Companies, associations embark on Safety Week

Safety Week is intended to recognize accomplishments in promoting health and safety in the past year and highlight the efforts to create safe workplaces. Pictured, from left, OGCA director of government relations David Frame, OGCA president Clive Thurston and MySafeWork's Rob Ellis presented Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn with a League of Champions jersey at an OGCA event in February in honour of the launch of the new workplace safety program.

Craig Lesurf, a vice-president with Walsh Canada and the current chair of the Toronto Construction Association, was wearing his hat as chair of the OGCA Safety Committee recently as he laid out the rationale for Safety Week.

Firms like Walsh Canada, which has programming at four of its work sites every day of Safety Week, not only are promoting safety awareness throughout the construction sector and beyond, but also have practical workshops for the sector's crews throughout the week.

"It is not a matter of having events for events' sake, it is a matter of training and awareness," said Lesurf.

Walsh Canada will be hosting one or two events per day at its Humber Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, TTC Pioneer Village Station and Credit Valley Hospital work sites. It's not all hard work — one event is billed as a Fire Drill and Golf Game — but it is all serious in the sense that safety awareness is intended to save lives and send workers home safely at the end of the day to loved ones, said Lesurf.

"Lives are changed forever" when an injury occurs, he said.

Among other participants, Kenaidan will have lots of hands-on demonstrations with an agenda that includes a drop test, harness safety and inspection, working at heights awareness, ear fit and testing and eye protection safety awareness. GEN-PRO Construction will be holding a barbecue, handing out t-shirts and demonstrating emergency evacuation procedures and fire extinguisher use, including putting out controlled fires. Turner Construction will be focusing on its Building L.I.F.E. philosophy — L.I.F.E. is an acronym for Living Injury Free Every Day. And both Merit Contractors Niagara and Alpeza General Contracting will be highlighting their involvement with the Certificate of Recognition health and safety program.

Another major supporter of Safety Week is Caterpillar, said Lesurf. They've developed and are sharing with other OGCA members a unique pyramid chart that demonstrates that there are many elements, including corporate values, that go into reducing the single item at the top of the pyramid — fatalities.

Others on board this year include EllisDon, PCL, Bird Construction, Ball Construction and W.S Morgan Construction, to name a few.

"It's like anything in life, if you don't have repetition, you are never going to learn. You have to do it until it becomes second nature," said Lesurf.

Reprinted from Daily Commercial News - Don Wall