Canadian Occupational Safety

October/November 2018

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 34 of 39

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 35 H Hundreds of thousands of people com- mute via bus, streetcar or subway every day in Toronto. Many of them have seen at least one of the "Here's why I work safe" posters. The posters show a father with his daughter, a man playing hockey with his buddies, a family photo in a wallet and a supervisor with his staff. The goal of the campaign is simply to remind people of what's at stake when health and safety rules are not followed or not taken seriously, according to Ontario's Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, which has been running the ads since 2016. The campaign garners an estimated 15 million impressions annually. Campaigns like these are effective in the general public and they can work within your organizations, too. Marketing is a very important component of any safety program, although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when safety professionals think about their job description. If the concept of health and safety is not sold to the worker — through effective marketing campaigns and communications — it's nearly impos- sible to get a high-level of engagement and a positive safety culture. "I think that safety has a bad rap — or at least not a good rap. When people come into the workforce, when they sign on with a company, they come in with a default belief that safety's kind of a negative thing; it's something they have to do. It's really incum- bent on safety professionals to really change that impression — and the way you do that is with good marketing, good branding," says Andrew Faulkner, communications and content manager at Safe- Start, a division of Electrolab, in Belleville, Ont. An effective safety marketing and branding strategy can help miti- gate risks. "The more effective these programs are, it definitely benefits an organization by having a healthier workplace with fewer safety incidents," says Chris Lee, vice-president of marketing and commu- nications at Accompass in Toronto. Faulkner agrees that a good campaign gets people on the same page with a common definition and language for what safety is. "Everybody has their own thoughts on what safety means and how important it is, and if you do a good job at marketing safety initiatives, you can really establish a consensus on what's happen- ing, what's going on, what you're all talking about, what you're not taking about and what everybody's roles are," he says. "It's really a collection of beliefs and attitudes and rallying people around the safety flag, so to speak." While safety marketing can help reduce injuries and improve overall safety performance, it can also help out with the softer side of safety. For example, you may see an uptick in voluntary actions by employees, says Faulkner, such as more near-miss reports, more conversations about safety and more participation in toolbox talks. Before embarking on a marketing campaign, it's important to know what you're working with. Employees should be surveyed to A strong marketing campaign can engage workers in safety, improve culture By Amanda Silliker The SAFETY BRAND

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