BC Ferries eligible for over $1.1 million in savings due to major safety improvements

Two recent safety awards reflect success of innovative SailSafe program

VICTORIA, June 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Since its inception, SailSafe, a joint initiative between BC Ferries and the BC Ferry & Marine Workers' Union, has been paying off through improved workplace safety, and is now paying off financially. The program, which focuses on injury prevention and employee wellness, has landed the company WorkSafeBC's Certificate of Recognition (COR). As a result, BC Ferries just received a rebate of $600,000 in WorkSafeBC premiums, in addition to the $500,000 in premium savings the company will realize this year.

"Over the past several years, we've had a major shift in our safety culture with SailSafe by drilling down into what causes employee injuries and how to prevent them, as well as taking the learnings from near miss situations," said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries' Vice President of Fleet Operations. "Significantly reducing our time loss injuries and days lost due to injuries has resulted in safer, healthier employees and a financial savings in WorkSafeBC compensation costs." 

In order to achieve the COR, a third party audit was conducted by a certified external auditor, which sampled 15 worksites (vessels and terminals) and interviewed approximately 250 employees, primarily front line staff.  The COR audit assessed the company's effectiveness in two main categories: Health & Safety Management and Injury Management.

BC Ferries worked with the BC Maritime Employer's Association (BCMEA), delegated on behalf of WorkSafeBC to oversee COR audits within the maritime sector. "We are very pleased to see BC Ferries join the ranks of the most proactive employers in British Columbia," said John Beckett, BCMEA's Vice President, Training, Safety and Recruitment. "They have put considerable efforts in improving their safety programs in pursuit of world-class safety excellence." 

Recent achievements BC Ferries around safety include:

  • Achieved WorkSafeBC's Certificate of Recognition, which qualified BC Ferries for a rebate of $600,000 in WorkSafeBC premiums
  • Won the Lloyd's List North America Safety Award in the Training category for improvements in navigation safety as a result of the new Bridge Simulation Training program
  • Won the Latitude Productions UK International Safety Award for motivating and inspiring employees to reach for world-class safety performance
  • Reduced employees' time loss injuries by 60 per cent since inception of SailSafe in 2007
  • Reduced employees' days lost due to injuries by 57 per cent since 2007 

"Our employees are our most valuable asset, so their safety and well-being is of paramount importance," said Marshall.   "In addition to safety improvements over the past eight years,
BC Ferries has made a strong and sustained commitment to operational improvements.  Since 2007, we've achieved significant operational successes by increasing our on-time performance to 91.5 per cent and our vessel reliability to 99.7 per cent, and our overall customer satisfaction rating is currently 87 per cent."

The COR certification provides for annual premium rebates from WorkSafeBC of up to 15 per cent, which will help drive further safety initiatives going forward.

Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.

SOURCE: British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

For further information: Media Contact: BC Ferries, Media Relations, Victoria: (250) 978-1267; Customer Contact: Victoria: (250) 386-3431; Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)



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