SRG Gets Involved in
Client Safety Training
One of SRG’s valued clients, Armtec (Mitchell, ON), recently held health and safety awareness training over a two day period for all plant employees. Their Health and Safety/Lean Manager, Richard Butson, invited SRG to be a speaker for the WHMIS 2015 refresher course portion of the training. Armtec is a manufacturer of Durisol precast concrete noise barriers and use a proprietary mixture of special grade wood particles mixed with the concrete.
Our Workforce Development Manager from Stratford, Emily Domm, and Brad Bradish, Health and Safety Manager, created a two-part presentation that included a lecture and a fun activity based on WHMIS 2015 that involved all employees. The lecture discussed the importance of WHMIS and included Brad’s personal recollection of working with employees and their families who were exposed to asbestos. These workers were not given any protective gear or knowledge of the dangers of working with asbestos. They worked with the highly hazardous material every day and then went home wearing contaminated clothing and gear and spread it to their families. This incident included workers’ children who were unknowingly exposed to the asbestos and passed away. The facts are made much more devastating by the realization that the government and asbestos industry knew of the cancer causing properties of asbestos in the 1930s but allowed its use to continue without proper protective gear into the 1980s. This included an internal 1930s memo that said asbestos dust is the most harmful dust humans can be exposed to. The internal memos, along with all medical studies that showed asbestos was a carcinogen, were removed from marketing and sales information.
Quite a grim retelling for the group, but it did have relevance to Armtec employees. Though they have never had exposure to asbestos, the high dust content created while making their concrete product, and their own designated substance, silica, hits home on the need to follow WHMIS guidelines and wear proper PPE. SRG was happy to receive positive feedback from Armtec employees on how this information helped open their eyes to the dangers around them, as well as ensuring new employees learn about the hazards.
To help lighten the mood, Emily had created a ‘Family Feud’-style safety game that broke the employees into small groups to do battle. All of the answers to the game related back to safety statistics or WHMIS 2015 information. Using games and group work for training increases employee retention, as well as makes the process fun. SRG knows that when fun is happening at work, people are learning. We also provided the winners with a supply of chocolate guaranteed to last to the end of the day!
Armtec management and employees were pleased with our presentation and the “fun” we were able to build into an otherwise serious topic. Armtec has already asked SRG to be involved in the next safety awareness training in 2018, which we look very forward to attending. If your organization is interested in participating in similar training, please contact your local SRG office for more information.