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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Recognizing a safety leader: STANS
By reevaluating their approach to safety, the Society for Treatment of Autism Nova Scotia (STANS) is changing the way they provide care to Nova Scotians on the Autism spectrum. In recognition of these efforts, they were awarded a Workplace Recognition Award for their commitment to safety.

Safe workplaces don’t just happen. Through intensive training and collaboration, STANS, a non-profit community based residential program for Nova Scotians on the Autism Spectrum, has completely changed their approach to safety in the workplace.

“From our frontline workers to our JOHS committee to various levels of our administration, everyone worked hard to get here together,” says Laurie Reynders, STANS. “It was a lot of hard work, and to see the end result recognized felt really good.”

Like many organizations in the healthcare sector, STANS faced difficult working conditions, with their 100 employees navigating high-risk situations on a daily basis. Frequent injuries had placed them on the WCB’s surcharge list for 10 consecutive years, adding a financial impact to an already overwhelming human toll.  

Reynders knew that for the sake of both workers and residents, there needed to be a change.

With guidance from WCB Nova Scotia and AWARE-NS, STANS began engaging in education sessions, workplace consulting and coaching, JOHSC training and more. They developed  a formal return-to-work program and a process to review safety practices regularly.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide the best possible care for all our residents,” says Laurie. “The whole time, that’s what we’ve been working towards.”

The results speak for themselves: 2018 will officially be STANS’ first year off of the surcharge list. Their time-loss claims have dropped from 13 in 2008 down to 3 in 2017.

So far this year, STANS has not registered a single time-loss claim. 

“STANS is becoming a sector leader, and your dedication to safety, and collaboration with the WCB and other stakeholders will only continue to positively impact the safety culture in this province,” said Shelley Rowan, WCB Nova Scotia’s VP of Prevention and Service Delivery, when she presented the award.  

The Workplace Recognition Program is a coaching model that celebrates successes and accomplishments in health, safety and return to work. To be selected for an award recognizes a can-do attitude towards safety and proven positive outcomes in RTW, injury frequency and costs and durations.  

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