Canadian Contractor

The Health and Safety Excellence Program – building a safer Ontario

New program is designed to make businesses healthier and safer


February 5, 2020
By Rod Cook

Rod Cook is the WSIB Vice President of Workplace Health and Safety Services

When it comes to accidents in the workplace, hindsight is always 20/20. Now, with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) new Health and Safety Excellence program, there is a clear path to help businesses make workplaces healthier and safer. The program provides a roadmap for businesses in Ontario to develop health and safety systems based on best practice, and it makes health and safety accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Some businesses may be looking to build a new system, while others want to improve what’s already in place – the Health and Safety Excellence program is flexible to tailor to individual business needs to help boost health and safety outcomes and culture. Success in the program can also earn premium rebates as well as non-financial recognition.

The program is built on 36 topics spread across three levels – foundation, intermediate and advanced – to help develop and integrate health and safety management systems into workplaces and take a business from awareness to excellence.

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The WSIB has made it easy to get started.

First, a business can choose and register with a WSIB-approved health and safety provider listed on the program’s website. Providers offer different supports to meet business needs, including support through in-person coaching, online, or over the phone.

The second step is to complete an online health and safety assessment. The assessment helps to evaluate what’s already in place and what may be missing and suggests program topics that address each business’s unique needs. These topics can be completed at a pace and time that works best for each business – there is no time limitation.
At the third and final step, a business will submit simple documentation to the WSIB to show that a topic was completed. Once validated, the business will be eligible for financial and other incentives for every topic completed.

Financial incentives

Success in the program means saving money, paying lower premiums and receiving rebates on WSIB premiums. For example, depending on its size, a business could receive a 1.4 per cent to 2 per cent rebate per topic. Most importantly, investments in health and safety prevent future workplace accidents and the costs associated with such events.

Work towards accreditation

The Health and Safety Excellence program can also help businesses achieve a best practice standard, such as COR2020 or ISO 45001, and can also help businesses meet the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers accreditation standard. Once a business has completed the Health and Safety Excellence program, and implemented and maintained a strong health and safety management system within its business, it should be ready for the third-party audit required to verify they meet one of the approved accreditation standards under the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development’s Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program, including ISO, COR, CSA, or OHSAS.

In 2020, we look forward to working with businesses to create healthier and safer workplaces, and a healthier and safer Ontario. Let’s turn hindsight into foresight, together.

For more information, please visit the WSIB’s website.