Measuring safety culture; OGCA Webinar introduces S-CAT, a free resource for contractors

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Can you measure safety culture at your construction business?

The answer, say speakers at a recent Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) webinar, is ‘yes’ – and there is a free online tool (backed up with consulting support) to help contractors to get started.

The Safety Culture Assessment Tool (S-CAT) is designed to provide a snapshot of safety awareness and values, both for jobsite employees and corporate management. With the data from the survey, contractors can see if there are perceptional gaps between different regions and levels within the organization, and start on the path to making improvements.

Craig Lesurf, president of Gillam Group, and also chair of the OGCA’s safety committee and chair of the League of Champions (LOC), said at the Feb. 16 online program that the provincial Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Chief Prevention Officer Joel Moody have provided financial support for the initiative.

Accordingly, S-CAT and support and consulting from NORCAT, which provides health and safety training, are without charge. If contractors wish, they can join the League of Champions (LOC), an organization which “empowers leaders to become safety champions.”

Dan Fleming, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) manager for NORCAT, explained how S-CAT is designed and how NORCAT provides guidance in setting up the survey and assessing the results.

Elias Makhoul, health, safety and research excellence specialist at Modern Niagara Ltd., outlined how his business has implemented the S-CAT and explained its value in understanding and improving safety culture at the rapidly-growing mechanical contractor.

“You can use the S-CAT at any time, no matter where you are in your journey towards (safety) culture,” he said. At the start, if you are “more reactive” and “still kind of sussing out your policies” you can get an understanding of where you need to go. And later on, “if you’re more proactive, if you are looking at more data driven analysis to support your strategy development” you can take the information and apply it to measuring progress – and see where you can make further improvements.”

A third speaker, Craig Sparks, director of health and safety at Maple Reinders, says his company has just implemented the S-CAT program, setting out different cohorts by region and whether they are managerial or site employees. To engage jobsite employees, information about the survey tool is made available through on-site QR code posters.

Sparks said one key discovery was the importance of senior management buying into the program.  Responses skyrocketed – to the nearly the 50 per cent range – when company CEO and president Harold Reinders sent out a message encouraging participation.

“We’re just starting to go through the data now,” Sparks said. “I want to present (the results) to Harold and see how things differ from region to region and workforce to workforce.)”

“It’s an exciting time – my mind is already going though this, what kind of plan we are going to put in place.”

Sparks said one key advantage of S-CAT is that it “actually gives you recommendations for your action plan.”

“It can give you honest metrics and action items to work towards,” he said. “So we’re excited to take this for the full year and obviously, we’re going to take it a year and beyond.”

For more information about S-CAT see

For additional information about the League of Champions (LOC) see


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