Nestlé Waters Canada is the gold winner in the manufacturing category for the 2014 Canada's Safest Employers Awards
In the fast-paced Nestlé Waters Canada environment of bottling and delivering water to more than 145 retailers across the country, rushing is not tolerated.
“To delight our customers and work safely, staff need to react with urgency,” says Dwight Carey, central region safety, health and environment manager. “That’s very different from rushing, which can lead to shortcuts and hazards.”
During the busy summer season, the pace intensifies and seasonal workers augment the 400 regular employees in plants around the country. When the Guelph, Ont.-based company gets a rush order from a Toronto customer, it can be produced and on the shelves the same day. The challenge is to make safe decisions while meeting high expectations. Staff members need to avoid lifting incorrectly, driving a forklift too quickly or forgetting some critical safety practices.
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According to Debbie Moore, president, Nestlé Waters Canada, the company has achieved many milestones in its continuing journey toward zero lost-time incidents in the workplace. The milestones have shown not only progress, but also identified gaps and opportunities — and celebrated employee-driven safety efforts. And they are marked by solid results.
“For example, as of August 2014, Nestlé Waters Canada had worked 688 days without a lost-time injury, and first-aid injuries in 2013 had dropped by 30 per cent,” adds Carey.
Over the past few years, safety has evolved from being a priority — a metric — into a value, making it part of the company’s belief system. It has meant building a culture of high standards and encouraging everyone to speak up about hazards and get involved in all programs.
“It is also about promoting a mindset of injury prevention among workers to protect themselves, their peers and the environment,” says Carey.
One of the big successes is the Care Card program, which encourages employees to fill out a card when they see someone working at risk and use it as a basis for documenting discussions about safety issues to pre-empt injuries. Topics could include untidy spaces that might lead to slips and falls or a new employee using the wrong tool for a job.
The values philosophy is underlined by OHSAS 18000 certification, which demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to exceeding minimum regulatory requirements and focusing on continuous improvement.
“Our commitment to safety is all about protecting our number 1 asset: our people,” says Carey. “And their safety will not be sacrificed in pursuit of other business targets.”