On September 18, 1992 at the height of a labour dispute during tenure of Royal Oak Mines ownership, an explosion, 750 feet underground, killed nine employees.
Although the incident was later determined to be an act of foul play by a disgruntled employee, Dave Turner never forgot that incident and the lives that were lost, unnecessarily.
As a result he had a new outlook on mine workers and was committed to making this particular mine the safest it could possibly be.
Having worked in mining back in his homeland of England, Dave came to Canada with hopes of making a difference.
“Keeping people safe was extremely important,” says Dave. “So although there was resistance I kept pushing because the alternative was more pain and loss for individuals, families and the community and that was not an option.”
It was clear that something at Royal Oak Mines had to be done due to the large number of incidents that were occurring on a daily basis. Dave set out to change this, and started with implementing proper safety training.
“I designed a program that made operations run more smoothly but above all I trained and educated people,” says Dave. “Having a solid safety culture significantly changes things. The mine went from having a couple dozen accident reports per week to about one or two per month.”
This achievement was one of many from his career in safety, a career that has spanned decades, held numerous positions, travelled across countries and touched countless lives. A career that began in a British Columbia mine in 1982 when Dave was dismayed by the large amount of workers being hurt in the mining industry.
With a clear commitment to integrity, honesty and respect Dave’s humble demeanour is a great asset to the Board.
His advice to those new in the field is simple: “If you don’t know ask; don’t pretend. Respect the opinions of others and most importantly always get all the information you can before making a decision.”
With over 20 years of experience in OHS, Dave is the twenty-first Chair since the certification body’s incorporation in 1976.
Currently he’s the President and Lead Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Specialist for Turner Safety Systems, based in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. He graduated from the University of Nottingham with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Mining Engineering and holds an MBA from City University of Seattle and has been CRSP® since 2001.
Most importantly Dave is more committed than ever before to the future of OHS; and has a big vision for the future of the BCRSP.
“I want the CRSP to become a licensed profession,” explains Dave.
And just like he did at the Royal Oak Mines so many years ago, Dave will keep on pushing to see his vision become a reality.
“I’m prepared to go the distance,” says Dave. “Even if my vision doesn’t become reality while I’m Chair, I will continue to advocate for this because it’s not only important but it’s necessary.”
Apart from bringing safety to new heights, Dave will lead the Board is the best way he knows how, with passion and persistence.