SafeAbility: Safe and Able to Work
What does SafeAbility mean for employers?In 2004, The WSIB and The Ontario Ministry of Labour reported a staggering 276,807 work-related injuries and illnesses had occurred. Over 296 of these resulted in a workers death, including seven youth and seven women. Causes of death included occupational diseases, traumatic injury and motor vehicle accidents. Clearly, these statistics indicate a greater need for health and safety training.
Furthermore, in a recent health and safety survey conducted in 17 countries, Canadian workers ranked fourth in terms of feeling at risk from their jobs, positioned only slightly behind their counterparts in Greece, Portugal and Spain. According to Jobquality.ca, over 32 per cent of workers perceived their jobs as being unsafe. Women were less likely to report their health was at risk, while all workers aged 45-64 are more likely to feel that their health was at risk because of their jobs. In Canada, workers aged 25-44 reported the highest levels of health risk at 34 per cent, compared to approximately 30 per cent for other age groups.
With over one third of the Canadian workforce feeling at least somewhat unsafe in their jobs, there is a clear signal for better training and health and safety awareness. Since workers who already have a disability are at greater risk of job-related illness and injury, SafeAbility provides the tools for knowledge transfer that matters.
With an aging labour pool, globalization and severe shortages in talent across multiple key economic sectors, Canada has been forced to compete for financial as well as human capital. Workers with disabilities remain a vast, untapped resource and there are many available for hire, who may or may not require workplace accommodation.
Accommodations are usually cost-effective adjustments to either the work environment or job description that allow the employee with a disability to perform the essential duties of a job. Accommodations are also a legal requirement under the Ontario Human Rights Code and should be available for all employees with disabilities during all phases of the selection process unless doing so causes undue financial hardship to the employer.
Accommodations can include something as simple as strobe lights or vibrating alarm signals in areas occupied by deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing workers, or tape recorders for persons with auditory learning disabilities to process verbal instructions. Most accommodations cause less than $500 and yield a return of $29 in productivity for every dollar invested in accommodation; a sound investment by any terms.
Workers with disabilities also have attendance rates better or equal to their able-bodied counterparts, accrue less sick time and traditionally remain loyal to the employers brand for longer periods than non-disabled workers.
SafeAbility offers employers an opportunity to diversify their workforce, increase retention rates, attract a greater customer base and promote themselves as a community-conscious brand with a solid record as a healthy and safe key player in the competitive global market.
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