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Sharing experiences and best practices to make the industry safer
More than 40 industry safety champions in warehouse and materials management met in October to share best practices on how to make the workplace safer, and support injured colleagues in returning to work.
The second annual Warehouse Symposium challenged attendees to share what they learned and applied in the past year to their own companies’ safety practices.
WCB Vice President of Prevention and Service Delivery, Shelley Rowan, commended the symposium participants for taking safety awareness to the next level.
“More and more people are realizing that work should only be done if it can be done safely,” said Rowan, who also shared the WCB video, A Call to Lead. “Nova Scotia needs leaders who set the tone for workplace safety, and who begin the type of conversations that create safe work environment.”
Leadership was a theme woven throughout the day, said Bob Westhaver, WCB relationship manager, who organized the symposium. In championing a safety culture, leadership needs to come from the top, but it also needs to penetrate through all levels of an organization.
“Leadership is a verb,” said Westhaver. “It’s not your title, it’s not your position – it’s what you do every day.”
The symposium was held at Micco Warehousing, a Halifax startup company who co-hosted the event. Micco deliberately built a strong safety culture through training programs, employee involvement, hiring strategies, and ergonomic best practices. Their efforts paid off, said Westhaver. “Since opening their doors a year and a half ago, Micco hasn’t had a single time loss injury.”
Industry best practices shared at the event include the NSLC’s warehouse software iWarehouse that has changed behavior and provided the company with rich data insights, and Kent Building Supplies’ ergonomic process, which has resulted in fewer injuries and better employee engagement.
“There was a lot of deep industry knowledge in the room that we wanted to leverage and share,” said Westhaver. “We challenged people to share how they strengthened their safety cultures. What are the leading practices that you as an organization are doing? What worked for you and what didn’t work as well? What did you learn and what can you share with the group?”
WCB service delivery manager, Daniel Makhan, spoke on return to work programs, and how each partner needs to have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities. Rowan echoed how everyone has a role to play.
“When people are hurt on the job, life is thrown out of balance. It’s our job – it’s all of our jobs – to help get that balance back,” Rowan said. “It starts with the employer and a strong return to work program. This goes hand and hand with improving your workplace safety culture.”