And the winners of the SAFE Work Awards are...

And the winners of the SAFE Work Awards are...

​​​​​​​​​​​​​The SAFE Work Awards program began in 2013 to recognize Manitobans who demonstrate ongoing commitment to making our workplaces and province safer and healthier. Nominations open every spring, and the winners are announced in the fall.​ Learn more about the winners below!​

​2022 winners

2022 SAFEty Culture Award: Decor Cabinets Ltd


Decor has maintained its SAFE Work Certification since 2018. Employee participation in ensuring 
a safety culture is seen through safety improvements in their work areas through Decor’s HIRTS program (Hazard Identification & Reduction Tracking System).

Leadership at Decor plays an active role in promoting their safety culture. Safety audits are discussed in department meetings and employees are asked for feedback on how to improve. One employee a shift is required to perform a daily safety checklist throughout the department to ensure there are no hazards prior to the shift. Any hazard identified during the daily inspection, action is taken immimmediately to correct the hazard.

Supervisors also ensure they write a job hazard analysis, risk assessment or safe work procedure at least once a week, they write these with their employees that perform those tasks.​

2022 SAFEty and Health Committee Award


The Cronos Group has embraced the health and safety culture to improve its workplace. Leadership has encouraged and participated in numerous training sessions and, has purchased and replaced extensive equipment for the betterment of employees comfort, safety and protection.

The Cronos health and safety team has taken it upon themselves to develop a near miss reporting form that once submitted to the group they take the initiative to take corrective action within days.

The Health and Safety Committee has recently expanded the employee representation from 4 to 6 people while increasing the employer from 2 to 3 people. They have also increased meetings from every 90 days to every 60 while increasing inspections that include more employee interviews.

2022 Worker SAFEty Award


Adam is a dedicated safety employee who consistently goes above and beyond in his role to ensure the safety of the team at Nine Circles. He arrives early to ensure the building is cleaned up and any bio hazard risks are properly disposed of. Adam continuously checks certifications and  re-certifications of staff and volunteers, and ensures that every staff walks away from trainings and FAST meetings (front area safety team) knowing what to do in case of emergencies. He constantly goes above and beyond to make sure daily operations are examined and that everyone feels safe going to work.

Adam is part of the reason that the team at Nine Circles knows what to do in case of emergencies and he is the first person to go to for a safety question. He is patient with new hires and staff who may need a safety refresher, organizes and chairs the FAST meetings, and ensures that everyone’s concerns are brought forward.


​2021 winners​

SAFEty​ Culture Award: Metis N4 Construction Inc.


Metis N4 Construction Inc.'s nomination demonstrates a strong workplace safety culture where leaders and employees are engaged and committed to safety and health.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, Metis N4 Construction retrofitted their work camps into Covid-19
Isolation Facilities for the Metis population who needed to self-isolate safely. All of Metis N4's employees came together as a team to train to le​​arn the protocol plan.

As part of developing the new Covid-19 practices and procedures, employees reviewed and did a dry run of the plan and provided constructive feedback. Metis N4 not only focused on the physical effect of Covid-19 but also heavily emphasized mental health.

Mental health resource books were created for the guests and employees who stay at the facilities. As part of efforts to continuously improve safety and health, supervisors and employees have daily safety meetings where they review practices and procedures, any new Covid-19 news, and the rules of the Isolation Facility.​

Honourable Mention: Gaspard

SAFEty​ and Health Committee Award: Lifes Journey Inc.


Lifes Journey's nomination shows how their Workplace Safety and Health Committee effe​ctively collaborates to address safety and health issues and reach all staff with safety and health information.

The committee has gone above and beyond to ensure all of its sites are inspected and meet compliance. They have also built a robust system for reporting worker injuries and safe return to work practices.

During Covid-19, the committee produced a video (using their cell phones) called, “Just stay home," that was shared with all essential front line staff as an alternative to staff having to​​ read more policy and sign they had read it. The committee felt that clear and simple messaging from management telling people to stay home when sick would encourage them to do so.

Honourable Mention: Winners Steinbach

Worker SAFEty Award: Jennifer Sheridan Westdal


​​​Jennifer Sheridan Westdal, volunteer coordinator at the Women's Health Clinic, goes above and beyond to make her workplace a safer place.

