Leadership key to developing strong safety program

With dedicated employees and a strong return-to-work program, EMW Industrial is proud of another successful year of safety in the workplace. The Saltcoats company achieved zero lost time injuries in 2010.

Starting in the 1970s as a welding and repair shop, today EMW designs, fabricates, installs and maintains equipment for agri-business and industrial clients. EMW employs over 170 people. Many are family members; others have become family.

In 2011, EMW founder and CEO Ewen Morrison signed the Health and Safety Leadership Charter because he believes the leader of any business is the key to developing and implementing a strong safety program. Once the commitment is set from the top down, the employees uphold the high safety standards. He explains, “The Charter is now another tool in our toolbox. We want to ensure our employees that we are serious about getting everyone home safely every night uninjured.”

Safety starts at the top, but the company expects complete and active participation by everyone. Management’s job is to provide proper equipment, training and procedures. Employees are responsible for following all procedures, to work safely and to improve on safety measures.

Mission: Zero is used as a guiding principle at EMW. They adopted their own "Mission: Zero" goal, and they promote it wherever they can, including a weekly newsletter. Morrison is very proud of the company’s safety record. Morrison says, “Mission: Zero is first and foremost on every job site and office; even when we're travelling to and from our places of work at EMW.”

Morrison is personally dedicated to the Mission: Zero message. “When I was a young man I was injured seriously because of workplace inexperience, unguarded equipment and lack of supervision,” he illuminates. “I realized, the hard way, how quickly an incident can occur. From then I realized that there is no such thing as reactive safety. Safety must be proactive.”

“EMW was eager to adopt Mission: Zero because it is a recognized symbol of safety commitment,” says EMW’s Safety Coordinator Dustin Brears. “EMW has always had a very strong safety program that is fully supported by the CEO. We started a Mission: Zero campaign two years ago, with the intention of decreasing injuries and achieving zero lost time injuries. In 2010, the employees from the top down embraced the idea and we achieved it.”

Because of their efforts, EMW received a rebate from the WCB. In turn, EMW recognized its employees by purchasing jackets for everyone who worked there in 2010. With the thumbs up from WorkSafe Saskatchewan, EMW employees were thrilled to receive their new jackets featuring the Mission: Zero logo.

Brears says, “Our goal is an injury-free workplace. EMW has reached over one-half million zero lost time hours and with the help of Mission: Zero, we intend to keep that number growing.”

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