– Samantha Paul
Women in Logging: Lisa Schneider
Lisa Schneider started her career in health and safety eight years ago with Avenge Energy Services, an oil and gas company. In 2015 she opened her own business and started sub-contracting to Strategic HSE Systems Inc.
Strategic HSE Systems Inc. supplies environmental health and safety services to over twenty different companies in the Peace River, Alberta area. “We manage the health and safety programs for companies so they don’t have to employ a full-time person to do so,” explains Lisa.
THEY KNOW I’M THERE TO DO A JOB
AND KEEP THEM SAFE.
– Lisa Schneider, field safety operations supervisor
Day in the life
As a field safety operations supervisor, Lisa’s main objective is to ensure OHS (occupational health and safety) legislated responsibilities are met and to ensure company and client-specific policies and procedures are followed. Every day brings something new and different for Lisa – one day she could be marking a logging road or conducting an equipment inspection and the next day, facilitating a safety meeting at the pulp mill.
RIGHT: Lisa reviewing an equipment inspection with 870C operator, Jeff Laramore.
Peace River Logging is Strategic HSE Systems’ biggest client and Lisa is the company’s primary consultant. Peace River Logging operates ten skidders, six feller bunchers, six crawlers, a track hoe and three road graders. The company harvests and chips hardwood for Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd., formerly DMI, and also markets saw logs to Boucher Bros. sawmill in Nampa as well as West Fraser in High Prairie. Last year, Peace River harvested 500 000 cubic metres for the pulp mill alone.
Each month Lisa conducts safety inspections on each piece of equipment. She checks for mandatory items such as the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, spill kit and Mercer Woodlands Field Guide. She also ensures operators are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including high visibility vest or coveralls, an orange hard hat, safety glasses, steel toe boots and hearing protection. “If items are missing it is documented and then replaced in a timely fashion. Once replaced, it is signed off. If workers are breaking company policies, they are coached to correct the behaviour,” tells Lisa.
Lisa Schneider with boss and close friend Sam Elkins, owner of Strategic HSE Systems.
On an annual basis, Peace River Logging maintains 160 km (100 mi) of road. Lisa installs the markers and signage on the haul roads and in the cut-blocks. “I put up kilometre markers for the trucks to follow. I mark corners and create signs for the radio frequency.” Peace River Logging contracts its trucking operation to Excel Transportation so Lisa handles all the truck audits. “I do NSC [National Safety Code] truck audits on all of their trucks, making sure they are equipped with all of the required safety equipment.” She also ensures the daily trip inspections have been done and that the proper orientation cards are current and in the possession of the drivers. In addition to equipment inspections, truck audits, road markers and signage, Lisa conducts new employee and contractor orientations and facilitates safety meetings.
IT IS A HABIT AND A COMPANY CULTURE THAT NEEDS TO STICK.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE REMINDED AND KEEP EACH OTHER IN CHECK.
– Lisa Schneider
“When I’m not working with Peace River Logging or Excel Transportation, I’m working for Northpoint Enterprise in Manning or Tri-Logging in Whitecourt,” says Lisa. Whitecourt is Lisa’s furthest customer location, approximately three hours southeast of Peace River. “I will leave the house at 3:30 in the morning and come home around 8:00 at night. It’s a long day but I have to be there to catch the trucks before they head out,” explains Lisa. “I could stay overnight but I choose not to because I have my kids at home.”
Lisa has two children. Her son Justin is fifteen and her daughter Carmen is twelve. Justin loves hunting, golfing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Lisa’s daughter dances on a competitive team in town and takes lessons four times per week, with multiple competitions each spring. Lisa takes time off in the spring to attend all her daughter’s competitions. She really appreciates the flexibility she has in her schedule to accommodate her kids’ activities.
Last year, Peace River Logging harvested 500 000 cubic metres for the pulp mill. The company started hauling tree length
into a satellite yard last season to facilitate year-round operations that would not be impacted by spring break-up.
The right attitude
In the early days, Lisa did find it challenging being the ‘bad cop,’ especially in a male-dominated industry. However, that didn’t stop her. She continued to develop relationships with clients and their crewmembers and over time has earned their respect. “I get along great with pretty much everybody,” she says. “Everyone respects me. They know I’m here to do a job and keep them safe.” Lisa understands people forget things sometimes but overall feels that field safety needs to be taken more seriously. “It is a habit and a company culture that needs to stick. Everyone needs to be reminded and keep each other in check.”
Tigercat equipment caught Lisa’s eye the moment she started working for Peace River Logging, as the company owns six 870C feller bunchers. “I just love Tigercat – the bunchers are my favourite,” says Lisa. “Especially in the winter when the snow dust flies off the trees. It is beautiful. I love capturing that on camera.” Lisa says taking photos for her is calming. “I enter my own little world, my happy place so to speak, when I am watching equipment, anticipating that perfect shot.”
Peace River Logging’s general manager Bernard Fortin knew Lisa enjoyed taking pictures of the equipment. He asked her to make a calendar that they could hand out to customers and employees. “Start taking more pictures and we’ll see what we got at the end of the year,” said Bernard. Lisa happily took on this new passion project, “It encouraged me even more.”