Health and Safety Clerk – Teck

Please consider me in your search for a Health and Safety Clerk.

You seek someone passionate about safety; a courageous safety advocate willing to promote engaged adherence to safety rules and procedures.

That’s me from experience. In my younger days, I was employed as a laborer for the construction of a natural gas pumping station near Lavoy, AB. Using natural gas for its fuel, this was essentially an engine on a gigantic scale with a radiator, for example, over three stories high. Because we were constructing and pouring concrete in the middle of winter, the whole site was housed in a two-by-four structure covered in polyethylene. The task assigned to me and a fellow worker was, in freezing cold, to make our way to the top of this structure and, on our hands and knees while straddling the two-by-fours, pull out the staples to dismantle it. My knees were soon numb from the cold and the poly was dangerously slippery. So much so, that I found myself hanging, three stories high, between two of the two-by-fours looking down, as surprised as the employees below were looking up at me. Never one with incredible arm strength, I believe it was sheer adrenalin and fear that hoisted me up and back to safety. This was before the days of safety meetings and the general awareness of, and education in, the right to refuse work that an employee deemed unsafe. As we sat on our break, I was terrified of going up again. Necessity is the mother of invention, and thankfully, I came up with a solution and one my fellow employee adopted as well, as we both hoisted a sheet of plywood to work on as we removed those staples. There’s something about almost losing your life that endears you to safety.

You seek someone to assist with the production of Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee materials, agendas, meeting minutes, and action logs, as well as someone able to participate in and build reports for the High Potential Risk Control (HPRC) Work Team Risk Assessment (WTRA).

I believe my writing/editorial background and experience in the production of brochures and sales materials with a visual component to them lends itself well to my fulfilling these duties.

After completing my Art Education degree at the University of Alberta, while also serving as a writer/production editor for the Students’ Union, Gateway, I joined The University of Calgary as a Communications Officer. In this position, I worked with university administrators to develop and implement strategic communications plans for students, staff, faculty and the public. As co-editor of the U of C bi-weekly, Gazette, I sought to write engaging, creative copy. My article, New ways to slice the mapping pie and its accompanying commissioned illustration and my profile of new staff member, Beatrice Medicine, are two examples. I also supplied photography, illustration and design skills.

Moving to Vancouver, I joined Southam Business Communications as Western Editor for Canadian Forest Industries Magazine, providing copy on all aspects of the business including safety, harvesting, and milling. When that position was made redundant, I settled in Nanaimo and freelanced as writer for The Nanaimo Business Examiner, among others, covering business related stories, like the development of a submersible camera. I also worked as a supply teacher and operated my own direct-mail advertising franchise.

I then joined forest equipment manufacturer T-MAR Industries in Campbell River as the company’s Marketing Manager. This was an industrial manufacturing plant and here, as in virtually every industrial environment I’ve been, except Lavoy, safety was an overriding concern. My many duties included conducting customer surveys; producing advertising copy, brochures and videos; establishing and maintaining a customer database; project management for exhibitions, like the Truck Loggers Convention and Demo 2000, and launching the company’s newsletter, The T-MAR Times.

A downturn in the industry led me to spend 10 years overseas teaching in Libya, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Norway, the UAE and Japan. Highlights of that time include co-authoring mathematics workbooks for vocational students and writing, filming, editing and narrating a film, Truck Logging in Africa, which graphically illustrates how safety practices vary.

Returning to Canada in 2012, I launched my WordPress website to highlight my creative abilities in writing, photography, art, music and video production. I use my website and blog to promote my belief in a more positive world. I have a working knowledge of WordPress, MS Office (including PowerPoint), Illustrator and Photoshop and have used a number of video editing programs.

