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The Value of COSP (Community of Safe Practices) to Homecare & Home Support Workers

Article By: Heather Matthews, AWARE-NS OHS Specialist
We all know that if you want to know the value of a product or service, it’s always best to ask those who have bought it. When it comes to COSP, we asked those that “bought-in” what they saw as the value of the COSP pilot program.
Before I share their thoughts, let me relate my experience since joining COSP five months ago. By the time I arrived participants had already started their journey to a safer workplace for homecare & home support; they had the road map drawn and the foundation started.
It has been a pleasure to work with all of the agencies and partners to continue to develop a Health and Safety Management System for this sector. The level of commitment demonstrated by these agencies to the advancement of safer workplaces has been tremendous. They have committed time and resources and, with their partners (WCB and AWARE-NS), have been able to developed useful tools and training modules.
It is really too early in the process to have hard numbers showing a reduction in injuries, but I want to share a few comments that reflect the option of many who are participating in COSP.

Collaborating with the other organizations within the COSP group has been so valuable. Although we have not seen a reduction in our injuries yet we are headed in the right direction. I am confident the tools that have been developed will help to impact our injuries once they are introduced to staff. Sharing experiences and information with the other members has helped unite us as a group and given momentum to the need to move forward with a safety association for community support. Together we can make an impact on a safer workplace for community support workers.

Lisa Briers, VON

We indeed see the value of sharing best practices. Not surprising we are dealing with changing a cultural mind set, that being said, we did not expect to see a decrease in the number of injuries or severity at this time. We are at the very beginnings of trying to put into practice some new ideas, procedures and practices.

Patricia Bishop- Grant, New Waterford Home Support

The value the COSP project brings to the home support sector, in my opinion, is identification of common, essential practices that ensure employees have a basis for safe occupational outcomes. As well, I hope it will serve as an advocacy tool for establishing standards to be used as a WCB audit, leading to commendations and rate improvements in our industry.

Sandra Bauld, Northwood

About The Author:

Heather Headshot WebHeather Matthews is AWARE-NS’s Occupational Health & Safety Specialist. She received her Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Housing and Facility Management from Mount Saint Vincent University (1989). In 2010, she completed her Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from Ryerson University. Most recently was the Corporate Health and Safety Manager for Ocean Nutrition Canada a Global Bio Science company where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the Health and Safety program. Developing a strong safety culture though leadership, training and education has been her primary focus.

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