The Sarnia-Lambton Industrial Educational Co-operative Corporation (IEC) was formed to create a common set of orientation and training materials that were centrally delivered to workers as part of a regional onboarding process. This centralized model of training avoided workers being onboarded at one location and then again and again at other sites with similar messaging. The initial “BSO” (Basic Safety Orientation) training was based on common onboarding messaging around regional risks/controls with a significant focus on hydrogen sulfide and asbestos.
Over time, the IEC worked directly with more member sites and an expanded list of local contractors and all local building trades to incorporate a wider range of perspectives into the development of training content. By 2001, this regional model of collaboration was branded as the “Sarnia Safety Partnership” with a collective vision of, “Zero Incidents by Choice.” Committees were struck to ensure that all training content developed through the IEC incorporated a balanced tripartite design, ensuring that ideas identified by frontline workers were included in training content.
The IEC began offering audit services to evaluate adequacy and effectiveness of contractors in the region against a standardized set of criteria. Criteria were based on existing national and international benchmarks of management system design as “Plan-Do-Check-Act”. In the period between 2003 and 2007, the IEC portfolio grew to over 200 companies as more of the sites in the region started to incorporate this audit as part of their contractor pre-qualification/pre-bid selection processes. As the process matured, the Safety Management Assessment (SMA) aligned with ISO 19011 auditing framework and auditor training.
The IEC Partnership reviewed the BSO course and expanded it to a full-day regional orientation called BSO (Plus). This course was valid for three years and included a wide range of topics such as leadership, occupational exposure and control, and task-specific risk assessment. It also included the development of centralized monthly safety meeting content and testing to ensure workers remained aware of key messages over time.
IEC courses are updated and developed through Subject Matter Expert Teams that use a defined, documented, and repeatable process. Courses are instructed using modern adult education techniques with content containing a deliberate mix of theory and hands-on exercises that achieve defined learning objectives and outcomes. All instructors are required to become accredited prior to delivering course content and to maintain this accreditation through periodic assessments. IEC Safety Management Assessments (SMA) continue to align with ISO protocol as criteria undergoes annual updates to adjust focus based on emerging risks, new laws, and regional initiatives.
Effective January 1, 2024, the IEC becomes the BASES Safety Partnership under the rebranded entity, BASES (Bluewater Association for Safety, Environment, and Sustainability). In this new chapter, the Safety Partnership will continue to utilize the unique tripartite model of collaboration that unites industry, contractors, and labour unions in a shared commitment to enhancing workplace safety performance in Sarnia-Lambton.