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Strides in safety

September 25, 2018

Creating an injury-free workplace requires constant improvement of FCL’s safety standards and performance, while making sure employees have the tools they need to maintain those standards.

The Winnipeg Distribution Centre – which serves 212 Co-op locations in 132 Manitoba communities – has made enormous strides in safety between 2011 and 2017. In that time, it reduced the amount of time lost to injuries by 90 per cent.

In 2016, FCL’s Winnipeg Distribution Centre management team worked with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) to develop a custom Return to Work Program. The next year, supervisors and managers went through WCB Basics and Return to Work Basics training to ensure that everybody was informed and ready to comply with safety standards.

“The increased focus on safety has benefited everybody,” said Jim Burkitt, Regional Logistics Director at the Winnipeg Distribution Centre. “Everyone is working towards the same goal of zero injuries.”

Extensive group training sessions with all employees covered the custom WCB program, including more clarification from WCB staff about what constitutes a time-loss injury, for example. Awareness of the safety program is very high, thanks to some small changes.

FCL designated a bulletin board for all WCB information that is easily accessible by employees, and the Return to Work Program is now covered during each safety meeting. All new employees go through WCB and Return to Work training as part of their onboarding. If an employee is injured at work, FCL explains the Return to Work Program to them before they leave the building.

“There has been a significant change in the safety culture and a real sense of pride when you see the results,” said Burkitt. “Everyone is looking out for their own safety as well as their co-workers’, and they understand the importance of the Return to Work program.”

The program focuses on helping injured employees return to the workplace in the capacity that suits them. For example, employees who have injured an arm can take on duties that only require the use of one hand, like floor audits, or employees with back injuries can be given office duties which require no lifting.

The Return to Work Program – and its clear, consistent messaging from FCL and the WCB – is a vital part of the distribution centre’s safety success today.