October 20-26, 2019 is Small Business Week in Canada. Small Business Week is a national celebration of Canadian entrepreneurs and their important contribution to our economy.
This week, we’re reaching out to Ontario small businesses to get an inside look on implementing workplace health and safety programs in workplaces with less than 50 workers.
Today, we’re profiling a child daycare centre. We spoke with the Director, Zakia Almani.
Q: What are some of the challenges your organization faces with being a small business and having to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety legislation, standards and guidelines?
Having a robust health and safety program for the workplace benefits everyone that comes into our centre so we are vitally focused on the safety of our children and that of our staff. Because I juggle many roles like supervisor, program administrator and HR, there are competing priorities and little time. What I find useful are resources that include sample policies, checklists and risk assessments so they can be adapted and adopted quickly. This saves me time and helps ensure our compliance with health and safety legislation. For us, having free easily downloadable materials is important since we’re a non-profit childcare with a limited budget.
Q: How do you stay current in workplace health and safety?
I visit Public Health, the Ministry of Labour and PSHSA websites regularly for the latest news and updates.
Q: What would you advise a new small business owner, employer or supervisor about increasing their awareness of occupational health and safety?
There are three main things that I feel are important to small businesses. One, have an up-to-date inspection checklist that fits your organization with a daily check to maintain safety. Hazard identification and fixing any issues is key.
Two, ensure your Health and Safety Representative (for workplaces with 6 to 19 workers) supports the program and promotes health and safety in the workplace.
And three, network with similar businesses for assistance. If we are having questions about something health and safety-related, it is quite possible that others are in the same boat. We can help each other!
PSHSA is here to support small businesses in understanding and complying with their occupational health and safety obligations. A variety of free resources is available on our Small Business page, including the Small Business Health & Safety Manual, fact sheets, templates and Ministry of Labour resources.
In November 2019, the WSIB is launching the new Health and Safety Excellence Program which will support small businesses to improve workplace health and safety, whether they are just getting started or want to optimize systems and processes already in place. Success in the program can lead to rebates and other non-financial recognition. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
Health & Safety Consultant
Public Services Health & Safety Association