Saskatchewan manufacturers claim WCB cut off funding for workplace safety programs

Issue arises from WCB’s audit attempt on safety program they did not fund, claims safety association official

Saskatchewan manufacturers claim WCB cut off funding for workplace safety programs

The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has cut off the $1.4 million in annual funding for workplace safety programs it provides to manufacturers in the province, according to a group of manufacturers in the province.

That was done in a dispute over a program audit, according to a CTV News report. Aside from auditing how manufacturers are spending the funding, WCB also wanted to audit workplace safety programs that it had not paid for, a manufacturers’ association said in the report.

“We know that we had confidentiality agreements or agreements that we had to sign to get onto site with our manufacturers and so it was important to them that we did not share this information,” said Desira Rostad, the executive director for the Safety Association of Saskatchewan Manufacturers.

“Their processes, everything to them is an intellectual property and you have to build trust in order to work with your members.”

Cutting off the funding will have a significant impact on employees, employers, and their families because injury prevention is on hold with manufacturing in the four sectors, according to the report.

In a statement, the Sakatchewan government noted: “As the entity facilitating the funding of such safety associations, the WCB has a legal responsibility to ensure the funds collected and distributed to safety associations…are used for their intended purposes,” according to CTV News.

However, with what’s happening, Saskatchewan’s Heavy Construction Association, on behalf of manufactures who also belong to their organization, said it does not want the government to meddle with the development of safety standards.

“The concern that we have is we don’t want the government overreach to start spreading into the development of the safety standards. We believe that that is best delivered by the industry, dictated by the industry and dictated to the safety associations that those industries serve,” said Shantel Lipp, president of the association, the CTV News report.

Why is safety training in manufacturing important?

In the bustling world of manufacturing, safety should never be overlooked, said Curtis Roberts, general manager at RH Safety Consultants, said via LinkedIn.

“The manufacturing space can be rife with hazards, from heavy machinery to hazardous materials, making it imperative for both employers and employees to prioritize safety at all times. One of the most effective ways to ensure a safe working environment is through comprehensive safety training programs,” he said.

He added: “Safety training plays a vital role in equipping employees with the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed to navigate the inherent risks of the manufacturing environment safely. 

“By investing in comprehensive safety training programs, employers not only protect their employees from harm but also enhance efficiency, productivity, and overall business success. In the manufacturing industry, working safe truly means working smart.”