Have you ever wondered how Workers' Compensation rates are calculated in Nova Scotia? As a business owner, understanding how your business is charged the applicable assessment rate can help you create a benchmark for safety performance and lower your compensation premiums over time based on your company's experience rating. For detailed information on how the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia calculates their rate premiums, please visit their website here.
The process of selecting a safety consultant can be a daunting task. Whenever a company seeks the services of a consultant, they are looking solve a problem that the company’s in-house employees do not have the time, resources or experience to solve on their own. If there is not an established relationship with a tried and tested consultant, interviewing and selecting a person to help can compound the problem and add uncertainty into the mix.
To paraphrase Alan Weiss, Ph.D., an expert on business consulting: the role of any good consultant is to improve state of their client’s business. In other words, a consultant should always leave their client’s business in better shape than when they started their project. Below I have listed four ways that businesses can improve their chances of selecting a reputable
consultant to serve their occupational health and safety needs:
1 – Review their credentials. Most reputable designating bodies have a strict set of academic, experiential and ethical guidelines that their membership must follow. If you are unsure of what the letters behind a person’s name mean, a quick chat with an in-house safety person should be able to decipher what the letters indicate.
2 – Try to thoroughly examine the problem that requires the services of the consultant. By better understanding why the business needs the consultant’s services, it will be possible to develop measures of success during the project. Clearly defined needs help to establish milestones in the consulting relationship that will later be used to determine if the project is on track or if the business should not use the consultant in the future due to deviations from the expected benchmarks.
3 – Speak face-to-face with potential candidates. Many deals can be brokered over the phone or through email, but when trying to develop a trusting relationship with the consultant, it is always best to meet in person.
4 – Ask for referrals. Request that the consultant provide a list of contacts from current or recent previous clients. If the consulting relationship is or was beneficial with these contacts, then the likelihood is good that the relationship will be beneficial for the contracting business as well. In some cases, the organization in charge of regulating occupational health and safety in your area may have a list of “approved” consultants that can be used to shortlist candidates to help your
Hopefully these suggestions can help your business select the most appropriate consultant for your company’s needs. For more information, please see the contact us page.
One problem that many businesses face is their employees ignoring the information that is posted on the "Safety Board". In my experience, the safety board is relied on too heavily to communicate detailed company information that could be more effectively reviewed in a toolbox meeting or a brief discussion with workers.
How many people do you know that would willingly stand in front of the board and read though every policy or safe work practice that is posted there? I don't know many Safety Professionals that would want to, let alone workers and supervisors. Having said that, it is still an excellent place to post policy statements that are required by law in most jurisdictions.
So, what can we do to improve how our safety boards communicate to our workers? Below are some improvements that I feel will greatly improve your company's safety board if they are implemented:
1) Review material with workers in a meeting before it gets posted on the board.
Review the key aspects of what you plan to post before you actually post it. During the meeting, call attention to certain sections that may be too detailed or may not apply specifically to your audience and inform meeting participants that the information will be posted for everyone's review.
2) Post the board in a "real" common area.
Place the information where people will actually see it. If you post the information in a hallway where some people will go but rarely stop to read, what good is the information?
3) Use colour.
Using colour rather than black and white or grayscale will usually draw people's attention to the board, regardless of the content. This is especially true when the board is posted in a common, high traffic area like a break room.
4) Use pictures of your workplace on the board.
When workers see familiar places or their co-workers embodying a safety message, it may create an emotional connection to the message that will help with retention. Just make sure that you have the person's permission before taking their picture and posting it.
5) Call attention to updates.
This can be as simple as using a highlighter marker or a coloured border on the page that has been updated. When we call attention to the updates, people will often tend to approach and investigate the update for themselves.
Hopefully these suggestions will help your company to communicate your safety messages to your workers.
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