Training that puts health and safety first
September 26, 2023
GNI’s lead trainer talks health, safety, and the company’s commitment to keeping our employees, customers and communities safe every day.
In the construction industry, getting hurt on the job is a real risk. Whether it’s being mindful while you’re up on a ladder, knowing how to deal with extreme heat when you’re insulating an attic in mid-summer, or understanding what to do when you encounter asbestos in an older building, staying safe, healthy and injury-free takes focus – and solid, consistent training.
Meet Bernie Borman
As GNI’s lead trainer and health and safety manager, Bernie makes sure GNI crew members have the knowledge (and frequent refreshers) they need to prevent accidents and work safely each day.
“We need to be very conscious of all the hazards that could appear on a site,” he says. “Especially when it comes to working alongside other trades, like electrical. At GNI, we have a serious focus on mitigating risk and staying compliant on every job site.”
That’s why GNI provides in-depth training, plus frequent refreshers, reminders and informal talks that ensure safety is always top of mind.
“You can climb a ladder safely a hundred times,” says Bernie. “But if you're distracted or complacent that hundred and first time, that's when accidents can happen. I can speak to that first hand.”
Health and safety training at GNI: the best in the industry
Training happens in GNI’s state-of-the-art training facility and out in the field. GNI installers receive the following training opportunities, fully-paid by GNI:
- Certification for working at heights
- Specialized equipment training, including Power Elevated Work Platform (PEWP), as required by jobsite or scope of work
- WHMIS training for chemicals including designated substances such as asbestos, benzolene and isocyanate, the hardening agent inspray foam
Bernie helps with skill building, emphasizing safety through everything from quick info sessions to formal certifications. But it’s the less formal training opportunities that really drive the important knowledge home.
“I'm in the field quite a bit with new workers and those who have moved to new roles,” he says. “I'm constantly reinforcing safety protocols, looking at the equipment, seeing if there are issues and showing the crew how to identify and report problems. I like to think of it as ‘guided mentorship.’ And while crew-to-crew training is important, that tends to focus on how to hold the hose and things like that. I'm there to remind them to look for live wires, ensure their ladder is set up correctly, and confirm they're wearing the right safety gear.”
Bernie’s safety talks are always timely, looking at specific risks installers might face at different times of year. Like being extra vigilant on the roads when kids have gone back to school. Dealing with heat stress and dehydration when it’s hot out. Coping with cold and ice in the winter. Safe driving is also a key focus: workers are trained on road safety, and only those with clean driving records and proper certifications can operate company vehicles.
A commitment that stands apart
As the largest insulation company in Ontario, GNI has the resources to make health and safety a true priority.
“That’s one of the things that sets us apart from other operators,” says Bernie. “It's a lot harder to manage health and safety to the same degree in a smaller company. Owner-operators are typically stretched thin, dealing with sales, dispatching crews and tackling other challenges – they don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to safety training. Plus, there is no official oversight in the industry: it’s up to individual companies to train their staff. Our comprehensive training program is a huge differentiator for GNI. Fostering a safe environment is at the core of our business.”
We’re hiring crew members in Ontario!
Looking to join a company that supports you with all the knowledge you need and puts your health and safety first? Great Northern insulation is hiring crew members across our Ontario locations – apply today.