On the road Mobile Training sheds light on safe workplace regulations.
In an effort to bring knowledge, training and awareness about workplace health and safety to their clients, Sudbury entrepreneurs Denis Desroches and Marc Ranger have fully refurbished the fifth wheel to suit their educational needs.
"When we were starting out, our premise was that we can take the worker out of a working environment and right into a learning environment without the extra cost of sending the worker to a facility," says Desroches. "There's quite a bit of expense related to that, which we've minimized by bringing our mobile classroom to their site."
The unit has been wired to include such features as presentation and computer capabilities. Up to 14 people have been comfortably hosted within the trailer, and an additional 14-foot slide-out helps to accommodate even greater numbers if need be.
Although the moving classroom is proving to be a rather popular vehicle for delivering seminars and informational sessions on workplace safety, Desroches says that the two-man company also uses whatever facilities are most convenient for the client, including their own 400-square-foot office on Sudbury's Lasalle Boulevard. As MTC's business grows, plans are in place to possibly expand the facility to include a training room, and to hire on additional safety consultants.
Formed in April, Mobile Training Consultants was created when the two founders saw an opportunity to parlay their combined 22 years of safety coordination into a business. Since that time, the two have worked for a wide number of clients, including helping various hospitals and townships to develop a comprehensive set of safety policies and procedures.
"We noticed that things were lacking in the health and safety industry," says Desroches. "Nobody seemed to know their responsibilities with regards to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and that's where we want to bring our services to light."
The company now specializes in a variety of services, including the creation of joint health and safety committees, as well as raising young workers' awareness as to their rights and responsibilities within the workplace. This is especially important given that 42 young workers become injured or ill in the workplace every day in Ontario, says Desroches.
Much of MTC's current business revolves around the industry's attempt to adapt to Bill C-45. Despite the fact that this bill was instituted by the federal government in 2004, Desroches says that many employers are slowly coming to realize its full impact, which attributes criminal liability and thereby hefty fines and possible jail time for individuals who fail to ensure that their employees are working within a safe, regulated environment.
"The Ministry of Labour isn't going out and educating people anymore," says Desroches. "They tried it, and it didn't work, so now they're enforcing. It's now up to industry to educate themselves, and if they don't, they'll get hit in the pocketbook or worse."
This can be a particular problem for employers who don't have the time to keep on top of the various health and safety changes and legislations that occasionally emerge, especially for safety coordinators who serve within a variety of other roles within a company.
"What we find is that the person who's in charge of health and safety in many of these companies is usually wearing two or three different hats," says Desroches. "The first thing that goes to the side is safety, which is the first thing that goes in budget cuts as well. With the new bill, it's starting to come to light that people can't afford to do this anymore."
As though the threat of criminal liability wasn't enough, companies must also recognize that increasing numbers of contracts are being awarded not merely on the basis of price or quality, but also on an employer's safety record, he says.
By NICK STEWART
Northern Ontario Business