A Word from the General Manager - April 2014

April 1, 2014

One of the most rewarding lessons gathered from my years in working in the pallet industry was the observation that the most cost effective manufacturing plants with the best productivity were often the ones with the strongest safety culture. That’s because employee confidence and safety are closely linked to productivity.

Another observation is that some of the most successful manufacturing companies made safety an asset not a liability and in doing so ensured that they enjoyed good employee retention, thereby avoiding the high cost of dealing with employee turnover.

Earlier this year a number of our members spoke out about the need to do something about our industry’s worker injury rates, rising workmen’s compensation costs and increasing inspection visits by regulatory agencies. 

In response, our Association Board of Directors met in December to consider what could be done to promote health and safety awareness, encourage continuous improvement of industry's safety performance, and foster strong health and safety values.

We decided to make an investment in recruiting a set of professionals to help set workplace standards, develop, and connect members with resources and training tools for their workers.

We set up a strategy to improve our industry’s occupational health and safety performance by taking the following action steps.

We have recruited a professional consulting organization, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, to provide support to our members across Canada and help work on addressing the most pressing safety challenges we face. This will include “one-on-one” consultations if required.

Conducted a safety needs assessment with all members across Canada to identify a list of safety issues that need priority attention drawn from member feedback on what processes in the workplace are injuring workers. 

Deliver regular safety communications to members by providing timely and current safety information and 

resources to help achieve regulatory compliance and prevent costly injuries and accidents. 

Provide services to members in a time efficient and accessible manner through association website and a variety of communication channels.

Earlier this year we conducted a survey of our members to establish the priorities they want us to work on.

Based on the survey feedback obtained, the top five workplace activities members feel their workplace would benefit from safe work procedures and proper training in, are:

  1. Plant Ergonomics and Safe Lifting Practices, 
  2. Nail Gun Safety
  3. Forklift Pedestrian Safety
  4. Saw Guarding
  5. LOTO

The survey feedback also outlined a list of the basic elements of a safety management system that members would like see standards developed for:

  1. Injury Prevention –Ergonomic Assessments
  2. Hazard reporting
  3. Preventative Maintenance
  4. Health & Safety Committees
  5. Injury Illness Reporting & Senior Management Program

These areas are going to be our focus for 2014. We will be setting up a section under “Issues and Initiatives” on our website where you can download the documents and customize them for your own use.

And we have some good news to report on the health and safety front. In Ontario, where the largest number of our members operates their businesses, the injury rate is declining for the third year in a row. If this trend can be made to continue it will have a large influence on rate group premiums our members are paying, which are some of the highest premiums in the country. 

Wooden Box and Pallet Rate Group –Ontario 


Total Injury  Rate







Your association is looking forward to the challenge of helping our members across Canada improve their safety management systems and reduce workplace injuries.

PO Box 280 ,Carleton Place, ON, K7C 3P4
T. 613.521.6468 or 1.877.224.3555 F. 866.375.1835
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