I’ve been following up with NAOSH Week 2011 winners and contacted TJ Garcha, health & safety coordinator for the BC Institute of Technology. He told me about BCIT’s NAOSH Week entry that won them the Educational Institutions category for the fifth year in a row.
In 2011, BCIT turned the NAOSH Week challenge into a WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) challenge. WHMIS training is mandatory for all BCIT employees, so one of the organization’s goals was to increase staff participation in WHMIS training. To be eligible for a prize, BCIT employees had to complete their WHMIS training and then enter their name into the prize pool before the end of NAOSH Week.
This year the prize pool was bigger than ever, with 35 prizes and lots of giveaways from health and safety exhibitors. “Any time there are prizes or incentives involved, the interest level of participants goes up,” said TJ.
Other activities included “lunch and learn” sessions – on topics like “Major Events and Radiation Contamination” and the general NAOSH theme: “Prepared? What’s Your Plan?” – along with online quizzes (one for each of the five NAOSH week days) and a popular kids’ colouring contest.
“Everyone at BCIT was reminded that the more entries they got in, the better chances they had in winning a prize,” TJ said, describing “meal vouchers for use at BCIT eateries, custom hearing protection, high quality ear muffs, and a variety of gift cards from Starbucks, Toys-R-Us and Future Shop.”
Marketing NAOSH Week activities on campus
According to TJ, the campus atmosphere really lends itself to NAOSH participation.
“With a large number of students and employees on campus, advertising and marketing is quite effective and this generates interest for our many events throughout the year,” he said. “Also, with the Exhibition, we didn’t need to invite the community – the event was brought to the community. This approach helps maximize participation.”
BCIT’s health & safety exhibition during NAOSH Week included Acklands Grainger; Alda Pharmaceuticals; ER Plus; Community Fire Prevention Ltd.; F.A.S.T.; Sperian; Mediquest; Custom Protect Ear; WorkSafeBC; Wasserman Partners; Evolution Radio 107.9 FM; BCIT Safety, Security & Emergency Management; BCIT Human Resources; BCIT Audiometric Office; BCIT Recreation Services.
“Overall, NAOSH Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about Health & Safety issues to the community through a variety of different mediums. The awareness benefits everyone,” TJ said. “While organizing these fun and interactive activities, we (the organizers) learn a lot ourselves. The experience is very rewarding.”
Congratulations to BCIT and thanks to TJ for telling me his story. Visit the 2012 NAOSH Week website for more info.