Starting in May, the company has added a new staff member. Brian Hlushko has come on board as a Safety Consultant, focusing primarily on helping build safety programs for our clients.
Brian was born and raised in Saskatchewan, is married with two kids, was a child actor, and is a self-professed Star Wars nerd.
Brian has been working in the Occupational Health and Safety field in various roles for 10 years. Beginning his career as a Primary Care Paramedic in Saskatchewan, he quickly began offering both pre-hospital care, and various occupational testing services which included audiometric, spirometry, and DOT Drug Alcohol testing.
Brian graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology OHS Program with distinction in 2021.
Throughout his career he has built custom safety programs for both large and small organizations. In 2021, his program build for the YMCA of Lethbridge obtained a historically high passing score in their COR audit.
His emergency services foundation provides a unique perspective when assessing risk and potential mechanisms of injury. Through this experience, he has directly seen the multi-generational impacts of a serious injury, illness or fatality. This understanding has motivated Brian to shift his focus to accident and illness prevention, while maintaining effective response strategies should an accident or incident occur.
Brian believes safety management systems must be holistically built, and designed with a focus on the end user experience.
Flannery Safety Consulting offers clients safety consulting, training and management. Whether it be for building or improving your safety program, group training, or monitoring your safety activities, we can assist you in achieving your safety goals.
So much of the safety world seems to be wrapped up in the negative, focussing on what can go wrong, how many injuries or incidents a company has had, etc. We strive to make your experience a positive one, looking at what is being done right and building on that.
Flannery Safety Consulting has a number of different ways to help you:
Ongoing monitoring and support for your safety program
Assistance in incident investigation, injury claims management
Training in generic and company-specific WHMIS
Help and advice on managing your WCB account
Assessment of your company’s unique safety needs and requirements
Assisting in the creation and/or improvement of your safety program
Assisting in development of safe work practices and safe job procedures
Assisting in developing custom forms to fit your company and advice on whether a paper format or an electronic one is best for you
Help with registering in the Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program through Alberta’s WCB and selecting a certifying partner to best suit your needs
Pre-audit evaluation of your program to ensure it meets Certificate of Recognition (COR) or Small Employer Certificate of Recognition (SECOR) standards
Assisting in rolling out the safety program to your company
Jim Flannery is an NCSO and has worked in the construction safety field since 2000. He has worked for companies with as few as six workers as well as multi-national corporations, giving him a broad-based understanding of construction safety in a variety of scales and scopes. He has completed the University of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety certificate program, is a Gold Seal-certified Safety Coordinator and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP). Jim has a BA in English, has a quarter-century of construction experience under his belt both on the tools and off, and is a part-time freelance writer.
July 6 marks the seventh anniversary for Flannery Safety Consulting!
Time has flown by over the last seven years and a ton of things have happened.
We have gone from a single client in the first few weeks to more than 20 active clients here in the summer of 2022, in spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19 over the last couple years. With the help of our association with BNI Key Connections, business has remained strong through some very tough times and we’re so thankful for the opportunities presented to us!
We have also invested heavily in training and constant improvement.
We have attended the ACSA’s annual safety conference every year since 2013 (including virtual conferences in 2021 and 2022) to stay current on key issues in the health and safety industry. Ongoing training is a fundamental principle of the company, with a target for all staff to log at least 30 hours of training every year.
Speaking of staff, as announced recently, Flannery Safety added a new consultant in May. Brian Hlushko has jumped right in and is already providing excellent service to several of our clients.
It hasn’t been a perfect journey. There have been bumps along the road and hopefully we’ve learned valuable lessons on how to do our work better long the way. But the trajectory has continued to go in the right direction.
Flannery Safety Consulting remains committed to providing excellent service to our clients now and into the future.
April 28 is the International Day of Mourning, honouring and remembering the people who were injured or died as a result of occupational injury or disease in the previous year. Started in Canada, it is now observed in over 80 countries.
In Alberta in 2021 there were 178 lives lost due to workplace injury or illness, roughly one every two days.
But this isn’t where the suffering ends: in a typical year about 50,000 workers per year have a WCB claim (ie. an injury severe enough to require the worker to have some sort of medical intervention, from stitches to a life-altering injury). That means roughly three workers in every 100 in Alberta will suffer a serious injury this year.
This is an enormous human cost. It affects the co-workers, family, and friends of injured people, changing their lives in the short and long term as they deal with the injured worker’s inability to do all things s/he used to be able to do. Or worse, dealing with the permanent loss of that individual, looking for answers and closure, and trying to live with that hole in their own lives.
When One Person Suffers, We All Suffer
And then there’s the societal impact. With more than 50,000 serious workplace injuries every year in Alberta, additional pressure is put on our health care system dealing with the immediate injury and subsequent rehabilitation. Houses have to be renovated at huge cost to accommodate people who lose the use of their legs. Workers who miss time due to injury are compensated by WCB, which costs Alberta companies more than a billion dollars every year in premiums.
