What is it about a career in construction and trades that makes it so different from a career in marketing, or finance? Is it the hands-on aspect of the job, or is it mostly working outdoors that sets it apart?


Perhaps it is the inherent risk associated with many of the careers in construction and trades, and the specific set of skills required for these roles, that makes employment in this industry so unique. Did you know that 17% of injuries on construction sites are related to falling from excavations?


If you are looking to transition into a career in construction and trades, or already employed in the industry, adding health and safety training to your resume has the potential to save your life and prevent you (and others) from sustaining serious injuries on the job.  The potential risk factor of working at heights, or encountering hazardous materials, means that many career opportunities in the industry require employees to have successfully completed health and safety training.


ORCA Health & Safety is based in Nanaimo, B.C. and has been helping workers perform their roles in the workplace safe for close to 20 years. In addition to the importance of ensuring that workers have proper safety training, ORCA’s training courses are also a great addition to any job seeker’s resume, helping to build the candidate’s confidence. Whether you are seeking employment or already working in the field, safety training courses and/or certifications enhance your skill set and help build the foundation of a well-rounded candidate.


Adding formal training and/or certifications to your resume are records of achievement, demonstrating your dedication and self-initiative to employers. To learn more about the types of training courses that are currently offered by ORCA, and how they can transform your career in trades, Steel

Toe Jobs partnered up with Karren Kossey, President of ORCA Health & Safety.

Karren has extensive experience helping achieve the safety of workers; at the time Karren joined ORCA Health & Safety in 2013, she had 15 years experience with WorkSafeBC. We discussed the courses that ORCA offers, and how those would be a good fit for someone in the construction industry, which Karren says employers would love to see on a candidate’s resume.


Key courses offered by ORCA:


Perhaps one of the most well-known workplace training courses, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information system (WHMIS) was designed for those who handle chemicals and controlled products in their workplace. It is a regulatory requirement that workers are educated and trained in the safe handling of hazardous products and what to do in the case of an emergency. This course is just 2 hours in length and informs participants how to identify and use products safely.

Confined Space Entry

Who would this course be a good fit for? All workers who have roles and responsibilities with regard to confined space must be educated and trained in the hazards and necessary controls to complete their work safely. This course is designed for confined space entrants, standby persons, supervisors, and rescue personnel. This class is 8 hours in length and helps participants understand what constitutes a confined space, the responsibilities of the team, potential hazards, and roles and responsibilities of the team.


Fall Protection

This course is designed for those who are expected to work at heights. Before being exposed to the risk of a fall, workers must be educated and trained in how to protect themselves. While fitting their own harness, establishing an anchor point or inspecting damaged equipment, participants receive practical experience during training. This course is 8 hours in length and covers topics such as fall protection plans and equipment inspection.


Isolation, De-Energization, and Lockout

At 4 hours in length, this course will help those who are required to work with Hazardous Energy. All workers who may be exposed to such energy must receive education and training in identifying it and implementing appropriate controls based on written procedures. This course helps participants understands the regulations pertaining to Lockout, hazardous energy types, and lockout devices.


You can view more of ORCA’s extensive catalog of training courses by clicking here.



ORCA conveniently offers courses that are one day in length, completed in 2 to 8 hours (depending on the course). Classroom sizes are small, and participants of both men and women range from workers with 20 years of experience who have never attained any formal certification to recent high school graduates with minimal industry experience.


What does this mean for you?
By dedicating yourself to just a few hours of learning, you can add life-saving skills and serious industry credibility to your resume. ORCA’s classrooms are an incredible resource for job seekers who want to start out in the industry or those who want to build upon the experiences they have.


Building your Foundation (and Standing out from the Crowd)

When asked if Health & Safety training courses could help job seekers become more marketable in the workforce, Karren explained that job seekers who have completed training courses stand out from other applicants. If you have no prior experience in the industry and are hoping to transition careers, these types of courses can help you get noticed by potential employers in a big way! Picture it this way, an employer can receive as many as 50 applicants for a single job posting, so if job seekers have taken the time and effort to invest in their personal development and training, it shows their interest in the industry.


If you are interested in learning more about ORCA Health & Safety, or have questions about enrolling in one of their courses, feel free to fill out the feedback form on their contact page!



Special thanks to Karren Kossey.