OGCA Applauds our Health and Safety Leaders

After much anticipation and planning, the OGCA was able to host our in-person Annual Safety Awards breakfast on Friday, November 19, 2021. This awards presentation was incredibly important to the OGCA since it highlights all of the efforts that our members strive for each day, on every ICI construction site, to ensure that health and safety is always, first and foremost, top of mind.

The overall feeling of the gathering was of gratitude: gratitude for being able to meet in person once again; gratitude for the networking and connections that the simple act of being together in-person accomplishes; gratitude for new relationships and collaborations. And above all, gratitude for the consistent and pronounced efforts from our members to continually strive for the overriding goal of the industry: the safety of all of their workers on site and ensuring that all workers go home safely to their families.

The continual efforts from our members make health and safety on construction sites seem like an easy feat to accomplish, almost second nature. But rest assured that this is a daily effort and something that does not happen by chance. Each one of our members places a significant amount of energy, time and resources into health and safety to make it look this easy.

Construction is an inherently hazardous vocation and, if not approached properly, can lead to disastrous effects. For a reality check, I want all of the readers to recall December 2020 and the rash of seven deaths that occurred in construction in a two week period. It occurred so suddenly that the entire construction industry was completely taken aback and left questioning how these deaths could have been prevented. It is that overriding sentiment, the constant and continual review and evaluation from our members of how things can be prevented and made better, that sets ICI construction apart from all others.

Unlike some other industries, ICI construction cannot sit back and pat itself on the back and note that they have finally achieved the desired result. Why do I phrase it in this fashion? Well, because we are constantly creating and building Ontario and all of the necessities that our province requires. This means that construction is in a constant state of flux because we are the agents of change.

Before our members are involved, most times the proposed project is nothing more than a concept, an idea or a dream. Our members transform that concept into reality and once completed, move onto the next project, although it may be completely natural and normal to the members of the OGCA because we accomplish this every day. For a moment, I would like you to look at our industry from the outside looking in.

If you weren’t in the ICI construction industry, how would you approach a proposed new project?

For most, they would try to figure out how to adequately build the construct and how to accomplish the desired end goal of the completed structure. For our members, it always starts with “What is the safest way to build the project?” Some would say that these concepts are one and the same, but realistically they are light years apart.

By focusing on health and safety as the first idiom of any project, this places all of those planning the construction projects in a different mindset. They simply view things from a lens that continually emphasizes health and safety. From the flow of products entering and being moved about the site, to the flow of the workers entering and exiting the site, to the scheduling and placement of subtrades on the sites, all aspects start with health and safety.

This is what sets the ICI construction industry apart from others both in and out of construction: the constant striving for betterment and not resting on the most recent accomplishment. The entire construction process is a constant and ever-changing landscape of “what-ifs.” The approach to health and safety from our members is to continually forecast, perceive and address all of these potential “what-ifs.”

The members of the OGCA have a truly different approach to how all of these “what-ifs” are addressed and adequately neutralized. Through the OGCA Safety Committee, all of our members come together and communicate their challenges and accomplishments together in an open forum that fosters collaboration and communication. Each member approaches this committee without any ego and is there to add to the conversation.

The outcome is truly synergistic and a testament to the ICI Construction industry. The sharing of information is seen as normal and all members continually volunteer their time and resources to advance the betterment of the entire sector. All these would be competitors coming together to accomplish a single-minded goal: the improvement of health and safety on all of their projects.

Before you disregard my comments, simply because I am the President of the OGCA and you assume that I need to hype our members, think about who participated at the Safety Awards and what they represent.

Our special guests and speakers included the following participants:

  • Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development;
  • Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB Chair;
  • Rod Cook, Vice President, WSIB;
  • Diana Rea, Stakeholder Engagement Lead, WSIB;
  • Enzo Garritano, President, IHSA;
  • Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Prevention Officer

These auspicious guests and speakers wanted to be part of our event because of what the OGCA members communally have achieved. Simply put, we have the best safety record from not only all of construction, but comparatively, all industries. And why? Because the OGCA members see health and safety as bigger than their individual companies and instead the responsibility of the industry. This mindset is what truly sets our members apart from all others. Your constant commitment to health and safety and placing this as the overriding direction of all our projects is the true strength of the OGCA members.

I will conclude by simply saying thank you to each and every one of our members through their daily efforts to better the health and safety of ICI construction. You should be proud of your accomplishment. I know that the OGCA certainly is!

Should anyone want to know more about the OGCA Safety Awards, or if you require any assistance from the OGCA, please contact me directly at giovanni@ogca.wpengine.com or via phone at 905.671.3969.