President, Acadian Seaplants
Safety has been important to Jean-Paul Deveau since the day he started work at Acadian Seaplants, as the company’s first Director of Marketing. The year was 1985, and the company, which his father had founded, was only four years old.
"I recognized right away the need to raise awareness about safety, train our employees in appropriate and safe behaviour, and set up formal procedures," says the President of Acadian Seaplants, an Atlantic Canadian multi-national company that has grown to be a globally recognized industry leader in the development of seaweed-based products for people, animals, and plants.
Deveau adds that he learned some important things about safety in the ensuing 30 years.
"Safety needs to be placed in the forefront of all discussions and everyone in the company needs to be on board. Safety is not a box you tick, it's a way of life."
Deveau says that maintaining the high safety standards that Acadian Seaplants is known for is a process that takes time. "As we continued to focus on it, and over a number of years, we grew from safety manuals to safety training to a full-time safety officer. Our work on safety is never done." Even now, the company routinely brings in fresh eyes in the form of external safety auditors to check and make sure their 350 employees in eight countries worldwide are consistently working safely.
Although Acadian Seaplants has earned safety awards, including a Mainstay Award of Excellence in 2012, Deveau says it’s not about these accolades. "It's about everyone working together. Safety is a shared responsibility - it's everyone jointly creating the safest workplace possible. It doesn't matter what kind of an organization you are or what your position is. We’re all in this together."