Inspiring courage, influencing change
What is a safety champion?
A safety champion is an individual within an organization who has the power to influence health and safety policies, procedures and practices, and who uses that influence to help create a culture of safety. Safety champions come in many forms, including:
- Corporate champions: They create top-down safety policies across their organizations and ensure that every employee receives proper orientation and training and that regular safety visits and updated training sessions are conducted.
- Political champions: They have the courage to introduce and/or endorse legislation that reinforces a culture of safety in our society, bringing teeth to safety compliance.
- Educational champions: They influence our youth - tomorrow's safety champions and decision makers - by setting examples and incorporating lessons about health and safety into the curriculum.
- Cultural champions: They help members of social, ethnic, religious or other kind of communities understand the importance of safety and the ways they can make it part of their everyday lives, both on and off the job.
Corporate safety champions
We offer just a few here to start - check this space regularly for new safety champs being added all the time!
Baking in productivity with safety best practices
"From a corporate perspective, it's very expensive to invest in health and safety, but very worth it... Immediately, when you look at payback, you don't think of it in terms of getting production out faster."
- Crystal Culbert, P.Eng., Plant Manager, Weston Bakeries
As the supervisor of 100 employees at the bread-and-baguette-making facility, Ready Bake Foods, Inc., a division of Weston Bakeries, Culbert knows that the payoff of H&S investment is, in fact, longer term. She says an excellent safety record translates into higher productivity, better employee morale, lower staff turnover and, of course, reduced costs in healthcare insurance and workers' compensation.
Culbert notes, "The costs of health and safety are very high if you don't do it right," and that includes the unacceptable cost of human suffering. "As a supervisor, the worst thing to ever have to do is tell someone's family that the employee got hurt at your facility."
This executive isn't whistling Dixie about safety
"No amount of profit imaginable will ever take the place of a safe workplace for our staff and management. We are vigilant to continue to remind our people to be safety-aware, both at work and at home."
- Ron Foxcroft, President, sports whistle manufacturer Fox 40 International, and Fluke Transport Ltd.
Safety training that's past the "best before" date
"Many employers' training programs have been stagnant for 10 years or more and are out of date for today's technologies and ways of working."
- Don MacKinnon, President, Power Workers' Union, representing more than 15,000 workers in Ontario, Canada, in the electricity generation and transmission / distribution industry
Tomorrow's safety champions
Today's youth are, of course, the workers and leaders of the future economy, and the influencers and policy setters of tomorrow's government and social organizations.
Young people emerging from high schools and colleges now have very different expectations about the workforce than their parents had. Today's youth won't let themselves be put into situations where proper safety training is not provided. They are learning to stand up for their right to proper orientation and training, as well as for all their other rights in the workplace.
As a progressive employer, you understand the importance of making your organization attractive to the emerging workforce. As a great number of skilled workers are starting to retire (and will continue to do so en masse over the next decade), you'll need young, bright workers like never before.
Will they come to work for you if you don't offer the safest environment, a place where the employer shows respect by looking out for their wellbeing? Don't count on it.