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Industry Perspectives Op-Ed: LOC provides a firm footing in fostering a health and safety culture

Clive Thurston
Industry Perspectives Op-Ed: LOC provides a firm footing in fostering a health and safety culture

This is part-two of an op-ed series outlining an ever-evolving safety landscape in Ontario and across the country after the monumental Sudbury court decision.

A culture of health and safety is essential to building the foundation of a successful construction industry.

This cultural belief continues to be extremely successful among OGCA members and that has resulted in a massive improvement in the statistics regarding ICI construction.

Simply they are the best in the country with the lowest incidents and best rates anywhere. This wasn’t achieved because of threats or advertising; it was achieved through a commitment to health and safety culture and promoted by the contractors and their partners.

To foster this belief the OGCA introduced the League of Champions (LOC) in 2016. At first it was an offshoot of OGCA safety programs and was partially designed to support Rob Ellis and his organization MySafeWork in promoting health and safety to youth.

As the program gained traction and began to grow, the LOC eventually became its own independent organization in 2020.

It has expanded its mandate from not just speaking at schools and other educational institutions but to promote the culture of health and safety at all levels.

The LOC promotes this philosophy through numerous speaking engagements, presentations, the LOC jersey, promoting many types of in-house programs that recognize safe workers and rewards workers who come forward to help identify problems.

I have participated in a number of panels with many organizations talking about the impacts of the Sudbury case and the importance of due diligence.

I believe if you are going to build a strong OHSMS then a strong argument can be made that to be successful you first need a solid foundation.

The adoption of a culture of health and safety within your organization will provide that foundation and ensure your success.

Everyone in the organization must believe in the importance of health and safety. It’s everyone’s responsibility that when they see something they should say something, do something and follow up.

Employees can see safety risks anywhere. For instance extension cords that are not properly taped down, creating a tripping hazard, or one of the more common ones at events where you see chairs tipped up against the table where people can trip, fall and be impaled.

These may seem minor, but if you have instilled a strong culture of health and safety among your people, they will notice the small things and take action. If they’re willing to do that just in their everyday life at the office and events then that philosophy and culture will transfer over onto our sites.

We cannot ignore what we see, nor should we, whether we are in the grocery store, a library or a construction site. It must become second nature to us that when we see something that could cause an accident or injury that we act.

Recommending to owners building a strong due diligence and health and safety management plan through the use of accredited safety certificates such as COR is best built on the introduction of a health and safety culture program.

It is my feeling that the best way to do this is for owners to join the many construction and subtrade firms who support the LOC and avail themselves of the many services that the LOC can provide in introducing such a culture to your employees.

I believe, as I have since first becoming involved in the health and safety culture of the OGCA and the industry, that it is everyone’s responsibility.

Until we get clarity on what exactly constitutes due diligence and how the ministry intends to enforce its new powers, we must do everything in our power to ensure we do as much as we can for our employees and their safety.

For more information on how you can become a member of the LOC and begin the road to instilling a culture of health and safety within your organization please go to the following link:

Clive Thurston is president of Thurston Consulting Services Inc. Send Industry Perspectives Op-Ed comments and columns ideas to

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