Sparks lauded for health and safety leadership
By Adam FreillConstruction Health & Safety Leadership
Maple Reinders director named Doug Chalmers Award winner by OGCA.
The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) used its Leadership Day event to recognize Craig Sparks, director of health and safety for Maple Reinders, with the Doug Chalmers Award. The award is presented annually by the OGCA to an individual or group that has made significant contributions to the advancement of occupational health and safety in the construction industry.
Sparks has helped lead his company to one of the best safety records in Canada and has worked within the industry to improve safety culture across Ontario. With over 20 years of progressive experience in construction, he has focused his career on continually improving on-site health and safety practices for employees, suppliers, and trade partners.
Over the past year, Sparks has dedicated significant time and energy to serving the general contracting community in the province. Taking leadership roles as chair of the OGCA COReXchange Committee and the League of Champions (LOC) Campaign for Safety Culture, he has exemplified the characteristics of a leader in health and safety. He also piloted the first application of an industry safety culture survey and personally assisted OGCA members as they worked to achieve their Certificate of Recognition (COR) certifications. In short, he has made Ontario a place to work safer.
The Doug Chalmers Award is named after the former OGCA chairman who championed workplace safety when few recognized its importance. He has been a tireless advocate for over 30 years. Safety continues to be a strategic priority for OGCA and the industry because of Chalmers’ continuing dedication. This year’s winner was nominated by Dan Fleming from NORCAT, as well as by Maple Reinders team members.
“It is a true honour to be this year’s recipient of the Doug Chalmers award,” said Sparks. “2021 was a very tough year for everyone in the construction industry. I’m very proud of the steps we have taken at the OGCA to improve health and safety of the construction industry. The Association’s work developing safety culture survey and sharing best practices over COReXchange will make this province safer.”
Held on May 6 in Vaughan, Ont., this year, Leadership Day is an annual OGCA event presented by OGCA and IHSA that celebrates safety champions that have shown excellent leadership and dedication to health and safety improvements. This year’s event welcomed several speakers who brought industry and safety insights for discussions aimed at continued improvement in the construction industry. Highlights included an overview of the League of Champions Culture Survey, a discussion about Mental Health and Opioids, and a panel hosted by Bird Construction about influencing safety on a jobsite.
“Safety never sleeps. That’s why safety leadership is so vital,” said Craig Lesurf, president of Gillam Group and chair of LOC. “We need to continue to be safety leaders in our industry so that everyone can go home safely each and every day! Leadership day is an important time for all of us to gather and reflect on the safety wins of the past year, learn from each other and aim to improve even more in the future.”