It’s hard to imagine anything more important in the workplace than ensuring everyone goes home safe at the end of the day. Unions, employers, liberals, conservatives — we’re all on the same page here. There aren’t many areas these days where that happens.
That’s why, in addition to my role with Canadian HR Reporter, I’m proud to be the associate publisher for Canadian Occupational Safety magazine. Not only does that magazine feature great editorial content — see www.cos-mag.com — but it also puts on the most prestigious competition for health and safety practices in the country.
Canada’s Safest Employers is entering its fifth year of recognizing organizations across the country that excel at keeping workers safe. Nominations are now open for the national competition which, for 2015, is bigger and better than ever.
This year, we’re adding two new awards to the mix — honouring young worker safety and the organization with the best health and safety culture in the country.
Young worker safety
It’s a sad fact but young workers under the age of 25 are much more likely to be injured on the job. The statistics are disturbing — more than 30,000 young Canadians were seriously injured on the job in 2013, and 30 were killed, according to the federal government.
It’s easy to gloss over statistics as just numbers, but not when it comes to worker safety. That’s 30,000 lives impacted, and 30,000 families who lost loved ones. It’s heartbreaking.
Because of this, we decided to launch a new category for 2015 to recognize employers for the best health and safety practices and leading initiatives specifically for young workers.
Health and safety culture
Canadian Occupational Safety has partnered with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services to launch a new award for 2015.
Canada’s Best Health + Safety Culture is the top prize of the night. It will go to the organization with the strongest health and safety culture in the country — a culture that not only permeates the workplace but extends into the employer’s community, networks and areas of influence to make health and safety a priority for all.
We’re still working on finalizing the criteria, which we are set to unveil on April 28 at the Partners in Prevention conference in Mississauga, Ont. For this award, we are choosing three finalists — and we will announce the winner live on stage during the event.
This award is to safety what the best picture category is to the Oscars. If your organization has a safety culture that starts at the very top and cascades effectively through all levels of the company, you should seriously consider applying for this prestigious award.
Nominations for this special category open on May 4.
Another award that will be of special interest to HR professionals is the Psychological Safety Award. 2015 is the second year we are presenting this award, in partnership with the Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.
We know the staggering toll attached to mental health in the workplace — we’ve quoted the figure many times in the pages of this publication. Mental health issues are expected to cost employers nearly $200 billion in lost productivity over the next 30 years, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Nominate your organization
You can nominate your organization, and find more information about all the other awards, by visiting www.safestemployers.com. In addition to the three awards I have mentioned here, there are industry-specific awards. Awards will be handed out in the following categories:
•Building and Construction
•Mining and Natural Resources (includes fish and forestry)
•Transportation (land, sea and air)
•Oil and Gas
•Public Sector / Non-profit
•Retail and Services
•Utilities and Electrical
There is also a wellness award for organizations with strong healthy workplace programs.
Nominations are open now for every category except for Canada’s Best Health + Safety Culture. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2015.
Winners will be celebrated at a special gala dinner held on Oct. 28, 2015, at the Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto. We hope to see you there.
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