OHS Canada Magazine

BC Municipal Safety Association: OHS Team of the Year Award winner at 2022 OHS Honours


September 15, 2022
By Todd Humber

Health & Safety 2022 OHS Honours OHS Team of the Year

The BC Municipal Safety Association has won the 2022 OHS Team of the Year Award at OHS Honours. But, after talking with Justin Chouhan, the manager of audit and training services, it feels like the name of the award should be changed to “OHS Family of the Year.”

“Quite honestly, we’re more of a family than a team. We’re really a close knit group,” he said of the 12 staff members at the association.

One of the programs that caught the eyes of the judges was a psychological health and safety certificate program that BCMSA developed for senior leaders. It was a “huge undertaking,” Chouhan said, but an important one.

“For quite some time now, the psychological injury rates within our industry, which is the municipal sector – local government – here in B.C. had been skyrocketing,” he said. “And we expect them to still go higher in the coming years.”

‘Unbelievable feedback’

The team worked closely with Dr. Joti Samra at My Workplace Health to develop and deliver the program at a relatively low cost for their members. They worked with health and safety and HR professionals within local governments and conducted some pilot sessions in 2021, he said.

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They ran about 45 sessions and then, in 2022, released it as a full-blown certificate program that has already had more than 100 registrations.

“We’ve got unbelievable feedback for it,” he said. “Probably the best feedback of any of our certificate programs. We saw this as a huge opportunity for ourselves to help educate the industry.”

Every single city in the province’s Lower Mainland is involved in the program in some shape or form, he said, which far exceeded their expectations.

Mentorship program for organizations

Another strength of BCMSA is a mentorship program to help organizations that are struggling.

“If we see injury rates being above the base rate, that kind of puts up a red flag for us,” he said.

The association will work with the member, at no additional charge, to see where it can help. That can include a gap analysis audit, he said, to find out where some of the issues reside.

“So we would actually outline areas where they’re performing poorly, per se, compared to industry,” said Chouhan. “And then we’d develop a roadmap for them to kind of help achieve these goals in the workplace and, in turn, bring down their injury rates as well.”

Chouhan is proud of the team’s commitment to safety, something that — without exception — they are all passionate about.

“I can’t say enough about it — just our commitment to health and safety and our commitment to industry,” he said. “We’re extremely aligned and we don’t waiver in any way. It’s not a one man show here. It’s all built around the team.”

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