In my line of work I’ve seen many serious injuries, from lacerations to partial amputations, to crushed fingers to broken bones to burns. I’ve seen first-hand what damage injuries in the workplace can do and the harm they do not only to the injured workers but to the people around them. Some people never recover from the physical injuries; even more never really recover from the psychological damage. I remain in this business because I’m committed to helping reduce the severity of injuries or prevent them entirely so fewer people have to deal with this trauma.
On April 28, please be sure to take a moment to think about all the people whose lives have been affected or stolen from them by workplace incidents.
There has been a push in Canada for 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers. It started as part of the recovery from COVID-19, but there is talk of making it permanent going forward. Employers are resisting the idea of being forced to provide 10 days of paid sick leave for their employees, but this is based on incorrect ideas that persist in the business community. Five Myths About Paid Sick Leave Busted – http://ontario.psac.com/sites/ontario/files/paid_sick_days_myths.pdf
Paid Sick Leave Will Not End Your Business
The bottom line—paid sick leave is not going to make businesses go broke. Business owners are reading this and thinking, “No way! If I give all of my employees 10 days off with pay each year, it’ll eat up all my profits,” but the numbers just don’t bear this out. In both hard numbers in terms of cost benefit analysis as well as softer measurements like employee morale, paid sick leave is a good investment.
Take a look at this quick video for an overview of paid sick leave:
So Many Benefits!
The benefits your company can see when you implement this policy:
Higher employee retention.
Greater employee loyalty.
Higher company morale.
Lower costs for replacing/retraining employees.
Lower healthcare costs for your community.
Increased profits and growth (yes, really!).
Employees with paid sick leave are less likely to leave your company, which saves you costs in re-hiring and re-training replacement workers. They stay because they *can* stay (they can look after themselves better without needing to quit their job to do this), and they stay because they feel loyalty to an employer who recognizes and respects their basic humanity.
Now let’s talk about presenteeism—when workers come to work sick because they have no paid sick leave. You might not have heard of presenteeism, but it is a BIG problem—in Canada, it is a 6 billion dollar problem. When employees are coming to work sick, they have reduced productivity, they can spread sickness to the rest of your employees, and they can spread sickness to the rest of the community. And then there’s that nasty low morale problem again—forcing employees to work sick makes them unhappy and resentful. Our current COVID-19 pandemic crisis is really underlining how much sick workers infect each other and the community.
“Presenteeism—when employees show up at the office, but aren’t really there whether due to illness, exhaustion or stress—results in a loss of productivity, impacting an organization’s bottom line. Research shows that in the US, presenteeism can cost around $150 billion, in Canada, it’s about a $6 billion problem.”
Increased Profits And Growth From Paid Sick Leave?
It sounds counter-intuitive, but this is one of those cases where paying some money can net you more money and success. Employees working sick can actually make them less productive than staying home and getting better.
“The two Journal of the American Medical Association studies, for example, found that the on-the-job productivity loss resulting from depression and pain was roughly three times greater than the absence-related productivity loss attributed to these conditions. That is, less time was actually lost from people staying home than from them showing up but not performing at the top of their game.
The experts studying this issue are finding that companies in areas where paid sick leave has been mandated were able to implement the policies without taking a serious profitability hit, or are actually performing better. The majority of companies where they had to provide paid sick days now support the policy.
This is a real concern, but there are ways to handle this issue as well. As with most issues, most employees will be honest and reliable; a few bad apples will try to get away with something. Some of the things you can do to keep employees from abusing your paid sick leave policy is to monitor employees’ use of it, apply the rules fairly and evenly for every employee, or consider turning paid sick leave into simple paid time off/personal days. You can also develop a culture in your business that encourages people to do what they need to do, but be responsible about not abusing paid sick leave/paid time off.
From what the studies are showing, paid sick leave is an idea whose time has come. It benefits the employees who can stay home when they are sick, it benefits employers who have increased productivity and worker morale, and it benefits the community with stronger businesses and healthier people.
As of November, 2018, Flannery Safety Consulting has added a new service that we can provide to clients: we can now provide Consultant Auditing services through the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA).
Consultant Auditing adds to the current list of services we can provide you with, which already includes safety program monitoring and maintenance, and safety program building.
Many construction companies have or are trying to obtain their Certificate of Recognition through the ACSA. While most companies participate in the Peer Auditing process, some need a Consultant Auditor to get their COR audit done. As noted on the ACSA website:
For some companies, participating in the Peer Program is not a viable option, this is where a Consultant Audit is next best suited. For this, your ACSA is proud to maintain a comprehensive directory of ACSA-certified consultant auditors to choose from. Access to this directory is offered to our member companies and is intended to serve as a reliable source for selecting consultants to conduct COR audits. Each auditor within the directory has been screened through our application process and then deemed to be in full adherence with ACSA consultant auditor standards.
