Thunder Bay forestry firm wins top provincial health and safety awards

Monday, September 29, 2014

Shuniah Forest Products wins forestry and small business awards

On September 17 at its annual general meeting and awards dinner in North Bay, Ontario, Workplace Safety North (WSN) – the provincial occupational health and safety association for forestry, mining, and paper, printing, and converting sectors – presented Shuniah Forest Products of Thunder Bay with two President’s Awards, the highest provincial health and safety honour.

The northern Ontario logging operation took home two trophies for workplace health and safety excellence: one for the Ontario forestry sector, and one for the top small business.

WSN staff with President's Award winner from Shuniah Forest Products

Photo: Workplace Safety North representatives Candys Ballanger-Michaud, Bill Shaver, and Chris Serratore, with Dave Buchan (holding awards) of Shuniah Forest Products, winner of two provincial President’s Awards for health and safety excellence in forestry and small business. 

“Congratulations to Shuniah Forest Products on this well-deserved win!” said Candys Ballanger-Michaud, WSN President and Chief Executive Officer. “You’ve demonstrated an exceptional commitment to continuous improvement in occupational health and safety for both the forestry and small business sectors – well done!”

WSN CEO congratulates Dave Buchan of Shuniah Forest ProductsAccepting the award, Dave Buchan, Operations Supervisor, thanked the staff of Shuniah Forest Products, whom, he noted, “have always supported health and safety. I think the safety committee we have at Shuniah is very diligent and goes above and beyond their regular duties.”

“All the employees at Shuniah work together as a team – not only with safety but also with production – and have really good communication; that’s all part of team effort,” said John Venasky, Safety Advisor, via e-mail. “That was established a number of years ago and whenever there is any discussion, it’s a team discussion. And that’s the way Shuniah Forest Products works with regards to safety. “

“We conduct audits regularly with regards to production procedures, and the company works hard in all areas, not only safety and production, but also to meet all the environmental requirements. 

“Our Joint Health and Safety Committee is very active and ensure proper inspections of the operation, which include talking to employees and staff on any issues of concern, and providing leadership in initiating training or instruction to ensure that a safe work environment continues in the business,” says Venasky. “I am very proud to be a part of Shuniah Forest Products over the last 20 years and know that we will continue to strive for a safe and healthy work environment for all employees and staff.”

Established in the early 1970s, Shuniah Forest Products Limited began as a road construction provider and progressed into cut and skid operations and road building; next the company moved ahead with mechanical operations, which included heavy equipment like chippers, five feller bunchers, grapple skidders, and excavators. Shuniah Forest Products also operates a heavy equipment repair shop and truck and trailer shop. 

“If there’s one more thing I could add,” says Venasky, “Shuniah is just a tremendous group of people – the staff is very supportive, and we would not get to the place we are with Safe Workplace Ontario – or with regards to the Workplace Excellence and President’s Awards – without this total team effort.”

About Ontario Workplace Excellence Awards
The Workplace Excellence Awards are given annually to companies that demonstrate a commitment to the prevention of illness and injury, and within this group of winners, top performers are selected from each sector to receive the President’s Award.

The purpose of the program is twofold: first, companies can complete an easy-to-follow assessment of their current health and safety programs. Once completed, businesses can clearly see areas for improvement and develop an action plan to improve safety performance; second, the program provides recognition to firms actively engaged in improving their health and safety performance. 

Companies that score 80 per cent or more on the self-assessment submit the completed assessment to WSN in order to receive a plaque that can be displayed in the workplace. WSN reviews the self-assessment and scores may be validated by an on-site visit from a WSN Field Consultant. All submitted assessments are automatically considered for the President’s Award. Scoring is based on the results of the self-assessment in combination with statistical performance of the past two calendar years. 

Top scoring firms in forestry, mining, paper, printing, and converting, and small business are presented with the President’s Award at the WSN annual general meeting each September.

Download the Health and Safety Self-Assessment for WSN Workplace Excellence Awards
Accompanying Information Guide includes Frequently Asked Questions
WSN Workplace Excellence Awards Program website page