Last year the pandemic brought a never-ending stream of obstacles and protocols to our Valemount Safety Team working on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in the Simpcw Territory. These protocols would have to be implemented overnight and adhered to by the workforce to ensure our client is compliant with the site’s standards and workforce safety guidelines. We connected with Jeremy Matthews, Project Safety Manager, to learn more about his work on the project and his background in Health and Safety.
What is your current role with SRLLP?
I’m responsible for overseeing the Health and Safety for clearing and gravel aggregates within Spreads 3 and 4a for Trans Mountain Expansion Project. This includes ensuring safety compliance for our client, statistics reporting, incident follow-ups, and investigations. To do this job effectively, I maintain a good working relationship with the client to support them in a positive way and support the crews in the field with anything they need. I’ve developed a rapport with the people in the field and built relationships with them. This helps create a safe and efficient environment for production.
Where have you worked previously? Have you been in the health and safety field for a while?
I started out as a paramedic in Alberta for 12 years and then transitioned into the HSE field in 2011. I worked initially in the road construction safety field, then transitioned into aviation safety in 2018. When the pandemic began, the aviation industry was hit hard and our workforce dropped to 10% of its original capacity, so I decided it was time to make a change. Transitioning into working in pipeline construction has been hard as you’re working remotely and away from your family for long periods, but overall, the move has been fundamentally positive. The staff has been great to work with which makes for a really enjoyable work environment with a great overall atmosphere.
What challenges have you seen in the field?
I’d say one of the biggest challenges is the lack of cell reception throughout the spreads, as 3 and 4a cover a large, predominantly rural region from Mount Robson to Vavenby. These communication dead spots can be extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when related to health and safety concerns. SRLLP provides us with all the latest technology such as cell boosters, satellite communication, and two-way radios as much as possible to help fill these reception gaps.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I love the social aspect of the project. I get to work with and get to know so many different people, including contractors, employees, and clients. I also have the opportunity to constantly learn new scopes of work, so it’s always something new every day. Having built these relationships, it’s a pleasure to work with everyone to make sure safety is always at the forefront of the tasks they’re completing.