Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

CertainTeed Insulation’s Ottawa plant reaches million hour safety milestone

Canadian Contractor

For a plant running 24 hours a day with 12-hour shifts, maintaining a clean time-loss accident record is quite an accomplishment. That’s what CertainTeed Insulation’s Ottawa plant has achieved over the past four years. In recognition, CertainTeed’s parent company welcomed the employees to the Saint Gobain Millionaires Club, a global corporate program recognizing outstanding safety performance. The Ottawa plant is only the 12th of 66 Saint-Gobain insulation facilities worldwide to be awarded this honour.

John Polnick, EHS Manager at the Ottawa plant, spoke to the great milestone the plant has achieved. “Our employees are really proud to have worked over four years without a loss-time accident. I’ve been on both sides of the business. I was a production worker for 12 years before moving into management four years ago, so I know the importance of being recognized for a job well done.”

Because it is a 24 hour operation, two celebration dinner and dance events were held so every employee could be acknowledged. The Millionaires Club designation also means the Ottawa plant will now be able to use the Millionaires Club logo in their communications, and erect signage featuring the logo inside and outside the facility to promote its accomplishment.

Safety in the plant and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand
The concept of safety extends beyond the CertainTeed Insulation’s operation itself to products the plant manufactures. CertainTeed fibre glass insulation products made in Canada are manufactured in a way that minimizes the environmental impact on the planet. The company’s Sustainable Insulation® batt product line, for example, is made from fibreglass containing a high percentage of recycled glass. According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), the use of recycled glass reduces energy used in product processes by as much as 25 per cent. In fact, across North America the use of recycled glass in batt insulation production increased by more than 26 per cent from 2010 to 2014, and is increasing annually as industry and consumer awareness grows.


Formaldehyde-free insulation is important  for IAQ
CertainTeed Unfaced Sustainable Insulation® batt products also use a new plant-based binder that has no formaldehyde added. This is an important factor when considering indoor air quality (IAQ) in today’s tight homes. Tom Woolley, a British professor of Architecture and well-known proponent of sustainable building methods, cautions about insulation products containing formaldehyde, a well-documented carcinogen. “When choosing fibreglass insulation, it is best to go with a formaldehyde-free brand,” Woolley writes in his book Building Materials, Health and Indoor Air Quality: No Breathing Space?  “The extreme concern of indoor pollution is that on average, people spend 90 per cent of their time indoors.”

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