Safety trailblazer prepares to pass torch to next generation

Selfless duty to protect has been the cornerstone of 34-year career

Safety trailblazer prepares to pass torch to next generation

Long before Angie Trumpler became the Corporate Construction Safety Specialist and a Construction Project Leader with Honda of Canada Mfg, she was focused on helping others. That selflessness and duty to protect has been the cornerstone of her success. “You have a powerful role when you’re in safety, because you’re going to impact so many people,” says Trumpler, who recently marked 34 years in the business, and with the majority of her career in the rear view mirror, she can see clearly how the industry has evolved.

“When I first started in my career I was the only female at the table.  But I’m so proud to see that over time that has really changed. Looking back, another thing that I am proud of is how many women have been entering into the technical roles.”

Trumpler says that kind of diversity is having a positive impact on all aspects of operations: “They’re really entering into these teams and they’re bringing new perspectives, new energies, and it’s a really proud moment to see.”

Trumpler started out on the production line at Honda, but then quickly became part of the medical team and worked with the in-house fire department, which also led to her becoming a volunteer firefighter in the rural Ontario community of Alliston, the same region where she was raised.  Before Honda, Trumpler grew up around horses, taking care of the animals, and learned medical first aid skills with the Cadets as a teenager.  A deep desire to help others, animals or humans, was evident early in life.

Nearly 15 years ago Trumpler moved from treatment to prevention, becoming a safety expert and eventually a leader with Honda.  During that time she’s made sure every construction project at the corporate level has had safety protocols incorporated into the plans long before shovels hit the ground.

“Know your hazard, know your control” is a maxim Trumpler says every safety expert must live by, and it means committing to a lifetime of learning.  “Hazard identification is massive in safety, that is our backbone, that is our spine, so you better be very fluent on how to identify hazards and how to control hazards”. With the hazards always changing - COVID-19, for example - it means new protocols for identifying and controlling those hazards are constantly evolving and it’s imperative for safety professionals to keep up.

As Trumpler prepares to move on, she’s focused on the next generation.  

“My generation, we’re all on the verge of retiring or have retired, so there’s always the succession planning that everyone struggles with…it’s something you want to ensure you have in place so that when you have your experts retiring they’re able to transfer that knowledge.”

Consistent education and building the toolbox of skills is going to be the biggest challenge for up and coming safety experts according to Trumpler.  And once the knowledge is obtained, the next hurdle is becoming an effective communicator, so that knowledge can be shared with colleagues and other team members. 

Trumpler has been so effective in this area that she was recently named a 2022 Top Woman in Safety by Canadian Occupational Safety.  “I was honestly very surprised and a bit taken back,” says Trumpler of the award. “I’m still a little blown away.”

But as she looks back, she can’t help but think “it’s not the highlights that I’m most proud of, it’s the journey.”  A path she carved out for others to follow. “Don’t doubt your capabilities and don’t let other people’s biases define your ambitions…be bold, be courageous, and speak out.”

A great message for anyone looking at her career as a blueprint.