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Dedicated to health and safety
The past few years have been characterized by upheaval in the energy and natural resources sectors, not simply because of the pandemic – which has had an impact on Canadian industry in general – but because of other ongoing factors as well.
At present, Canada is aiming for a “green transition” and looking to invest in more renewable sources of energy. Those in the energy sector are calling for a “just transition” amid fears that workers in these industries will be left behind. Although there is consensus on what is best for the environment, worker wellbeing and livelihoods need to be considered. There have been talks about retraining or upskilling workers so that they are not lost in the shuffle, and the training must include a safety component.
“Safety is not the absence of injury or incident. Safety is [the presence of] dedicated people, leadership, accountability, commitment, culture, systems and action evolving performance together”
Jeremy Mollet, Nutrien
Separately, mental health concerns are at the forefront of discussions, particularly because COVID-19 has had a seismic effect on workers’ mental health. Anxiety, depression, isolation and loneliness have been attributed to the pandemic and the measures taken to mitigate the spread of the virus. As many workers in the energy and natural resources sectors work in isolated conditions, health is a crucial part of safety that needs to be recognized.
Technology plays a role in the transition and more tech solutions are cropping up, which are intended to improve workers’ physical and psychological safety in the field. Safety tech is still in its infancy, and it will be interesting to see what new solutions tech purveyors can bring to the energy industry.
In the energy and natural resources sectors, employers are keenly aware of work-related risks and therefore have been pioneers in promoting workers’ health and safety in their day-to-day activities. This is why Canadian Occupational Safety is proud to highlight the companies that are making a difference in these sectors. Their leadership brings guidance and expertise especially after a tough couple of years. The awards are a great way to champion the best in class and bring inspiration to the field of occupational health and safety.
One of the winners is Shawcor, which is committed to the wellness of its people. “Keeping our employees healthy and safe, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion while reducing our environmental impact are core to our focus on acting with integrity,” says Cindy Grolleman, the company’s vice president for quality, health, safety and environment.
“Winning this award helps validate that we are on the right path, and this would not have been possible without the vision and passion demonstrated by our teams over the past several years.”
This is a sentiment echoed by her fellow safety professionals whose organizations are also included in this year’s list of 5-Star awardees.
“Recognition of effort is greatly appreciated. Our teams and company take great pride in continuous work to ensure everyone goes home safe, every day,” says Jeremy R Mollet, director of safety health and environment – governance, emergency and analytics at Nutrien.
At Nutrien, Jeremy R Mollet, director of safety health and environment – governance, emergency and analytics says that the teams take pride in their continuous work to ensure everyone goes home safe, every day. “Receiving this award provides a significant validation of Nutrien’s actions while demonstrating to colleagues, industries and communities the critical value of safety, health and the environment,” he says.
For Crew Energy, the award is a fitting acknowledgment of the company’s priorities. “The award represents many things to our company, but in particular, it represents that we are doing what needs to be done to ensure a safe worksite. In the end, ensuring workers go home to their families every day is what safety is about,” says Corey Semeniuk, environment health and safety manager.
“Keeping our employees healthy and safe, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion while reducing our environmental impact are core to our focus on acting with integrity”
Cindy Grolleman, Shawcor
What exactly are the key aspects of a good energy and resources safety program that those in the sector need to be aware of?
Semeniuk points to commitment at every level of the organization as being an integral part of successful safety programs. “The key aspects of a good energy and resources safety program is commitment from all. This award is the result of a combined effort. Crew’s executive and management support the program to the supervisors and workers that implement it at the field level. It takes everyone to make it successful and to ensure a culture of safety.”
She also says that management needs to support its safety program by communicating its importance and measuring progress, notably with key data. In addition, supervisors must ensure that they are implementing the program and communicating it at the field level. Lastly, those on the environment, health and safety side need to continuously audit the program and educate all workers by providing proper training.
Teamwork is another essential factor because safety in an organization is everyone’s business – from the leaders to the front line.
A good safety program begins with organization-wide commitment to a common goal, which “requires engagement at all levels of the organization,” says Grolleman. For example, Shawcor has established a health, safety and environmental management system that supports the organization’s ambition to create “an environment that is incident- and injury-free for all stakeholders and business units worldwide.”
There are three core elements that an organization should focus on: risk management, leadership and continuous improvement. Shawcor embraces all three and takes a “holistic approach to managing safety” so that workers go home safely to their families at the end of every day, Grolleman says.
Meanwhile, Mollet highlights Nutrien’s health and safety strategy called “Culture of Care,” which is founded on four pillars: lead, collaborate, challenge and trust. He says that safety is not proprietary but something that should be shared: “Safety, health and the environment is not a secret. If we share our vision, technology, practice or action and it helps protect everyone – Nutrien, competitors, contractors, vendors, communities, the environment – we succeed.”
He believes that protecting “safety, health and the environment is a responsibility that is never ‘done.’ Continual engagement, improvement and innovation are required to sustainably protect people and communities. Safety is not the absence of injury or incident. Safety is [the presence of] dedicated people, leadership, accountability, commitment, culture, systems and action evolving performance together.”
- Advantage Energy
- Athabasca Oil Corporation
- Birchcliff Energy
- Crew Energy
- Tamarack Valley Energy
- Toronto Hydro
- Vermilion Energy
The 2022 5-Star Energy and Resource Companies award was given to companies that demonstrated a strong ESG program, a measurable environmental and social impact, and a consistent health and safety policy. A total of 13 companies made the final list of winners this year.