September 24, 2012
RICK RADELL PHOTO
Ontario General Contractors Association honours Aecon safety exec Mike Archambault
During the course of a career that has spanned more than 35 years, Mike Archambault has gained a reputation for his commitment to the cause of occupational health and safety in the construction industry.
That commitment has netted Archambault, now Aecon Group Inc.’s vice-president for safety and loss control, the Douglas Chalmers Award for Safety, from the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).
He was nominated by Carlos Figueira, a consultant at the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and a member of the OGCA’s safety committee.
“I have been on Aecon projects across the country for several years,” Figueira said. “In my opinion, Mike not only does the talk, his department does the walk.
“(He is) a truly committed individual, always making time to assist the industry and others, always sharing best practices.”
At Aecon, Archambault runs an environmental health and safety department of more than 150 personnel. He joined the publicly traded construction and infrastructure development company in 1996 after a 20-year stint at the Ministry of Labour.
He developed, and continues to revise, Aecon’s health and safety management systems to meet ISO 18001, an internationally recognized standard. Each year, Archambault ensures there is a complete review of the system, adapting to best practices.
Archambault says the key to success in achieving an exemplary safety record is dedicated safety personnel as well as a supportive and skilled management team that ranks safety as the organization’s first priority, a number one core value.
“It really makes a big difference when you have that kind of commitment behind you to achieve best-in-class standards in the workplace.”
Aecon has adopted a “Safety First” approach. Underlying principles are that safety is an inherent part of the corporate culture, managing safety is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, all injuries are preventable and accidents don’t just happen, they are caused.
At the moment, Aecon is in the process of becoming certified under the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program, a nationally recognized health and safety certification program.
In order to achieve certification, a representative from senior management and one designated full-time employee must take prescribed training offered by IHSA. Once that is complete, the employer is required to conduct an internal audit of the company’s health and safety management system using IHSA’s COR audit instrument.
“It’s a fairly intensive process,” says Archambault.
He believes Aecon will be the first construction company in the province to achieve certification.
A former chair of the Council of Ontario Construction Associations’ liaison committee with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Archambault maintains that the construction industry has to look to itself to achieve best-in-class safety performance.
“We’re not going to get there with government regulations,” he says. “We have to get there as an industry.”
Archambault is scheduled to receive the award, named after Sarnia contractor Douglas Chalmers, at the OGCA’s upcoming 74th annual general meeting and conference in Philadelphia.
“Mike has spent countless hours working with WSIB, IHSA and OGCA on bettering health and safety in the industry,” says association president Clive Thurston.
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