In 2014, the City of Calgary continued to see rising workplace safety incidents and a safety rating worse than its industry average, which was costing the City in productivity and high insurance premiums. This performance did not align with its value of keeping employees safe.
Workplace safety was historically managed by individual business units. In 2006, the City adopted a corporate management system to govern safety across all business units. However, many business units continued to adopt unique processes, resulting in 67 different paper forms and inconsistent expectations of leaders. Little data was tracked consistently, so that only serious injuries (that resulted in time away from work) were reported to senior management. Leaders of high-risk operational groups were frustrated with the lack of data to help them prevent these injuries, whereas leaders of low-risk office groups were uninterested because they rarely saw serious injuries. Employees reported very few non-injury concerns, so leaders had limited knowledge of the issues leading up to an injury and limited opportunities to address these issues to prevent injuries and reduce severity of injuries that did happen.
In 2015, as a foundational piece of its overall strategy to foster a culture of safety, the City launched an online tool to capture, track and report on all safety incidents and concerns. This tool would enforce consistent expectations and processes and provide all leaders with comprehensive, reliable safety data to inform decisions and actions to improve safety culture and performance. The program goals were to implement this tool in all 31 business units and increase reporting of non-injury safety concerns by 25%. It would be critical to clarify expectations, create understanding of the tool’s value to improving safety, and stimulate reporting.