At Terracon, safety is much more than a core value, it is a way of life! From the seasoned executive to the newest member of the Terracon team, employees live and breathe a culture of safety that has truly made them outstanding leaders in their field.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE, THE RIGHT HABITS
Terracon’s Quality Management System (QMS) provides the architecture necessary to shape the kind of attitude, habits and behaviors that are characteristic of a culture of safety, quality and professionalism. A strategic system of structures, processes and procedures, the QMS also sets out the essential safety protocols giving employees the tools they need – job descriptions, safe work procedures, and job hazard analyses – to keep them safe on the job.
Each employee at Terracon has their own copy of the QMS Handbook tailored to their role and it is an integral part of the new employee training and orientation program. The QMS is a living document and is reviewed by management and safety supervisors on a continual basis to identify new opportunities and to revise as needed. “An effective QMS is not a static system”, says Lee. “To continue to be the best, we must work diligently on an ongoing basis to enhance its usability, productivity, relevancy and efficiency in the best interest of all of our stakeholders”.
At Terracon, safety is much more than a core value, it’s a way of life! From the seasoned executive to the newest member of the Terracon team, employees live and breathe a culture of safety that has truly made them leaders in their field.
It all began with the passion and vision of Terracon’s President, Lee Nichols. When Lee was just twenty-four, a geological colleague was electrocuted in an unfortunate, yet preventable, mining accident. That experience led Lee to conclude that “if people are not educated, reminded and thoroughly convinced that following safety protocols is absolutely necessary at all times, then accidents can be prevented and lives saved”.
With this in mind, Terracon has worked hard to foster a culture of safety comprised of two primary elements – attitude and habits – predicated upon a solid foundation of knowledge. “The right attitude towards safety is something you develop and carry with you all the time, at home and on the job,” says Lee.” This attitude has become a state of mind at Terracon that starts with senior management and carries throughout the organization. In turn, this encourages and cultivates the right attitude, habits and behaviors of all employees.
Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) is a comprehensive program of education and training, guidance, as well as support and recognition, underscored by the safety policies and procedures laid out in the Quality Management System (QMS)
All Accidents Are Preventable
The primary focus of HSE is to protect the health and safety of employees, subcontractors, clients and the environment in which they live and work. Terracon believes that “all accidents are preventable” and strives to achieve zero Lost Time Accidents (LTA) – Nobody Gets Hurt.
The Quality Management System sets out the safety policies and procedures necessary for the company to receive, and maintain it’s Certification of Recognition (COR) from the Alberta Employment and Immigration Partnerships Program. While not a legislated requirement, the COR is the provincial government’s seal of approval recognizing that a company has a satisfactory safety program in place.
In 1998, Terracon took a leadership role applying for, and receiving, its’ COR making it one of a handful of companies to seek out such a designation at that time. That designation has been maintained through the COR audit process each year.
Terracon also actively participates in many other HS&E certification processes as part of the contractual requirements for serving their clients.
HEALTH SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT
To achieve a zero Lost Time Accidents, Terracon begins by implementing a rigorous screening process to select the best and most competent people. This includes but is not limited to technical qualifications, practical experience, driver’s abstract, medical, drug and alcohol testing and reference checks. Once a new employee has been hired, an extensive education and training program is tailored for them.
The training is initiated with new hires immediately enrolled in a seventy-two hour orientation and safety-training program upon which they must write an exam to receive their Construction Safety Training Certificate (CSTS) and Oil Sands Safety Association Certificate (OSSA). These certifications are mandatory and must be in place before they enter a job site.
Driver training is an important component of Terracon’s safety training program. All new employees must be deemed competent drivers by our in-house assessment. Once they pass, a trained employee will supervise them in the field until they are cleared to work on their own. “The very early stages of employment are critical”, says President Lee Nichols, “because you want your employees on the right path from the very beginning”.
Ongoing education is indispensable and all employees are encouraged, and in some cases required, to take additional training throughout their career at Terracon. Accident Investigation, Confined Space Entry, Fall Protection, Radiation, Ground Disturbance and H2S Alive are only a few of the training courses offered by qualified external trainers. There are over 80 such tickets in Terracon’s regimen. Terracon also supports leadership development activities and encourages employees to further their knowledge and skills with leadership courses.
New employee or seasoned veteran, all employees must be fully informed of the risks and hazards of every job they perform. While all of Terracon’s Environment Health and Safety programs are compliant with Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code (OH&S), each and every job is expertly evaluated and an extensive “Job Hazard Assessment” (JHA) conducted and shared before any employee is sent on the job. Employees in turn must become exceedingly familiar with the assessment and be fully prepared to respond to any potential risk. Also, a Field Level Risk Assessment (FLRA) is completed daily and updated to account for all changes to the job and the conditions, to ensure the employee is aware of the changing risks. Management takes the position, “if you can’t perform the job safely, don’t do it”. In accordance with OH&S code, Terracon employees have the obligation to refuse work if they perceive it to be unsafe. All of these measures go a long way towards building a strong safety culture and ensuring that the company achieves zero LTI.
Safety requires a lifetime of learning and a commitment both on and off the job. Each and every employee must understand that he/she is ultimately responsible for their own safety. At Terracon, senior management plays an active role in helping employees develop this critical mindset.
Terracon’s executive team actively attends all monthly safety meetings stressing worker participation in all safety matters and helping employees understand their role within the company’s safety program. These meetings not only provide current safety updates and protocols, they give employees an opportunity to interact with senior management and ask pertinent questions. For this reason, Terracon requires employee attendance and participation at these meetings.
Our executives also find value in the morale boosting effect of one-on-one personal contact and routinely interact with employees through work observations, site inspections and other engagement activities to provide guidance and support. Building on our president and CEO’s efforts, Terracon’s leaders also conduct site and field inspections and provide employee education and training as appropriate.
Industry requires service companies that can reliably respond to the ever-changing environment and their operational and compliance needs. Terracon has grown to be one of the largest providers of geotechnical field services throughout Alberta by developing a strong resource base of qualified professionals, technologists, and technicians
For over 30 years, Terracon’s team of professionals, field technologists and field staff have been serving resource and industrial based projects across Western Canada with a primary focus on oilsands producers and construction companies in the Athabasca Oil Sands region.