Blog - The Raven Speaks

How To: Keep Your Safety Program On Track

Raven Rescue’s technical expertise has attracted clients from across Canada to explore the ways we can optimize their safety programs.  Some of these clients have been our technical rescue students for years, and some met us at conference workshops (like those hosted for AME).  Others were working with our equipment team to assemble rescue gear caches that would fit their unique needs, and inquired about the possibility of re-working their safety program along the way.

No matter the avenue taken, the inspiration behind the movement is the same – the individuals and teams that we work with across Canada need safety programs, and those programs need to be straightforward and usable.

Programs, Derailed

Too many safety programs are written in isolation, a formula that often generates problems.  What kind of problems?  Here are some of the common issues we come across in existing safety programs when we start projects: 

  • Unrealistic procedural requirements
  • Misunderstood hazards
  • Over-calculated risks
  • Under-calculated risks
  • Too much paperwork

These issues derail programs before they are even introduced to the people they’re meant to protect.  When we’re invited to offer our expertise, we prioritize producing results that are comprehensive, while but also simple and usable. 


A Little, Or A Lot

Ben Ambrose, Raven Rescue Safety Services Coordinator, has seen it all with his safety program clients.  His experience ranges from finetuning one aspect of a larger safety program, to arming clients with a brand new approach to safety that reaches across an entire corporation.

“For one client,” Ben recalls, “we developed safe work procedures for operations around a seaplane dock, which included specific hazard identifications and rescue plans. These procedures were incorporated into the client’s existing safety program.

“We’ve also started from the very beginning and written entire safety programs.  In one instance, this started by sending two of our Directors, Walter Bucher and Amy Copland, to explain the process to the client.  From there, we sent a technical expert to perform on-site hazard identifications to discuss safe work procedures already in use, and to identify gaps.  These hazard identifications were used to develop comprehensive safe work procedures, which were the core of the safety program.  Around that core, we provided a formalized set of documentation which included easy to use electronic and paper forms, such as incident report forms, toolbox meeting forms, violence prevention policies, and worker responsibilities.”

When describing Raven Rescue’s potential role to safety program clients, Ben highlights three phases of involvement:

1. Raven Rescue assesses the client’s needs by clarifying where they are in the development or implementation of a safety program.  This assessment can be done over the phone, or through documented interviews.

2. Raven Rescue sends an expert technician to identify hazards at the worksite. The technician is accompanied by an employee who actually performs the work being evaluated, as well as a supervisor who understands the company’s existing OH&S program. This approach has proven to generate “buy-in” on multiple levels.

3. From here, Raven can do a lot, or a little.  Safe work procedures for a specialized environment or complex activity might be all that is needed. Alternatively, it may be clear that the client needs a comprehensive safety program, beginning with the articulation of managment's commitment to safety, progressing to the identification of roles or responsibilities, and culminating with emergency plans and communications.


Simple and Usable

Ben has had the opportunity to apply Raven Rescue’s technical expertise to a wide variety of clients, each of whom faces obstacles in challenging environments. From industrial or commercial operations, to swiftwater, forestry and natural resource enforcement, the workplaces we assess are always unique.  Our team has proudly delivered simple and usable safe work procedures to workers across Canada.

If you need a new safe work procedure developed, want to see an old procedure re-assessed, or aren't sure if a procedure is really the answer to your safety challenge, give Raven Rescue a call.  And if you discover that your entire safety program needs some TCL to get back on track, don’t despair.  We know how to refurbish your program into a simple and usable approach that will keep your team safe.


Mar 23-25

Swiftwater Rescue Technician - Advanced

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April 4-7

Technical Rope Rescue - Technician

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Nicholas Carroll, Training Coordinator
Whitehorse Fire Department

Fantastic course! Fun and informative ... if school was like this, I'd be a doctor!


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