Edmonton, AB (Oct. 4, 2022) – These days, workplace safety is top of mind for most organizations. But it’s not just about compliance and checking off boxes—testing the status quo, upping agility, and evolving processes to engage absolutely everyone creates the safest, most empowered environment possible.
Small but mighty. That’s how Jen Alain, GeoVerra’s Director of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), best describes GeoVerra’s HSE team.
“Because we’re a team of four, we bring a strong personal touch,” says Alain. “We make it a point to connect on some level with every team member.”
Alain has been involved with GeoVerra and its legacy companies for 18 years now and says this personable approach has been her intention since day one.
“At GeoVerra, we’ve always made sure everyone is watching out for each other as they would for their family members, but also approach safety comprehensively to keep our teams safe,” says Alain. “From coast to coast, we provide all the tools, support and resources our team members need and want.”
Powered by People
Even though GeoVerra is one of Canada’s largest geomatics firms with many employees, Alain can’t stress enough how connected her department feels to all of them. “I’m so fortunate that one afternoon I’m talking to someone in Victoria, then the next moment meeting with someone in Ottawa. We’re a big company but have the relationships you’d find at a small organization. We’ve built a great community.”
To Alain, that means going beyond providing support to operations and truly getting to know the people she’s working with—learning the story behind the person. “The more we know, the more meaningful my job becomes,” she says. “We would never want a team member or client to get injured and have that potentially stop them from doing what they love or being with the people they love. That’s my why.”
A Safer Tomorrow
Creating safer work environments means making sure employees feel empowered to speak up. Status quo is constantly challenged, and the HSE team prides itself on delivering a safety program that is practical and easy for employees. “That way, they actually embrace it, follow it, and share it,” says Alain.
Every action supports continuous improvement. “No matter what initiative we’re working on, we ask ourselves one question: will this benefit our team members?” says Alain. “If not, we don’t do it.” The HSE team’s latest initiative is the development of health and safety leadership training designed for supervisors and managers that will be launched in January 2023.
That attitude is perpetuated by management too. “We have a leadership team committed to safety and incredibly supportive of our safety culture. Our leaders are engaged; they complete Management Field Observations (MFOs), which promotes open communication between management and field crews at a field level, and provide coaching and guidance opportunities.” Says Alain. “Typically, HSE is a ‘standalone’ department, but working safely is integrated into every single aspect of our operations, in every possible way.”
Better Every Day
Instead of picking up the pieces after an incident, GeoVerra is about being ahead of the curve with a proactive mindset. “Safety is often reactive,” she says. “We focus on proactive reporting, being aware of your surroundings, identifying hazards, and reporting near misses and at-risk behaviours. We intervene if necessary and focus a lot of time on constantly improving our program, exploring initiatives, auditing, and meeting new goals throughout the year.”
Safety statistics speak for themselves—GeoVerra recently reached 3 million working hours without a lost injury.
“Our clients need a company that is safe, reliable and trustworthy,” says Alain. “Many of our big-name clients, like TC Energy or Trans Mountain, provide feedback that our crews are confident, compliant and thorough, and our trackable numbers support that.”
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
Reaching milestones does require new ways of thinking.
“Safety isn’t traditionally fun and exciting—it’s sometimes seen as necessary and routine, like going to the dentist,” says Alain. “But we’re here to change that. We’re making it so you want to work safely, to make it a seamless part of your life.”
GeoVerra’s fall safety campaign focuses on employee participation and engagement with monthly contests and elements that encourage learning, mentorship and leadership. “If we connect the pieces and make safety entertaining, exciting and inviting, it’s another way to ensure our team members go home safely and continue to do what they love.”
After all, it’s part of GeoVerra’s core: people care about people. “This sentiment drives down to every aspect of our company, especially our attitudes around safety.”
Learn more about how GeoVerra’s safety culture affects not only its team, but also the quality and peace of mind it lends to your projects. https://geoverra.wpengine.com/about-us/health-safety/