Workplace safety seminar brings together the trades to better educate the industry and share experiences

Steve Wallace, chair of Regina regional screening committee for the CRSP designation at Evraz Place during the first day of the 2019 Industrial Safety Seminar

All the seats were filled, and people were standing inside a jam-packed Evraz Place for the 46th anniversary Industrial Safety Seminar, which featured an average of 700 registered people at the 2019 seminar daily

The first day started with registration, moving into displaying by the 100 booths, such as Red Cross, 3M worker health and safety and many other booths with technology surrounding work place safety.

Booths also have outfits and attire made for workplace safety, yellow vests, reflective gear, boots, fire retardant clothing, gas detectors and various pamphlets and books for better understanding.

There are free meals for the attendees, allowing them to gather and network while enjoying their meal.

Orientation started at 10, followed by a keynote speaker and a series of speakers touching on various safety issues, ideas and equipment.

The immense amount of information in both safety and health provides for many areas of the trades and attracts people from  diverse workspaces.

Some of the speakers talk about psychological health in the workplace, workplace vitality: a fresh approach to empowering wellness and many others.

This seminar started in 1955 with about 160 people attending, it took place at Regina hotels and now is held at Evraz Place.

Chair of the Regina Regional Screening Committee for the CRSP designation, Steve Wallace was at the event.

“When I took over, you know that was 10-12 years into the seminar starting, you know about 30-some odd years ago, we would attract about 200-250 people,” said Wallace.

Wallace has an extensive background in the world of safety, serving on the Saskatchewan Safety Board of Directors as president. For 20 years, Wallace also volunteered as a motorcycle instructor.

“I think safety is much more on the forefront now than it was then,” said Wallace. “Not that safety wasn’t there but you know it wasn’t to the same extent.”

In the beginning the seminars were only available outside of the province, this didn’t allow for much safety information to reach people in Saskatchewan.

“We get world class speakers, new information coming every year to Saskatchewan so they don’t have to travel to Chicago, to Toronto, to Vancouver,” said Wallace. “The first session that starts in a little bit here will now then have, hear some new things, so it could be what new legislation is coming in, is there new processes that we can do or follow or things that are changing that can then help people take that back to their workplace to hopefully try and make a difference.”

Safety Specialist with 3M, Brad Young was working at his company’s booth.

“Every work place needs safety,” said Young. “So the degree to which a place might need specific personal protective equipment varies depending on the environment but everybody can use safety equipment.”

Young has worked with 3M for over 10 years and has seen a huge change in all over safety for employees.

“I have just seen a movement within personal protective equipment, a movement towards what we would call ‘integrated systems’ where the user is wearing protective equipment that is fully integrated from the head down,” said Young. “It’s one piece of equipment that protects the head, eyes, face hearing and respiratory system all in one designed system.”

With the rise of safety for workers in the field and in workplaces, the amount of injuries has decreased as well.

Statistics from Saskatchewan’s Workers Compensations Board showed a decrease from 2016 in injuries at the work place by 5.4 per cent to 2017, but from the years 2017 to 2018 the rate has increased.

The rate for lost-time injuries stayed the same at 1.86 per cent.

In 2017, 88 per cent of Saskatchewan employers had a zero injuries, and since 2008 there has been a drop of 48.6 per cent.

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