Schiewek recognized as one of the top female safety leaders in Canada
By Don Horne
Cindy Schiewek, Director of Health and Safety Services at Workplace Safety North (WSN), has been recognized as one of the top female safety leaders in Canada. This news was announced by Canadian Occupational Safety magazine on May 4, 2023.
Schiewek helped develop a new tool that measures workplace safety culture and was awarded for her efforts. She is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional, a certified psychological health and safety advisor, and is completing her master’s in business administration.
The tool is called the Internal Responsibility System Climate Assessment and Audit Tool (IRS CAAT). It takes a holistic approach to measuring how health and safety culture and management systems interact and influence one another. Piloted in 2017, the tool was found to be predictive of health and safety outcomes, making it a powerful leading indicator and roadmap to reduce workplace injuries.
“I’m honoured to receive this recognition,” says Schiewek. “The tool has completely shifted the way we look at workplace health and safety management, and can help companies make their workplaces safer.”
She also leads the WSN mental health team and oversees the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. She aims to promote psychological and physical safety equally to support and maintain a positive workplace culture.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure psychological safety is treated with the same priority as physical safety in the workplace.” says Schiewek. “Psychosocial safety is controlled by the employer and can have a lasting impact on worker well-being. If someone gets belittled for bringing up a safety concern like a broken piece of equipment, this affects their sense of safety in many ways. In this type of environment, how are they supposed to feel safe bringing up a mental heath struggle they may need support with?”
Committed to improving workplace mental health, Schiewek has helped make workplace mental health training accessible to organizations across Ontario “For the third year running, WSN is offering free mental health training for Ontario workplaces during Healthy Workplace Month in October,” she notes. “The sessions will run in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins.”
“A psychologically safe workplace is one where people feel safe to speak up, are respected, heard, valued, and included. Leadership is responsible for creating the environment that enables these factors.”
Schiewek has worked with many companies in various sectors, including agriculture, construction, healthcare, education, government, mining, and more, to ensure that every worker goes home safe and healthy.
She is also an advocate for young women in the field of occupational health and safety and is a member of the Women in Occupational Health and Safety Society.
As an advisory committee member for the Workplace Safety and Promotion program at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Schiewek helps shape educational content to make sure students have current knowledge and relevant skills to be future safety leaders.
Overall, Schiewek is doing amazing work to make sure workplaces are safe and healthy for everyone. Congratulations to Cindy Schiewek and all the other amazing women who were recognized!
Workplace Safety North is one of four sector-based health and safety associations in Ontario. Headquartered in northern Ontario, WSN provides information, resources, events, consulting services and province-wide, Ministry-approved workplace health and safety training. For more information, visit workplacesafetynorth.ca.