A local woman has been recognized for her commitment to promoting safety when on the job.
Audrey MacMurchy, who works at Kingston Midstream (KM) Ltd. in Estevan, is the winner of the WorkSafe Saskatchewan Safe Worker Award. The recognition is presented by WorkSafe Saskatchewan, a partnership between the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.
“It’s quite an honour and it’s quite exciting,” said MacMurchy. “I feel honoured and humbled and quite grateful that they offer this award to give a pat on the back for what they feel is a job well done.”
An administrative assistant for the project, engineering and integrity department at KM, there are six groups and 42 employees with the department, which covers engineering services, project services, operations engineering, integrity, projects and construction.
MacMurchy started with KM in 2014 as a temporary contract administrative assistant on a six-month contract, and within three months she had a permanent full-time position. Most of her time has been spent in project, engineering and integrity.
“Safety is a number 1 priority for the Kingston Midstream company as a whole,” MacMurchy told the Mercury. “We are always on the watch for doing all of our work safely, and making sure everybody gets home safe.”
She’s not part of the safety department, but she does a lot of work on their behalf.
The safety department and other department managers set the safety standards and requirements, she said. The project managers keep safety as the highest priority during the project design and planning stages. The construction co-ordinators use their expertise in procedures and stay focused on field safety.
“The inspectors oversee and maintain safety at the work site. There are many more KM departments and employees with the same uncompromising attention to safety. It’s a lot about common sense and always doing the right thing, even when it seems inconvenient schedule-wise or cost-wise.”
The decisions may be individual but it’s also a huge team effort.
MacMurchy spearheaded the creation of a checklist which includes health, safety and environment components to ensure new employees have all the necessary information. She also ensures contract inspectors have access to safety manuals and have all required document templates.
“I assisted in the development of our COVID-19 Preventative Measures Plan for contractors and vendors during the project construction phases. I assist the project managers in ensuring the current safety documents are communicated to inspectors and contractors,” she said.
MacMurchy personally submits hazard identifications and task observations to the safety department as part of their accountability.
“Communication is key to safety. Talk it over. Ask the questions, then make a decision how to proceed.”
After all the stringent safety assessments and measures taken to ensure safety, the company still needs to be prepared in the event of an incident. MacMurchy is a member of the KM incident management team (IMT).
“Our emergency response co-ordinator has spent countless hours planning for incidents and training our IMT and our emergency response team. If anything ever goes wrong we will respond quickly; all knowing what we need to do, when we need to do it.”
In the very early stages of COVID, KM developed plans to keep employees safe, both while continuing to work and in general.
Mental wellness is a huge part of safety as well.
The people she works with at Kingston Midstream have always been very receptive to the message she has.
“We all live a safety culture at work and at home. We’re always on the lookout for safety,” she said.
At home, there are always discussions with her sons before doing any tasks, such as if they need safety glasses, or if they have proper gloves on. She’ll ask them to make sure they’re wearing the proper footwear, and ask them to be careful when driving or doing work around the home.
Even with the Estevan Roadrunners running club that she is part of, she encourages people to dress appropriately for the weather, and wear ice cleats if they’re jogging during the winter.
MacMurchy believes every employee at Kingston Midstream would be a deserving recipient of this award, and there are lots of people in other companies who would be excellent choices.
Among the other nominees for this 2021 award are her fellow workers Brodie McColl, Travis van Meer, Don Dukart, and contractor inspector Rodney Scholpp.
“Safety is about caring – caring about the people, the environment and property. And then taking that caring a step further by planning and carrying out safe practices, fulfilling WCB’s WorkSafe Saskatchewan’s Mission: Zero - zero workplace injuries, zero fatalities, and zero suffering,” she said.
Each year, WorkSafe Saskatchewan presents the Safe Worker Award to an employee who goes beyond the expectations of their position to help create a safer workplace.
Triple A Directional Drilling in Yorkton won the Safe Employer Award. It is presented to a best practice employer who builds safety into every task. This award recognizes employers who place a heavy emphasis on safety and make it a key part of their operations.