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Toromont Cat, a Caterpillar heavy equipment company affiliated with Toromont Industries, operates in four Canadian provinces and has 39 branch locations. Its nearly 2,000 employees serve a large and diverse customer base including construction, mining, maritime, forestry and power generation.
The company’s guiding occupational health and safety (OHS) principles call for enduring culture change and a goal of zero workplace injuries and illnesses.
“Many of our 250 field employees work alone out in the elements, sometimes at night, at heights or underground,” said Maria Vomiero, OHS manager at Toromont Cat. “A lot of our training focuses on hazards and risks they are likely to encounter in the field.
“Everything we do is geared to the belief that we can eliminate all injuries and illness from the workplace. That doesn’t mean to say that we are eliminating all risk. Getting to a culture of zero is a journey. Some people give up before they have the opportunity to see the results of their efforts.” she said.
Toromont Cat depends on UL EHS Sustainability and its comprehensive PURE Safety LMS for support. “The entire process is navigated through PURE Safety,” Vomiero explained.
In addition to training management, compliance and investigation, Vomiero pours a lot of effort into outreach. For example, she sends a daily safety message to all employees, including a weekly reminder about safe practices outside of work, noting: “We do not compartmentalize ourselves as just working people. Why should we do that with our safety messages?”
Employees access training courses online at work and from remote locations. Curriculum is organized by job category, with training matrices established for field service, parts, sales and other roles. Task-specific courses include working at heights, lockout-tagout, driver safety awareness and office safety/ergonomics. When customized training is required, courses typically are developed in house and uploaded to PURE Safety LMS for efficient delivery and tracking.
“Our people were already taking the traditional safety courses, but our situation required an additional course on bear awareness,” said Terry Dyczkowsky, operations manager at the company’s Detour Lake, Ontario, location, a 2012 Toromont Cat safety audit award winner. “This is wild territory, so everyone needs to know how to use bear bangers (noise-makers) and pepper spray.”
Since implementing PURE Safety LMS in January 2009, Toromont Cat personnel have completed nearly 47,000 courses. Teaching employees how to meet and exceed standards, identify hazards and manage risk with appropriate controls has contributed to the following:
Vomiero has developed ways to push the envelope to maximize the power of PURE Safety LMS. For example:
Return to work: Employees on modified duty review technical aspects of proposed courses for relevancy and catch up on their training. Time spent on courses is automatically recorded in PURE Safety LMS, allowing the company to verify modified work hours and employees to earn their full salary.
Safety audits: In 2012 Toromont Cat conducted 28 branch audits and 12 field safety spot audits. In addition, it provides periodic customer safety workshops and frequently exchanges best practices across its business units on a formal basis.
Customer-centric: Many customers’ require Toromont Cat field workers to comply with their specific policies and procedures. By loading their requirements in PURE Safety LMS, field workers can study them and confirm understanding before arriving onsite.
Mini-mods: PURE Safety LMS is used to provide customized, five-to-10-minute “mini training modules” designed to help make staff more knowledgeable and efficient.
Status reports: All managers receive weekly reports and are expected to ensure mandatory training is completed. Branch scorecards incorporate training completion rates; employees get award points for completing training, listening to safety talks and reporting hazards.
The company also supports a Wellness at Work program focused on musculoskeletal injury prevention, cardiovascular health and mental well-being.
“It’s a success when an employee says, ‘I won’t do this because it’s not safe.’ Training provides awareness of when it’s safe or not safe to continue, and we are sharing that information with our customers,” Vomiero said. “A safe environment is also crucial in helping us create a workplace where employees want to stay and prospective employees want to work.”