My Story: Dave Trumble
Working for 40-plus years in an industry that prides itself on leading the way in safety and health seems like an opening to a boring story on how I got my start in safety and health. The utility sector in Ontario, Canada has led the way in safety and health for decades, and being part of that has been a privilege and a fertile place to cultivate a lifelong passion for safety and health.
With any “getting started” story, there is a moment that ignites the passion. Three years into my apprenticeship in one of Ontario’s oldest coal-fired generating stations, the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act came into force. The “Act,” as it is called, requires that every workplace establish joint committees with equal representation from workers and the employer. I looked at it and said, “I want to know everything about how this works.”
Spending the next three years finishing my apprenticeship and moving to the nuclear generation sector of the utility, I committed to embrace the still-new law and how it can and will save lives in my industry and across Ontario, in all sectors of the economy. In 1982, I started sitting on my first Joint Health and Safety Committee, and there was no looking back. From 1982 to the present, the passion for the safety and health of workers kept me on committees until 2016, when I semi-retired.
Along with committee work, that passion for safety and health led me not only to years on committees, but becoming a certified committee member, an accident/incident investigator, an instructor for the Workers Health and Safety Centre, a health and safety staff officer for the Power Workers’ Union, the Power Workers’ Union Health and Safety Activist of the Year in 2016, and the Grey Bruce Labor Council Activist of the Year in 2012. And now, in the spirit of “out of the workplace, but not out of the fight,” I continue to instruct a wide variety of safety and health courses, including as an active member of the National Safety Council Labor Division. The work also has led me to work with other networks that support safety and health: my union, my local labor council and worker advocacy groups.
Being awarded the Distinguished Service to Safety Award this past fall is not an award in isolation, but an award that I am so proud to receive and even more proud to share with each and every person along the road who took the time to talk to me about safer workplaces and work with me to make those workplaces safer.
Vice President, Bruce County
Grey-Bruce Labour Council