Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy 5th Anniversary Workplace Engineering Solutions

This month we are celebrating something that we are very proud of . . . five years ago we started Workplace Engineering Solutions! We cannot believe how quickly the last five years have flown by. It is one of those weird feelings where it seems like just yesterday we were sitting in Starbucks trying to come up with our company name yet at the same time it is hard to remember what life was like without our “baby” (i.e. our company). We have seen and experienced so much since that first assessment, continue reading below for Mike and Kristin’s perspectives on the last five years.


Kristin’s Reflection:

When I think back to our first year in business, I can’t help but chuckle at how “new” we were in the safety community. I still remember going to those first few networking events; we did not know a soul and everyone else seemed to know each other so well. But we quickly learned that is what is so amazing about the safety industry, we are a tight-knit group, always willing to lend an ear and a helping hand. I think that is one of the things I am most thankful for, the incredible way that you have all welcomed and befriended us and the amazing relationships that we have developed with our clients and partners. 

When I think about how the industry has changed in the last five years, I realize that it matches the evolution of our service offerings. When we “opened our doors” for business we only had one service, the Machine Safeguarding Report. Back then we were mostly working on reactive projects, either someone had gotten hurt or Workplace Health and Safety had issued a stop work order. Then companies were not interested in doing the minimum anymore, they wanted assistance in designing a safeguarding system that would meet CSA requirements so we started offering Corrective Action Specifications. And now companies are becoming very proactive. They want safeguarding reviews prior to purchasing equipment, so we offer Pre-Assessments to ensure that equipment is delivered with all the required safeguarding systems already installed. Companies are also wanting to become better aware of the hazards on their shop floor and they want to make a plan to reduce risk. So we developed our Machine Hazard Audit, which has become our most popular service yet. I am so proud of the prairie provinces. We are constantly striving to become better and in doing so we are closing the gap between our safety policies and those of Ontario, BC and Europe.

I would like to finish by sending out a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our clients, partners, friends and family. Without you we would not have made it this far. I am humbled that you have put your trust in us to help you to improve the safety of your workplace and keep you and your co-workers safe. I am honoured that when you have a question or are unsure of something, you feel comfortable calling us for advice and I love that you know without a doubt that we are more than willing to help you in any way that we can. I can truly say that our clients are our friends, how incredible is that? So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the last five years and I cannot wait to see what the next five years bring!


Mike's Reflection:
If it was possible to go back in time, I'd like to go back 5 years and tell myself that starting a business will be a very rewarding experience and you won't regret it.  Not that we needed that extra confidence back then, but it always helps.  On another note I would also tell myself to invent the Pokemon Go app, but then think about all those unsafe machines that would still be around.
One of the biggest changes I've seen in 5 years is how much our work has moved from reactive to proactive or preventative.  A lot of the first projects were the result of improvement orders and the need to bring a machine into compliance.  Now we are finding more and more that customers are looking for reviews that identify hazards and plans to deal with them BEFORE they impact a worker.  That is something we take a great deal of pride for our part in helping customers get to that point.  It's also very encouraging when customers ask us about third party controls or ergonomic concerns because that means we have worked some of the more dangerous point of operation controls into compliance.
For us to be successful it was important to follow a process, and I always enjoy that time spent, working with the people affected by the hazards and looking for solutions.  You may have heard us mention it several times, but its an important statement, every safeguarding project begins with a risk assessment.  Working with people, identifying and solving problems is the excitement that makes all this worthwhile.  We are always looking for new ways to help our customers.
A big thank you to all our customers, partners and friends.  Spending time with all of you has made these 5 years very enjoyable.  Thank you to Kristin for working with me to build this from a product to a business.  And thank you to my wife Tanya, and my children Samantha and Connor for all your support over the years.  There isn't a day that goes by that we don't keep thinking of better ways to keeping people safe at work.

Logo Ideas from 2011:


Posted by Kristin Petaski at 12:16 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Back at the Desk - A New Mom's Perspective on Safety



Hello everyone, just a quick note to let you all know that I am back at work after spending three amazing months with my beautiful baby girl. As a full-time nursing mom I will only be working part-time from my basement office so that I can continue to feed my little one, but please feel free to call or email me with any machine safety questions you may have (I am excited to get my brain working again)! I would like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to Mike who has been doing a stellar job servicing our clients and covering for me while I was on leave. Mike will continue to provide exceptional on-site service and I will be able to join him again soon in a few months.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of the crazy safety-related thoughts that have gone through my head in the first few months on being a new mom. I’m not sure how many of these are typical for first time moms and how many are amped up to a new level of crazy since I’m a safety engineer.

It all started well before little Miss Adelyn entered our lives when we decided to try go through labour without the use of drugs. We wanted to ensure we exposed her to as little risk as possible and therefore had a birth plan that started out with drug-free pain therapies such as massage and essential oils. Well that worked for awhile but after hours of a stalled labour we quickly gave in and worked through some other “riskier” interventions. And that was the start of our “ideal scenarios” not turning out so “ideal”, which I think sums up parenthood, right? Since she was born I’m constantly doing quick little risk assessments in my head: don’t hang items on the wall above her crib in case they fall down, don’t leave stuffed animals on the dresser beside her crib in case she knocks them in, don’t use crib bumpers in case she suffocates, but if you don’t use crib bumpers she could break her leg between the crib rails, don’t leave her in the car seat on the counter because the dogs might jump up and knock her off, when I hang the jolly jumper in the doorway could she pinch her fingers in the hinge of the door. Some seriously ridiculous scenarios run through your mind, and in the end some of them you stick to and some you learn to let go. It is eerily similar to doing a risk assessment at work, if you truly thought of every single thing that could possibly go wrong you would never finish an assessment and never move on to the next project. In order to keep your sanity, you need to consider the scenarios that are more likely and try to let go of the “crazy mom thoughts”, such as I’m sure it is okay for me to leave the wipe warmer plugged in at night, it is very unlikely that it will magically catch fire for no reason.

So, as you can see, while I have been off work for the last few months, I have not stopped thinking about safety! I hope you enjoyed this rant from a new mom. Maybe it allowed you the chance to think back to your crazy thoughts when you were a new parent or at least hopefully you had a good laugh at my expense. Have a safe day!


Posted by Kristin Petaski at 3:50 PM 0 Comments
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