Guest Blog by Ed Pyle, SCSA
Each year, industry experiences a number of the OHS failures which result in injuries that are often serious and sometimes fatal. From 2010 to 2018, the Saskatchewan WCB accepted 354 fatalities for Saskatchewan workers who died while on, or as a result of, their job. Based on a new WCB internal definition of a serious injury, data indicates that from 2010 to 2018, 22,594 workers suffered a serious injury, which often resulted in life-altering implications for the individual and their family. To industry and investors these injuries result in loss of an experienced workforce, increased risk to projects, and destruction of investor capital.
This is particularly troubling situation because with good management practices and the use of proven methods, many serious injuries and fatalities are preventable.
Good management practices are ones that have been proven to improve business results for organizations with similar environments and similar needs. Consistently applying good practices can improve the results of any firm. In the construction industry, a proven safety practice is the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program offered by the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA). COR is offered by members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA) and provides an established national standard which has been proven effective both in Saskatchewan and other Canadian provinces. A growing body of evidence suggests that implementing COR in small Saskatchewan construction firms can reduce occurrence of all injures by up-to-40%. If more construction companies adopted COR, an overall reduction in the frequency and severity of injuries would likely occur and the savings would flow directly to bottom line of companies.
A barrier to greater acceptance of proven methods in the realm of Occupational Health and Safety is poor access to data relating to a company’s safety risks. This is especially true of smaller firms who may lack the data or expertise to fully gather, analyze and generate reporting on these risks. Throughout 2020, the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) will make a number of dashboards on safety information available at no-cost to member companies which should allow firms to more readily make data-informed decisions about their practices and make targeted improvements to overlooked elements of company safety programs. In this way, greater access to information should assist all SCSA-members in improving safety performance.
Reduction of serious injuries and fatalities is an important goal and with the right management practices, methods and information it can readily be obtained.
Ed Pyle is the Manager of Corporate Development with the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA). He will be a regular contributor to the EHS Analytics blog so please stay tuned for more articles!