Survey results: Top health and safety challenges in the workplace

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Key findings from 2018 survey of WSN member firms and clients

survey checklist

Every two years Workplace Safety North (WSN) sends a questionnaire to its member firms and clients to ask about their experience with their workplace health and safety programs, and with Workplace Safety North.

“The feedback is extremely important in planning future products and services,” says Paul Andre, WSN President and Chief Executive Officer. “It’s helpful with strategic planning for the organization to know the challenges clients currently face. The satisfaction rate and overall comments reflect the dedication of WSN staff and how hard they work to help make Ontario workplaces safer.”

Top health and safety challenges in workplaces

When asked, “What are the most prevalent health and safety challenges in your workplace?” respondents had similar answers: aging workforce, building a strong safety culture, staying on top of legislation. The following is a summary of respondent comments on top health and safety concerns.

  • Education and training concerns - with older workers, younger workers, contractors, employee turnover; aging workforce and turnover. 
  • Workplace culture – keeping safety a top priority, avoiding complacency, building a strong safety culture; identifying issues proactively, getting people to buy in, walking the talk.
  • Traffic control – vehicle movement, congested areas, lifting and rigging.
  • Violence and harassment in the workplace – violent, unpredictable behaviour of workers, or being exposed to it regularly in the work environment.
  • Staying on top of new legislation and implementing it – including risk assessment, impairment policy regarding cannabis.
  • Ergonomics – musculoskeletal injuries, hand injuries, policies and procedures.
  • Hazardous materials – chemical handling, dust control.
  • Occupational diseases – dust, silicosis, vibration injuries.
  • Proper personal protective equipment.
  • Risk assessment and control measures – properly conduct, proactive approach. 
  • Mental health and substance use – legalization of cannabis, opioid use, used needles in the environment; accommodation for injured and ill workers.

Top 10 products and services used in the last two years

The most popular WSN health and safety services and products ranged from general on-site consulting, website free downloads, and classroom and online training, to risk assessments, safety groups, and culture audits.

97% Satisfaction and loyalty ratings

The survey also asked, “Based on the products and/or services accessed, how satisfied are you with your overall experience with Workplace Safety North?” Ninety-seven per cent of respondents replied they were satisfied with their overall experience with WSN.

When asked, “If you need occupational health and safety products or services, how likely is it that you will choose to work with Workplace Safety North again?” Ninety-seven per cent of respondents said they were likely to work with WSN again.

Respondent commentary

Given the opportunity, respondents provided written testimonials, and some are highlighted below.

  • Training staff are very knowledgeable in their field and provide quality training. Also prompt in addressing questions.”

  • “Professional presence in industry. The WSN group operates at high standard of quality, overall very courteous and willing to help. Genuine willingness to assist towards organizations success. Subject matter experts are good in their field, great resources, relationships are easily formed. The group is willing to accommodate special needs and has readily accommodated us in the past. – Thank you!”

  •  “Having bilingual instructor for safety courses.”

  •  “Very high level of training.”

  • “Learning never stops with health and safety, things are changing daily. WSN helps us stay up to speed with new laws and changing standards. The employees at WSN are knowledgeable and always willing to help. The courses we have taken through WSN or the lunch and learns are always well organized, interesting and worth attending. We are lucky to have a WSN in our city!”

  • “I highly recommend using Workplace Safety North, for your safety needs their people are highly skilled and very easy to talk to. Makes you feel like you are part of their ‘extended family.’”

  • “Love your website. Online training makes life so much easier for our workers.”

  •  “WSN has a great team that has helped many workplaces and can help your business meet the challenges of today's health and safety requirements.”

  • “WSN has always been available and helpful should we ever need help or advice.
Future opportunities
Respondents ranged in age from 25 to 60 plus, in businesses with one to 200 or more employees, across a range of industry sectors in Ontario. In terms of unmet needs for health and safety services and products, respondents stated specific areas of need include: help with risk assessments and safety culture, drafting policy, specific training courses. ‘best practices’ guides, and French training and documents, as well as more representation in the north.
For more information, contact Workplace Safety North.