How safety responsibilities extend beyond the workplace

Lawyer says 'multi-team member approach' needed to combat harassment and bullying

How safety responsibilities extend beyond the workplace

In the vibrant city of Calgary, health and safety professionals recently convened at the Women in Safety Summit, seeking guidance amidst the dynamic landscape of workplace risks. When those risks are not adequately mitigated, the legal ramifications can be catastrophic for a business.

"I've dealt with investigating more fatalities and life-altering injuries than I can count," says Loretta Bouwmeester, lawyer from Matthews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP. She gave a presentation focused on workplace harassment, bullying, and psychological safety.

“Workplace incidents can have serious consequences," she told the room of more than 300 safety professionals with a firm tone. "The courts are coming down with a bigger hammer."

Bouwmeester appeared to the room as a picture of a seasoned professional intimately acquainted with the harsh realities of workplace hazards, which can sometimes manifest at workplace functions removed from the usual safety concerns, like golf tournaments and Christmas parties.

Bouwmeester explained to the room that worker safety needs to be a priority at recreational events like these, and it takes a full team effort. "You have to do this from a multidisciplinary and multi-team member approach," she advises. "Everyone has a challenging role to play in making sure that people go home safe."

She says something as simple as providing taxi chits to everyone can help ensure that potential incidents don’t escalate, and that someone who feels uncomfortable, can leave on their own, whenever they want.

Bouwmeester's insights struck a chord, illuminating the urgent need for proactive measures to combat workplace misconduct. "Let's work together to have this not happen," she urged, her words echoing with a blend of determination and empathy.

Transitioning seamlessly from personal anecdotes to broader industry trends, Bouwmeester's narrative wove together the threads of legal expertise and practical wisdom. As the audience absorbed her words, a sense of collective responsibility began to take root, fueling their commitment to fostering safer workplaces.

"It's imperative that we remain vigilant and proactive in addressing workplace hazards," she urged. "By working together and staying informed, we can create environments where every individual feels safe and valued."

With Bouwmeester's guidance, health and safety professionals left the summit armed not only with legal insights but also with a renewed sense of purpose. In the ongoing battle against workplace hazards, her words serve as a rallying cry, inspiring unity and vigilance in the pursuit of a safer, more equitable future.