Jennifer's nomination shows her tenacity and commitment to formalize and document the safety policies and procedures and ensure they are communicated to all staff at the multi-site community health agency.

Jennifer worked systemically to change the safety culture in the workplace, from being a thing that folks did off of the side of their desks, to a central, core concern of each program. She made sure that safety was on the agenda of Operations meetings and sought feedback on what tools leaders needed to keep their teams engaged and informed about new and existing safety policies. Even during the time  thatJennifer was redeployed (due to Covid-19), she ensured that the safety projects were still moving forward.

Her efforts will ensure that even with staffing changes, the safety program is robust and well-understood by all.

Honourable Mention: Jack ​Wade (Costco Wholesale)​​


​2020 winners

SAFEty Culture Award: St. Amant


St. Amant's winning nomination showed their strong commitment to building on and improving their workplace safety culture, which has revitalized staff engagement with safety and health. St. Amant is in the process of reviewing and revamping safety practices within the organization, in partnership with the WCB. This initiative started with buy-in and commitment from the executive team, and has led to more training for staff, and updated processes to ensure safety issues and incidents are effectively reported, tracked and addressed. For example, a review of processes related to injury tracking, corrective action, and early reintegration/return to work practices for injured workers has been underway.

Over the course of the past year, all staff have participated in mandatory safe work education, and the workplace safety and health committee hosts multiple safe work events to support further education and demonstrate a clear commitment to safety to all staff. This training has led to excellent conversations and an increase in interest, engagement and accountability from managers and staff around safety.

St. Amant also reviewed and revamped its safety and health committee. The committee is comprised of people from all areas and levels of the organization to ensure that staff members are able to effect change as needed, and bring concerns and ideas forward in a constructive environment where staff are enabled to take action. For example, a review of quarterly inspection processes led to an improved connection to the operations department to ensure operations-related safety issues are immediately reviewed and addressed. The executive committee member reports regularly to the executive team, and any safety issues requiring funding are escalated appropriately.

The health and safety of staff is at the forefront of all decision-making related to St. Amant's COVID-19 response. The organization has implemented screening for employees in response to provincial guidelines, and has communicated with staff every step of the way.

Honourable mentions: Assiniboine Park Zoo and Bison Transport Inc.

​SAFEty and Health Committee Award: Birchwood Lexus Toyota Health and Safety Committee


Birchwood Lexus Toyota Health and Safety Committee's winning nomination showed that the committee plays an important and effective role in a safe work culture that is proactive and inclusive, with strong safety buy-in and support from management. For example, the committee includes a representative from each department of the dealership, which is one important way they ensure health and safety information reaches all employees. Non-committee members are invited to committee meetings to mentor and coach them for future safety roles.

Some of the initiatives the committee has implemented or supported include:

  • performing inspections and communicating health and safety regulations daily during COVID-19
  • implementing no-contact measures, including storm kiosks where guests can drop off and pick up their vehicles — staff wipe down the kiosks after each interaction and make hand sanitizer available for extra security
  • providing proper protective footwear to each employee entering the shop
  • implementing a clearly marked safety zone so that people can walk through the shop safely
  • holding drills on a regular basis to ensure a quick and effective response in emergency situations (mock medical emergencies and fire drills)
  • exceeding requirements by meeting monthly rather than quarterly
  • performing safety shop walks on a monthly basis, documenting the information to resolve issues and sharing the information with employees
  • selecting a different team member monthly to provide a fresh perspective and perform a safety inspection on his or her department
  • implementing daily pre-hoist shop inspections, where each technician performs the inspection on their working area, documents the findings and shares the information with other team members
  • performing monthly Toolbox Talks with employees
  • reducing accidents by 80 per cent as of April 2020.

​Honourable mentions: Price Industries Workplace Safety and Health Committee, and ProTELEC Safety Committee

Worker SAFEty Award: Donna Arksey


Donna Arksey, our 2020 Worker SAFEty Award winner, made an unforgettable impact on her co-workers in her nine years working as a Safety Officer at the Municipality of Harrison Park​ in Onanole, Manitoba.

Sadly, Donna left her position as a Safety Officer at the municipality in November 2019 because she was diagnosed with brain cancer, and passed away on September 4, 2020. It was very clear from her nomination that Donna's hard work and dedication to safety will continue to benefit staff members at the municipality well into the future. We are happy to honour her contributions to health and safety with this award.

