James Carroll, owner of Métis Safety Services Inc., has dedicated the latter part of his career to industrial safety

March 2024

An alum of the Agricultural Machinery Technician program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, James Carroll graduated in 1992 and has worked through several heavy industries in the province, eventually focusing on safety training. With a career spanning over three decades, Carroll has transitioned from working on agriculture equipment to being a safety coach for Nutrien, helping safely mine potash for Saskatchewan’s farmers.

Carroll’s passion for safety training led him to his current role as a surface contractor safety coach at Nutrien’s Lanigan Potash Mine, east of Saskatoon. Carroll says, “This is my ninth year contracted to Nutrien Lanigan. I ensure their safety programs are up to par and they have safe work plans.”

Before his career in safety, Carroll spent a lot of time on the family farm. “Which led me to consider enroling in the pre-employment Agricultural Machinery Technician program,” Carroll shares. “I looked into heavy-duty mechanics as well. Both are very similar.” Carroll gravitated toward the variety of training offered in the Agricultural Machinery Technician program, “We worked on different pieces of equipment. The program covered electrical, hydraulics, diesel systems, fabrication and welding.”

While at the Saskatoon campus, Carroll met his wife, Sheila. Carroll says, “We hit it off right from the beginning. She was a Hotel and Restaurant Administration student. Sheila is still working in the industry as a controller for a company that owns several restaurants.”

After graduation, Carroll worked as an apprentice for New Holland in North Battleford, then landed a job at the John Deere dealership in Davidson. After starting a family and dealing with recurring employment slowdowns during the winter, Carroll looked for work in Saskatoon. A few years later he landed a job at Flexi-Coil, an ag machinery manufacturer. “Because of my technical training they had me setting up cultivators,” says Carroll. “Flexi-Coil was considering purchasing CNC cutting machines and inquired if I would be interested in overseeing that aspect of the operation. I said yes.” Carroll spent ten years programming CNC machines and as a scheduler.

The skills acquired at Flexi-Coil springboarded Carroll into a similar role at Russel Metals. Carroll says, “That job offered time off in lieu of overtime. At the time I had a friend who worked in safety. As a result, I began taking courses offered by the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) during my scheduled days off.” Carroll also took several other courses including the Health Safety Environmental Process Certificate through the University of Fredericton.

The importance of workplace safety became front and center in Carroll’s career. “I am someone who can tell you all about living with a family member that had a workplace injury. My dad had a serious fall. It broke his collarbone and fractured his skull. He survived but has had complications ever since.” Carroll adds, “I always tell this story because I want to prevent workplace accidents and create safer work environments.”

Carroll transitioned from Russel Metals to March Consulting Associates after being offered a job as a safety consultant. He dedicated the following decade to serving as a full-time safety person. In 2016 Carroll became CRSP-certified through the National Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals.

Branching out on his own Carroll opened his own consulting business, Métis Safety Services Inc. in 2017. He facilitates the creation of safety programs, reviews safety training and provides auditing and coaching services. Carroll says, “Nutrien does not have a position set up do this type of assessment. I work directly with all of the trades people hired to do any contract work on the surface.”

Carroll’s passion and dedication to quality safety training goes one step further; he supports the Occupational Health and Safety program at Sask Polytech through two scholarships for Indigenous students and female students. “Supporting women is important to me as I have two wonderful daughters, one of whom took the Machinist program at Sask Polytech. As well I’ve enjoyed the success of what I’ve chosen to do and in supporting the OH&S program to develop skilled and knowledgeable safety professionals, which is what it is all about.”  

Carroll's journey from an agricultural equipment technician to a certified safety professional is a testament to the value of technical training and continuous learning. Carrol’s connection to Sask Polytech started with his parents. His dad was on the advisory board that helped establish the Parts Management Technician program at SIAST as it was known then. His mom took the Early Childhood Education program. Carrol’s commitment to supporting Indigenous and female students through scholarships further demonstrates his passion for creating a safer and more inclusive workforce.

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