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Creating a Better Workplace

Annual OSSGA event provides workplace solutions.

February 12, 2013  By  Andrew Macklin

The Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s annual Operations,
Health and Safety seminar provided attendees with a look at the
technology that is starting to provide new efficiencies for aggregate
operations in Canada.

The Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s annual Operations, Health and Safety seminar provided attendees with a look at the technology that is starting to provide new efficiencies for aggregate operations in Canada.

Distributors and manufacturers from companies across Canada were on hand to discuss the latest products and services.


Held across two days in Mississauga, the event bring together contractors, equipment operators, maintenance technicians and managers from throughout the aggregate industry to discuss the newest techniques and technologies that are creating safer, more efficient job sites.


A variety of industry presentations provided new ideas for creating better aggregate operations. On the equipment side, a presentation by Kyle Hutchinson of Toromont CAT took a look at the impact of Tier 4 interim and Tier 4 Final technology for both machine operators and the environment. He argued that, while the Canadian government has not yet set a timeline for the implementation of Tier 4 technology in the aggregate industry, he believes it is only a matter of time before it occurs. He also suggested that the aggregate industry should embrace the new technology, as the reduced environmental impact is very high as a result of the significantly lowered nitrous oxide emissions. A panel presentation that talked about changes to wheel loaders also focused on the impact of Tier 3, Tier 4 interim, and Tier 4 Final technology, and options for hybrid and electric models that increase fuel efficiency.
Improving the health of equipment operators was the focus of presentations made on ergonomics. Steve MacDonald from Golder Associates led a discussion that focused on practical ergonomics. Looking at the three main risk factors for the industry – force, repetition, and posture – he discussed how vibration and overall work environment can greatly increase the risk of injury. Hazard identification in the workplace goes a long way in preventing injuries, and the utilization of ergonomic assessment and evaluation tools can help to provide that information. The end goal should be to transition a workplace from being reactive to injuries to being proactive in preventing them. MacDonald also introduced a series of products that can help to provide better ergonomics in the workplace, including anti-vibration gloves, anti-fatigue mats for jobs that involve a great amount of standing, and ErgoMates footwear to reduce pain and fatigue.

Managing a culture of safety in the workplace was the focus of a presentation by Dylan Short of The Redlands Group. Short focused on the business excellence model, a model that incorporates all elements of any operation.

By changing the cultural dynamic at the ground level, and improving the quality of the safety culture in the workplace, companies are able to achieve greater results on the bottom line. Also, by creating a safety culture both inside and outside of the workplace, says Short, you can influence the safety culture of the contractors also involved in your business and achieve a model for business success.

Steve MacDonald from Golder Associates speaks to the crowd about the use of practical ergonomics in the workplace.


The event also featured static displays from leading manufacturers and distributors of aggregate machinery in Ontario. Representatives from most of the major equipment suppliers were on hand to discuss the newest crushers, screens, conveyors, loaders, breakers, software and technology with the close to 300 contractors in attendance at the event. These same distributors were also given the opportunity to talk about the newest products that are available in Canada. Representatives from Canadian distributors of products from such equipment manufacturers as KPI-JCI, John Deere, Derrick and Loadrite spoke to the newest technology available for the aggregate industry in Canada.

In addition to the industry talk that went on across the two days of seminars and industry presentations, attendees were treated to a pair of keynote speeches from Candace Carnahan and John Herdman. Carnahan, who lost part of a leg in a paper mill accident as a university student, spoke to the audience about the importance of establishing a safe working environment and the need to celebrate the successes within the workplace. Herdman, who is head coach of the Canadian women’s soccer team, spoke about the inspirational journey of the drive to the team’s bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and the need to understand the value of each member’s contribution to your team in the workplace.

For more information about the events offered by the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, visit the website at or follow the association on Twitter @_OSSGA.

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