Recently I was invited to Ventana Construction‘s Safety Day 2011 – a mini-conference that brought together more than 30 workers for courses, certification, and a lot of laughs.
“We have many construction sites and our employees are spread out and rarely get a chance to see each other in a large group,” said Stephen Bertoia, Ventana’s project manager/safety coordinator. “I wanted to get everyone from the sites together for one event.”
Stephen said he got the idea of holding the event after attending the Bridging the Gap safety conference for the construction industry in November. He said he liked the courses offered at the construction safety conference, so he talked to safety vendors about setting up at a conference at Ventana’s headquarters in Burnaby.
Staff were able to get several courses and certifications done during the day, including WHMIS training, fire extinguisher training, fall protection awareness, education on ladders, and reviewing the importance of a properly fitted respirator. When I arrived, I heard about the company’s new colour-coded-by-site safety binder system.
“They had a chance to discuss safety-related issues amongst themselves and exchange notes,” Stephen said. “The camaraderie is very important and the guys enjoyed joking around with each other, sharing a meal and gaining valuable safety information at the same time.”
Stephen said he would like to make this an annual event and hopes to hold a similar event for general contractors.
“The safety community is a very helpful community and I see a great opportunity for general contractors to get together to discuss safety strategies and exchange ideas,” he said. “The event could be held where each participating general contractor could host a training/instructional topic, similar with what we did. The exchange of ideas would be specific to our field of interest and extremely valuable to the safety coordinators and CSOs etc.”
Thanks to Stephen for inviting me and kudos to Ventana for being so proactive about safety. The company won a Safety Innovation in Construction Award from the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers for their cord organizer, which I wrote about back in December 2010.