Mediaplanet: What exactly is at stake for workers who do not practice proper workplace safety initiatives?

Mike Holmes: You, your health and your safety—and other peoples’ safety, too! And that’s number one. Really, when it comes down to it, what’s more important? Getting a job done maybe two seconds faster, or taking that extra time to do the job safe, like by putting on safety glasses, a respirator or a harness, or making sure the job area is clean, safe and clear? It can make the difference between getting seriously hurt or worse. I’ve read the stories—it will scare the you-know-what out of you.

MP: What was the worst account of a lack of workplace safety that you can recall?

MH: One story I’ll never forget was of a contractor who left a water bottle with paint thinner in it. Paint thinner is clear. So what happened? The homeowners’ son—a small boy—comes by, picks up the bottle and drinks it. And if you can believe it, the contractor took the homeowners to court because they wouldn’t give him more money! Thankfully the boy was okay and the guy lost in court, but it’s stories like that that really bother me. What the guy should have done was cleaned up the jobsite when he was done for the day.  That’s basic.

"Really, when it comes down to it, what’s more important? Getting a job done maybe two seconds faster, or taking that extra time to do the job safe..."

MP: What are some must haves for safety equipment for you and your team on a worksite?

MH: Hard hats, steel toe work boots, safety glasses, respirators, earplugs and work gloves are the standard. And we have different kinds of respirators depending on the job we’re doing. If we’re just painting or sanding then we use disposable dust masks. But if it’s a heavier job and there’s more debris and dust in the air, we’ll use the half-mask and full-mask respirators that have filters. If there is the potential for dangerous fumes or gasses in the air we’ll use respirators that work with cartridges. My crew has also done proper training on how to use these respirators right, and that’s key.

MP: How do you protect your team and colleagues while working from heights?

MH: Any time we’re working on the roof we always use the fall arrest equipment—that’s harnesses, the ropes, anchors and lanyards. And everyone has gone through the proper training to use this equipment right.  We also follow the right safety protocols, like how to use a ladder properly and how to work on the roof to minimize risk. And we go through the proper training on doing a job safe, what that means and why it’s important.

MP: What kinds of safety training or certifications do you have when it comes to workplace safety?

MH: When it comes to construction there are a ton of courses you can take depending on your work. For example, there’s CPR training, first aid training, a construction supervisory course, we also have our fall arrest and fall protection training. But it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, if there is the potential that you will be exposed to hazardous materials you must have WHMIS—Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. Every single person needs to have that training.

MP: What is next for Mike Holmes?

MH: Big, big news…I’m working with FOX and hosting their new series, “Home Free”. I’m also working on a new series with my son, Mike Jr. So lot’s of things in the works. It’s full steam ahead!