Former co-worker and nominator Rhonda Prettie credits Donna with leading the way towards a healthier and safer work culture. She helped to ensure workers at their waste sites are using proper personal protective equipment, staff in the office are using good ergonomic workstations, and staff who work alone use a check-in system to report back regularly and confirm they are safe, among other safety initiatives. The municipality is also now COR certified.

Donna's important contributions went beyond the physical aspects of safety in that she helped to change attitudes about safety. Her encouragement, kindness, good humour, and concern for her colleagues has made everyone at the workplace more safety-conscious. 

In the nomination submitted in March 2020, Rhonda said that “even during her prognosis and the removal of the brain tumour, Donna still called to see how things were going in the safety aspect of our workplace. Then, when she was having chemotherapy for six weeks, her husband took her for a ride to our waste site to see how things were going out there. Donna has been an inspiration to us all and we will miss her smiling face!"

Honourable mentions: Randy Gagne (DyTerra Corporation) and Dave Sayer (Price Industries)


​2019 winners

SAFEty Culture Award: Bison Transport Inc.


Bison Transport Inc.'s nomination demonstrates a strong workplace safety culture that engages management and employees and sets high safety standards. 

For example, senior management is actively involved in managing the health and safety system. They ensure regular safety audits are performed and implement actions for improvement. A senior representative is always present at health and safety committee meetings, and resources are provided to implement health and safety objectives.

Bison Transport Inc. has strived to create an inclusive work environment where employees feel their contributions are valued and respected. They have an open-door policy, which enables employees to voice their concerns or make suggestions to senior management, and feedback from annual employee safety surveys has been instrumental in building a strong safety culture. Initiatives including “You're Safe with Me!" demonstrate respect for each other's safety. The “Right to Decide Policy" gives employees the authority to temporarily discontinue work when conditions, including but not limited to health, weather and fatigue, become too hazardous to continue work safely.​

Honourable mentions: Pembina Consumers Co-op (2000) Ltd. and Actionmarguerite St. Boniface Inc.​​​

SAFEty and Health Committee Award: Mountain View School Division Central Workplace Safety and Health Committee


The Mountain View School Division's nomination shows how their Central Workplace Safety and Health Committee effectively collaborates to address safety and health issues and reach all staff with safety and health information. The central committee deals with the division's workplace as a whole, which also has 17 site-based committees. This allows the Central Committee to deal with concerns that affect all worksites, while also helping site committees deal with concerns affecting their specific workplaces. The Central Committee consists of nine members all from different job descriptions, including senior management, a trustee of the school division and a custodian. All members have input on procedures that are created and procedures are reviewed every meeting. The committee regularly reviews data about inspections, hazards, injuries, and harassment and violence. Any concerns are discussed and resolutions are either sent to senior management or directly to the worksite. The committee members are easily approachable, and because they are from all areas, everyone has a way to be heard.​

Honourable mentions: GHY International Health and Safety Team and Canada Post Church Mail Depot Local Joint Health and Safety Committee

Worker SAFEty Award: Teddy Olukoya (Amsted Canada Inc.)​


Teddy Olukoya, a pourer at Amsted Canada Inc., goes above and beyond to make his workplace a safer place. Teddy talks to all employees asking what needs to be addressed, and presents the information to management in a respectful manner. Teddy's actions show all employees that Teddy cares about his workplace and the people who are in it. A specific example includes the introduction of respirators in areas of the foundry. If workers were not wearing the proper personal protective equipment he would bring this to the attention of the supervisors. This is not his responsibility but he chooses to do this to protect his co-workers.

