Safety in the workplace means more than donning a high-vis vest and eye protection. For British Columbia’s vast manufacturing industry – much like its service, tech, tourism and other sectors – a safe workplace also considers things like mental health, stress, fatigue, communicable diseases like the flu and COVID, and myriad other factors.
Beyond having appropriate protocols in place, it’s also about having an engaged workforce that values safety, backed by a thriving safety committee and invested management.
Together these components work together to ensure a safe, resilient workplace – the goal of the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC’s Make It Safe conference.
“Health and safety really looks at the whole person,” says Safety Alliance marketing manager Jennifer Wiebe. For example, “so many business owners have realized over the past few years, but even before, how important the mental health component is.”
Additionally, sector-wide labour shortages may mean employees are working longer hours, re-skilling or juggling higher workloads, bringing added stress and fatigue. Faced with this new reality, “companies that have never seen an incident before can find themselves unprepared,” Wiebe says.
Embracing the theme “Leading the Next Normal,” the Make It Safe conference has two components – in person Oct. 14 at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster, and online Oct. 27 and 28 – a chance to look at “What’s Next: Beyond the New Normal.”
In-person or online, the conference offers the chance to learn from industry experts and business leaders who are shaping the future of workplace health and safety.
With an extensive lineup across four streams, including 60 speakers and 40 sessions over the three days, attendees can register for one or both formats. While the online option has let organizers include voices from around the world, offering a global perspective on workplace safety, they also recognized the benefit of bringing people together for in-person sessions and a trade show.
With people at the heart of the industry, “this conference really focuses on people,” Wiebe explains. And as the “Make It Safe” name implies, “we’re trying to help companies find ways to do that and support safety in their workplace.”
Among the themes highlighted this year is Defeating Complacency – “When things are going well, it’s easy to forget to be vigilant,” – Wiebe notes – along with The New Basics, People and Sustainability, and Trends and Technology in Safety Tomorrow.
Registration for the in-person Make It Safe conference is open until Oct. 5, with registering for the online conference continuing through Oct. 27. Click here to register or visit safetyalliancebc.ca/makeitsafe