SDS ahead of the curve as construction industry focuses on safety and public health

Special Feature

An increased industry-wide focus on safety and strict adherence to public health regulations allowed most construction sites to stay open during provincial shutdowns due to COVID-19.

Back in March, Safety Design Strategies (SDS) was ahead of the curve and ready to help the industry keep moving forward safely during a crisis that shut down other sectors across Ontario.

With over 30 years’ experience in construction and industrial safety, consulting during COVID-19, especially in the early days, has proven to be a priceless asset for SDS clients.

“Much of our safety consulting is included with the services we provide to our clients,” said Tammi Dean, Director of Operations. “For example, if we are conducting site inspections for a construction management client, they know they can contact us for reliable and trustworthy safety consulting and professional safety representation when needed.”

All SDS services including on-site safety specialists, site inspections, safety training, safety consulting and confined space rescue teams are deemed essential and have been in high demand throughout the pandemic.

“SDS plays an integral supportive role for many construction projects throughout Ontario,” Dean said.

SDS’s highly qualified safety professionals and rescue technicians have experience working with safety cultures from diverse industrial and construction sectors and take a “hands on” approach to implementing safety procedures. When clients hire SDS, they get a whole team effort that collaborate their extensive knowledge and site specific experience.

“Being able to provide on site safety and confined space rescue support quickly and efficiently has helped our clients at a time when so much time and energy is needed to focus on overall project management.  We are experienced with safety regulations for a multitude of trades and are able to understand the building process in both construction and industrial sectors,” said Dean. “We deliver safety support to ICI (Industrial, Commercial and Institutional), automotive, nuclear, mining, pipeline (oil, gas), wind, solar, tunneling, infrastructure, manufacturing, hi-rise and residential projects.”

“Site inspections became and continue to be an important aspect for management teams, providing a clear, third party perspective to site conditions, legislative compliances, including COVID-19 protocols and reporting.”

This has been extremely beneficial and reassuring when management presence cannot always be on site.

Besides being a cost-effective safety presence on site, other benefits of SDS Site Safety Inspections include:

  • Gather and communicate critical site information including images (especially helpful when management cannot physically be on site).
  • Provide a fresh and 3rd party perspective of the jobsite.
  • Professionally written and easy to read electronic reports (generated from SDS Safety Data Management System stating OHSA & Regs).
  • Inspections that audit COR and ISO compliances helping to achieve and maintain certification.
  • Prepare supervisors, foreman and workers for MOL inspections.
  • Communicate any hazards of jobs and tasks being performed.
  • Identify existing and potential hazards.
  • Help to determine underlying causes of hazards.
  • Provide recommendations for corrective actions.
  • Monitor compliance of policies and procedures – including COVID-19 safety plans.
  • Follow up ensuring corrective actions have taken place.
  • Provide a supportive role to project management teams.

Inspections are tailored to each client’s needs including audits for COR, ISO and site specific mandates.

Safety training is an important service SDS offers to its clients and to construction and industrial employees. The company was already moving much of its safety training from in class to online formats when the pandemic hit almost a year ago and the transition happened much faster than originally planned.

SDS has over 100 courses available online that can be completed in the comfort and safety of your own home, at your convenience. Please note that some courses have not been approved for online offerings, such as Working at Heights.

Registrations for online training courses have increased 400% over the past six months. Courses including practical training such as Working at Heights, First Aid, Forklift etc., continue to be held in person according to legislation, and some courses are being offered as “blended” to help eliminate amount of in person contact.

Due to COVID-19 and smaller group settings, mobile training has become very popular the past few months where SDS instructors come to your location to conduct the training.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been following COVID-19 safety protocols for in class training and as always, we offer mobile training for convenience to our clients,” Dean said.

With most construction and industrial work deemed essential during COVID-19 shutdowns, clients have been moving forward with important infrastructure and industrial projects.

Additional equipment, upgrades and continuous maintenance has also increased the need for standby rescue teams required for confined space situations.

The pandemic has proven that hiring SDS has saved valuable time and money for many construction projects. Having the resource of experienced safety specialists, not having to spend months recruiting, training, rehiring, dealing with unemployment claims and extra payroll costs has been a tremendous benefit. Especially when much time is required keeping up with continual legislative changes and additional stresses of project management. The cost of hiring SDS safety specialists is less expensive than hiring directly.

“We provide trained safety specialists and confined space rescue teams when and where you need them,” Dean said.

With the MLTSD’s (Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development) commitment of over 500 active inspectors across Ontario, SDS has seen a tremendous need for site inspections, consulting, confined space rescue teams and overall, more safety presence on sites.

“It is an absolute pleasure to work with companies who recognized the immediate need to implement new policies and procedures and who we worked tirelessly with to add, change and modify safety and COVID-19 procedures,” Dean said.

“Our clients wanted to not only “comply” with legislation but to go above and beyond for their employees. We are extremely fortunate to work with such professionals.”

For more information on SDS safety services, visit or call 905-264-7233.


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