Safety, Saddledome & Worksafe
Jay Beddows, Parker Johnston’s Safety Practitioner and chief safety resource, has developed a working philosophy over his 8 years in this capacity. He believes the company achieves the best safety results when there is ‘buy-in’ to the company’s safety program from all levels of the organization. Jay believes this is won through education, consultation and constant open communication. The managers are given the tools and knowledge to implement Parker Johnston’s safety program within their respective divisions, and Jay’s role is to act as a resource when assistance is required.
The Calgary Saddledome project provided Jay with an excellent opportunity to test this philosophy and management style. Parker Johnston bid on, and won, this project in June, 2013. It was both high profile and risky the company’s B.C. operations precluded Jay from being on-site in Alberta. He travelled to Calgary, met the team and laid out the company standards for operating a safe workplace. The Calgary managers were assisted in establishing their safety program’s goals and objectives. They were provided with practical training materials, specific to the Saddledome project to meet their goals and objectives. Past that point Jay acted as the chief safety resource person to the project. He was always just a phone call or text message away. The project and its safety program were highly successful. The managers were given the tools and knowledge they needed at the front-end and the lines of communication were always open.
Parker Johnston acquired Integrity Exteriors in 2009. The combination of roofing and wall systems has proven to be a perfect fit. This acquisition provided another opportunity for Parker Johnston to adjust and accommodate within their existing safety program. Jay’s first step was to meet with the management and the workers to seek their advice. He incorporated that advice and then introduced a safety program specific to this industry’s needs. This approach resulted in improved performance and heightened morale.
A relationship that Parker Johnston works hard at maintaining is the WorkSafe interface.
WorkSafe inspectors are provincially mandated through legislation to work with companies to improve overall workplace health and safety outcomes. They hold a key role in implementing WorkSafe compliance strategies. Today Parker Johnston and WorkSafe have an excellent rapport. It wasn’t always so. Jay clearly remembers a time when the relationship was less collegial. The positive relationship enjoyed today is attributed to the solid foundation of trust and mutual respect that has grown from open communication. Parker Johnston always invites WorkSafe’s participation before a job starts. This kind of front-end involvement has proven to be both helpful and positive for the company. Any relationship requires nurturing and this one is no different.
Dealing with resistance is something every safety practitioner encounters. It is no different for Jay. He embraces it as part of his job. He freely admits to having tried every tactic and he is always open to new ones. Jay tries to appeal personally to managers and workers. When communication & consultation don’t work Jay starts educating. Supervisors and managers hold a lot of liability under legislation. Managers sometimes need to be reminded of this so that they are fully aware of consequences. For instance ‘writing an employee up’ can prevent an injury or save a life, down the road. Jay works hard to frame this as prevention rather than a punitive action.
Forward momentum is a key factor in a safety program. Parker Johnston has worked hard to achieve their stellar safety record. The company doesn’t rest on its success. Jay and all of the managers keep raising the bar, confident that they can achieve even better results. Setting new goals, developing new programs, fine-tuning older programs are all strategies that the management team at Parker Johnston employ to keep the ball rolling forward.
Jay Beddows brought valuable operational experience to his Safety Practitioner role. His on-the-job training is now being complemented through BCIT’s distance certification program. Much of the training confirms what Jay has already learned on-the-job but validation is empowering. He is enthusiastic about this learning opportunity, appreciative of the investment that Parker Johnston is making in him and eager to pass on newly acquired knowledge and ideas.
Thank you to Jay Beddows, the workers and all divisional managers for achieving a safety record that we are all proud of.