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Theo Heineman, President of 1Life Workplace Safety & Health; 2015 Canadian Safety Leader of the Year Finalist

Safety Leader of the Year Finalist Theo Heineman

Canadian Occupational Safety (http://www.cos-mag.com/home.html) launched its Safety Leader of the Year award in 2006 to find and recognize the individual who best exemplifies leadership and vision in the world of occupational health and safety in Canada.

1Life is very proud and grateful that our President, Theo Heineman was recognized as one of three finalists. Theo accepted her award at a Toronto Gala on October 28, 2015.

Theo’s vision and tireless efforts have resulted in significant improvement to health and safety for hundreds of organizations through a team of highly skilled and committed safety professionals combined the development of user friendly software tools.

The first of these tools was mySafetyAssistant.ca (mSA), an innovative proprietary web-based platform providing business owners with their own “Virtual Safety Professional.” mSA provides 24/7 access to their company branded Workplace Safety and Health portal containing professionally developed Safety Management System elements, resources and a suite of high impact online training courses all specific to Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health legislation. mSA provides ongoing support through continuous technical and legislative updates, safe work procedures, safety talks, hazard alerts based on current incidents, tutorials, expert interviews, record keeping systems, and more.

The second software tool was developed to help prime contractors with their responsibility for the safety of any sub-contractors they hire. myContractorManager.ca, a user friendly web based Wizard, makes evaluating sub-contractors quick and easy. The built in wizard intuitively knows what qualifying questions to ask sub-contractors when a hazard or risk is stated, what verifying documentation to request and creates permanent records that are all kept in one location for due diligence. Incident investigations reveal over and over again that pieces of the contractor evaluation were missing. myContractorManager has also been envisioned to give sub-contractors the ability to establish themselves as a good risk and potentially affording them a competitive advantage and helping them to win more bids.

Other projects Theo passionately guided was the development of a Free On Line Safety Training Program for all Youth aged 15 – 24 as a way to help empower young workers to know their rights and responsibilities and help ensure a bright and prosperous future.

We want to congratulate the overall winner: Roxanne McKendry, employee health and safety manager at Carewest. The COS Safety Leader of the Year award is continuing the search for exceptional leaders making a huge difference in the lives of workers by ensuring that they can safely go home to their family at the end of the day.

Do you know a deserving Safety Leader? The winner is chosen by a third-party panel of OHS experts from across the country. Nominations run from March to June.

Manitoba Lumber Manufacturer Fined $26,502

May 2013, a worker for Swan River lumber manufacturer was seriously injured while operating a wood edger. A log was fed incorrectly causing it to jam. When the worker reversed the machine to realign the log, a slab of wood shot out of the machine impaling the worker’s left thigh. According to reports, Safe Work Procedures had not been developed for the task and the worker still suffers the effects more than two years later. On September 25, 2015, the employer plead guilty to failing to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of its worker by failing to identify hazards associated with work performed with a Compact Gang Edger and was fined $26,502.

The effects of this kind of incident to injured workers can include:

  • Loss or reduction of income
  • Medical expenditures: medication and rehabilitation costs
  • Permanent disability
  • Pain, anxiety and depression and even lead to suicide in some instances
  • Career change and or limitations in reaching professional goals


Risk Measurement
  1. Identify and assess hazards of your specific machines and jobs by conducting a Job Hazard Analyses.
  2. Develop Safe Work Procedures in writing and training workers on the same.
  3. Obtain the consultation of affected workers in the process for both their knowledge and buy-in.
  4. Include task observation in regular workplace inspections. Often an unsafe behaviour can be identified and corrected through intentional safety walkthroughs and inspections.
  5. Deal with the unsafe act or condition when you see it. Don’t minimize it or put it off like many organizations do.

Download a Hazard Alert to share with your workers and post in your workplace:
Click Here!

Contact the friendly professionals at 1Life! 204-231-5433


Know the Risks When Working Around Powered Mobile Equipment

DID YOU KNOW? Working around Powered Mobile Equipment is one of the most dangerous tasks performed on worksites.

Serious Incident: January 2015 – A worker in Winnipeg was seriously injured when an aerial lift rolled and pinned the worker against a hot boiler resulting in second and third degree burns down his back.

Fatality: September 2013 – A worker, aged 32, was loading a boom truck onto a trailer when it rolled over him at a construction site in St. Jean Baptiste. He was transported to hospital but was pronounced dead a short while later.

