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Occupational Health & Safety
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Workplace health and safety culture: a little goes a long way

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Workplace Health and Safety

In the workplace, what is the difference between a risk and a hazard, and which one should be prioritized for prevention?

A risk is the probability of being exposed to a hazard. In a factory, for example, an unprotected, raised mezzanine is a hazard. As soon as a worker walks on it, there's a risk that he or she could fall off. 
The primary objective is to eliminate hazards, then manage the remaining risks. In the previous example, eliminating the risk could mean eliminating work on the mezzanine or adding guardrails.

What is risk analysis, and how does it work? 

Risk analysis is just like taking a photo to get an overall picture of a situation. The first step is to identify the risks present, and then to measure each one to check whether it is adequately controlled, or whether optimization is necessary. 
To achieve this, you can use a free template offered by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). This tool enables you to collect data, evaluate it and apply control measures. However, it will then be necessary to return to it whenever there is a change to the process, or on an annual basis, to ensure that the level is deemed acceptable and under control.

How are risks to be managed and mechanisms to be deployed prioritized?

The risks to be prioritized are those with the lowest security rating in the analysis table. In other words, those subject to less stringent control measures. Or risks linked to CNESST zero tolerances, which are a greater source of fatal accidents.
In this respect, staff members are your best sources of information. They are the users, the ones who know the specific risks and can suggest prevention initiatives.

How can control methods be prioritized?

Whichever solution best fits your reality is the best one. Let's take the example of an interlocking system for machine safety. Admittedly, this is a more expensive structure to install than a fixed guard. However, in the latter case, since operation requires several steps and tools, it will prove time-consuming. Conclusion: this investment will be neither profitable nor relevant to your operations.

How important is it to involve peers and other collaborators in the search for workplace health and safety solutions?

In Quebec, under the 2021 law modernizing the workplace health and safety regime (LMRSST), companies with 20 or more employees must form a health and safety committee.
Among its functions, it will review the incidents of the past year, then suggest corrective measures. It will then issue prevention-related recommendations. The establishment of this committee represents one of the key stages in the company's commitment to workplace health and safety. It is one of the first steps towards an integrated health and safety culture, by raising awareness not only among management, but also among other individuals (workers, peers, managers, etc.). 
This can be directly associated with fewer accidents and better financial performance in workplace health and safety. Moreover, it fosters a higher retention rate, a significant factor in a context of labour scarcity. Finally, it results in greater employee mobilization, collaboration and participation.

Why is it necessary to review actions and reflect on changes in the spirit of prevention?

By analyzing changes, we can make the necessary corrections and adjustments, as today's perfect solution may one day become obsolete. So, taking a step back and having a fresh look at a given situation enables progress to be made. It's easy to implement changes, but the real challenge is to sustain them. Patience is the key to success. 
Consistency and coherence in workplace health and safety practices and discourse are also essential. It is therefore imperative not only to adhere strictly to established policies, but also to not be afraid of sanctioning misconduct. This action puts an end to doubts and ensures the durability of new methods, which sometimes generate uncooperative attitudes among staff. A negative leader, even a productive one, is not an asset to your company. Sanctioning bad behavior shows that you're serious about health and safety in the workplace.

What can Lussier's experts contribute to this process?

We offer support wherever companies need it, whether in prevention, workplace health and safety audits, risk identification, training, policy drafting or other specialized programs.
We also offer on-the-job outsourcing, which greatly facilitates the implementation of a prevention turnaround. Here too, our approach is personalized and tailored to your organization's specific issues. Our aim is to help you become the best version of yourself in terms of workplace health and safety, with our specific approach tailored to your needs, all carried out by experts and dedicated professionals.