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OGCA honours latest safety champions at leadership conference

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by Angela Gismondi

Fourteen new members joined the League of Champions at the Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) leadership conference recently.
Vice-president of Walsh Canada and chair of the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) safety committee Craig Lesurf (second from right) was presented with the Doug Chalmers Award for Safety during the annual COR Open House and Leadership Conference in Mississauga, Ont. The award was presented to Lesurf by OGCA president Clive Thurston (far left), OGCA chair Frank Perricone (second from left) and Rob Ellis of MySafeWork (right).
Vice-president of Walsh Canada and chair of the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) safety committee Craig Lesurf (second from right) was presented with the Doug Chalmers Award for Safety during the annual COR Open House and Leadership Conference in Mississauga, Ont. The award was presented to Lesurf by OGCA president Clive Thurston (far left), OGCA chair Frank Perricone (second from left) and Rob Ellis of MySafeWork (right). - Photo: ANGELA GISMONDI

It's been about a year since the League of Champions was first launched and organizers say the program is gaining momentum.

"From my perspective I am thrilled with the first year of the League of Champions," reported Rob Ellis of MySafeWork, adding the program is getting noticed at the national level by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Our culture is changing and the League of Champions is right at the forefront."

The League of Champions exists to help companies build a safety culture and be recognized for their leadership.

The league is a joint program between the OGCA and MySafeWork and is intended to promote safety in construction and all industries. Companies are recognized with a Jersey of Courage that they are encouraged to get signed by members of their organization.

An important part of the program is reaching out to young people, especially those getting ready to join the workforce.

"In its first year we have 43 members, 12 patrons and the league has really created a lot of engagement with young people," said Jason Ball, of Ball Construction, who is a safety champion and former OGCA chair. "It's so important that young people know, as workers at risk that are entering the workplace, what their rights are and they know they have got rights."

At the age of 18, Rob's son David Ellis was killed in a workplace incident on his second day on the job after being given limited training and no supervision. Rob started MySafeWork after David's death.

"We've been out to colleges with Rob and young people are truly engaged when Rob speaks," said Ball. "Rob's story is so riveting you can hear a pin drop."

The latest companies to join the League of Champions and receive a Jersey of Courage include:

• Ampere Limited, Mario Bernardini

• The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, Charlie Jenks

• The Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), Andrew Regnerus

• George Brown College, Clint Kissoon

• The Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, Enzo Garritano

• M&G Steel Limited, Brian Thompson

• Meti Telecommunications Installations Inc., Tom Murphy

• Northern Structures, John Ciampa

• The Ontario Electrical League, Stephen Sell

• The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance, Jennifer Parent

• Rutherford Contracting, David Petrie

• Stuart Olson, Paul Quinless

• Triple Crown Enterprises Ltd., James MacLeod

• Anchor Shoring & Caissons Limited.

During the conference the Doug Chalmers Award was also presented. It is given out annually to a group, member or an association that has made significant contributions to the advancement of occupational health and safety in the construction industry.

This year's recipient was Craig Lesurf, vice-president of Walsh Canada and chair of the OGCA's safety committee.

"To us, Craig is known as Mr. Safety," said Clive Thurston, president of the OGCA.

"He is one of the founding members of the League of Champions and he continues to be the driving force in safety leadership and advocacy. Craig brought Safety Week to Ontario, something he picked up in the U.S. and that is starting to grow in popularity and we're getting on board with that."

Lesurf said he was humbled by the honour and spoke about the importance of raising the bar for safety across the industry.

"Leadership is about action and doing something — you can talk about it but you have to walk the walk," said Lesurf.

"All it takes is participation and leadership. I'm going to challenge you all when you leave this meeting. You spent the morning talking about safety, now go do something about safety. Go take that proactive step, make a difference and do something in your organization."

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