Local SCIP businesses surveyed

Last week, six area businesses enrolled in the Safe Communities Incentive Program (SCIP) were interviewed about their experience with the program by two private consultants working on behalf of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board.
Consultants Nicholas Ignatieff and Debra Nixon were gathering information for the board in order to gauge the results and reactions of businesses involved in SCIP, which was initiated provincially by the WSIB in 1996.
“It’s been pretty clear that people have found it useful, and have had a positive experience overall,” Ignatieff noted last Thursday.
Although unable to get very specific on the responses of individual businesses, Ignatieff did say he was impressed with Fort Frances.
“This town has been doing a lot in the field of safety for quite a while,” he noted. “Maybe it hasn’t been the first program they’ve drawn on but perhaps it is the most convenient and low cost.”
Noting the insurance rebates offered to SCIP partners was a major incentive when getting the program off the ground, Ignatieff said it seems here the movement towards a safe community has gone beyond that.
“I think the information businesses have obtained, as to what the requirements are to have a legally safe workplace, has led to a new awareness so that it’s not entirely a money matter,” he remarked.
This “awareness,” added Ignatieff, has led Fort Frances and the surrounding area farther and faster than is the norm with other SCIP communities.
“When a business joins SCIP, there is something called ‘tier one training,’ where the businesses themselves learned about what it takes to be safe,” he began.
“Here, they’ve moved onto ‘tier two training,’ where actual training programs for employees have been developed,” he noted. “Usually it takes other communities several years to get into that but it’s going full blast right now.”
The pair returned to Toronto at the end of last week, and now the information they gathered will go on to WSIB’s prevention services and research and evaluation branches.
“They’ll put together what’s been found and draw some conclusions as to what direction to take now,” said Ignatieff. “To decide whether this is the end of the line or whether things will stay the same, or whether they’ll expand.”
He suggested a decision could be made by this summer.