Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to reveal the answer.
Q: I'm a small residential construction company, why do I need a written safety program?
A: High risk industries, such as construction, are required by law to maintain an Occupational Health and Safety program (Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 3.1 (1)(a)(ii) and 3.16 (2) (b). The OHSR mandates that a Health and Safety program be an active process and not simply a manual on the shelf. The Regulations state that an OHS program "must be designed to prevent injuries and occupational diseases." (OHSR 3.3) The Regulations are specific that a company must hold regular inspections and tailgate meetings. The OHSR states that a company must maintain proper records and documentation to prove that safety measures are being taken. Such records would include maintenance logs, worker orientations and incident reports.
Q: As a General Contractor, I do not have employees. I subcontract my work to framing contractors and other trades people. Why do I need to be concerned about managing a Health and Safety Program?
A: According to the OHSR, the prime contractor is ultimately responsible for safety on the job site for all workers, whether they are an employee or subcontracted. The prime contractor of a multiple-employer workplace must coordinate all of the Occupational Health and Safety actives related to the workplace and do everything that is reasonably practicable to establish and maintain a system or process that will comply with the OHSR. (OHSR Part 3 sec 118)
A General Contractor cannot avoid legal responsibility for workplace safety by subcontracting out work. In fact, subcontracting without managing OHS obligations can create legal complications that may have serious financial impacts for a General Contractor.
Q: In this competitive market, how do I convince homeowners to pay for the cost of a safety program? A homeowner is only interested in the lowest bid.
Homeowners are considered the prime contractor when hiring someone to work for them. In Part 3, Sect 118 of the OHSR it clearly states that the homeowner is liable for workplace safety unless he/she enters into a written agreement with a contractor which directly states that the contractor will take over the responsibility for Health and Safety.
Someone has to be responsible for workplace Health and Safety. A homeowner cannot avoid liability if someone is injured on the jobsite. Either he/she empowers the General Contractor to manage an effective Health and Safety program, or the homeowner must bear the cost of a worksite accident.
Often homeowners are not aware of their legal responsibility and need to be educated during the contract process.
Safety Solutions at Work helps General Contractors manage their Health and Safety program for a very affordable rate.
Q: My manufacturing company is operating with the LEAN program. How can we manage our resources and still afford a Health and Safety program?
A: Operating LEAN is wonderful goal for a company. However, there must always be a balance maintained between Quality, Productivity and Safety. If any aspect is neglected, an organization becomes ineffective and vulnerable. Safety is not an area that can be ignored. If a company thinks that safety is expensive, imagine the cost of an accident!
To be effective, a Health and Safety program must integrate with other management systems. By considering all management systems as a whole, a company can create a very efficient and effective machine. The solution is to continuously improve your management systems and to look for ways to be more efficient in the processes.
Investing in a comprehensive and effective Health and Safety management system will provide value for a customer by eliminating the true waste of an accident or incident: lost time, loss of man hours, damage to equipment, cost of claims, cost of rehabilitation, cost of negative work environment, and cost of fines and penalties. Striving to eliminate accidents is true cost savings!
Q: How do I know that my safety program is effective?
A: To know whether or not a system is effective, you need to determine what outcomes that you want see and if there is evidence that you have achieved these outcomes.
A company may look at factors such as the cost of implementation, the ease of implementing the system, user acceptance and annual cost to maintain the system. By analyzing statistics and injury trends, a company can see whether the system has saved money on injury claims. Furthermore, a company needs to look at more qualitative measurements such as improved worker morale, improved public perception, increased sense of control and improved organization and functioning of systems.
When weighing the costs and benefits of a safety program, a company may ask itself "what is the worst thing that could happen?" Company owners do not want to see their people get hurt. A company does not want the monetary cost of an accident or the enormous cost to a company's reputation. The effectiveness of a Health and Safety Management System can be measured by whether or not the system meets the standard of due diligence: Have all reasonable measures been taken to prevent accident or injury on the jobsite?
Implementing an auditing process will assist in measuring standards. The COR audit process sets a nationally recognized standard for Health and Safety Management Systems. This standard is industry recognized and frequently required to work with larger companies. COR certification also gives the additional benefit of a maximum 15% rebate on a company's Worksafe premiums.
The COR audit process is a useful tool in determining whether your company's safety program measures up.
Contact us to find more about how our affordable services can help your business.