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Safety champions raise the standard in construction: Moody

Angela Gismondi
Safety champions raise the standard in construction: Moody
LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS—New League of Champions members were recognized during the annual Ontario General Contractors Association Safety Awards, held Nov. 19 at the Verdi Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

Ontario’s new Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) Joel Moody, who has been on the job for about two months now, said there are great safety champions in the construction industry and he is looking forward to working and learning from them.

“Construction is a very important part of our economic recovery,” said Moody, who was a speaker at this year’s Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) Safety Awards.

“We also know that within the construction sector we have great champions that have been able to reduce lost time injury (LTI), they have been able to reduce injuries and fatalities within their workplaces and we want to find opportunities that they can share their best practices. We’re committed to working with our construction sector because they are a great avenue for us to learn things that work well.”

The annual awards were handed out in-person Nov. 19 at the Verdi Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ont. About 80 people were in attendance.

“It was an opportunity to celebrate health and safety and really to recognize those OGCA members for their outstanding safety performance…especially with the challenges we had been facing in 2020,” Moody said. “The champions, there they set the tone, they set the standard. How do they help others raise themselves to meet that standard and then ultimately, how can we have the champions become dynasties?”

In his address, he spoke about the importance of safety culture.

“I knew that I was talking to the converted. Companies that have an integrated health and safety system they really do value that workplace culture of safety,” he said.

“How do you build that culture? How do you maintain that culture and then as the champions, how do you impress upon others that they should also start to build and maintain a culture as well?”

It needs to be integrated at every level in a company, he added.

“Shared values and beliefs really need to be integrated throughout all parts of the company not just the C-suite, not just the frontline staff, not just the managers,” Moody said. “It’s important that it permeates all throughout the organization.”

Going forward, Moody said he will be a champion for the industry just like his predecessor Ron Kelusky.

“Ron was a great champion for the construction industry and now that I’m in the chair nothing will change,” said Moody.

OGCA president Giovanni Cautillo said the OGCA is looking forward to working with Moody and continuing the strong relationship it has developed with the CPO’s office.

“The OGCA is here to support the CPO’s office to ensure that we work in lockstep and that we are part of the solution moving forward,” said Cautillo.

During the event, it was announced the 195 members of the OGCA reduced LTI frequency by 10 per cent from .20 in 2019 to .18 in 2020. In addition, the ICI construction industry reduced the LTI rate from 1.12 in 2019 to .96 in 2020.

“It’s a badge of honour,” said Cautillo. “It’s the ability to demonstrate that we continually, year over year, we have the ability to lower our LTIs in ICI and it’s a testament to the industry. It’s a testament to the health and safety professionals and how they interact every day. It’s not something that happens by chance, it happens because you put time, energy and effort into ensuring every single day that people understand…and know that when they step foot on a site, safety was the very first thing that people thought of.”

Cautillo said he was grateful to be able to gather in person.

“I was very happy to be personally in attendance with everyone, having been thus far, outside of the AGM, a virtual president for 20 months,” said Cautillo.

“Safety for us in the ICI sector is a foregone conclusion because we do it as part of business, but this is something that is in need of accentuating. We need to celebrate every win.”

In addition to the presentation of safety and milestone awards, was the presentation of the new League of Champions (LOC) members and LOC COR Achievement.

Other guest speakers included Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development; Elizabeth Witmer, WSIB chair; Rod Cook, vice-president of the WSIB; Diana Rea, stakeholder engagement lead, WSIB; and Enzo Garritano, president of the IHSA.

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