Rick Davidge, incident management co-ordinator.

Building a culture of safety on campus

With more than 7,000 faculty and staff, the university isn’t your average workplace.

The U of S Saskatoon campus is home to a diverse set of work environments: an animal hospital, a museum, culinary facilities, a fitness centre, standard office space, and laboratories,  to name just a few.

“Some of our employees are on a worksite, others in a classroom or a hospital,” said Rick Davidge, incident management co-ordinator, Safety Resources. “We’re all experts in our own fields, so it’s easy to become entrenched in our daily habits and tasks and not see the danger in our jobs.”

Regardless of the work environment, the university is committed to reducing all injuries, large and small. Mission:Zero, something the university adopted in 2010 in partnership with WorkSafe Saskatchewan, operates on the basis that all injuries are predictable and preventable.

“Our campus is a community and for that community to excel we need safety to be a part of the culture,” said Davidge, who, along with the Safety Resources team, works with groups across campus to assess risks and reduce injuries.

Over the past year, Safety Resources has been connecting with colleges and units across campus to put greater emphasis on incident review and prevention. The face-to-face conversations amongst teams have the biggest impact.

With a 16 per cent decrease in incidents across campus over the past year, it’s clear that their efforts are paying off. Davidge credits this with a campus-wide move from reacting to workplace injuries, to being more proactive. And while the decrease in injuries during the past year is certainly a positive signal, the work isn’t finished.

“Our goal is to create an interdependent safety culture,” said Davidge. “This shift would mean that it’s not just Safety Resources looking out for people’s safety on campus, but rather everybody recognizing that we need each other and watching out for the safety of others because they care about safety and want to make sure everyone is safe. We’ve got a great community here, and we’re starting to see this already, and it’s something we can all take pride in.”

For more information on Safety Resources on campus, visit safetyresources.usask.ca.

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