Monday, July 1, 2013

Health and Safety Leadership Charter

On October 27, 2011, FIOSA-MIOSA (Food Industry Occupational Safety Association –Manufacturing Industry Occupational Safety Alliance) Safety Alliance of BC organized and hosted their annual Leading Performance Conference this past October in Vancouver, BC. FIO-MIOSA is a non-profit, non-governmental, industry-funded organization with over 2,000 members across BC together representing the food processing and manufacturing industries. Formerly known as the Food Processors Health and Safety Council, the organization expanded its membership in 2010 to include 700 employers in the manufacturing industry and subsequently changed its name to FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance. FIOSA-MIOSA’s main purpose is to reduce the injury rate of BC’s food, beverage, and manufacturing industries through dynamic education, training and advisory services.

This past year at the Conference, the FIOSA-MIOSA introduced a Health & Safety Leadership Charter, the first of its kind for the province. This Charter followed the leadership of other provinces including Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

The Charter was developed to represent commitment from industry and organizational leaders within BC to foster a positive environment of health & safety.  Founded on the principle that the effective management of health & safety is essential to overall business success, profitability and sustainability, key CEO’s and Senior Executives were asked to sign the Charter declaring their organizations’ commitment to these principals. 

FISOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance’s CEO Lisa McGuire outlined that the Charter acts as a public statement to employees, customers and communities that health & safety is a core value of the organizations signing.  “We’re encouraging leaders to add their signatures, demonstrating a commitment to providing a prevention-based workplace culture” said McGuire.

Twenty-Three CEO’s and executives from around BC signed the Charter at the Conference in October. These CEO’s and executives represented organizations some of which include, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), BC Safety Authority, Agropur, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, and WorkSafeBC.  David Anderson, the president and CEO of WorkSafeBC was a founding endorser of the Charter, and was given the honour of being the first to add his signature. These twenty-three signatures represent the first step towards FIOSA-MIOSA’s 150@2015 goal of having 150 of BC’s CEO’s and Senior Executives sign the charter by 2015. 

McGuire states that the Charter is an important starting-point for companies and organizations with the end goal of reducing BC’s injury rate.  According to WorkSafeBC statistics from 2008, the injury rate within the manufacturing subsector was 4.6.  The food processing subsector had a higher rate of injury at 7.1.  These numbers signify that for every person who works full time in a one-year period, 4.6 out of 100 and 7.1 out of 100 have suffered from some type of injury.  These statistics are worrying, especially when comparing them to the low province-wide injury rate of 2.37.

A total of $121 million was paid in claims in 2009 by BC’s manufacturing sector.  The direct cost to manufacturing employers is estimated to actually have been $605 million.  According to a Safety Alliance survey from 2010, the most common injuries causes were improper lifting, repetitive movement strains, injuries from sharp edges, and slips.

FIOSA-MIOSA feels that there are far too many individuals whose lives, health, and personal finances are being affected by the food processing and manufacturing industries’ poor health and safety records. The Health and Safety Leadership Charter is the industry’s attempt to take action and work to reduce the injury rates as much as possible. Making employee health and safety a priority, organizations are furthering their overall business sustainability.

Inaugural signatories met on February 16th, 2012 at the Terminal City Club to discuss development strategies for engaging additional CEO’s and Executives to sign the Charter. 

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

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