PCL’s commitment to safety permeates every aspect of the organization. A company-wide goal of zero incidents requires that PCL employees at all levels continuously strive to operate as safely as possible in whichever environment they are working.
PCL employees at the 2014 Skills Canada
Competition in Toronto.
Similarly, Skills Canada is building a strong, grassroots foundation among youth for safety practices in the construction industry and other trades. As a not-for-profit organization, Skills Canada is dedicated to encouraging the development of workplace skills among youth through its provincial and national competitions. And by making Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) an essential part of those competitions, the organization is improving the understanding and practice of safety procedures and promoting HSE as a viable career choice.
This year, PCL begins its first year of a five-year sponsorship plan of the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC), which showcases Canada’s top youth talent across 40 different trade areas. It’s a beneficial partnership for both organizations; Skills Canada gains valuable support, while PCL introduces Canada’s brightest young tradesmen and tradeswomen to what the PCL family of companies does as a general contractor.
Where safety is concerned, though, the partnership has a longer-running history.
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Two current PCL employees—Toronto senior district HSE manager Sean Scott and Regina district HSE manager Craig McAuley—played pivotal roles in the establishment and implementation of HSE frameworks for Skills Canada to use at its provincial and national competitions. In 2001, McAuley also helped create the first national Workplace Safety Competition.
At the time, McAuley was a program services manager with the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association, where he helped develop an HSE process for the provincial competition. That structure was then adapted for the national competition and, later, the WorldSkills Competition hosted in Calgary in 2009.
McAuley is quick to acknowledge that PCL’s support was a boon to this provincial programming.
“During those early years, PCL was always one of the first to provide support to Skills Canada events, from volunteers to equipment,” said McAuley. “Without PCL’s support, we wouldn’t have had the same success provincially, and the national and international competitions would look much different.”
In 2004, Scott—who was then the executive director of the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba—was brought on board to share his expertise. He and McAuley worked closely together developing the scope for safety practices at the SCNC.
“We presented a safety management system to Skills Canada that was simple and practical, and that encouraged ownership by empowering the National Technical Committee to create safety practices around each competition scope,” said Scott.
Those safety policies and procedures continue to be refined and used today.
A NATURAL TRANSITION
Both McAuley and Scott acknowledged that, when it came time to move on with their careers, their past involvement with PCL was a big influence in their decisions to work for the organization.
“I had always had great experiences with PCL,” said Scott, who has now been with the PCL family of companies for just over a year. “They really walked the talk when it came to safety.”
McAuley, who has now worked for PCL for over six years, had similar experiences with the organization. And over their careers, both he and Scott are gratified to have seen a shift in how people view safety.
“We’ve always tried to place a greater emphasis on safety as a natural part of each trade,” said McAuley. “It has been rewarding to see younger generations approaching workplace safety as an integral component of all construction jobs.”
Given their histories with Skills Canada, it is small wonder that the two men find themselves putting their passion for safety to work for PCL’s construction companies.