Making Safety Personal
Jonathan Weigel, Account Manager, Prevention Services
Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board
Office: (306) 933-7076 Cell: (306) 526-7734
Back on June 22, 2016 I had the pleasure of presenting at the Warman Chamber business breakfast. The topic was “Why do we work safe?” Near the end of my presentation I challenged those in attendance to make safety personal.
Why you may ask? The reasoning is quite simple… none of us are immune to the effects of a workplace injury. My mother was a Registered Nurse for over 30 years. Her life was tragically altered by a back injury followed by multiple surgeries resulting in significant scar tissue and the insertion of a morphine pump. She is a shadow of her former self and it hurts me to know that my three kids will never know their grandmother without chronic pain.
As an Account Manager in the Prevention Services department of the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board, I am responsible for assisting employers in eliminating workplace incidents. My employer meetings normally evolve from an initial review of an employer’s most recent injury statistics. However, these conversations can often leave one feeling detached. For even though safety is often talked about in terms of statistics (injury rates, severity, inspections completed, etc.), statistics are not what suffer physical and emotional pain. People do.
That is why it is so vital to change our mindsets and recognize that all of us, our co-workers, family and friends are not just numbers. But rather individuals who hold a right and expectation that we will return home in the same condition in which we left. And the largest part of that expectation falls on the individual.
It is quite easy for an employer to buy a safety management system. Textbooks, binders and online tools are readily available. The hard part is developing a safety culture: a culture where people can openly speak up about safety issues and contribute ideas for improvement; a culture in which those ideas are heard and seriously considered; a culture in which everyone takes personal responsibility for the safety of themselves and their coworkers.
So don’t work safe for a safety bonus or to satisfy company statistics… work safe for what is most important in your life. Each of us has a personal stake in changing not only the culture of our workplaces, but the culture of this province as a whole.
An injury free Saskatchewan is obtainable. And it’s starts with you.