Submitted. A record number of BC business leaders joined the CEOs of BC Safety Charter Thursday at their second annual Roundtable at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver.
150 delegates from more than 60 companies met to welcome new members who have signed on to the BC Safety Charter in the last six months. The number of signatories has risen to over 75 since the Charter was launched in October of 2011.
The BC Safety Charter is a CEO initiative to reduce injury rates and increase health, safety and well-being in BC workplaces.
This year’s Roundtable featured former Vancouver Canucks captain Trevor Linden, W. Brett Wilson, of Dragon’s Den fame and Dave McAnerney, CEO of Sun Rype as keynote speakers.
Linden kept delegates on the edge of their seats sharing some memories about his stellar career in the NHL. Linden then spoke about his retirement from hockey and the transition to being a property developer and business owner in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
Linden owns Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness and told the audience that, when he retired from professional hockey five years ago, he felt like a grizzled veteran. He soon realized he was a young man with a life ahead of him “in the real world out there.”
Linden speaks about health and safety with passion because, for one thing, as head of the players union, health and safety were among the top issues he dealt with. Now that he is a business owner Linden says his employees are his number one priority.
“When I made the transition from the hockey world to the business world one of the main things I took with me was the knowledge that my team was the most important part of what I was trying to accomplish,” he told delegates.
W. Brett Wilson of Dragon’s Den fame, told delegates the reason he cares as much as he does about health and safety is that, while managing an event several years ago, one of the staff putting the up the tent for the event was killed.
Wilson, who addressed the CEOs later in the morning saying that, in his business, he considers safety to be crucial part of a successful business plan.
Wilson met with the family a month later and he described for delegates some of the emotions he went through in the long painful process of dealing with the issue.
“There was no technical guilt on our part, but I assumed an enormous amount of moral guilt,” says Wilson.
It changed his life and he has believed in the necessity, not only of workplace health and safety, but in the leadership required at the top of organizations to do the right thing. Wilson spoke passionately about corporate responsibility and his belief that business leaders have a crucial role to play in ensuring their employees know their well-being is a crucial value of the business.
He then described how he has completely overhauled the business practices of his company and the demands he now places on those businesses who work with his business.
“It is a matter of personal responsibility,” he said. “If you, as the leader of the organization believe it is important, other will follow.”
The panel, made up of Rick Gibbs, President, Neutron Factory Works, Jason Longden, Vice President of Operations at Gourmet Baker, Justin Williams, CEO at Williams and White and Jacqueline Levy, President, Robar Industries Ltd, engaged delegates in an honest discussion about the fact that changing corporate culture takes time and commitment but, in the words of Jacqueline Levy, “We stuck with it and employees saw that we were sticking with it this time. Eventually it caused a 360 degree change and now it is unbelievable how much our injury rates have improved.”
McAnerney, who started his speech by making it clear his company has not yet achieved the levels of health and safety he wants.
“This isn’t about perfection,” McAnerney said, “It’s about making the commitment to always do better.”
As far as the rewards of an effective health and safety program, McAnerney says, “It is amazing what happens to a whole organization once the employee is truly able to say to themselves, “The company actually cares about me.””
Charter Steering Committee Chair Ben Hume, president of Sheppards Building Materials, told delegates “We’ve come an incredibly long way in a short period of time,” referring to the fact that the Charter was launched in October of 2011.
Lisa McGuire, CEO of FIOSA-MIOSA, explained the role the organization plays in supporting the efforts of the CEOs and the Steering Committee through her organization’s marketing and resources teams.
FIOSA-MIOSA has been playing a supporting role for the BC Safety Charter since it was first launched in October of 2011.
She described the stages the Charter has gone through from inception to where it stands today, including the original formation of a Steering Committee, to the Three-Year Plan, to this, the Charter’s 2nd Roundtable.
Much of the thinking behind the Charter came from the lessons learned by the CEOs and business leaders in the Food Processing and Manufacturing industries which managed to reduce their own injury rates dramatically between 2008 and 2010.
“That was accomplished by getting the CEO on board,” says McGuire and that is the basic principle behind the BC Safety Charter.
Since its launch in 2011 the BC Safety Charter has been recognized both nationally and internationally and has been described as one of the most significant business initiatives in Western Canada.
For more on the BC Safety Charter please visit www.BCSafetyCharter.ca.