statistics against national and other provincial numbers, dealing with these issues from the perspective of a clear leadership and communication strategy, and the integration of prevention principles with business planning processes.