By Jennifer McFee
Reprinted with permission of the Stonewall Teulon Tribune
The Town of Stonewall is taking great strides in upholding top-notch standards for safety and health in the workplace.
The town recently underwent an audit for its COR certification, which is an occupational safety and health accreditation program with national standards.
Trevor Shwaluk, Worksafely regional safety advisor for Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, initially conducted an audit of the Town of Stonewall in 2020 and found that there was room for improvement.
He returned last month to conduct another audit and was pleased with the positive results.
“You have to score over 80 per cent to pass the audit. There are 14 different elements of the audit, and you have to score at least 50 per cent in those elements,” he explained.
“There is a documentation review worth about 65 per cent of the audit, an interview phase worth about 30 per cent of the audit, and an observation worth about five per cent of the audit.”
The observation component focuses on elements such as whether staff members are wearing required personal protective equipment and whether regulations and policies are posted.
“The documentation and the interview are the toughest portion of the audit. The interviews basically how well each of the staff knows their own safety policy. In 2020, I found that some of the summer staff weren’t as familiar with the safety policies were, which could create more risk of exposure to incidents occurring,” Shwaluk said.
“This year, it was much better. They’ve revamped the orientation for every new summer student as well as monitoring follow-ups and reviews.”
Shwaluk acknowledges the efforts of CAO Wally Melnyk for emphasizing the priority of the safety program.
“His management feels the same and they have given good direction to the workers. It was encouraging to see the results. There are lots of standards that need to be met according to the audit, and the Town of Stonewall has been really good at applying them,” he said.
“There’s been a really big progression from 2020 to 2022 in management support of their workers, workers’ familiarity with their safety mechanisms and follow-up from council as well as CAO Wally Melnyk.”
The Town of Stonewall will continue to be audited each August to monitor the progression.
Shwaluk doesn’t feel it’s possible for any organization to achieve 100 per cent in the audit, but he noticed that Stonewall is making an effort in that direction.
“You can see that they’re really trying to get better and better. For me, I rarely score anybody in the 90s — and Stonewall is in the 90s this year. I was very impressed with the fact that they scored so well,” he said.
“I did more than the suggested amount of interviews because I wanted to dive deeper into each department and see how well they know it — and it was very, very good.”