ACTi on COVID-19: Trust your staff and trust your team
By Jay Koblun
By Jay Koblun
There are few people with more years dedicated to standards in Canada’s overhead crane industry than Judy Mellott-Green. The president and CEO of the All Canadian Training Institute (ACTi) has been active in the industry for nearly three decades, and is just as passionate as ever about promoting safety and improving standards across Canada, despite the current coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus or, COVID-19, has had an effect on hundreds of businesses across the country and the Alberta-based ACTi has felt its effects too. Judy shared some of the changes she’s made at her offices and her thoughts on the future of the safety and training industry post-COVID-19.
CHC: What’s the biggest change in how ACTi is operating now from before the pandemic?
Judy: Everybody is working from home, we’re out of the office. That’s the biggest change. We haven’t had to implement new cleaning measures or sanitation methods at the office because everybody is working from home now. We stay in contact with our computers. Everything that needs to be done is being done at home.
CHC: What are some ways the virus is affecting ACTi?
Judy: The boss is grounded. I’m not allowed anywhere near the place.
I’m no spring chicken anymore. I trust my staff to do a good job and they know what they’re doing. All of our onsite training has stopped, because all of the training we do is done by an instructor at a site. People need to stay away from each other, and we work in a shop, with a crane, and a classroom, in a confined space—we had to stop.
CHC: What are some ways the virus is affecting your clients?
Judy: Several of our clients have all their sites because of what’s going on. Others too, are taking the pandemic seriously and not keeping their sites open. Which means there is less opportunity for us to train but that’s expected considering everything going on.
CHC: When did you realize the pandemic was as serious as it is?
Judy: I’ve seen similar illnesses affect the world in this way before, like H1N1. I wasn’t personally affected, but I’ve seen the world pull through. So, at first, I thought about the coronavirus in a similar way. That everything would be fine. But once it was announced a pandemic I started to think about it differently and through the advice of my staff I decided it was time to take it seriously and make the calls to keep people home and stay home myself.
CHC: How do you feel about the responses you’ve seen made by the industry in general?
Judy: We’re finding people begin to worry when they hear that training shuts down on a job site. People are really worrying about the number of layoffs too. What’s affecting us long-term is the cancellations of work coming at a later date. Right now, we’re coming into summer, which is fortunate for us, training slows down in the summer because a lot of people are away on summer vacation. Our busy season is September through April or May.
CHC: What do you think the industry will look like in the aftermath of the pandemic?
Judy: The economy in Canada is strong and there is a lot of positive things going on in Canada, a lot of our business comes from the U.S. and often Canada is more stringent with standards in our industry, so we will have to wait and see how it plays out.
“I think it’s going to make a lot of people do some serious thinking about the safety procedures on the job site, other than just learning how to operate a tool or a machine safely. This is something we’ve never had to consider before,” Judy Mellott-Green.
No one knows for sure what happens when we face something like this. What the Canadian Government is doing for Canada is the right thing right now. It could be a long recovery for some companies in the country but like everything else, we will survive.
Follow this link for a list of events cancelled or postponed due to the virus.
The Canadian Construction Association has also compiled a number of resources on the topic. You can access that here.