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Safety Culture or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Safety

Do you remember the first day of your current job? Or your first day of school? It’s always an interesting and slightly terrifying experience. Will my co-workers think my lunch is weird? What if I’m not dressed like everyone else? Is my new boss going to be awesome? (By the way, he totally is awesome!)

Being the new face is not always easy, but the last few weeks have flown by with all the learning I have done. With 70 programs, 62 years of history, and fantastic staff, it’s been a blast getting to know the Council. The biggest thing that sticks with me is the great ‘Safety Culture’ that happens in the Council. Safety Culture is the attitude, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety in the workplace.

On the first day, there was a tour of the office with the standard introductions and where to find pens, but then there was the ‘Safety Orientation’ with Ryan, the CEO. The Council has a Safety Manual composed of approximately 120 pages of information, covering everything from using ladders to handling emergencies to even bug bites. It makes sense that the Council would have this large safety manual for their employees.

All backed in! Scoring brownie points with Rob.

But what makes a great safety culture? During the tour, Rob (the awesome new boss), noticed I had parked with the front of my car towards the wall. Rob had indicated in passing that, “Backing into a parking spot is the safer way. If you can do that, it would be a safer choice.” Flashback to being 16 at driving school and learning defensive driving techniques. Backing into a parking spot is safer because when you approach the parking spot you see what is there right before you back in, and, when you leave, perhaps tired, you have greater visibility of the space you are moving into. One also has no control over what or how the person next to them parks. If I pull my car nose-in to a spot and then a larger vehicle parks close to me, it is difficult when backing out to see what is approaching from the sides.

Needless to say, guess who backs into a parking spot at work now? Merissa does! 

A side effect of a great safety culture is that employees will take home the safety learned at work and translate it into their personal life.

Within a few weeks, the safety culture of the Council is blending into my personal life. Backing into parking spots while running errands, ensuring that I am visible on an evening walk, and putting things away immediately to ensure there are no tripping hazards.

Creating a great safety culture in a workplace doesn't’t happen overnight. But spreading safe attitudes, beliefs, and values with employees, co-workers, managers, vice-presidents, and CEOs can create a better safety culture. The Council offers training on creating safety culture, where we want to work together to achieve a safe Saskatchewan.

You can also participate in our #SafeChoice social media contest for a chance to win a $10,000 CAA  travel voucher!

-Merissa
 
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