The consultant auditors are professionals who have met the requirements of the ACSA and passed the exam. They are held to a higher standard and as such, they charge companies for their time. Arrangements with consultant auditors are the responsibility of the company and dates / cost are negotiated between the two parties.
Flannery Safety Consulting has now met the rigorous new Consultant Auditor standards that were set in 2017, demonstrating a high standard of knowledge, professionalism, and ethical behaviour.
We look forward to the opportunity to provide this new service to clients throughout southern Alberta!
July 6 marks the third anniversary for Flannery Safety Consulting and it seems like things started just yesterday!
Time has flown by over the last three years and a ton of things have happened.
We have gone from a single client in the first few weeks to 16 active clients here in the summer of 2018. With the help of our association with BNI Key Connections, business has grown by leaps and bounds in a fairly short period of time and we’re so thankful for the opportunities presented to us!
We have also invested heavily in training and constant improvement.
During the first six months in business, we went through execuserv plus‘ Self-Employment program to make sure we have the tools needed to effectively service our clients. Following that training, Flannery Safety entered the 2016 Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge and finished as a runner-up in the competition.
We have attended the ACSA’s annual safety conference four years in a row to stay current on key issues in the health and safety industry. And we’ve added two new designations in the last three years—owner Jim Flannery became the first person in Lethbridge to write and pass the Gold Seal Certified safety professional exam in July 2015 and earned his Canadian Registered Safety Professional designation in the spring of 2018.
It hasn’t been a perfect journey. There have been bumps along the road and hopefully we’ve learned valuable lessons on how to do our work better long the way. But the trajectory has continued to go in the right direction. And we have more plans to grow the business in the next few months!
Flannery Safety Consulting remains committed to providing excellent service to our clients now and into the future.
Jim Flannery, owner of Flannery Safety Consulting, is now certified as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP). As noted above, CRSPs “offer in-depth knowledge of OHS principles and practices and apply this knowledge to develop systems in order to achieve optimum control over hazards in your workplace.”
CRSPs are held to a high standard of ethical behaviour and are expected to commit to lifelong learning, to stay current with developments in the Occupational Health and Safety field. We’re honoured to have earned this new designation and hope it will continue to provide credibility to our company.
Flannery Safety Consulting turned two years old this week!
It has been an interesting and challenging two years in business. Growing a client base came fairly slowly at first, but things are now quite busy, the bills are getting paid, and there are some interesting prospects on the horizon as the company’s business model continues to be refined.
What We’ve Been Up To
There have been a number of exciting developments since the start of Flannery Safety Consulting. Founder Jim Flannery earned his Safety Coordinator Gold Seal. He was the first person in Lethbridge, AB to get that designation. The company was runner up in the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge in 2016. Jim spent a six-month term as the chapter president for BNI Key Connections, the marketing group where more than 80% of the company’s client base has come from. Jim has also been a member of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Direction and Policy Committee for more than a year.
Along the way, Flannery Safety has given back. We helped out with a Habitat for Humanity project and took part in the Steps for Life event in support of families that have lost loved ones through occupational incident or disease.
How We Can Help
Flannery Safety Consulting helps companies ensure that they are taking care of their staff in several ways:
through compliance with Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety laws
by assisting with the monitoring and management of active safety programs
Through positive and proactive changes to a business’ methods, we can show you that protecting your people actually increases productivity and leads to greater profitability, which is good news for everyone!
Lifelong training remains one of the company’s guiding principles. To that end, Jim is currently pursuing his Canadian Registered Safety Professional certification. He eventually plans to become a consultant auditor through the Alberta Construction Safety Association, adding another service to our list.
The Steps For Life walk in Lethbridge took place on the morning of May 6 this year and Flannery Safety Consulting took part. More than 1,500 people walked a route along Henderson Lake to support the cause.
As per the Steps for Life website, “Steps for Life brings together families and co-workers affected by workplace tragedy with friends, neighbours, community members and health and safety professionals who are all passionate about workplace safety.” This is the primary fundraiser for The Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support (known as Threads of Life), which “is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to supporting families along their journey of healing who have suffered from a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease.”
Lethbridge has traditionally been one of the biggest supporters of this fundraiser and 2017 was no different. The city’s walk featured 1,532 walkers—the most of any city in Canada—and has raised more than $40,000 as of May 8. That makes eight years in a row that Lethbridge has had the most participation in the country.
Overall, the national Steps for Life campaign has brought in $654,157 as of May 29, which exceeds the campaign’s target for 2017, thanks to generous donations from communities all over Canada. Flannery Safety Consulting is proud to have contributed to the effort this year and looks forward to the fundraising effort—and the walk—again in 2018. Thanks to the generous donors who contributed to Flannery Safety’s fundraising effort!
Jim Flannery, owner of Flannery Safety Consulting, getting ready to participate in the annual Steps for Life walk in Lethbridge, AB.