Build Your Future With Us
At Lennox Masonry of Victoria, B.C. we are aware that a paradigm shift in the construction industry is long overdue. Masonry is regarded as the most physically demanding, challenging, and laborious occupation throughout the construction business. International safety ratings also rank it as one of the most injury-prone careers, due to the heights and equipment involved, hazardous working environments, as well as the constant carrying of heavy loads. Yet little improvement has been made in this sector to minimize these results.
As the owner and operator of Lennox Masonry, this is a reality I am all too familiar with. The company that I originally apprenticed under, and became a journeyman stonemason at, had very poor safety regulations, much like many other masonry companies. There were no safety precautions taken into account for particulates and dust control, nor were there any safety education courses or protocols in place. Unfortunately, this was and still is the norm for most companies in this type of trade. Workers are subjected to inhalation of silica dust on a daily basis without being informed of the short and long-term health implications, let alone provided with adequate filtration systems on a regular basis. Silica dust is an incredibly harmful substance when inhaled and requires not only acknowledgement but also a system to mitigate exposure to it. Utilizing water as much as possible to reduce dust, alongside masks designed to prevent intake, is a good start. Equally important safety issues that also require proper training include scaffold setup, securing safety harnesses, operating heavy equipment, and proper lifting techniques. Unfortunately, the reality is most workers are just thrown into positions where they are expected to already have this knowledge, or otherwise be informed and educated by someone else on the job site, who themselves are typically ill-informed and ill-equipped to instill proper safety practices. As both a stonemason and business owner, I have taken it upon myself to not only thoroughly educate and inform my working team about potential hazards and safety procedures, but also provide all necessary gear to create a safe working environment. I am treating employees the way I wish I had been treated as an employee. When I made the decision to start my own business, I began by seeking employment through several other companies in order to expose myself to as many different business models and perspectives as possible. However, I found little to no difference between the various companies' operating procedures and their treatment of employees, even in commercial settings where injuries are much more prevalent. Safety was not prioritized over productivity, which in itself is a contradiction, as studies show that companies who put safety first tend to increase overall productivity.
We are also aware that "industry-standard" wages are in need of reevaluation. Most companies rarely take into account the cost of living in different areas as well as inflation. They also neglect to understand why national studies place construction careers as one of the least desirable jobs in the modern age. Out of 250 options, construction ranks at 248. The reason being, it is an incredibly straining job with archaic wage models still in place. The standard wage for skilled stonemasons and bricklayers has yet to increase much if at all in the past 20 years. At Lennox Masonry we're doing our part by putting our employees first and creating a work environment which entails the following:
- educating our staff on safety and health in the workplace
- increasing livable wages for our employees, especially during times of economic inflation
- implementing bonuses/profit-sharing
- introducing a 4-day work week and flexible hours for our employees
- offering alternative benefits, including dental, yoga/gym membership, and quarterly team dinners to rate and review the work environment
- allowing employees to offer input and make changes to project designs
- challenging employees with unique projects to keep work interesting
- fostering problem solving techniques and abilities
- building a company in which everyone feels equally important and valuable
If you're interested in designing and creating unique projects with our small team at Lennox Masonry, please contact us with all of your pertinent details. We look forward to building with you!
- Sean Lennox, Owner & Operator of Lennox Masonry Ltd, Victoria, B.C., Canada