The future of safety
Introducing OHS Canada’s Top 10 Under 40
Canada’s future of workplace safety is in good hands, if our Top 10 Under 40 awards program is any indication.
The newly introduced recognition program received write-in applications from across the country and OHS Canada is pleased to unveil the 2020 winners.
Strong work ethic, leadership by example and dedication to health and safety are all acknowledged in this group of young safety professionals.
Join us as we celebrate the future of occupational health and safety in Canada.
Safety adviser at Mattamy Homes in Calgary, age 25
For the last three years, Tanner Konrad has been leading the safety charge at Mattamy Homes in Calgary.
His work in overseeing the company’s provincial safety culture has been steady in an ever-changing world of safety.
Konrad chose the profession because of its growth trajectory and the many opportunities to adapt within the field.
“Early in my career, I found a passion for safety and believed the profession would suit me well,” he said. “At the beginning, I overcame challenges that assured me it was the right fit for myself. Among the most challenging was striving to guide and educate someone to follow proper protocol or procedure and lead them into doing something that they ultimately do because they want to — not because they have to.”
Konrad sits on various committees with BILD Calgary, and is a force in driving health and safety for residential construction in the Calgary region. He has previous experience at EllisDon.
The most gratifying part of his work is witnessing a shift in mentality towards a stronger safety mindset, he said.
“I am glad to be a part of a profession that is ever gaining traction and will be the backbone of many companies’ successes for generations to come.”
Wellness, health and safety consultant with the Government of New Brunswick in Fredericton, age 30
For Reza Mehboob, safety is more than a career. It’s a hobby and a passion.
He chose the profession because it provided an opportunity to interact with front-line employees on understanding risks, calling it “an immense opportunity to serve humanity.”
Mehboob is currently serving the province of New Brunswick as a consultant. He owns a master’s degree in OH&S from the University of Greenwich and is currently working towards his PhD in ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders at the University of New Brunswick.
A CRSP, he has many years of international experience from his work in the U.K., Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Mehboob has served in various leadership roles with the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) and other international safety bodies. He is also a board member with CSSE – New Brunswick.
The most rewarding aspect of his work is influencing senior leaders as well as young safety professionals, he said.
“I always ensure that the OH&S management system is sensible and straightforward based on the industry standards and as well as regulatory requirements.”
Mehboob is fuelled by a “never-ending desire” to actively develop and maintain his competency through continuous professional development.
Safety and wellness manager at George Brown College in Toronto, age 38
With 14 years of experience in many sectors and health and safety positions, Nadia Edun’s dedication to her craft has paid dividends.
In her current role at George Brown College, the CRSP and CSP supports teachers by providing relevant health and safety curriculum.
Edun graduated with a chemistry degree from the University of Guelph, but began her working life in the safety profession with a pharmaceutical company. She eventually earned an OH&S certificate from Ryerson University.
“After my first two years in the field, I developed a passion for the work and found it to be very rewarding,” she said. “I woke up each day happy to get to work and ready for the challenge which always proved to be different, exciting and fun.”
Working in safety suits her personality, allowing her the opportunity to show enthusiasm while caring for others, said Edun.
“Over the past several years, I have learned that the health and safety profession is so multifaceted, I am able to be a leader, change agent, educator, influencer, health-care worker, lifelong student and so much more.”
Edun’s past professional opportunities include field projects with the Ministry of Labour and providing health and safety consulting to the agriculture, service and manufacturing sectors.
Her career has included work in the United States and around the world to assist in global auditing.
Safety consultant at Edmonton Public Library, age 33
The Edmonton Public Library is a safer workplace, thanks to Tara Wright’s involvement.
Among her achievements is the creation of a system-wide health and safety committee and teaching mental health first aid to all staff.
The CRSP finds gratification in watching staff internalize what they’ve learned about health and safety — then apply it in all of the work they do.
“My goal is to make health and safety accessible, and I do that by meeting each individual at their comfort level and building from there,” she said.
Wright views OH&S as less about rules and restrictions, and more about being a multidisciplinary field that can change lives.
“I firmly believe health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and that the workplace has the power to nurture or impair it,” she said.
“Working in occupational health and safety aligns with my core values of learning, creating, embodying empathy and the pursuit of excellence. It allows me to connect with people, build community and share my knowledge and expertise to make a difference in the workplace.”
Wright has a wide variety of health and safety experience in Alberta. She finds gratification when employers truly buy in to health and safety — not just to meet minimum compliance — but because they recognize the benefits of supporting and investing in their people.
“That’s why I do what I do.”
EHS specialist at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Windsor, Ont., age 32
For the last eight years, Lance Strong has been demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to health and safety at the Fiat Chrysler assembly plant in Windsor, Ont.
He joined the organization as a temporary part-time worker on the assembly line and has worked his way up into a supervisory position, before eventually transitioning into his current health and safety role.
“I have always been interested in creating a safe and conducive working environment for all employees,” said Strong. “Safety is an integral part in everything I do, whether it be at home or at work — making the right choices that are aimed at creating a positive safety culture to prevent any accidents or incidents has been the key to my success.”
Strong is the lead of the joint health and safety committee in the auto plant, as well as the Safety Pillar team. He finds the interaction with the employees on the shop floor to be most gratifying.
“Our employees at FCA have a very strong safety culture and come up with innovative solutions to help resolve any of our safety concerns,” said Strong. “Working with them to resolve any of their health and safety concerns has always been my primary focus.”
