October 31, 2018
Samantha Romanick says she’s riding high after her company received a perfect score on its Safety Group validation audit and a substantial rebate on its 2016 workers compensation premiums.

Romanick is Health and Safety Coordinator for The Sarjeant Co. Ltd., an Ontario supplier of ready mix concrete and aggregates, and heating and air conditioning services. The company has been a member of Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) Safety Group program for the past three years.
Firms that successfully complete a year in a WSPS Safety Group are able to earn financial rewards while building or improving their health and safety program. “We worked hard and had great success,” says Romanick, “and we’ve got great health and safety policies and procedures in place because of it.”
How Safety Groups work
Safety Groups is a performance-based rebate program developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Over one calendar year, member firms work together on health and safety program elements designed to reduce injury frequency and severity. Successful firms receive rebates of 5-6 per cent on their total premiums paid to the WSIB for recognition of health and safety efforts and investments in health and safety.
In 2016, the most recent year for which results are available, WSPS members collectively achieved a 9.38 per cent drop in lost-time injury frequency and a 10.23 per cent reduction in injury severity. These results earned them a collective $7.4 million rebate, distributed among all members.
Members join a local chapter for a year at a time. From a list of over 50 elements, or health and safety topics, each member firm selects four to work on as key organizational goals to improve their health and safety performance. For instance, one of Sergeant’s focuses this year was slips, trips, and falls. All members also work on a fifth common element. They learn how to implement the elements at meetings facilitated by WSPS consultants who share their expertise, direct members to WSPS resources, and encourage them to exchange ideas and best practices.
Sarjeant’s experience
When Sarjeants joined WSPS’ Safety Group three years ago, the company knew it needed to do some work on the health and safety program. “We had some decent policies and procedures in place, but we really needed to go further,” says Romanick.
Members go through five steps for each element they choose: set the standard, communicate, train, evaluate, acknowledge success and make improvements. Every year, a sampling of firms is selected for a validation audit, in which a WSIB consultant verifies their self-reported program achievements.
After three years, The Sarjeant Co. is well on the way to having a more robust health and safety program. “More than anything else, it’s really brought health and safety awareness to all the staff. The training and communication have ensured that employees understand the policies and procedures, and why they are important,” Romanick says.
Looking ahead to 2019
Romanick is planning for a fourth year in the WSPS Safety Group and looks forward to networking more with other organizations in the group.
For more information on the Safety Groups program visit the WSPS website. Sign up by Oct. 31, 2018 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.