Future of safety rests beyond compliance
Employing competent supervisors key to your OHS program, says expert
Marcel Vander Wier
The dawn of a new decade means the future of safety is now the present, according to Michelangelo LaSelva, senior business developer with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) in Mississauga, Ont.
Presenting at HRPA 2020 in Toronto on Jan. 22, he said going forward, the best companies will push for safety measures that go beyond minimum standards set out in legislation.
Over the past two years, court judgments have revealed that an organization’s best defence is to implement proactive safety measures.
“You’ve got to go beyond what is just bare minimum,” said LaSelva.
He urged companies to enrol in the WSIB’s new Health and Safety Excellence program and pursue ISO 45001 accreditation as the gold standard for health and safety.
Building an accredited health and safety program requires time and money, but properly built, it could be a “lifeline,” said LaSelva, noting courts look favourably at employers who attempt to do everything reasonable.
Development of a standard safe operating procedure must be completed in partnership between HR and OHS, he said.
“It’s amazing how HR and health and safety are intertwined (now).”
Build competent supervisors
Employing able supervisors is “key to your program,” said LaSelva, noting that if a manager is not trained on the OHS Act and associated regulations, that company is immediately below compliance.
As courts begin to levy charges against organizations, supervisors and workers, it is essential that supervisors understand company policy and procedure, he said.
“That’s today’s world. That supervisor is vital to your program.”
Recognition of impairment and potential human rights violations are also critical for management to be aware of, said LaSelva.
“Welcome to health and safety 2020,” he said. “This is the future. It is now.”
Ensuring your organization has an up-to-date health and safety compliance registry alongside a hazard identification and risk assessment is basic procedure, said LaSelva.
“Without these two, you do not have a solid health and safety program and you cannot defend yourself in the court of law.”
This story has been updated for accuracy.