Pictures of smiling children and spouses, friends and family decorate a poster board on a wall inside the cafeteria at Finning’s Regina branch.
Staff were encouraged by management to bring photos of their loved ones and post them for all to see and to serve as a reminder that someone is expecting them to return home at the end of their shift.
This initiative was introduced with the hope that Finning employees would be mindful of workplace safety. Much to the delight of management and staff, this has helped play a role in the change in safety culture at Finning.
This past month, the Regina branch recently celebrated one year of being recordable incident free.
“This is a very proud day for me and for everyone involved,” said Jim Barks, the sales and marketing manager at the Finning Regina branch.
“This is something that is still in its infancy. One year is great, but I would like to see 10 more. I don’t ever want to see someone going home hurt. Everybody comes to work healthy and in one piece and that’s certainly the way we want them to go home so they can spend time with loved ones and with their families.”
To commemorate the milestone achievement, staff were treated to a buffet lunch and had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Al Hancock, an adventure climber who has reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest.
Also in attendance at the celebration were Felipe Fuentes, Finning International’s vice-president for environment and health and safety, Finning Saskatchewan’s vice-president Tony de Sousa, Safe Saskatchewan CEO Gord Moker, CEO of Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board Peter Federko, among others.
de Sousa likened the Finning Regina achievement to Hancock’s experiences of mountain climbing. Hancock explained that scaling mountain peaks requires patience – it took him almost eight weeks to climb Everest – proper training and always looking out for a friend or co-worker.
Given the potentially hazardous work environment at Finning, each of these 365 days (and counting) without a recordable incident has been a work in progress.
“We have come on a journey and we understood it would be a journey and we’ve ensured that we’ve provided the right training,” de Sousa explained. “We still have a way to go because it can always reverse quickly. But we’ve set out goal to be injury free at all of our branches.”
When Finning took over the Caterpillar dealership in July 2015, management addressed the staff and reiterated that safety and improving workplace safety remains a top priority within the company.
Feedback from an employee opinion survey found Finning staff shared a similar focus.
“The number one reason why employees say this is a better working environment is because the safety has improved. They have seen how we view safety in the workplace,” de Sousa said. “For me, that was very encouraging.”
The journey to one year of being recordable incident free was a “bumpy ride”, according to de Sousa. In February 2016, Finning’s Regina branch saw four recordable incidents in that month alone.
Finning employees do work in a potentially hazardous environment. Groups of teams conduct complete engine and transmission rebuilds of some of the largest and most powerful products on the heavy machinery market, including the D11 tractor which is the biggest tractor in the world.
But both Barks and de Sousa have noticed over the past several months employees making a more concerted effort to make their workplace safer. Simple tasks like shovelling snow near entrances, or scattering salt or sand on outdoor walkways have become the norm.
“We do work in a dangerous field, but it is a calculated danger,” Barks said. “It’s about taking the right precautions. We have the right tooling to do it, we have the people with the right experience to do it. It’s just a matter of keeping safety in mind.”