“I am truly proud of the team that we have at the Windsor Assembly Plant and all of the hard work we have completed to ensure occupational health and safety is kept is an integral part in everything we do.”
HSE adviser at Enger in Truro, N.S., age 31
For Kody Messenger, safety is a family affair.
“I owe a pile of my technical safety knowledge to my dad (Neil Messenger),” he said. “The safety industry has been a bit of a family affair for quite some time.”
“Second to that, I owe my appreciation for small business and their abilities to be safe and productive to my dive boss Lenny Hart at Atlantic Sub Sea.”
Currently an HSE adviser with Enger, Messenger began his working career as a commercial diver.
“I had a pretty natural understanding of the importance of safety from that experience,” he said.
During slower periods at work, Messenger began studying safety. He soon discovered he could assist companies and workers through the bureaucracy and clutter to help them do their jobs in a better way.
“I was hooked,” said Messenger, now a CRSP.
Today, he has authored his own course material on first aid, fall protection and confined space, while also serving on various technical committees studying CSA Standards.
In 2016, he was named a safety champion by Construction Safety Nova Scotia.
“I’d have to say I’m most gratified when I help a company shed some of the weight of their safety programs and safety clutter,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to help people be operationally safer at work, while not increasing arbitrary and meaningless safety work.”
National health and safety leader at Emco in London, Ont., age 32
When Joël Richer was only a teenager, his father suffered a broken back as a result of a workplace injury. He was never able to return to work.
The impacts of that incident give Richer a strong personal connection to his work at Emco.
“My experience allows me to have empathy and help relay the various impacts of a workplace injury for the injured worker, their families and the organization,” he said.
Richer began his career with Emco in 2013 as an internal auditor — a role that included identifying potential gaps in workplace incident management.
“Collaborating on each workplace incident at a national level helped me realize the immense importance health, safety and wellness plays in our organization,” he said.
In 2016, Richer transitioned into his current role, where he began taking steps to improve Emco’s health and safety performance and culture towards a more proactive mindset.
In recent years, he has worked to bring mental health more fully into the program.
Making a difference in his colleagues’ lives drives Richer forward, he said.
“Being a witness to the gradual change in mindset has been one of the more satisfying parts of this role,” he said.
Richer said he would not be where he is today without the tutelage of his former director Kim Fraser.
Director of safety (student transportation group) at Pacific Western Transportation in Calgary, age 39
A willingness to be flexible and take on responsibilities outside his comfort zone are two primary factors in Evan Edbom’s success.
“I might not have entered the safety field in the first place, if I wasn’t willing to take on new duties to help my company,” says the CRSP currently overseeing a national portfolio in passenger transportation.
Edbom’s career in safety began when he accepted a project co-ordinator position. When a designated safety contact was required on-site, he accepted the dual role responsibilities. The rest is history.
Alongside his regular duties, Edbom is involved on the advisory council of Partners in Compliance, an Alberta transportation partnership. He is a member of the BCRSP qualifications review committee and serves as an industry mentor. Previously, he advised Alberta’s labour minister on health and safety matters as a member of the provincial occupational health and safety council.
“Helping to grow other professionals is very rewarding to me, whether it is direct reports, operational leaders or new OH&S practitioners in the industry,” said Edbom.
“I have always strongly encouraged and supported team members to develop new skills and take on new challenges. Seeing some of those junior professionals that have worked with me move on to manager and director roles themselves, is one of my favourite parts of my career so far.”
Director of health, safety and environment at Fillmore Construction Management in Edmonton, age 35
Before entering health and safety, Cody Woolf was employed as a provincial peace officer, ensuring commercial vehicles met provincial safety standards.
Persuaded his career experience would be an asset, he was convinced to leave law enforcement in favour of safety.
“I quickly recognized I had a passion for health and safety and enjoyed the social interaction of the profession,” said Woolf. “Since then, I have pursued additional HSE education and achieved some safety designations as well.”
Today, the CRSP manages the health and safety of 200 staff, and also develops policy for Fillmore Construction’s safety program.
The company’s commitment to investing in and promoting health and safety for all staff, while also producing building excellence for clientele, is very rewarding for Woolf.
“It is rewarding to see that health and safety is not just a priority at work, but is a value instilled in all employees, subcontractors and clients’ lives. I am proud to be a part of this energy and help lead the way.”
Woolf’s goal is to create a positive and safe work environment, striving to promote safety as not only a policy, but a lifestyle.
The support and trust of his team has made all the difference in making this a reality, he said.
Health and safety adviser in Alberta, age 31
Carol Casey is known among her peers as an outstanding advocate for safety, working hard to teach safety rather than simply enforce it.
A victim of recent COVID-19 layoffs, the CRST is currently working to complete her OH&S diploma at the University of Alberta.
Her pursuit of a career in workplace health and safety is with the intention of helping people.
“While employed in the office setting of the construction industry, a close friend was killed in a workplace accident and I decided to get into health and safety,” said Casey.
“I enjoy meeting new people and learning something new every day,” she said. “Working with people, understanding what they do and implementing safety together is very rewarding.”
For the past two years, Casey was employed by Pagnotta Industries, a construction management company in
She was nominated a record 16 times for OHS Canada’s Top 10 Under 40 award.
Nominators indicated Casey is passionate and knowledgable regarding OH&S legislation and never misses an opportunity to further her education in workplace safety. She is also praised for being detail oriented and performing her work with devotion.
Casey is described as being well-respected by her colleagues, actively leading by example and taking initiative in establishing policies and procedures.