Pits & Quarries
One More Load: Celebrating the Best in Ontario Aggregate
By Richard Hiller
A look into OSSGA’s Industry Awards Program
By Richard Hiller
Each year, the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) looks back on the work of its members to celebrate the achievements, environmental contributions and community work that takes place at pits and quarries across Ontario.
OSSGA’s Industry Recognition Awards program was developed with that celebration in mind, recognizing a wide range of activities that contribute to a progressive image of Ontario aggregate producers and the aggregate industry as a whole. One of the program’s key goals is not only to recognize that work but to also raise the bar in the industry by highlighting operations that go above and beyond what is required by Ontario legislation.
The Best of the Best
The industry recognition awards are presented each year at OSSGA’s Annual Conference in three main categories: Community Relations, Progressive Rehabilitation and Property Enhancement. A site that excels and receives all three of these awards is also eligible for OSSGA’s Award of Excellence – an award reserved for the most dedicated of operators who have consistently demonstrated not only exceptional operations, but also a desire to work closely with all stakeholders to build communities from the ground up and implement sustainable practices.
In 2020, the Award of Excellence was given to Ridgemount Quarries in Fort Erie, operated by Walker Aggregates Inc. For the Ridgemount Quarries team, it is always a priority to be a good neighbour. Using specialized noise, dust and vibration mitigating equipment, a traffic safety program, major monetary and materials contributions to local charities and community organizations along with extensive progressive rehabilitation projects, recycling programs and energy-saving technologies, Ridgemount Quarries has stood above the pack as a leader in aggregate operations.
“An Award of Excellence is the greatest honour OSSGA can bestow on an aggregate operation,” said Ken Lucyshyn, executive vice-president of Walker Aggregates. “We’ve worked very hard to be one of the very best quarry operations in the province of Ontario, and it’s gratifying to be recognized for our efforts.”
In addition to these awards, OSSGA also recognizes sites with the Environmental Achievement Award and the Biodiversity Award, each highlighting leaders that make exceptional contributions and improvements to the surrounding environment or efforts to conserve site biodiversity.
Leaders in Health & Safety
This past year, OSSGA also introduced the new Safety Innovation Award, in order to recognize innovate practices, programs and projects that improve the health and safety of employees, subcontractors and the public in the areas of operations, health and safety management systems, health and safety training, wellness programs and culture. For 2020, this award was presented to James Dick Construction’s Brechin Quarry and Assinck Limited, in recognition for their innovative Safe-T-Key.
“The Safe-T-Key originated from the need to eliminate touching the surface of a high frequency door handle to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Matt McDonald, occupational health and safety manager of James Dick Construction. “An idea between safety representatives and an imaginative fabricator progressed to brainstorming doodle-art on a welder’s bench and then to a prototype before being fine-tuned for production. The Safe-T-Key embodies the spirit of safety, innovation and collaboration. James Dick Construction Limited and Assinck Limited are very proud to applaud the initiative and creativity of their valued employees.”
OSSGA also recognizes individuals and operations that have excelled at making safety part of their daily responsibilities with the Individual Safety Awards and Corporate Safety Awards programs.
The Future of Aggregate
Finally, OSSGA continues to introduce new generations to the nuance of aggregate site design and planning with its Student Design Competition. The program challenges Ontario university and college students to put their design skills to work on an Ontario aggregate extraction site to create a rehabilitation design that maximizes the opportunities that the site will offer. Winners are awarded monetary prizes and winning entries are displayed at OSSGA’s Annual Conference.
Full details of the awards program and submission guidelines are available at ossga.com/awards, including more details into OSSGA’s most prestigious rehabilitation award, the Bronze Plaque.