Fatality: September 2011 – A 53 year old commercial dump truck operator from Ste. Anne was working outside the vehicle while dumping a load of gravel when the truck rolled forward, running him over. Emergency services responded to the incident in the RM of Hanover but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fatality: July 2008 – A 15 year old boy (who was too young to be working on a construction job) was part of a paving crew working on a parking lot in Stony Mountain. The teen was standing behind the asphalt dumping truck when the load fell on him and knocked him over. This horrific construction accident resulted in his death when he was buried under a mountain of searing hot asphalt. Two other workers also suffered serious burns to their hands trying to dig him out.

In 2013, 3 acute-hazard fatalities in Manitoba were caused by powered mobile equipment!

Each year in Canada, many workers are killed or suffer serious injuries when working around powered mobile equipment. Most incidents occur from complacency resulting from over familiarity with equipment and / or a lack of training.

After a fatality of other serious incident, the investigation often determines that they were many near misses (messengers from the future) that went unreported and therefore uncontrolled. Never forget that working with and around powered mobile equipment can be dangerous!

NEW ONLINE COURSE! Working Around Powered Mobile Equipment (PME)

Because so many workplace injuries are a result of working around powered mobile equipment (PME), legislation and guidelines have been established to help ensure the safety of workers in Manitoba.

This course is approximately 1 hour in length and will cover:

  • Why it is important that you take the hazards of working around powered mobile equipment seriously.
  • The different types of common powered mobile equipment you may work around.
  • The types of hazards and unsafe practices that can result in serious injuries and fatalities.
  • Safe work practices and procedures when working around PME.

How Are You Managing the Working Alone Dilemma

How Are You Managing the Working Alone Dilemma?

Working Alone

Do you have workers that work alone or in isolation? Did you know that even if your employee is working where other people are present but who are not from your workplace, they are technically working alone?

Employees who work alone or in isolation tend to be more vulnerable than those who have co-workers present. If a lone worker is injured or an emergency occurs, do you have a plan for your workers to secure help? What if the worker is unconscious? Even though such incidents aren’t that common, several instances have occurred recently to Manitoba employers with serious effects to the employees involved.

Employer Obligations regarding Workers Working Alone or in Isolation:

The Manitoba Regulation states that when a worker works alone or works in isolation, an employer must:

  1. Conduct a Risk Assessment
  2. Develop Safe Work Procedures
  3. Communicate the Safe Work Procedures and Train Employees
Click Here

Have a Safety Talk with your workers about Working Alone or in Isolation. Click Here to download a safety talk courtesy of mySafetyAssistant.ca


Working Alone or in Isolation Awareness

Working Alone Training Course

While serious incidents involving lone workers are not very common, the consequences can be severe because of the difficulty lone workers face while trying to summon emergency assistance.

This course is 1-1.5 hours in length and is specific to the requirements of Manitoba Workplace Safety & Health Legislation.

Content includes:

  • Why people who work alone or in isolation tend to be more vulnerable than other workers
  • Why it’s important to have a plan if you work alone or in isolation
  • The responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers in the working alone system
  • The necessity of being involved and following through on the safe work practices and procedures your employer has developed for working alone or in isolation
  • The importance of working together with your employer to assess Working Alone Risks and develop Safe Work Plans
  • Why ensuring safety while working alone or in isolation is important to you and your family

Try this course for free at www.mySafetyTraining.ca

How Smart Businesses are Taking Safety to the Bank

Theo Heineman, President 1Life Workplace Safety and Health

In October 1987, Paul O’Neill, new CEO of Alcoa Steel gave his first address to shareholders. He did not deliver the typical speech about a plan to increase profit margins, reduce costs and share appreciation. That would be the speech that one would expect, after all Alcoa’s performance at the time was less than stellar. Instead O’Neill talked about something unexpected. So unexpected in fact that it resulted in shareholders panicking to sell their shares. Ironically, those that hung on to their stock were rewarded when Alcoa’s profits reached a record high within one year of O’Neill’s speech.

So what did O’Neill make his primary focus? Safety; and specifically time lost to employee injuries. Despite Alcoa already having one of the best safety records in their industry, the thought that they could do better and believed firmly that to be a world-class company, it first had to become the safest. During his speech when asked about inventories in the aerospace division and the company's capital ratios O'Neill responded, “I’m not certain you heard me. If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures. If we bring our injury rates down, it won’t be because of cheerleading or the nonsense you sometimes hear from other CEOs. It will be because the individuals at this company have agreed to become part of something important: They’ve devoted themselves to creating a habit of excellence. Safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire institution. That’s how we should be judged.”