Teddy sits on the Joint Safety and Health Committee as the worker co-chair, and is respected and well thought of by workers and managers. He consistently follows up on items with the employer co-chair during a weekly meeting where he comes in for extra overtime. Teddy is not required to do this but he chooses to come in and see that progress is being made to create a safer workplace.​

Honourable mentions: Bryan Horst (Motor Carrier Enforcement Programs) and Blaine Duncan (Manitoba Government Employees Union) 

​2018 winners

SAFEty Culture Award - PepsiCo Winnipeg


PepsiCo Winnipeg’s nomination demonstrated in several ways their strong commitment to maintaining and enhancing a positive safety culture. Leaders are committed to safety and health, safety and health concerns are addressed, and continuous learning is a feature of the company. For example, new staff are trained on the safety aspects of their jobs, and all employees receive refresher training regularly. The plant director walks through the facility every morning, and if safety issues come up, they are discussed openly and an improvement plan is created, with responsibility shared by 2-3 team members. Accountability is held the same for safety issues as it is for those concerning production, and expectations are above and beyond the dozens of PepsiCo Global standards to which each plant must conform, says their nominator Josh Hynes, Health, Safety, and Environment Intern at PepsiCo Winnipeg. Within the organization, PepsiCo Winnipeg is considered an example-setter for other plants. 

Honourable mentions: MG Electrical/Mechanical Services and Black Cat Wear Parts 

​SAFEty and Health Committee Award - MG Electrical/Mechanical Services


Successful workplace safety and health committees make collaboration and relevance a priority. The MG Electrical/Mechanical Services’ safety and health committee gathers input from all departments and positions to bring equal representation, awareness and concerns to the collective table. Collaboration involving the whole team, from managers to apprentices, allows every voice to be heard in a relevant and timely manner. The forward-thinking committee focuses on staying on trend with changes in their industry and being proactive in their role of bringing awareness and solutions to the rest of the company. Safety as an attitude improves everyone’s well-being and is part of MG Electrical/Mechanical’s culture.

Honourable mentions: Premier Tech Horticulture and Bird Construction

Worker SAFEty Award - Garth Drakeley, Gontree Tree Service Ltd.


SAFE Worker Award winners are champions who strive every day to make their workplaces safer for themselves and their co-workers. Garth Drakeley is an arborist who demonstrates a complete understanding of how important safety is to his workplace, says his employer Sheila Gonty. He shows this in his everyday tasks, which include daily saw maintenance to always completing lockouts and tag outs correctly. He will always stop to show another employee the safe and correct way. Because of his direction, the Gontree Tree Service staff and the community they work in are safer. He will bring up issues that need to be worked on to management, and help follow through to make them a reality. Garth sets a great example for other staff and promotes a “safety is everyone’s job” work environment. 

Honourable mentions: Darren Brautigan (PepsiCo Winnipeg) and Xenia Adrian (Loewen Windows)​


​2017 winners

Diagnostic Services Manitoba – SAFEty Culture Award ​

Workplaces with a strong safety culture recognize that safety is a team effort. Diagnostic Services Manitoba's nomination highlighted the many ways in which all their staff are involved in safety. For example, all employees are trained in job hazard analysis and in writing safe work procedures; safety committee members regularly involve other workers in inspecting laboratories, diagnostic imaging areas and other sites; and all staff are trained in the Provincial Healthcare Violence Prevention Program to protect staff, visitors and patients from aggression or violence.

"It truly is everyone’s responsibility that safety duties are shared, to ensure that our staff maintain the paradigm of safety in the workplace," says nominator Todd Stevens, Senior Safety Specialist, Disability Officer at Diagnostic Services Manitoba. 

Honourable mentions: Gardewine Group Limited Partnership and Magellan Aerospace

Stantec Consulting Ltd. – SAFEty and Health Committee Award 

Safety and health committees have the important role of helping employers and employees create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Stantec's committee does an exceptional job identifying and addressing the hazards that staff face, which can range from heat or cold exposure, ergonomics in the office and in the field, noise exposure, confined spaces, fall hazards, and particulate and chemical exposures. Their nominator, Christian Tardi (Regional HSSE Advisor for Stantec), reports that the committee is extremely proficient at identifying leading indicators, so they can learn from potential hazards and implement the necessary controls before it is too late.

Stantec's committee members are "dedicated to raising awareness, communicating, and ensuring the needs of the workers and leaders are met," says Tardi. 

Honourable mentions: Pollard Banknote and Motor Carrier Enforcement/Manitoba Infrastructure

Arleen Pluchinski (Pineland Forest Nursery) – Worker SAFEty Award 

Arleen Pluchinski works as a Resource Tech 2 at Pineland Forest Nursery, and has sat on her workplace's safety and health committee for 13 years. Her nominator, Dennis LeClerc, credits her initiative for helping bring their incident rate down to almost zero.

