Trans Mountain’s Green Hand Program, developed in 2021, is a safety initiative for new hires, run by Operations Health and Safety. Aimed at new employees of all ages, the program assists those with limited or no experience and relocated workers who may be exposed to different hazards than their previous workplace. Participants are typically unfamiliar with processes, facilities, job routines and may be reluctant to ask questions.

The Green Hand Program provides support and outlines safety procedures and hazards on the job. Participants are assigned a mentor who provides regular evaluations, feedback and a final review before the mentee can perform any non-routine work or high-risk activity. The mentoring program helps to prevent incidents and injuries through additional supervision and more intentional on-the-job training.

The program is key to Trans Mountain’s strong safety culture, and sets up new hires for a long, safe and successful career. Mentors also develop further coaching and leadership skills in the process.

Read more about Doug, a Green Hand Program mentor, and his thoughts on the initiative below.

Why did you decide to become a Green Hand Program mentor?  

It’s a practical and fulfilling role to become a guide for those new to our team. Helping them understand our work and safety culture, helping them define their scope and introducing them to the teams and systems in place, ensures our company and its assets run as efficiently as possible. Every new team member serves as the foundation of our company and it’s in everyone’s best interest to have them be as strong, integrated and empowered as possible.

What key aspect(s) of our safety culture did you ensure you communicated to your mentee? 

Starting with our values of RISE (Respect, Integrity, Safety and Excellence), I attempt to speak life into the need to do the right thing, slow down the pace and stop work when needed to address issues and concerns. I speak to the responsibility we have to our EHS policy, and as employees, we have a leadership role in adherence to the policies and practices in place. I try to emphasize the accountability we have to the decisions we make, and that we need not make them alone; this is where our co-workers and leadership play key roles. I also emphasize that you don’t need to know everything, but over time you’ll discover where, or from whom, to find the needed answers.

What was your biggest takeaway as a mentor? 

Every mentee is different and will need different things from their mentor. My first mentee, Dylan, started with a knowledge of the terminal and team, along with the corporate and safety cultures that exist here at Trans Mountain in Edmonton. He had an excellent grasp of how we do things and was ready to dive headfirst into the technical side. My current mentee has no previous experience with the company, our culture, the terminal or the field of work, so I’ve taken a more foundational approach while the technical side is developed.

What is the value of having the Green Hand Program at Trans Mountain?

As a new employee, having a consistent go-to person that would answer questions, give some guidance and direction, and help solve various issues that come up can be invaluable in the new employees’ integration as a member of the team. We’ll always report to a supervisor, but good rapport is also important between colleagues; given the effort, dedication and time spent working together, positive relationships with your teammates help to create a culture that propels the team forward.