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In her own words: Melony Erickson, 2006 Safety Manager of the Year

By Melony Erickson
| www.cos-mag.com

Meet Melony Erickson, the first-ever winner of COS magazine's Safety Manager of the Year Award! We asked Melony to tell us a little bit more about herself and her team.

When Todd Phillips contacted me, I thought that maybe he wanted to include Alberta Oil Tool (AOT) in an article on some facet of our safety program. AOT has come such a long way in the last 10 years with respect to our health and safety practices and I’m always happy to share our challenges, success stories and future plans for the journey towards safety excellence.

When Todd said, however, that I had received an award for COS magazine’s Safety Manager of the Year, I was humbled. It is my belief that AOT’s success is less about what I have done than it is about the culture of our company and the mind set of our top management team and frontline staff.

Safety managers who have effective systems in place will tell you that they also have complete support from their management. Frustrated safety leaders who are dealing with struggling programs and skeptical employees will nearly always say that their team at the top is not providing resources, setting examples or supporting efforts to make the worksite a safe and healthy place to be.

Our President, (Daryl Harrington) and Manufacturing Managers (Terry Harnack and Perry Harnack) are completely committed to the success of AOT’s safety program and the health and welfare of our people.

We also have dedicated frontline people at Alberta Oil Tool. Angie Rice, our Safety Coordinator works hard to ensure that everyone knows the way things are done at AOT and the safety committee (Andre Beavan, Dean Van Horne, Nathan Watson, Carson La Pierre, Ken Sherstan, Shane Siegel, Xuong Loi, Shawn Chrapko and Kenny Quan) are the eyes, ears and hands that keep the program running on track. When we first formed this committee years ago, we had trouble convincing people to help out. Now whenever we rotate members, we vote on who gets to join from a long list of volunteers. Once silent committee meetings are now filled with open discussion from employees at all levels and employees have even begun to report themselves when they have committed a safety infraction.

I could write chapters about all of AOT’s successes, including Work Site Inspections, Modified Work Program, Claims Management, and ToolBox meetings. The training programs we now have in place are supported by our partnership with the Manufacturer’s Health & Safety Association (MHSA), who also provide members with assistance obtaining their Certificate of Recognition (COR) but more importantly helps Alberta manufacturing companies connect with each other and share their best practices.

Over the last few years, AOT participated in several Workers Compensation Board (WCB) campaigns like the Heads UP and Back Safety launches, received prestigious awards and in October of 2006 we achieved One Year with No Lost Time — on our way to exceeding our old record of 35 months. We celebrate our achievements with BBQs, prizes and awards, but mainly it’s pride in where we work that is the real reward.

The challenge now is to keep moving forward. As we experience unprecedented growth along with the rest of Alberta’s economy, we need to ensure that new employees feel the same sense of responsibility for each other and find innovative ways to keep our current employees engaged and interested in continuously improving our work life experience at AOT.

In closing, it’s certainly an honour to receive this award, but I receive it on behalf of everyone at Alberta Oil Tool who have given their time and energy to make sure that our “Performance Counts” when it comes to all aspects of the work environment.

Thank you COS magazine for recognizing us!

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Alberta Oil Tool's Safety Team

Andre Beavan SCM - NC Programmer

Dean Van Horne SCM - Machinist

Nathan Watson SCM - NC Operator

Carson LaPierre SCM - Apprentice Millwright

Ken Sherstan SCM - Electrician

Shane Siegel SCM - Sales

Xuong Loi SCM - Assembly

Shawn Chrapko SCM - Assembly

Kenny Quan SCM - NC Programmer

Terry Harnack SCM - Sucker Rod Manufacturing Manager

Perry Harnack SCM - General Products Manufacturing Manager

Ron Ilko SCM - Vice-President; Finance

Myles Rempel SCM - Purchasing Manager

Darren Chrapko SCM - Norriseal / Butterfly Valve Manager

Jim Kosh - Sales and Marketing

Daryl Harrington SCM - President

Darryl Short - Manufacturing Technologist

Rob Webber - Lead Assembly -Employee Association President

Jackie Benjamin - HR Coordinator

Cecile McLeod - HR Coordinator

Scott MacIntyre - Quality Coordinator

Brad Black - Maintenance Manager

Melony Erickson SCM - Director of Quality / Safety & HR

Angie Rice SCM - Safety Coordinator

SCM= Safety Committee Members

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