Safety Matters: Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association and Graham Construction & Engineering LP

As we all know, construction can be dangerous work. Hazards can be anywhere if you’re not careful. The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) works with its members to ensure that everyone working on a site or in an office knows that safety matters. Graham Construction & Engineering LP, a long-time SCSA member, has deep roots in the organization and sees the value SCSA plays every day on their job sites.

Colin Olfert lives safety in his role as an Operations and Construction Manager for Graham Construction. “I’ve spent a decade in construction and I am currently the Construction Manager for the Saskatchewan Hospital Project in North Battleford,” says Olfert. “Graham Construction is deeply committed to the safety of every one of our workers and contractors and the SCSA helps with that commitment.” The company was a member of the first board of the SCSA, and Graham’s Ryan Smotra is the current chair of the SCSA board.

Graham Construction uses SCSA’s training program to educate all their superintendents, project managers and project coordinators on construction safety. “Everyone in these roles in Graham is required to take the four COR courses as part of their job,” says Olfert. In addition to the training, Graham Construction works with the SCSA on many initiatives, including site inspections, classroom training, demonstrations and toolbox talks. “The SCSA is an integral part of our rigorous corporate safety program,” says Olfert. “They’re professional, helpful partners in the field.”

The SCSA played an important role in Graham Construction’s build of the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw. SCSA had detailed involvement in the project, including regularly scheduled inspections with the company’s superintendent and project manager. “We did site inspections, held toolbox talks, and had demonstrations on the site,” says Olfert. “SCSA was our safety partner throughout the build.”

As for the future, the relationship between Graham Construction and the SCSA is only continuing to grow. “We’re at an interesting point now with technology and safety,” says Olfert. “Everyone has a phone or tablet and now we’re thinking about ways to integrate technology into our safety program.” Graham Construction has recognized that safety records management is on the cusp of change, as more and more places move away from paper and into the ‘cloud’. Time and money are at the forefront in construction, and embracing technology may help workers maintain safety records without the time-consuming pen and paper. “The SCSA is moving toward using technology with their Guide to OHS Legislation App which many Graham employees use now,” says Olfert. “We’ll be working with the SCSA to ascertain how we can better use technology safely in our sites.”

No matter what safety measures are required from inspections to training to apps, Graham Construction and the SCSA are committed partners in ensuring every worker has a safe place to work and the knowledge they need to do their job—because safety matters.