With the construction season about to ramp up, the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) is taking a day to remind those in leadership roles about the importance of protecting workers and leading by example.
The annual COR Open House and OGCA Leadership Conference will take place Friday, March 3 at the Centre for Health and Safety Innovation in Mississauga, Ont.
"It's based upon an understanding that effective health and safety — particularly in an industry like construction that has a lot of hazards — starts with leadership inside of a company: the CEOs, the executive leadership, saying that we are going to make sure our employees are kept healthy and safe," explained David Frame, director of government relations for the OGCA. "Everybody is going to go home safe at the end of the day and let's put programs and processes in place to get there."
Leadership day is hosted by the OGCA and the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA). The sponsor is eCompliance, a software-based company specializing in safety programs.
"We do it (the conference) as a check in every year to see what's happening, discuss what's happening, share best practices and talk about what's new," said Frame. "It's a great opportunity to take a few hours to consider your commitment to safety, to learn from others, get some great ideas and refocus on how we can do even more to protect our workers."
"The government is now moving to develop a program to recognize employers who have effectively put in place health and safety programs,"
The event is open to all contractors, particularly leaders in the company and their health and safety professionals.
"More and more companies are bringing on full time health and safety professionals to implement health and safety programs, provide training and implement programs like COR (Certificate of Recognition)," said Frame, adding the program has been in Ontario for five years now.
Much of the day's discussions will be focused on COR, a health and safety audit tool that's part of a comprehensive program. In Ontario, certification is granted by the IHSA, which demonstrates its standards of health and safety management systems through a structured audit process. The event will feature a roundtable discussion with industry leaders who are either COR certified or are in the process of being certified.
"They will talk about their own personal challenges, what they've done to meet those challenges and how they have been able to successfully implement health and safety in their programs," said Frame, adding the roundtable will include three CEOs and their health and safety professionals. "They'll get a perspective from both the leadership point of view and the implementation point of view."
At the event, City of Brampton representatives are slated to announce council has adopted the COR program as part of the city's construction contract management and construction tendering process. The city is the first in the Region of Peel and one of only four municipalities in Ontario to adopt COR. It is also looking into the next steps required to get COR certified.
Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn will be talking about the construction action plan, which is very close to being launched, Frame added. George Gritziotis, the chief prevention officer for the Ministry of Labour, will discuss the accreditation of employers relating to a provision in Bill 70 that was passed in December that relates directly to COR.
"The government is now moving to develop a program to recognize employers who have effectively put in place health and safety programs, including programs like COR and other programs out there which meet a high standard, a standard the government is going to set for health and safety," explained Frame.
Tom Teahen, president of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will discuss some new prevention initiatives at the WSIB. The day will conclude with awards presentations. In addition to the OGCA's Doug Chalmers Award for Safety, Rob Ellis, of MySafeWork, will talk about the League of Champions, recognizing new members and making jersey presentations to companies that have demonstrated safety excellence.
"It's been a year since we launched it so we'll talk about what we've achieved and what we hope to do moving forward," said Frame.