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What do straight teeth, hardhats and knitting needles have in common?

–  Carola Mittag

When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to work in a white uniform profession, doctor, nurse, veterinarian, dentist etc. What I didn’t know was how that ambition would lead me to a second career in health and safety.

As a University of Toronto graduate of Dental Hygiene in the early 1970’s, I had little understanding of the impact that profession could have on my personal health. As students we were taught how to look after our patients, how to disinfect, how to sanitize, how to sterilize. We used horribly toxic, sometimes corrosive solutions to clean instruments, disinfect surfaces and sterilize equipment. Imagine a time where gloves and masks were only used if I, the Hygienist, had a cold. Everything was done for the protection of the patient, not me as a worker.

Truthfully, in my first working days as a Hygienist, I started to wonder about the long-term effects the disinfectant aerosols and cleaning solutions would have on me as I breathed them in and touched them with bare hands. WHMIS, I never heard about it until the late 1980’s and then only because a co-worker’s husband had received training and it came up in casual conversation.

Halfway through my career as an orthodontic specialist, I started suffering from neck and shoulder pain and the beginning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics, another topic never brought up in the profession. But the patients had modern, comfortable chairs to conform to their body shapes and sizes to ensure their experience in the dental office was safe.

Of course I don’t begrudge all that was done for the safety of patients, it was very important and after all, I was a patient at times too.

When I retired from the dental profession after 35 rewarding years, the opportunity to start a health and safety consulting and training business fell into my lap. I wasn’t looking for it but, as I thought about it, it made sense to me to understand and research what was being done for the health and safety of workers in many other fields.

And so Workplace Safety Group was born almost 17 years ago. Health and safety was experiencing big growth, change and recognition as essential to business success and continuity. My personal motto has always been “The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well.” Sir Wm. Osler. Over the years I tailored this motto to help companies prepare for tomorrow successfully and profitably by “doing today’s work safely”. After all, if you don’t have time to work safely and live your life well the first time, when are you going to find the time and opportunity to go back and live it over?

Workplace Safety Group grew to become a highly respected health and safety consulting and training company that served clients primarily in the Niagara Region. So, from straightening teeth, to wearing a hardhat on clients’ worksites, to hopefully taking up knitting needles (something I’ve wanted to learn), I now confidently pass on my company, its legacy and clients to the care, expertise and professionals of Mentor Safety Consultants Inc. (MSCI).

Mentor Safety Consultants’ reputation in the health and safety industry is stellar. They are a team of safety professionals that include accredited trainers, business managers, firefighters, and college professors. Each team member has an area of expertise that benefits clients in unique ways. The best person for the job will always be your resource contact.

You know that in general, health and safety laws apply to all businesses, no matter how small. You know that as an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. You know that you need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of workplace dangers and provide a safe working environment. What you may not be convinced of is that health and safety management can be a straightforward part of managing your workplace.

MSCI offers practical steps that protect your people from harm, ensure compliance with Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development legislation and, at the same time, protect the future success and the growth of your business because, good health and safety practices make sound business sense.

What makes MSCI your best resource for health and safety-related solutions?

  • MSCI is Ontario Chief Prevention Officer-approved to provide Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and Working at Heights (WAH) certification.
  • MSCI is a WSIB Excellence Program-approved provider, a new initiative that helps you receive rebates on premiums and save money by improving your safety culture when you reduce the risk of hazards.
  • MSCI has acquired a leading health and safety resources provider; thereby, being able to offer new and additional resources and training programs without any increase in costs.

I am pleased to continue to lend my experience and support to MSCI as that one great safety partner and mentor, to further ease the burden of managing your health and safety program.

We are well on our way to realizing our mission to become a leader in delivering workplace health and safety compliance solutions, because we never want your best explanation to be “accidents happen”.

Watch for next month’s Blog: We all got something for free the first time, just by showing up at birth. Now we have to qualify.


Carola Mittag

Past President, Workplace Safety Group

Consultant and Editor for Mentor Safety Consultants Inc.