As the Jan. 31 deadline for small businesses in the district to join the Safe Communities Incentive Program looms, several SCIP members took the time to laud the benefits of the safety program.
“One of the incentives for me was to make for a safer workplace, and be able to benefit from the lower premiums paid to worker’s comp,” said Bill Gushulak, owner of Fort Frances General Supply.
“As an added bonus, if you run a safer workplace, that means no one has to suffer with any work-related injuries,” he added. “And if you practice safety at work, hopefully you can take that with you everywhere else.”
“I think it’s great,” enthused Shelly Degagne of Leon Degagne Ltd. “It gives small businesses a clear idea of what has to be safe in the workplace.”
“Jeannette [Cawston] is great with making sure you know what has to be done on the legal side of things,” Degagne added, noting it sometimes can be hard to run a business and keep on top of safety-oriented legislation.
Being part of SCIP has kept safety at the forefront for her and husband, Leon, and has ensured the proper training of their employees.
“You can find out how to get the message [of safety] across to employees,” she stated. “For example, logging is no more dangerous than any other job . . . . You just have to understand that if it takes a half an hour longer to do a job safely, then that’s what it takes.”
Besides having to pay less to WSIB if they keep the workplace safe, SCIP businesses get access to several safety training programs—such as first-aid, forklift training, and propane handling—at a reduced cost.
In 1998, the first year for the program, 92 district businesses participated in it as part of WSIB’s prevention initiative to reduce workplace injuries.
Those businesses interested in SCIP can contact Cawston at the Rainy River Future Development Corp. (274-3276).