Safety on the job site starts with reducing risks

Martensville Deputy Fire Chief Dean Brooman speaks with workers in the Geransky Brothers Construction shop during a fire safety education session on Wednesday, April 3

As a certified fire inspector, Martensville Deputy Fire Chief Dean Brooman has seen the inside of a lot of commercial buildings, big and small, in Martensville.

Part of his job is to conduct annual fire inspections of all businesses in the city. He’s looking to ensure everything meets fire code regulations, and to identify and rectify any potential hazards.

“It’s all about preventing accidents and helping folks get home safely to their families at the end of the day,” said Brooman. “The goal is to reduce the risks as much as we can.”

On Wednesday, April 3, Brooman led a group of workers at Geransky Brothers Construction in Martensville  through a “pre-inspection” tour of the company’s main shop; focusing on everything from the location of fire extinguishers and clearance around sprinkler heads to labelling of flammable liquids and ensuring unobstructed passage ways.

The informal session focused on practical tips, and was part of the company’s ‘21-Day Safety Challenge’ that started in early April.

“I was invited here today to help them with some safety training,” said Brooman. “This building is actually scheduled for a fire inspection next week, so this is strictly educational. We’ll make the rounds and note things of concern that we might find, and  have a conversation about things we find that are good.

“From what I’ve seen, this is an excellent workplace.”

Taking a practical approach to safety education makes sense, according to Geransky Brothers Construction co-owner Corey Geransky.

“People don’t learn anything if they’re bored,” he said. “And a lot of times, safety meetings are boring. And the last thing you want is somebody falling asleep.

“By taking the education to the job site or onto the shop floor, it makes everything a lot more clear. It also helps people assess risks in a real-life situation instead of just sitting around a table at a meeting or reading about it in a book.”

The company’s occupational health and safety committee, made up of workers from several different areas, play a vital role in monitoring work sites and mitigating risks. Geransky Brothers Construction Safety Officer Geoff Brand also does regular ‘toolbox talks’ at job sites focusing on particular topics.

Company co-owner Dennis Geransky said while the construction industry has changed over the years, basic safety rules still boil down to plain, old-fashioned common sense.

“There are always risks in everything we do,” he said. “But the rules are there to mitigate those risks. It’s a matter of education, and we take that seriously. Our employees are our most important asset, We don’t want to see anyone get injured.”

Safety in the workplace is the focus of a Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association  one-day conference in Saskatoon on April 10.  The week of April 8-12 is also Saskatchewan Construction Week.