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Safety managers: Rebate money should go to H&S spending

By Mari-Len De Guzman
| www.cos-mag.com

Rebate money issued to employers under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Experience Rating System should be reinvested in safety programs and not be part of a company’s revenue stream.

This was the suggestion of some safety practitioners to officials of the WSIB during one of the sessions at this year’s Human Resources Professionals Association Conference.

Rebate money issued to employers under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Experience Rating System should be reinvested in safety programs and not be part of a company’s revenue stream.

This was the suggestion of some safety practitioners to officials of the WSIB during one of the sessions at this year’s Human Resources Professionals Association Conference.

“We’re now looking at that,” said John Slinger, chief operations officer at the WSIB, in response to the participants’ comments about the Experience Rating System, which is essentially an incentive program for employers to get a premium rebate for good safety performance.

The WSIB Experience Rating System is currently undergoing a review, following a controversial report last year that showed companies involved in workplace accidents have been getting rebate money from the program. WSIB chair Steve Mahoney immediately called for a review of the program.

Even Mahoney seems to be leaning towards the direction of requiring companies to reinvest rebates in safety-related programs. At his NAOSH Week launch keynote in Ottawa last year, Mahoney said it’s one of the things the WSIB is considering in its review of the program.

“One of the things I’d like to see is that any rebate that comes back to a company goes directly back into health and safety…Put the money directly back in better equipment, better training, better information, seminars, whatever you need to do. Don’t put it to your bottom-line, that’s not where it belongs, because the reason you got the rebate is that the men and women who work for you did their jobs safely,” Mahoney said.

At the HRPA session, Slinger said the Experience Rating System is still under review and that the incentive program is being revamped to align with the agency’s new service delivery model and other initiatives, including the Road to Zero campaign.

“The Road to Zero is really our commitment around prevention, service excellence, financial sustainability and organizational excellence,” Slinger said.

The WSIB will also launch this year a pilot implementation on a new accreditation process similar to ISO 180001, according to Roger Cecchetto, WSIB assistant director of prevention standards and incentives, who was co-presenting with Slinger at the HRPA conference.

Cecchetto talked about prevention as a strategy in creating a health and safety culture in the organization, in which employee engagement is a vital component.

“The conversation around leading indicators and prevention is the same as employee engagement,” he said.

The HRPA conference is an annual event attended by more than 3,000 HR professionals from across Ontario and around the world. This year’s event, held in Toronto in last January, included several well-attended sessions on workplace health and safety including the WSIB presentation, a session on safety leadership, workplace violence, ergonomics and workplace drug testing.

Some of the presentations may be downloaded from the HRPA website.

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