Moving to Prince George, BC, I worked as a Care Provider in group homes serving adults dealing with various cognitive and physical challenges for the Prince George Association for Community Living (AiMHi) and Thompson Community Services. Informal counseling was a significant part of my role and I worked with clients (many of Indigenous descent) dealing with drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health issues, including autism and depression. For my work with AiMHi, I completed a five-day training program that included: St. John’s First Aid Certificate (CPR), CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Foodsafe Level 1 and WHMIS.

In May, 2016, I joined Pace Property Management in Prince George, BC and was immediately enrolled in the Residential Property Management Course offered online by the Sauder School of Business at UBC. I successfully passed the exam on my first try and received my two-year license to “Provide Rental Property Management Services”, that October. My duties at Pace included all aspects of property management referencing the BC Residential Tenancy Act: showing properties, vetting tenants and entering them in the databse, preparing leases, calculating and properly implementing rent increases, handling collections, arranging for maintenance (including getting quotes), safety testing with the fire department, managing disputes (including hearings with the Residential Tenancy Board), and conducting move in and move out inspections. Pace used the Propertyware data management software. I later served in a similar capacity in Courtenay.

While in Prince George, I was introduced to the safety culture of Canfor while wrapping seedlings for tree planters at the JD Little Forest Centre. Canfor has one of the best safety records in that industry and it was immediately obvious to me why. No work could be done without proper PPE and a rigorous training program took place before we were introduced to the production line. Every shift began with a “tailgate” meeting and was incentivized by the weekly award of a gift card to the employee who came up with the best idea for a safety improvement. To avoid repetitive stress injuries, employees shifted positions in the production line every fifteen minutes. This attention and concern for safety had an impressive effect on me and I often talk about it in casual conversation.

In 2021, I returned to Edmonton and, that winter, served as a custodian for the Mustard Seed’s homeless shelters, completing the required online WHMIS course. In the spring of 2022, I joined Horizon North, a division of the Dexterra Group of companies that specializes in camp catering. Horizon North is passionate about safety and a positive employee culture, which led me to complete courses in Bear Aware, Diversity and Inclusion, HSEQ Employee Orientation, Kitchen Worker Gluten Awareness Training, Minor Spill Response, Respect in the Workplace, WHMIS 2015 and Workplace Violence, Harassment and Bullying.

To serve as an Industrial Janitor at the MEG Energy site near Conklin, I completed Energy Safety Canada courses in H2S Alive and Common Safety Orientation as well as an AMA Defensive Driving Course. Our extensive orientation to the MEG site included learning about lockout protocols and, since we serviced washrooms in “live operations” areas, the use of H2S sensors and bump testing was part of daily routine. While with MEG, I filed a daily report on safety issues as per MEG guidelines. Most recently, having been assigned to the Cenovus Sunrise camp north of Fort McMurray and working as a Second Cook, I completed Cenovus courses in Life Saving Rules and Sunrise Site Orientation. In all these locations daily and weekly “all staff” safety meetings were required.

Horizon North has a “Don’t Walk By” program that uses a QR code scanned on a smart phone and requires every employee to daily identify a safety hazard and submit a report. It also requires employees to fill out a daily form noting the expected tasks for the day and identifying potential hazards. As tasks change, the employee is required to note “what’s changed” and what adjustments for safety were made. Employees are also required to carry a “Stop, Think, Plan” card at all times while on the job and to refer to the card when a new task is encountered. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to disciplinary action.

At all of these locations, but especially the MEG Energy site, numerous physical safety and mental health notices and posters were displayed.

Horizon North’s initiatives are an admirable effort to address the perennial question: How do you keep safety at the top of mind of your employees?

Safety is incredibly important. I believe my personal encounter with a life-threatening safety issue; my extensive experience in a variety of industrial settings, my familiarity with databases and my abilities in communications, combine to make me an ideal candidate to fill this vital role. And, for me, there is another incentive. I have a son who works for your company in Elkford and it would be a great opportunity for me to live and work near his family and my grandchildren. Accordingly, let me suggest we meet to discuss the contribution I could make to Teck Resources in filling the position of Health and Safety Clerk.