Ms. Pluchinski's achievements include training all employees to spot and control hazards, assess risks and find safer ways to complete tasks without injury. She felt there was a need for safe work procedures, so for every job at Pineland Forest Nursery she has written and implemented procedures, makes sure they are up-to-date, and ensures that everyone is aware of how to do the job at hand safely. Mr. LeClerc reports that Ms. Pluchinski is very approachable, and if anyone has a concern she is very quick to help and find a solution. She recognized the need for a strong, dedicated voice to advocate for worker safety issues, and stepped up to the task.

"Her message to all staff is that there is nothing too small concerning the health and safety of our employees," says Mr. LeClerc.

Honourable mentions: Jodi Pluchinski (WRHA) and Sheldon Jonasson (Jade Transport)​​

​2016 winners

Chris Yelland – Safety Coordinator, Costco: Worker SAFEty Award​​​


Jackie Dutfield – Manager of Education Services, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority at Victoria General Hospital: Worker SAFEty Award​


The Fairmont Winnipeg – SAFEty and Health Committee Award​


Lafarge Canada Inc. (Winnipeg Operations) – SAFEty Culture Award


​2015 winners

Roger Gerardy, Operator, RockTenn Container Company of Canada: Worker SAFEty Award 

Roger Gerardy received the Worker SAFEty Award for "finding a better way": he suggested an important change that reduced repetitive strain injuries at his workplace. His nominator, Jackie Thrumble-Reimer, reports that "his crew had been experiencing upper body injuries due to the continuous lifting and straightening of large skews during their shifts. Roger's suggestion was to contact their customer and request straight pile-down onto pallets, rather than multiple handling." The customer agreed, and the change has eliminated over-handling and repetitive motion, and improved the efficiency and the overall safety of the crew. 

Jeff Ross, Safety Coordinator, Rocky Mountain Equipment: SAFEty and Health Professional Award 

Jeff Ross received the SAFEty and Health Professional Award for his passion for keeping Rocky Mountain Equipment's customers, his 200 colleagues in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan, and the larger community safe. His nominator, Craig Unger, says that Mr. Ross "does a very good job keeping track of the safety programs of 12 of our branches. Jeff is very approachable if anyone has a concern, and is very quick to help find a solution to a problem if one arises. He is always looking into and researching different ideas to help make not only our workplaces safer, but also improve safety at other job sites and workplaces in our communities. A safety coordinator's job can be a thankless job, but I feel that this is a good start to saying thanks!"

Metal-Tech Industries – Employer SAFEty Award

Metal-Tech Industries (MTI) won the Employer SAFEty Award for their comprehensive safety management system and their strong safety culture. Their nominator, Jean Pierre Lauzon, shared these highlights: "Our safety management system is monitored and audited to ensure its effectiveness, and mandatory safety training for all employees is completed and documented. MTI has an outstanding COR Registered Safety Program along with an exemplary safety record. At the time of this nomination, we had celebrated one year with zero recordable incidents. Our new safety incentive program rewards staff for meeting annual goals, and safety is championed via open communication between senior management, managers, supervisors, safety committee members and employees." 

DeFehr Furniture Ltd. – SAFEty and Health Committee Award 

DeFehr Furniture Ltd. was awarded the SAFEty and Health Committee Award for their dedication and determination to continue making improvements to safety at their workplace. Their nominator, Bradley Boehm, says that they regularly "spot the hazard" with two spot checks a month and worker interviews: "many issues ranging from chemical hazards, slips and trips, and guarding have been solved or are in the process of being solved" because of their vigilance. They "find a safer way" by discussing issues with staff and coming up with plans to solve safety problems. Their goal is safety through collaboration: "the committee members are always approachable." Their message to all staff is "that there is nothing too small concerning the health and safety of our employees." 


​2014 winners

Cindy Strath – Supervisor, Granny's Poultry: Worker SAFEty Award 

Cindy Strath received the Worker SAFEty Award for her innovative approach to improving communication in her workplace. Some of her co-workers have limited knowledge of the English language, which puts them at risk of injury if they have difficulty understanding the safety rules and procedures that are discussed at monthly safety talks or provided in written format. Her nominator, Marlene Martin, reports that Ms. Strath created a different way to communicate: "she has taken pictures of the right procedure, a picture of the wrong procedure and has visually indicated 'why'" they are correct or incorrect. Ms. Strath's idea for visually sharing safety rules "is a major step toward making the workplace safer for all workers." 

