Fleming’s Trucking and Logging celebrates double win
Northern Ontario logging company, Fleming’s Trucking and Logging, has won two top provincial awards from health and safety association Workplace Safety North (WSN). The annual WSN award recognizes the top health and safety performers in Ontario’s mining, forestry, paper, printing, and converting sectors, as well as small businesses in northern Ontario, based on safety performance over the past two calendar years.
“I’m a fourth generation logger, and my dad, he’s been logging about 60 years. I’m 40 and I’ve been with him since I was old enough to ride with him in the truck,” says John Fleming, President. “We’re on a small island, St. Joe, [St. Joseph Island near Sault Ste. Marie]. We do logging and sawmilling and we’ve grown to hiring five workers.” The family business also employs his wife, Melissa Fleming, as office manager, and his father-in-law, Bryon Hall, as safety coordinator.
“It’s nice to be rewarded,” Fleming laughs. “We have a good group. Mike Lemay [WSN Health and Safety Specialist] up this way, he’s a big help, too. There’s a lot of stuff to do, but once you get it in place, it’s a big relief, knowing everything is done the way it should be. I sleep better at night.”
Sometimes you have to invest in different things
As a small business owner, Fleming admits it’s hard to find the time to do everything. He considers health and safety a business investment. “If you’re going to be in business, sometimes you have to invest in different things. I invest in lots of machinery and the last thing I want to do is have somebody come in and shut me down. I decided to hire somebody on a part-time basis to handle safety because I wanted to make sure, when the Ministry of Labour comes to visit, that our health and safety program, including paperwork and training, is up to date.”
Fleming hired his father-in-law as health and safety coordinator. “I chalk it up as an expense, but when people show up and they want to investigate, want to visit, well my door is open. I don’t have to worry about anything. If they have any questions, we answer them, and it’s a good visit versus everybody being on edge because this may be not right or that may be not right. So that’s the way I see it. It’s an investment that’s well worth it because we don’t get shut down, everything’s good and safe. We’re a safe company. And these two awards prove that.”
A good crew
Fleming’s Trucking and Logging operation consists of 95 per cent hardwood, including mature hard maple and birch. A variety of sophisticated harvesting equipment means they can cut and process wood onsite, and logs are stacked at the side of the road for pickup by haul trucks. “It’s nice and neat,” says Fleming. “It’s good for the bush. We used to have skidders and stuff and in a hardwood bush you kind of smash up a lot of second growth, small trees, and you’re barking up stuff. Now with cut-to-length everything gets cut short: eight foot, ten foot, twelve foot. We load them onto the machine and bring them out onto the road, so there’s less damage to the remaining trees.”
“I have a good crew who understood what I was saying about safety. They’ve all grasped that pretty good and they’re right into it. We have our safety meetings Wednesdays and it’s great to have the participation. We’re all really proud of this award.”
About WSN Awards
The WSN Workplace Excellence Awards program provides recognition to firms actively engaged in improving health and safety performance. Companies complete an assessment of current health and safety programs, and develop an action plan to improve safety performance. Companies scoring 80 per cent or more on the self-assessment submit the completed assessment in order to receive a display plaque. Self-assessments are reviewed and scores may be validated by an on-site visit from WSN. All submissions are automatically considered for the President’s Award. Scoring is based on the results of the self-assessment in combination with statistical performance over the past two calendar years. Top scoring firms in forestry, mining, paper, printing, and converting, and small business are presented with the President’s Award at the WSN annual general meeting each September.