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OGCA conference to tackle health and safety

Lindsey Cole
OGCA conference to tackle health and safety

The COR Open House and OGCA Leadership Conference covers all corners of health and safety, reaffirming the commitment to safe construction worksites among leaders in the industry, says David Frame.

"The leadership conference comes out of the belief that effective health and safety in the construction industry begins at the top," says the Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) director of government relations.

"A good part of what we do is we talk about using COR (Certificate of Recognition) to set a standard for health and safety and for demonstrating that you’ve achieved a high level of safety compliance."

Taking place on Feb. 26 at the Centre for Health and Safety Innovation in Mississauga, the event is hosted by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and the OGCA. It includes several speakers and leadership sessions focused on improving safe practices as well as COR breakout sessions.

"Buyers of construction who are demonstrating leadership by mandating COR as a pre-qualification requirement on their publicly and privately funded projects and general contractors who are leveraging COR as a tool to keep their workers safe," will be present, states a release.

Frame says those in attendance do learn a lot from the conference.

"They recognize in their busy days that the safety mandate can get lost so they need to take some time to refocus on health and safety and rethink about what they’re doing and what they can do better," he says.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Kevin Flynn, Ontario minister of labour, who Frame says will likely give "perspective of where he’s coming from as the minister of labour, but it’s also for us to show him commitment from the industry."

Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis will be speaking about the Construction Action Plan, Frame states, which is designed to reduce fatalities and includes several initiatives including entry level training, fall protection and enforcement.

Rob Ellis of MySafeWork will also be attending. He and his daughter Jessica Di Sabatino started MySafeWork after they lost their son and brother David in a workplace accident in 1999. He was 18 and it was his second day on the job at a bakery. David was cleaning dough from an industrial mixer when the machinery accidentally activated and he was drawn into the mixer by the rotating blades and struck his head.

The Ellis’ speak at high schools and businesses and also work closely with the OGCA to promote safety.

"Rob Ellis is one of the top motivational speakers you will find anywhere," Frame states. "Where any other parent would be angry, and mad and upset, Rob actually sold his business and made it his full-time job to go out and work with industry and high school students to make sure this didn’t happen to any other young people."

Ellis is also working with the OGCA to encourage contractors to become COR certified as well.

Lawrence Quinn and Robert Neally from Infrastructure Ontario (IO) will also be on hand.

"I’m going to anticipate they’re going to talk about how they use COR to make sure they have the safest contractors involved and why they made the commitment," says Frame. "We’re asking particularly municipalities, school boards, other large buyers of construction to be there to listen to what’s going on and to consider using COR to prequalify their construction. This is the way of the future."

Paul Casey of IHSA will also be speaking as well as Terrance McKibbon, the president and CEO of Aecon Group Inc.

Frame says the event is also meant to "bring back ideas about how they (industry leaders) will implement that in their company. There’s a growing culture of health and safety in the construction industry. Part of the growth of that is people are looking for information."

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