Start a Safety Revolution — Gradually

WCTA-WorkSafe-logo200By Marnie Douglas

What does it take to get a safety revolution going in your workplace? For starters, it needs to happen gradually, says Deanna Davis, keynote speaker at the annual Upper Island Safety Conference, that took place this year May 27-28 in Campbell River, B.C.

Davis, one of two keynotes at this year’s conference, says organizations often approach changing their safety programs and policies like New Year’s resolutions — fast, and with large, unattainable goals. Rather, she suggests organizations make small, steady changes in key areas. By building momentum and keeping it simple, employees will be much less resistant and more willing to make lasting changes.

This “small-steps philosophy” helps disable the fear, stress, and resistance that keep individuals from adopting safer behaviours, and organizations from creating a culture supportive of such changes. As an example, Davis says it’s much easier to start by giving someone a five-point safety checklist rather than a 100-page safety manual.

Smaller Firms Urged to get on Board

Conference organizer Susan Bullock says the event is designed to appeal to smaller businesses and municipalities, with a variety of safety-related topics, from working outdoors in bear country to looking at the true cost of a workplace incident. The fourth annual event took place at the Campbell River Community Centre and also included a trade show and silent auction.