HSEp in Transportation

Many factors contribute to the ongoing success of an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS). Among the biggest is maintaining consistent communication and cooperation throughout your entire organization.

But doing so can be a challenge for transportation firms, which may have fleets of drivers, truck yards, and warehouses spread across multiple locations—including in different provinces or countries, each with their own regulations for commercial vehicles. For some companies, this creates health and safety gaps that leave drivers more vulnerable to hazards and injuries, and which can impact a firm’s commercial vehicle operator’s registration (CVOR) rating.

IHSA works with transportation companies to fill those gaps and implement comprehensive, continually improvable occupational health and safety management systems. A particularly rewarding way to do that is by participating in the Health and Safety Excellence program (HSEp).

A voluntary initiative from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), HSEp helps businesses build and validate their OHSMS while earning rebates on their WSIB premiums. Since 2019, IHSA has supported more than 35 transportation firms in their use of HSEp to develop and enhance their health and safety policies, protocols, and practices.


A tailored approach

With HSEp, companies develop health and safety action plans based on 39 focus areas (known as “program topics” in HSEp). Individual firms can choose up to five topics to include in an action plan, creating a sector-specific program that is tailored to the company’s operations and needs.

The majority of HSEp’s 39 topics align with requirements for COR®, so firms can work toward earning COR® certification while benefiting from HSEp rebates. The rebate amount a business can receive depends on how many health and safety topics it completes, its size, and its WSIB premiums paid during the previous year.

Last year, 117 IHSA member firms earned more than $2 million in HSEp rebates.

“Regardless of whether a transportation company is just starting its journey toward building an OHSMS or its system is more advanced, they’ll get guidance they can trust from us,” says Maren Gamble, Manager of Strategic Programs at IHSA. “We know our transportation firms have unique health and safety considerations, whether it’s on the road or with vital support services at the office and warehouse. HSEp is a valuable tool for our clients to address all of these areas.”

As an approved HSEp provider, IHSA employs numerous consultants—with years of experience in the transportation industry—who can offer resources and guidance to help companies complete their health and safety topics.


Support for improving safety

IHSA has been helping the COR®-certified Super Save group of companies to continuously improve their health and safety management system through HSEp since 2020.

“We’ve benefited from the additional support provided by our IHSA consultant at each step of the process,” says Dawn Folliot, Super Save’s Corporate Health and Safety Manager. “The financial rebates are a positive, and easily offset any costs associated with participating in the program.”

Folliot notes that Super Save also sees indirect cost savings associated with improving overall health and safety performance.

HSEp participants can gain a further advantage by connecting with other firms that are validating their health and safety systems with HSEp. In late 2022, IHSA began hosting in-person networking events for its HSEp member firms. These meetings allow companies to receive activity-based instruction from IHSA consultants on HSEp skills while collaborating and sharing resources with other businesses that are working through the program. Previously, these events were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic; they are still offered in this format for members in more remote locations.

Michael Robinson, Vice President of Safety and Driver Development at C.A.T., says his company was motivated to participate in HSEp because of its success with Safety Groups, a former WSIB program that also emphasized mentorship and resource sharing between firms. He adds that working through HSEp keeps the company more engaged and on track with its OHSMS.

“I would encourage anybody—even if they think they’ve got a good health and safety plan and policies in place—to join HSEp with IHSA and see how they can improve their system,” Robinson says.

Doing so doesn’t just help to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses. Working to earn the rebates that HSEp offers just makes good financial sense. Successful completion of each HSEp topic provides a minimum $1,000 rebate. Depending on a company’s specific circumstances, it is possible to earn a maximum of $50,000 per topic (or up to 100 per cent of the WSIB premiums the business paid in the previous year).

In 2022, the WSIB also began offering incentives for smaller businesses to help offset HSEp registration costs. Firms with fewer than 100 employees are eligible to receive a $1,000 “signing bonus” for selecting their topics—and double rebates if they finish those topics by the end of 2024.

“The many small businesses IHSA serves get so much out of HSEp,” says John Kellie, IHSA Health and Safety Management Systems Consultant—HSEp. “There are the obvious financial benefits to help them offset enrolment costs, but also the positive safety outcomes they gain from IHSA’s expert guidance.”


IHSA, HSEp, and you

Learn more about HSEp, how it integrates with COR®, and how IHSA can help your company develop the skills and resources to complete HSEp topics and earn rewards.