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Jacquelyn Oduro named Manitoba Heavy Construction Association safety director

Peter Caulfield
Jacquelyn Oduro named Manitoba Heavy Construction Association safety director

Jacquelyn Oduro was recently named director of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association’s (MHCA) WorkSafely program, education and training.

She succeeds Don Hurst who retired at the end of 2023.

Oduro has a long list of education and professional certification attainments. They include Canadian health and safety consultant; Canadian registered safety professional; occupational health and safety certificate from Red River College Polytechnic; and a bachelor of arts from the University of Manitoba.

Oduro has more than 15 years of experience in occupational health and safety in the fields of heavy civil, institutional, commercial and industrial, retail, motor vehicle, property management and manufacturing.

Before coming to the MHCA, Oduro was safety program director of the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association’s Sales and Service Safety Association (S2SA).

Oduro and her team of safety experts at the association simplified its safety systems and reduced injury rates.

While Oduro was program director, S2SA doubled its membership, increased training participation by a factor of seven and tripled the number of SAFE Work certifications.

Like S2SA, MHCA’s WorkSafely is one of six Manitoba industry-based safety programs that deliver workplace safety support and education in partnership with the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba and SAFE Work Manitoba.

The others are manufacturing, building construction, transportation, sales and service and health care.

As a safety consultant, Oduro has managed multiple clients, teams and operations.

She is currently the chair of the IBSP (industry-based safety programs) Council, which meets to “discuss, review and advance common objectives” for SAFE Work Manitoba.

Launched in 2017, SAFE Work Certified is Manitoba’s safety and health certification standard.

Oduro is also education chair of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Safety Society of Engineering.

Last, but certainly not least, she received the 2023 Top Woman in Safety Award.

“Achieving the recognition was a proud moment for me,” Oduro said. “The award goes beyond acknowledging my 15 years in this field, it’s a stepping stone toward the future. It’s not just a personal achievement but a reflection of the collaborative efforts of the entire team who prioritize workplace safety and well-being.”

Oduro comes from a Saskatchewan family that is active in ready-mix concrete and roadbuilding and that takes worker safety seriously.

“Safety is always a big concern in heavy construction,” she said. “There are plenty of hazards from a variety of sources – large, powerful equipment moving around a worksite, working outside in all kinds of inclement weather and toiling in excavations and confined spaces.

“Heavy construction can be especially hazardous for traffic control personnel, many of whom are young women.”

Like the rest of the Canadian construction industry, heavy construction and roadbuilding has labour supply challenges and they are affecting worker health and safety.

“We have aging workers who are gradually retiring from the industry, and their knowledge and expertise, including their knowledge of workplace safety, is going with them,” said Oduro. “Attracting new talent to heavy construction is a challenge and it’s not made easier by the lack of a clear path for industry workforce development.”

Oduro says she would like to see more women considering careers in heavy construction.

“Heavy construction is very open to women now,” she said. “The work is very rewarding and women can also make an important contribution to health and safety in the industry.”

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