Tolko Manitoba Kraft Papers – Employer SAFEty Award

Andre Murphy – Maintenance and Engineering Manager, Tolko Manitoba Kraft Papers: SAFEty and Health Professional Award

Tolko Manitoba Kraft Papers (TMKP) and Andre Murphy, who was TMKP's Maintenance and Engineering Manager, received the Employer SAFEty Award and the SAFEty and Health Professional Award respectively, for their commitment to improving TMKP's safety record and creating a culture of safety. Their nominators, Gary Fenner and Joe Weltner, reported that "the focus on safety improvements was initiated with the 'Good Catch Program,' where all employees site-wide supported daily safety hazard assessments and continued the challenge to identify improved safety processes in their everyday work and environment." With the support of safety consultant RLG International, Andre Murphy "championed the effort of all the employees and began to focus on additional key elements to improve TMKP's safety performance," including supervisor and leader coaching, safety communication at daily crew meetings, safety presentations and performance summaries, and employee appreciation events. They reduced their recordable incident rate by 65 per cent.  

SAFE Workers of Tomorrow – SAFEty Group Award​

SAFE Workers of Tomorrow (SWOT) received the SAFEty Group Award for addressing a critical need in Manitoba: work safety training for students that is free, comprehensive and of a high quality. They were nominated by Jim Hoger, the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) Coordinator at Prairie Spirit School Division, who worked with them for the last nine years to provide a yearly SAFE Practicum training session to all Grade 11 students in the division. The full-day practicum includes presentations by SWOT presenters and local industry partners, and worksite tours. Mr. Hoger says: "I have been truly impressed with the connection made with the practicum presenters and students. The material covered is relevant and thought-provoking… The culture of safety promoted by SAFE Workers of Tomorrow has been a focal point of our CTS program and I cannot thank them enough for their leadership in this area." ​


​2013 winners

​Jaret Olford – Museum Manager, Children’s Museum: Employer SAFEty Award

Jaret Olford received the Employer SAFEty Award in recognition of his passion for ensuring the safety of museum staff and guests. Creating and sustaining practical and efficient practices for snow removal is one example of Mr. Olford’s dedication. He is diligent about clearing entrances and creating safe, clear paths around the entire building and has trained his staff to do the same. He also ensures that there are clean mats inside the building to prevent slip and fall incidents.

Edward Utko – Safety Committee Member and Production Supervisor, Paramount Windows: Worker SAFEty Award

Edward Utko’s hard work and tireless effort to improve the safety culture at Paramount Windows earned him the Worker SAFEty Award. He recognized the need for a strong, dedicated voice to advocate for worker safety issues, and stepped up to the task. He regularly communicates with management on behalf of his fellow workers, and helps to sustain safety advances.  From developing a safety management system to conducting bi-weekly safety talks, updating MSDS and creating incident and near miss reporting forms, Mr. Utko’s actions create positive change and are a source of motivation for others.

CSAM (Construction Safety Association of Manitoba) – SAFEty Group Award

The Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) has long been a leader in incident prevention for the construction industry. Their reputation for quality safety information in Manitoba has earned them the SAFEty Group Award. They provide resources and tools for the construction industry to develop training and safety programming. Their dedication to creating and maintaining Manitoba’s workplace safety culture is evident in their efforts. They identify safety needs and find solutions to fill them, including hosting North America’s largest construction safety conference, presenting safety events, offering CORTM and SECORTM audits and services and being one of the first safety organizations to offer online training.

Brent Helgeson – Town Superintendent, Town of Gillam: SAFEty and Health Professional Award

Brent Helgeson is not only Gillam’s Town Superintendent – he is also the Director of Operations and the Management Co-Chairperson for the Workplace Health and Safety Committee. His experience, knowledge and passion for safety all contributed to winning this award.  During his time at the Town of Gillam, Mr. Helgeson has shown his dedication to safety, including the development of a workplace safety and health plan. He has trained all employees to spot and control the hazard, assess the risk and find a safer way to complete tasks without injury. Since his arrival, employees have completed more safety training hours per year.​​


best live chat