Keeping workers safe and healthy is an important component of any well-run company.
However, managing the protocols and requirements that surround it is often an area that creates frustration for many businesses.
“A lot of companies put health and safety on the backburner prior to the pandemic,” says Ray Snow, President of Heartzap Safety Training & Equipment in Cambridge, noting the costs that often surround it. “But now they realize they can’t put it on the backburner and have to address it and that’s what we’re seeing now.”
He says companies that had once been shut down during the pandemic are seeing a larger Ministry of Labour (MOL) presence of in the community and are paying close attention.
“MOL is at construction sites and knocking on company’s doors seeing if they have their policies in place and are they following health and safety rules, and nobody today can afford to have their operations shutdown again.”
For that reason, he recommends businesses revisit their health and safety policies and protocols to make sure they are up to date.
“But not everyone has that ability,” says Ray, noting larger corporations have the staff to manage health and safety compared to SMEs. “An SME may have a health and safety committee, but they may not have a designated staff person that does health and safety management on a regular basis.”
He suggests an outside health and safety audit, which Heartzap provides, is a viable alternative to ensure a business is meeting the correct standards and practices, possibly saving them money in the end. According to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the average cost of a lost-time injury is $106,500 - $21,300 in direct costs (WSIB premiums) and $85,200 in costs to the company of the injured employee.
“We’re not there to point out all the faults. We’re there to help and grow with you,” says Ray. “Health and safety has always had that negative ‘cracking the whip’ connotation. It’s really more about education.”
Through a wide variety of virtual training courses, something Heartzap has offered for several years prior to the pandemic in a blended online and in-class format, he says companies can ensure staff working remotely can remain up to date on their training as part of any work-from-home policies.
“The shift is changing in the world and in Canada on how people learn. They don’t necessarily have to be in a classroom all day long,” says Ray, noting keeping current on rapidly changing health and safety guidelines has been a big concern for Heartzap clients. “As much as the government did a great job creating templates for everybody, they still required somebody to go look at them on a bi-weekly or weekly basis because it changed so much. The biggest concern now is getting people up to speed.”
He says the costs surrounding health and safety training have risen, just like they have for most businesses and that supply chain issues have affected the availability of products causing potential delays in delivery.
“I think everybody is kind of two and half years behind in health and safety in terms of training or policy work or reviewing their facilities, but everybody wants it done today,” says Ray, noting like many sectors, staffing shortages are causing delays. “We only have so many staff to get out there and get the job done.”
As a result, he recommends businesses don’t wait until the last minute when it comes to reviewing or updating their health and safety policies.
“If you want it done for the fall or winter, don’t wait for the fall and winter to come.”
To learn more, visit Heartzap Safety Training & Equipment.
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