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Safety is becoming a habit in Newfoundland and Labrador
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leslie Galway, CEO, Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission spoke at the national launch of NAOSH Week 2014 in St. John’s, Newfoundland on May 5, 2014.  

Good morning and thank you for this opportunity to bring greetings on behalf of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador.  

North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week presents an excellent opportunity to focus, reinforce and strengthen our commitment to health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our co-workers, our families and our communities.  

The theme of NAOSH Week for 2014 is "Make Safety a Habit".  As we reflect on this theme and how to integrate its meaning into our workplaces, we should consider what we mean by “habits,” and how they can help - or hinder - injury prevention.  A habit is an acquired behaviour pattern, regularly followed, until it becomes almost involuntary.  When we think twice before lifting, we have formed a habit. When we instinctively reach for our personal protective equipment, we have acquired a habit.  And when we refuse to enter a confined space until we have received training, we have developed a habit.  

I am very proud to stand here today to tell you that safety is becoming a habit in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In 2013, our workplace injury rate was the lowest in our 62 year history.  We remain one of the leaders in Canada for injury prevention.  Our lost-time incidence rate of 1.6 injuries per 100 workers could not have been achieved without the joint partnership between our employers, workers, and government - the partnership that is eloquently displayed in our NAOSH Week logo.   

Working together, the Commission and our partners have worked strategically to develop and implement a prevention strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador.  We have focused our efforts in occupational disease prevention, young worker safety, certification training standards, and safety sector council development.  And our strategic partnerships are paying dividends!  Our young workers are leading our province in injury prevention with a lost-time injury rate of 1.5 injuries per 100 workers, a 17% reduction over the past 5 years.  Our certification training standards are reducing injuries when workers are working at heights, entering confined spaces, or working in traffic control. Our safety sector councils in construction, forestry, municipalities, and fish harvesting are fostering industry partnerships, creating industry standards for safety, and advancing effective safety training at the industry level.  

The Commission is committed to making Newfoundland and Labrador workplaces safer for all workers, and we will continue to partner to make this a reality.  Whether it is partnering with the CNIB to deliver an Industrial Eye Safety Program or with Husky Energy to deliver first aid training for our high school students completing Workplace Safety 3220, we will continue to collaborate with our partners to make safety a habit. 

The Commission believes that all workplace injuries are preventable, and as such, we will not waver from our commitment to develop and deliver effective prevention programs and initiatives to keep our workers safe.

The Commission has a CEO Safety Charter, which has as one of its initiatives “Safety starts with me!”. In keeping with that philosophy, I would like to close today with my personal motto and its intended benefit: safety is inclusive, and it is shared. It will help to save my life and those I work with. If it helps others that I do not work with, all the better. If it helps our communities - superb. If it helps my family - what more would I want?

Share safety. Partner up. Spread the passion for safety and all the elements that go with it. Move with it. Lift it. Create it. Gift it.

Change one behavior at a time and you will make safety a habit.

Thank you.

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