Pacific Safety – Partners in Workplace Safety – Safety Consultants Vancouver, BC Partners in Workplace Safety

Navigating the Future of OHS

Date: 17th October 2016

At the recent CSSE Professional Development Conference, here in Vancouver, Pacific Safety had one question for attendees:  Tell us what’s on your mind when it comes to OHS in Canada and
become part of our living mural at booth #17?

We received varied and thoughtful responses from the attendees who came from across Canada, and as far away as Australia and Africa.

There was alignment and consensus on the need to change the culture of safety in Canadian workplaces, greater employee engagement, providing healthy workplaces, focus on continual improvement, and balanced H&S roles and responsibilities in the workplace.

We also found interesting ideas such as inclusion of H&S into school curriculum, various calls for greater support of OHS students, graduates, and young professionals, a singular national OHS standard between all provinces and territories, and better use of technology to enhance safety knowledge and practice

This chart shows some of the more popular concepts shared on our dynamic mural that our wonderful artist, Annalee Kornelson created throughout the conference.


Thought Trends

Many of the descriptions used to describe attendees’ thoughts referenced culture.   Looking a little closer at the categorizations in the top ten, many of them have very defined links to what many would identify as aspects of leading positive safety culture in the workplace:

  • Aligned perception of safety issues within all organizational stakeholders
  • Employee engagement
  • Balanced responsibilities between the OHS professional, supervisors, and workers
  • Effective OHS training and education

Culture is definitely influenced positively and negatively by the presence or absence of the above characteristics.  Those that responded to our question seem to have identified a trend towards improving culture by incorporating the above in an effective manner.

A second trend that was identified was the recurrence of youth as a theme.  There was virtually a lifecycle of concern for the young in relation to early education and awareness of OHS up to them becoming young OHS professionals.  Thoughts that came up regularly were:

  • Elementary school students receiving education on safety fundamentals in the curriculum
  • OHS students need to receive internships, sponsorship and support from the working world
  • The importance of ongoing development, mentorship, and coaching of young safety professionals.
  • The importance of networking and building knowledge amongst OHS professionals in general

In short, there were many thoughts on instilling good safety knowledge and awareness from a young age to ensure that as young students develop, their awareness of health and safety grows to provide guidance throughout their growth and development. Comments indicated hope that this awareness could continue beyond student’s education and into their young working careers.

It appeared that respondents hoped that some of these students would choose to further develop their OHS knowledge to become young, capable, confident, and competent safety professionals, while others develop into workplace employees, supervisors, managers with a healthy understanding of workplace health and safety.

Regardless of their role in the workplace, the vision appears to be that they all have a fundamental awareness, and respect for safety in the workplace. If this is the case perhaps it may prove to be the key to the future of navigating health and safety in Canadian work places across the country to keep Canadians safe, from Victoria, to St. Johns, Sydney or Ghana.

If you would like a copy of our dynamic mural that captures the vision of the future of OHS, click here.

Better yet, click on this link, and let’s book a time to talk about the opportunities available to contribute to the development of the next generation of safety conscious workers, supervisors, managers, and safety professionals to help navigate towards world class OHS culture, and healthier, safer workplaces for Canadians everywhere.


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