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JOURNALISM: SafetyPrint [Download .doc version]


SafetyPrint Health and Safety Program, by Jeffrey Reed

As the construction industry becomes more complicated, so, too does the task of operating a safe and healthy workplace. Under Ontario legislation, an employer with five or more workers must have a health and safety policy, as well as an effective program in place which ensures implementation of that policy.

A London-based group now offers proven, professional assistance in that policy adherence and program implementation. SafetyPrint, offering corporate health and safety programs for Ontario’s construction industry, relies on a strong team of local industry professionals who have been in the trenches, and know what it takes to create a safe and healthy workplace.

SafetyPrint was five years in the making, ensuring no stone was left unturned in the formation of this valuable service. President Veronica Scrimshaw, and Harry De Jonge, a health and safety consultant (formerly holding that same post for 30 years with the Construction Safety Association of Ontario), spearheaded the founding of SafetyPrint. Cheryl Waller is president of SafetyPrint Consulting Inc., the consulting arm of the new company which relies on De Jonge plus five additional field consultants responsible for training and education.

A fledgling company which has “already seen much support, in particular in the Ottawa area,” says Waller, SafetyPrint involves “a number of common core elements that any employer could use in other industries,” according to De Jonge. Adds Scrimshaw, “It applies to industry businesses, and this spring we will make our program available to the trucking industry. One area of SafetyPrint that is very strong, and applies to all industries, is work-related injuries – the Return to Work program. So, there are some great strengths in SafetyPrint that most employers can use.”

In simple terms, the SafetyPrint database has been developed as a resource for employers. Its core objective: to give employers the tools they require to achieve and maintain high health and safety standards within their workplaces. The database assists employers with the creation of their policy and program – a process which can prove to be complex, costly and time consuming.

“There was no template for us,” explains Scrimshaw. “We developed SafetyPrint because we recognized that many employers didn’t know where to start.” Adds De Jonge, “With the government increasing emphasis on health and safety, it has become a very big issue, one that has to be managed properly by the employer.”

The SafetyPrint database has been written to educate employers and their workers about the hazards that may be encountered in the workplace, and the controls that are necessary to achieve and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Written in Microsoft Word, it has been tailored to adapt to each client’s needs, providing chapters required to customize a specific employer’s database in order to meet individual needs. 

SafetyPrint gives employers the ability to educate themselves and their workers on the steps required to create a safe and healthy working environment; comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations; be Workwell-compliant; meet WSIB standards with respect to safety groups; meet client pre-qualification requirements; and establish evidence of due diligence.

“Every employer must establish a safety program,” explains De Jonge. “If they ever get prosecuted, they have to contend with the issue of a public defense. This challenges the employer to come up with evidence. When I train, I always ask, what is more important in court – the truth or proof? Of course, the answer is proof. So what the SafetyPrint program can do is help establish proof that the employer is exercising due diligence.”

The SafetyPrint program addresses a number of key areas, including:

- Assigning responsibility and accountability for health and safety within an organization to workers and each level of management. “All workplace parties must be aware of their responsibilities under the OHSA (maximum potential fine for a corporate conviction is $500,000).”
- Establishing a standard of operation. “Establishing a standard ensures uniformity of internal compliance within the company.”
- Providing safe work procedures that will educate all workplace parties with respect to the hazards associated with the work and the safest way to perform the work.
- Providing guidelines to pre-qualify and evaluate sub-contractors.
- Providing a comprehensive program, including follow-up procedures to manage incidents, accidents, occupational illness, and Return to Work.

When there is a change in legislation, companies using SafetyPrint can download the applicable updated chapters from the program website, www.safetyprint.com, or they can request a CD-ROM.

Training and education is an intrical part of the program, which uses SafetyPrint Consulting Inc. to assist employers in the implementation of their health and safety policy and program. A network of consultants, including De Jonge, provides seminars to address key health and safety issues, in order to educate and assist in the effective management of health and safety at the workplace.

Says De Jonge, “I started consulting in 1975. What a tremendous difference I have seen in terms of attitudes towards health and safety, in relation to government legislation. Employers need to take a serious look at this area.”

SafetyPrint lists recent initiatives from the Ministry of Labour and WSIB which make it mandatory for employers to have in place a health and safety policy and program. For example, the Ministry has hired 200 additional inspectors in order to target high-risk firms. These inspectors will audit each firm and review their policy and program, review compliance with other government agencies (CCRA and WSIB), and conduct inspections of their workplaces to ensure compliance.

Bottom line: health and safety is the most important aspect of any business. The SafetyPrint team plans on making a difference in making your place of business a safer workplace.
For more information, visit e-mail info@safetyprint.com or contact SafetyPrint Consulting president Cheryl Waller at (519) 681-2266 or toll-free 1-(866)-585-5592. 

 

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