Changing safety culture in manufacturing

Terry Bogyo

Terry Bogyo is the Director of Corporate Planning and Development for WorkSafeBC, and he’s the keynote speaker at the Make It Safe Conference Sept 21 and 22 in Vancouver. We had a conversation, via email, about safety in manufacturing, in which Terry talked about the link between improved safety culture and improved safety outcomes.

SM: What needs to change in the manufacturing safety culture?

TB: Every worksite has a safety culture. It may be good or bad but it is real and it is an important determinant in work-related injury and disease. I’ve seen examples in Canada, US, and Australia where individual firms have set out to change their safety culture and succeeded. The results are safer, healthier workplaces often with lower costs and higher productivity. Knowing that, learning from those who have taken that path, and making it real in your own firms is what needs to change.

SM: What are some of the industry efforts now in place?

TB: Changing the safety culture has to come from the industry, the firms, and their employees who make up the food and other manufacturing sectors. The creation of FIOSA-MIOSA – something supported by the industry – is an important step in that direction. Putting more information about risks and ways of controlling them in the hands of those in the workplace is another important step, one that FIOSA-MIOSA and WorkSafeBC is working hard to achieve. Efforts to improve the timeliness and accessibility of that information are continuing and essential to the change in safety culture.

SM: How will the Make it Safe Conference help to change the safety culture in manufacturing? What will delegates get out of it?

TB: Knowledge is essential to change. What this conference will do is give delegates new ways of understanding safety, safety culture, and the path we need to take to achieve safe and healthy workplaces in the manufacturing sector. This conference has the potential to change you, the way you think, and most importantly, the way you act to “make it safe”.

SM: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the conference?

TB: Deciding to attend is the first step. What you ultimately get out this conference depends on you, your participation, your desire to learn from others. This conference can be your first step to making a difference in your workplace, making it safe for everyone. And what could be more important than that?

Terry Bogyo blogs at Workers Compensation Perspectives.


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