Whether we are in the construction, landscape, forestry or parks sectors the impact of our actions is realized in many ways. Regardless of what sector you perform your professional craft you will have an influence on the environment, public and personal safety, economy, health and well-being and of course, the maintenance of our grey and living green infrastructure.
So let’s dive into these areas a little deeper. We have an impact on the environment in so many ways. First of all, we must always ensure our equipment is operating at peak performance by using the proper fuel and fuel mixes, as well as the many kinds of lubricants. Poorly maintained equipment pollutes the environment, causes delays through breakdowns and leads to very costly repairs or in many cases replacement.
All users of equipment need to also practice diligent refuelling practices, thus avoiding unnecessary spills. Did you know that according to the Government of Canada statistics on groundwater protection, 1 litre of gasoline can contaminate 1,000,000 litres of groundwater and considering the fact that almost 9 million Canadians depend on groundwater, our efforts to avoid contamination are very important. Another fact regarding the use of poorly maintained equipment is increased fuel use, as well as reduced combustion, which ultimately leads to more environmental pollution. Before you purchase your next equipment make sure you research what anti-pollution efforts have been made to reduce the negative effects on the environment. STIHL and other reputable brands have made major efforts to supply energy efficient tools for your line of work.
In regards to public and personal safety, you have a direct impact on this every day you go to work. Before operating any piece of equipment you must be trained and fully knowledgeable of the equipment you are using or you and the public are at risk. The worst scenario for you is to get injured or to injure someone else due to a lack of training or misuse of equipment. Another negative impact of poor or no training are fines and possible jail time as a result of Bill C 45. So it is essential to fully understand how your equipment works, as well as using the right equipment for the right job. Often we are tempted to use equipment that is too big or too small, or possibly not intended for the job we are doing, and this can lead to serious injury or costly equipment damage.
One of the biggest challenges you as professionals will have is using the many types of equipment in close proximity to clients, the general public including children and animals. People today are often distracted by cell phones, conversation and/or just not aware of your presence, so it is essential that you take all safety precautions.
Regarding public and personal safety, many of you will be working near roadways, trails and boulevards where cars, trucks, bicycles, etc. are travelling at high speed, so extra care is needed in these areas. Bottom line, wear your Personal Protective Equipment, be alert, aware and have proper training.
Your efforts also have an impact on our economy in many ways. Of course the fact that you are employed creates jobs and the work that you perform helps other companies conduct their own activities which keep our economy strong. Plus, your efforts in construction, landscape, etc. help beautify our communities and facilities, thus creating interest from tourists and business improvement areas.
In the area of health and well-being, there are two aspects to the impact you will have. From a physical health point of view, your own efforts keep you physically healthy and active. The work you do to make roads, trails, pathways, patios, parks, etc. accessible to the public so they can get out and participate in life’s many activities have a direct impact in keeping our communities more healthy.
Your efforts also have an impact on people’s mental health. Well maintained amenities make people feel more positive, nicely planted and maintained areas help people realize their biophilic connection with nature which invigorates their mind and helps them cope with everyday stress.
In summary, we know you are either serving the grey infrastructure sector (roads, buildings, bridges, sewers, water mains, etc.), or our living green infrastructure sector (parks, lawns, landscapes, trees, streams, etc.), so it is quite clear that your efforts have a major impact on our lives on a daily basis. Keep up the great work and we are very proud to have STIHL Canada as a partner in education, as they help us deliver our mandate of Protecting Tomorrow Today®.
Ontario Parks Association