One of the things about starting a new job is learning about all of the programs and services that an organization has to offer and how they will impact what you do. Having worked with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) through the Fleet Safety Council (FSC) over the years, I thought that I had this part of my orientation covered. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. Since I started back in March I’ve been introduced to so many great programs it’s incredible. One program in particular is what I’d like to focus on today.
The Health and Safety Excellence Program (HESP) really stood out to me. It’s actually a WSIB performance based rewards program that is designed to provide businesses with a clear road map to improving their health and safety processes and systems. That all sounds great and something that I hope would peek the interest of some of the commercial transportation companies I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years but it get’s even better. Participants that create safer workplaces can earn both financial and non-financial rewards. So you actually have the opportunity to be rewarded for making your workplace safer? Now you can see why this caught my attention.
The way the program works is that you are connected with a WSIB provider, which IHSA is one of, and they are there to help you develop the skills, abilities and required resources towards the 36 different health and safety topics outlined in the program. Let me stop there! You don’t have to tackle all 36 at once, actually you can’t even if you wanted to. As a participant in this program you can take on up to 5 of the topics per year. You can choose 1 or 5, your call. The more you complete the higher the rebate you are entitled to and it’s not based on a calendar year but rather from the date you enroll.
To make it easier the program has been divided up into three tiers. So depending on where you are from a health and safety perspective you can choose:
- Foundations: For companies that are looking at getting started with their health and safety programs
- Intermediate: For companies that would like to build upon the program they have started and bridge any identified gaps
- Advanced: For companies that have a more managed system in place they can focus on handling and testing what they have
Looks like there’s something here for the any size business. Awesome, let’s continue and see what else it offers…
There are four phases to the program:
- Join: Enrollment into the program which includes completing an internal assessment
- Develop: Developing the standards for the topics you’d like to work on for the next year
- Demonstrate: The validation stage where you get to show off what you’ve accomplished
- Achieve: Financial rebates and non-financial recognition
I’ve mentioned non-financial recognition a couple of times so let me elaborate a bit. Successful completion and implementation of topics comes with a performance recognition badge that you can proudly display on your website, marketing material etc. What a great way to demonstrate to prospective employees, potential customers and to the whole industry that you are committed to safety. Even when you join you receive a member recognition badge.
As an IHSA member in the program you will have support as well. An IHSA HESP consultant will be there with you from the beginning to help you review your action plans and even make recommendations through a pre-submission review. You’re also invited to group meetings to network with other firms that are in the program or if you prefer join one of the regular webinars that IHSA hosts on this topic. Your IHSA HESP consultant will even provide one-on-one consultation. Lastly, as a member you have access to a site that contains program documents, sample standards, access to e-learning and more.
One thing that I learned early in my career was that one of the biggest challenges for a safety professional is demonstrating that safety doesn’t have to cost to you money but rather in the long run it can actually save you money. Now there’s a program that gives you all this support to implement programs and you can financially benefit from it in the end.
We all know that the biggest benefit is a healthier and safer workplace but the financial and non-financial benefits are great to. I would really encourage commercial transportation companies in Ontario, no matter your size, to have a look at the program. The long term benefits are great.
If you’re interested in learning more about the program and how you can be rewarded for improving you health and safety systems for please visit IHSA’s Health and Safety Excellence Program page on our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be sure to follow-up with you.