Leadership by example: Committing to workplace health and safety

National charter works to integrate safety into business strategies, processes
By Hitomi Suzuta
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/24/2012

Almost 900 people die annually in Canadian workplaces. The number of work-related deaths increased by 26 per cent between 1993 and 2010, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, and no province or territory has been able to decrease fatalities for two consecutive years.

Real transformation in the health and safety practices of Canadian organizations has to come from the top to make a lasting impact on what is often a matter of life or death. This reality prompted Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Tiverton, Ont.-based Bruce Power, to become a champion of improved health and safety at the workplace.

In 2005, workplace deaths in Canada reached 1,100 and Hawthorne envisioned a national health and safety charter — he considered it essential to have government and business work together. So, that same year, he met with federal, provincial and territorial ministers of labour to ask for their commitment to a national health and safety campaign.