Enter at your own risk

“Failure to imagine the possibility of failure is the most profound mistake engineers can make.”

Those were the wise words PEO Registrar Gerard McDonald, P.Eng., shared with an audience of safety professionals in 2016.

It’s true. Nothing in life is 100 per cent safe or risk-free, and yet engineering—a profession that is synonymous with safety and risk reduction—continues to assume greater responsibility and influence in developing more sophisticated safety networks across all industries, and even more so as technology advances. In fact, one of the fundamental reasons the engineering profession is regulated is to protect public safety. When professional engineers design a bridge, building or any other structure, process or solution that requires the use of engineering principles, the public should be assured it is safe.

In our feature article this issue, “How safe can you really make it?”, we explore the challenges engineers face in improving safety standards, risk assessment systems and workplace health and safety programs—the key, as Registrar McDonald explained, is to overcome complacency and reliance on past success when creating a culture of safety. The article also highlights champions of safety in industries that require special attention to safety issues, including risk management leaders within the mining and chemical industries, and human factors engineers within the seemingly carefree world of amusement park rides.

On a similar note, our profile this issue, “Deconstructing—and recycling—a building, brick by brick,” features a challenging demolition project with a 90 per cent waste diversion target that occurred earlier this year along one of Toronto’s busiest downtown intersections. PEO Communications Manager Duff McCutcheon spoke to George Thomas, P.Eng., of DST Consulting Engineers about how the former Ontario government office complex was safely and methodically disassembled using various innovative techniques to minimize impacts to the busy traffic and pedestrian corridor. Find out how successful they were on page 24.

Finally, I’d like to direct your attention to the 2018 Ontario Professional Engineers Awards call for nominations on page 18. These prestigious awards showcase Ontario professional engineers who have contributed to their profession and community. The award categories include engineering excellence, management, research and development, entrepreneurship, young engineer, citizenship, and engineering project or achievement. If you know someone whom you think is deserving of such a recognition, you can find the nomination forms at www.peo.on.ca.


Below are the themes we’ll be featuring in upcoming issues of Engineering Dimensions. If you can lend your expertise or opinions on these topics, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

January/February: Women in Engineering

March/April: The Engineered Hospital

May/June: The Food Issue

July/August: The Discipline Process

September/October: Education

November/December: Northern Ontario