The Safety Groups Program is designed to promote health and safety in the workplace. This is accomplished through mentoring, pooling of resources and sharing of best practices among member firms and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Member firms can receive, along with improved safety records, financial benefits, in the form of rebates from the WSIB.
Landscape Ontario has sponsored a safety group made up of firms from the horticultural, agricultural, landscape, grounds maintenance, garden centre, and nursery sector, with a total group rebate on WSIB insurance premiums of $1,566,765.
Safety Group members take survey
In a survey conducted in late 2014, a total of 649 Safety Groups members expressed their thoughts on the program. Results show that 44 per cent of companies interviewed employ less than 100 workers, and a further 30 per cent were firms that employ between 100 and 300.
Most of those who took part in the survey stated that it is the ability to interact with all the other companies. “It's invaluable. It's amazing. It's great; the opportunity to sit in the same room with competitors or trades in the workplace and share experiences and day-to-day stuff. We feed off each other. They give us ideas and we give them our ideas. It's a great resource for information,” wrote one member. To view the results, go to Safety Groups Survey.
At the start of the year, member firms select five safety elements from a list provided by the WSIB. Firms attend meetings, share ideas and pool resources; learning from each other how to put these initiatives into place.
At the end of the year, the safety group can receive a rebate, based on the entire group's success in the program. For example, if the average firm implements 60 per cent of its changes, then the group will receive 60 per cent of the potential rebate.
To participate in the Safety Groups Program a firm must:
- Have commitment from the owner or senior management to participate in the program.
- Create and enhance a safety culture in the workplace.
- Be a schedule 1 firm.
- In good standing with WSIB.
- Committed to participating for at least one-full calendar year.
- Be in only one safety group at a time.
- Not a member of the Safe Communities Incentive Program.
- Participate in at least three safety group meetings throughout the year.
- Complete baseline and year-end assessments of the firm's health and safety program strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop and implement an action plan of health and safety elements.
- Keep sponsor informed of progress.
Along with its portion of the group's rebate, a member firm continues to receive refunds or surcharges under its regular experience rating program (NEER, CAD-7, or MAPP), based on individual performance.
In addition to financial gains, safety group members stand to gain:
- Improved public perception
- Increased productivity
- Improved quality
- Healthy and stable workforce
- Increased employee morale
- Access to health and safety resources
- Enhanced Access to WSIB Network
If your firm is committed to improving health and safety and interested in the safety group program, contact:
Toll Free: 1-800-265-5656
Phone: (905) 875-1805
The Safety Groups Program (SGP) is an innovative initiative the WSIB has implemented to help eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses in Ontario. This 5year program is voluntary and rewards firms that implement effective health and safety and return to work measures into their daily business.
How the group works; at the beginning of each year, your firm selects five safety elements that it will initiate or improve upon from the Safety Groups' Achievement List provided by the WSIB. Your firm will learn how to implement these initiatives through attending meetings, sharing ideas and pooling resources. At the end of the year, your group can receive a rebate based on the entire groups' success in implementing their selected safety elements. In each subsequent year, firms are required to maintain their elements from the previous year and pick five new ones.
at Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) www.wsps.ca
Click here to download a brochure on Safety Groups