O’Neill put his words into action and his emphases on safety as a performance metric fundamentally altered Alcoa’s culture as well as their growth and profitability. By the year 2000, when O'Neill retired, Alcoa's market capitalisation was 5 times more than what it was in 1987.

Like the Alcoa Steel shareholders, many organizations still see Workplace Safety as a pure expense and 'do safety' only when they have to. Like the saying goes “whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, either way you will be right”. Based on experience working with hundreds of Manitoba businesses, here are some of the key differences between organizations that experience safety as an expense and those that experience it as a profit center.

Safety is Experienced as an Expense

  1. Start with the “WHAT” and the “HOW. Management implements a “safety program” only because they must; to successfully bid on jobs or fear of being caught in non-compliance (Stop Work Orders and other financial penalties).
  2. Develop a safety program with little meaning to the organization. “Anything will do as long as we get the binder”.
  3. Employees are not involved in the development of the safety program and there is no mechanism for ongoing feedback and improvement.
  4. Little to no priority is placed on training of senior management and supervisors and there is no accountability for safety outcomes.
  5. As a result, there is little to no employee buy-in and compliance and enforcement is difficult.
  6. Management says that humans are the most important aspect of their operations, but there’s no evidence that it’s true.

Safety is Experienced as a Profit Center

  1. Start with “WHY”. Management recognizes that human capital is its most valuable resource from both a moral and a financial perspective.
  2. The REAL COST of incidents is understood. Safety performance is consciously addressed as a Management System which when well implemented can have a more significant effect on an organizations bottom line than their best sales person.
  3. Stakeholders including representatives of employees are involved in the development process creating buy-in and energy for implementation.
  4. Effective risk analyses identifies the 20% of the organizations activities that present 80% of the credible loss exposures providing leverage of resources invested and tangible results quickly.
  5. Clear standards and expectations for safety performance are established in writing; specific and meaningful to the organization.
  6. Everyone is trained on the standards, starting with WHY, then the WHAT and the HOW.
  7. The standards are enforced as an act of service, to save employees and the organization from un-necessary and painful loss.
  8. Safety performance is measured; if you really care about something, you measure it.
  9. The Safety Management System is one of the ways that true values of the organization are expressed. You can’t care about your people and ignore safety.

Rob Read, Owner of Bison Fire Protection says that after implementing a Safety Management System and becoming COR Certified, a lot of doors opened for his company. "People look at us and think, okay, these guys are professionals. Clients respect our safety standards on the job site and know they can expect quality work. Before we started working with 1Life Workplace Safety and Health, we really didn’t have a safety system. We didn’t want guys to get hurt and certainly didn’t put anyone in danger knowingly. But it was a case of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. As we learned what we could be doing better to protect our people, we embraced a safety management system and are glad we did”. Rob gives significant credit to his safety management system for fuelling the growth of the company and helping them to secure large bids in other provinces. “1Life was critical to helping us achieve our ISNetworld® certification as well as securing one of our largest contracts to date, installing sprinklers in a mine in Saskatchewan, a project that will employ 5 of our staff full time for the next year.

In 2011, leveraging the resources of mySafetyAssistant.ca and the consultation of 1Life Workplace Safety and Health Ltd, the Vickar Automotive Group began developing and implementing a formal Safety Management System. This included critical elements like initial training of senior management on the “BIG WHY”, gaining involvement and participation of employees and developing customized policies and procedures that worked for the business.

Although their Safety Management System continues to evolve and be further implemented, they are seeing serious business results. This includes improved employee morale and retention because employees know they work for an employer that really cares about them and reduction in worker injuries and property damage. They have also seen their WCB rate drop from $1.89 to $0.57, which translates to the lowest WCB rate possible and a savings of over $43,000 per year in WCB premiums.

At the end of the day, losses due to injury, illness and property damage are paid from the organizations profits. Enlightened organizations are realizing that effective safety management demonstrates the true value the organization places on its human capital and it will have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Contact us today to learn more!


Theo's company and passion are an asset to any business.

Mike Gordon
Foreman, Birchwood Honda Center