Canadian Occupational Safety

January/February 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 14 of 27

15 2020 JANUARY/FEBRUARY A ndy Kerr was the go-to guy for electrical safety in the utility industry. He was involved in the development of the CSA Z462 standard for electrical safety and the CAN/ULC standard for electrical generation, transmission and distribution. He was the lead and subject matter expert for the Electrical Utility Safety Rules by Ontario's Infrastruc- ture Health and Safety Association (IHSA). He would regularly get calls from utilities all across Ontario — and sometimes out of province — for help with the rules and standards, training and incident or fatality investigations. But eventually, it all became too much. "The electrical community is small… So, you end up knowing just about everybody. The people you've done training for are the ones you are doing investigations of when they get hurt," Kerr explains. "At [one] point, I realized, 'Man, I am broke.' It was one after another after another; I would leave one investigation and walk into the next one." Kerr, who was a health and safety consultant for IHSA, took 10 months off work and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and compassion fatigue. With the help of a psychologist, he determined he could no longer deal with investigations and be the go-to guy for the utilities. He ended up leaving his position at IHSA, which he held for seven years, and has been in his new role of director, health, safety, security and environment at Burlington Hydro in Ontario for a little over a year. HELP YOURSELF Safety professionals may be exposed to traumatic events on the job, but are often unprepared for the ensuing emotional difficulties By Amanda Silliker

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