A leading Canadian workplace safety advocate told an audience of approximately 250 Utilities Kingston and City of Kingston employees and their contractors on Thursday morning that the key to workplace safety is having a sense of family among employees.
Rob Ellis, president of MySafeWork, said that if employees get to know each other, they’ll also look out for each other.
He was speaking at one of his three presentations during the city’s Safety Days.
Ellis’s 18-year-old son, David, died in 1999 when he was caught in an industrial mixer on his second day on the job. Members of the audience in the sail-measuring room at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour — some wearing orange and yellow reflective jackets — hung on every word of Ellis’s presentation as he spoke about his son’s death.
Ellis said David had no supervision and the machinery did not have any safety equipment, such as guards and lockouts, installed on it, despite warnings seven months earlier from provincial inspectors.
“The inspectors did their job, the company did not,” Ellis said.
In the aftermath of his son’s death, Ellis said the company, which he didn’t name, received 47 safety code violations and his son’s direct supervisor was sent to jail.
“He worked for a company with very low expectations,” he said.
After speaking with Utilities Kingston president and CEO Jim Keech prior to his speech, Ellis was impressed with Utilities Kingston’s safety policies.
“That company is not a champion company like Utilities Kingston and the City of Kingston,” Ellis said. “[David] didn’t have the supervision, he didn’t have the orientation.”
Prior to Ellis’s speech, Keech was presented with a…
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