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Small businesses honoured for health and safety efforts

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by DCN News Services

TORONTO — The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has launched a new awards program to drive home the point that sophisticated health and safety programs are not just for large businesses.
Jean and Joelle Charbonneau of JTR & Custom Works from Timmins, Ont. won the first gold level award as the WSIB launched its Small Business Health and Safety Leadership Awards. They are pictured with WSIB chair Elizabeth Witmer in Toronto at the WSIB annual meeting. The prize includes $5,000 cash.
Jean and Joelle Charbonneau of JTR & Custom Works from Timmins, Ont. won the first gold level award as the WSIB launched its Small Business Health and Safety Leadership Awards. They are pictured with WSIB chair Elizabeth Witmer in Toronto at the WSIB annual meeting. The prize includes $5,000 cash. - Photo: DON WALL

The first three honourees were recognized at the WSIB's annual general meeting in Toronto Sept. 20.

Winners of the Small Business Health and Safety Leadership Awards are recognized for outstanding achievement in health and safety initiatives in businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Nominated businesses were judged on their performance in five categories: safety culture and leadership, inspections, hazard identification and control, quality of return-to-work programs, and employee safety engagement survey results.

"We need to call out the efforts of leaders in small business who make health and safety a priority," said WSIB chair Elizabeth Witmer. "These business leaders are leading by example and can inspire other businesses to make improvements."

The three winners were encouraged to reinvest the cash awards in their health and safety programs.

The winners were:

• Gold level — JTR & Custom Works Inc., Timmins, $5,000

• Silver level — Devolder Farms Inc., Dover Centre, $3,000

• Bronze level — Mike Moore Construction Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, $2,000.

"Mike Moore Construction won our safety award when it was first established, and was one of the very first small contractors to get COR when it was established," noted David Frame, director of government relations for the Ontario General Contractors Association.

"A lot of small companies are saying COR is for large companies, well it is not. Mike Moore went out and did it four years ago, and they have been recertified. It is an excellent example of how small contractors have been extremely keen on health and safety."

The gold medal winner is also active in the construction sector, employing welders, millwrights, mechanics and labourers who provide such services as millwrighting and confined space management.

Owners Jean and Joelle Charbonneau were on hand to receive their award. Joelle Charbonneau commented in a videotaped message, "If you are safe, your business will grow.

"Safety is efficiency, and that is what we pride ourselves in...safety is making sure they go home at the end of the day with all their fingers and toes."

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