SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe: Conviron shares their story

SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe: Conviron shares their story

Posted on September 26, 2018

As the manufacturing sector partner for SAFE Work Manitoba Certified, Made Safe works with members to assess their readiness, provide support and help companies achieve certification. The process is modelled on internationally-recognized best practices and has demonstrated positive outcomes for individual companies and the industry overall. Certified manufacturers have safer and healthier workplaces, better control of workplace hazards, fewer injuries and illnesses, more engaged and productive employees, and a significant rebate on their WCB premiums.

As the SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe process gains traction, we wanted to showcase just a few of the manufacturers leading the way. It’s our hope that telling their stories and sharing the lessons they learned during the certification process will help pave the path for other manufacturers moving forward.

Conviron

Conviron is the first light metal products manufacturing company in Manitoba to be SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe.

Conviron is the world’s largest designer and supplier of plant growth chambers. Leading universities, government agencies and agricultural biotech companies around the globe rely on Conviron’s highly engineered controlled environments to solve many of today’s challenges in plant science related to food production, human health and the environment. Conviron was founded in 1964 and is headquartered with design and manufacturing facilities in Winnipeg, Canada, combined with wholly-owned Argus Controls in Surrey, BC. Conviron also employs a global sales and distribution network with offices in the US, United Kingdom, Australia and China.

Q: What should people know about your company vision and culture?

At Conviron, we believe we all have a role to play in the broader scheme of things. In our own way, we contribute to feeding the world, improving human health and protecting the environment by providing technology that advances plant science and plant production. Our controlled environment technology uniquely equips researchers and growers with solutions to help them meet global demands for plant-based food and health products.

Q: What barriers did you need to address internally before making the commitment to pursue certification? And how did you overcome these hurdles?

One of our main concerns was that we weren’t sure whether our safety program was robust enough to obtain certification despite our commitment to keep safety a primary focus in everything we do.  We had processes in place to address how we determine priorities, how and who we train, how procedures are created, and when these things should be completed and by whom.  While these activities were getting done, we felt we might not be as consistent or systematic as we could be. 

Working with Made Safe on a gap audit provided us the assurance we needed that we were not that far off the mark but needed to strengthen our processes and documentation. The gap audit was a great tool as it provided us a clear indication of where we stood and what we needed to do to move forward in taking the next step toward certification.

Q: Did you learn any safety or business lessons throughout the process that might help others make the decision to become certified?

We all know that an effective safety management system is essential to create awareness and practices that reduce injuries and protect our employees.  The key lessons we learned in this process boiled down to ensuring all parties have visibility into the program, as well as communicating and understanding how it impacts each of us and the tasks that we perform.

We also learned about taking the time to be able to go through the hierarchy of controls to identify ways to eliminate or control a hazard rather than just finding a way to work with the hazard by adding additional PPE. For example, we are looking at ways for our engineering team to work more closely with the production team to redesign products and define assembly strategies to make it easier and safer for workers to do their jobs. 

Q: What would you say has been the biggest benefit of certification so far?

We’ve seen a renewed sense of pride and motivation amongst employees toward continuous improvements on safety initiatives. Raising awareness and morale within the company can only help us with our next steps moving forward.