Athabasca Basin Security Finalist for Mission: Zero Award

In June of 2014, Ron Hyggen, CEO of Athabasca Basin Security made a pledge to improve the overall safety of his employees.  A dedicated commitment to help make a difference in the unfavorable numbers for injuries on and off the job in Saskatchewan.

At that time, knowing that Saskatchewan held claim to the second worst workplace time loss injury record in the country, he chose to become a leader in the tide of change by pledging his commitment to Mission: Zero.

Launched in May 2008 as an initiative of WorkSafe Saskatchewan, in partnership between the Worker’s Compensation Board and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Mission: Zero is a project targeted at working toward zero injuries, zero fatalities and zero suffering.

What it means is believing that all injuries and predictable and preventable, and that the only right number of injuries and fatalities is ZERO.    It also means that you are willing to become a champion in the battle to make our communities a safer place to live, work and play by putting safety first to prevent injury to yourself, your co-workers, your family and your neighbours.

Injuries that have seen people hospitalized at twice the national average, and Saskatchewan people die 1.4 times more often than anywhere else in Canada.

Preventable injuries that not only create a one billion dollar drain on our provincial economy but also unimaginable pain and suffering to those injured and their families.

Hyggen knew the statistics, but he also knew that by signing on and creating a healthy and safe environment for his employees that Athabasca Basin Security could make a difference.   So, the company began a dedicated effort to shift their approach to safety.

“We have a moral obligation to return employees to their families in the same health that we received them.  It is the responsibility of every employer to do their absolute best in providing a safe place to work for their employees.”

Changes were made to ensure employees were safe on the job, with safety jumping to the top of the list as the Athabasca Basin Security team under the direction of Hyggen, developed a new strategic plan.

A budget was created to reach the goals and objectives outlined in the plan, and a new position was created.

“We invested by hiring a dedicated safety resource and developing a company-specific safety program rather than continuing the use of the construction based safety program we had been using.” Hyggen explained.  “The safety program had specific items that our team deemed vital to the success of the program.”

They developed a safety orientation program and video that clearly explained the importance of working safety, and implemented a management and supervisor training program to ensure a complete understanding of the Athabasca Basin Security Safety Program.

All staff must now pass a competency test upon completion of the safety program, and complete mandatory review of safe work procedures at every weekly toolbox meeting.

Other milestones included the development of a registry outlining all hazards that employees face at sites, and safety training and testing for all frontline employees.

Three years later, their team efforts are paying off.

“Safety makes good financial sense,” Hyggen said.  “A by-product of having a workforce that works safe is WCB discounts and time save by not having to manage claims”

In the three years since signing the Mission: Zero Charter, Athabasca Basin Security has witnessed their WCB rates steadily decrease from paying a surcharge to a discount of thirty percent for 2017.

However, the bigger payoff is knowing that your employees will go home safely at the end of the day and that the safety knowledge that have gained at work will also help to keep both them and their families safe at home as well.

Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that Athabasca Basin Security also saw another huge payoff for their tremendous commitment to safety this past June when they were nominated as one of three companies in the large company category to be recognized for their success in the Mission: Zero Charter.

With this being only the second year for the Mission: Zero Awards, these prestigious awards recognize those companies, in the categories of small, medium and large based on employee numbers, that have shown true leadership and commitment as a Signatory of the Mission: Zero Charter.

A charter that has continued to grow each year, and now incorporates more than six hundred Saskatchewan business who like Hyggen are committed to making preventable injuries a part of their past.    And of those six hundred businesses, Athabasca Basin Security is now in the top nine for their overall commitment to seeing their employees go home safety each and every day.

So, does this story end here?

According to Ron Hyggen, this is story is far from over.    “Mission: Zero will not be over until we no longer see preventable injuries and deaths in our workplace, our homes or our areas of play”.

View the awards video here that was presented at the June 8th Charter Event.