Doreen Maruska – Marina’s Health & Safety Officer

boatyard safety

Health & Safety is an integral part of daily operations at fuel dock, travel lift dry docks at the Creek Marina and boatyard .

Doreen Maruska jokingly refers to her office space as “safety command central” and proudly points to the numerous photographs of Squamish Nation employees who have been recognized for their workplace safety achievement.  Doreen is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) with extensive experience in the field. As a member of Squamish Nation, Chen Chen Stway Human Resources Department, Doreen leads and manages the Squamish Nation Occupational Health and Safety Program. Doreen explains that the Squamish Nation organization has over 400 employees engaged in a diverse range of occupations including Marine Operations at The Creek Marina and The Lynnwood Marina.

Now in her seventh year working for the Squamish Nation, Doreen is quick to praise her Workplace Safety Committee members; a committee comprised of employee and management representatives.  As safety officer she does not work in a vacuum.  “The best part of my job is checking in with employees in the field. The level of awareness for workplace safety has increased significantly and employees are encouraged to provide workplace safety suggestions. At “The Creek” I work in collaboration with the supervisory team, a committed group of professionals at the Fuel Bar, Travel Lift, and Marina & Boat Yard. We call ourselves The Creek Marina Safety Team.”

She is proud that she and the dedicated members of the Mosquito Creek Marina safety team rightfully claim an outstanding safety record. “Each year our safety record improves and for the past two years there have been ZERO accidents.  This is a quite an accomplishment when you consider the hazardous work environment and the potential risks the employees are routinely exposed to.”

Doreen noted that Mosquito Creek Marina has a reputation for being a great, safe place to work. For many young workers, The Creek is their first job and their safety training is taken very seriously. During regular “tool box” meetings, the crew gathers together to review safe work practices, and discuss any concerns. The question that guides their discussions is “what if?”

“We emphasize that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our motto is Make Safety a Habit EVERYDAY. Be responsible for your safety and the safety of your colleagues.”

The Mosquito Creek Marina safety team works in concert with the City of North Vancouver Fire Department, and they enjoy an excellent relationship, tapping into the city’s expertise. They hold regularly scheduled emergency preparedness drills to be better prepared for any emergency situation.  These drills are frequently unannounced; there has to be an element of surprise just as there would be during a true emergency.

Time is of the essence and, should a fire or other emergency occur, the marina crew are there to assist the city fire fighters get to the scene of the fire. After the emergency preparedness drills, the opportunity always arises to debrief with the fire department.

During the first week of May, the Squamish Nation actively participates in NAOSH week (North American Occupational Safety and Health week). During the week numerous safety themed events are held throughout the organization. The Squamish Nation has won its share of awards, and is recognized regionally and nationally for its outstanding safety record.

Prior to working for the Squamish Nation Doreen worked as a safety officer in the engineering field. She loved the job but the daily commute from North Vancouver to Richmond was starting to wear on her. A long-time resident of North Vancouver, when she got the job working for the Squamish Nation it was a dream come true.

In order to maintain her professional safety designation she takes part in continuing education courses. To be in good standing with the certification body, she must complete continuing education units (CEU) or attend professional development conferences (PDC) within a designated time frame.

The worry that sometimes keeps her awake at night? “Complacency. When you stop ‘thinking safety’ you let your guard down and in a blink of an eye there is the potential for serious injury or death. We need to be mindful of safe work practices every minute of every day. By being proactive and recognizing and controlling potential hazards we will continue to prevent injuries”.

For Doreen, a perfect day is often Saturday morning at The Creek Marina. “I like to go down when it’s nice and quiet to do my routine safety inspection. I walk about the ducks and often I’ll see otters, seals and other wildlife playing in the water. I just love it.”

She admits that despite her love of the water she gets terribly seasick walking on the docks. “I can do my inspections only after taking some Gravol!”