UFred’s OHS program helps alumnus navigate new role as lead of worker safety committee
Mark Ansara was a heavy equipment operator at Imperial Oil Resources’ Kearl Lake Project. Kearl Lake’s safety performance is world class in the industry and the Kearl Craft Safety Committee (KCSC) is part of that success.
After being chosen to be an OHS representative for his employer, Mark’s dedication to the committee earned him a position as a site-wide lead. At the time, Alberta OH&S did not require official committees in the workplace. However, he says the safety culture at Kearl is very forward-thinking, which led the organization to establish the OHS committee in conjunction with the existing safety group.
Mark says the fully online format was the determining factor in choosing UFred to complete his OHS certification due to his shift schedule and remote work, and the course selection was favourable for the direction he wanted to take.
While he appreciated the ability to work independently, he commends UFred’s support team for its willingness to help.
“If there were any concerns about my program or educational direction, Krystal (Student Services Specialist) was always available to help and accommodate my situation,” he said.
Since starting the OHS program, Mark found himself in a position to lead the KCSC, which is a full-time role. He says the program helped him navigate dealing with workers and management effectively, as well as follow legislation.
“My first task in the committee was to organize 170 members on a site of more than 3,000 and to create eight different safety committees. Over and above that, we created our new charter that covers all aspects of our safety group. Lessons learned from the program were very valuable, and fresh in my mind,” he said.
Mark is actively taking the KCSC concept to the masses within Imperial Oil Resources and ExxonMobil.
“Many projects do not have this style of committee; they only depend on legislation. Who better than the field workers to recognize issues and solve them?”
Mark’s goal is to continue his OHS education with the Diploma in Safety, Health and Environmental Management, then earn his Canadian Registered Safety Professional designation. He says the certificate program provided a solid foundation through which he can continue to learn.
“It also shows my commitment to the organization I work for and willingness to improve.”