City health & safety program results in cost savings

May 6, 2013 / For Immediate Release

Airdrie, AB – A continued commitment to a healthy and safe work environment resulted in the City of Airdrie recognizing significant cost savings in Workers Compensation Board (WCB) premiums and compensation costs.

An internal safety audit completed in the fall of 2012 allowed the City to maintain a Certificate of Recognition (COR) status with Alberta Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) and realize the associated rebate of five per cent of the 2012 WCB premiums. The City of Airdrie’s premium rate is $0.82, well below the industry rate of $1.33.

“The internal safety audit team completed 71 interviews, toured eight City facilities and processed 12 months of safety data,” said Shawn Justus, City of Airdrie health and safety coordinator. “This provided the City’s Health and Safety Committee the opportunity to get a true read on how the safety program has impacted the organization in 2011 and 2012 and demonstrated a number of successes.”

In 2012, the City of Airdrie introduced the Occupational Injury Service Program which is designed to work with employers and employees to ensure thorough and prompt medical treatment for employees and more detailed information for employers. The City has already recognized the positive impact of this program with a decrease in the number of medical visits requiring more than two appointments, the number of days for an employee to return to work, the City’s average reporting time to WCB and average costs per claim.

“A commitment by City departments to accommodate injured workers in a modified capacity reduced WCB claims by over $100,000 and allows the City to avoid an increase to future WCB premiums as a result,” added Justus. “The modified work program also ensures employees remain engaged in the workplace.”

The City also saw a decrease in the number of near miss incidents as well as property, equipment and environmental damage incidents in 2012 compared to 2011. However, a slight increase in the number of personal injuries, from 93 in 2012 compared to 64 in 2011 can be attributed to the renewed focus on training staff on the legal requirements for reporting, resulting in increased reporting. The majority of those injuries were minor in nature.

“Safety is an integral part of business, and ensuring the safety of our staff is always a priority,” said Paul Schulz, City Manager, City of Airdrie. “Changes in pre-and-post trip inspections, hazard and field level risk assessment training, as well as a new comprehensive training program for seasonal employees have assisted in decreasing property and equipment damages by eight per cent, year over year.”

In recognition of the North American Health and Safety (NAOSH) week, City staff will be attending a safety meeting to raise awareness of the overall health of the safety management system within the City of Airdrie.

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Media contact:

Shawn Justus, Health & Safety Coordinator
City of Airdrie
403. 948.8880 (ext. 8439)

 

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