A special congratulations to Robert Foster for winning the coveted C2SA award for Craftsperson of the Year 2023 for Eastern Canada.
Robert Foster’s career spans over forty years with 30+ years of work under the General Presidents’ Maintenance Agreement. He is an 18-year NAUSC-certified UA job steward and his contributions to work and process safety have created a safer working environment.
Bob oversees and coordinates the work of a team of pipefitters including: supervising and managing pipefitting crews, coordinating with other trades, and monitoring safety and quality. Overall, Bob plays a critical role in ensuring that pipefitting work is performed safely, efficiently, and to the required quality standards.
“Safety above all else is much more than a slogan for Bob. He truly lives that every single day. He uses industry experience and excellent leadership skills to provide an important barrier to the safety of himself but those around him. Never is Bob afraid to question or challenge a situation in which he feels may hinder the safety or success of each job. He continues to look ahead at the schedule to understand what is coming to him…to provide myself with the additional support required to make sure jobs are a success.”Dan Tice, Plant 1 Area Coordinator
Suncor, Sarnia Refinery
Bob displays leadership and safety conscientiousness on a daily basis through his knowledge of safety regulations, attention to detail, clarity and concision, confidence, empathy, open-mindedness, and flexibility. He excels in identifying potential hazards, implementing safety measures to mitigate risks, and providing training and guidance to the team on how to avoid accidents.
He has a thorough understanding of safety regulations and guidelines. This includes knowledge of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) specific site standards, safety protocols, procedures, and safety equipment.
Bob conducts Toolbox Talks and Last Minute Risk Assessments to reinforce the importance of safety as his team’s top priority. He ends his routine by incorporating one of his favorite safety slogans: “Safety above all else,” “Work Safe,” “Others Depend on it,” etc. These slogans serve as valuable reminders to his team that each individual faces different challenges outside of work and that the core value of “taking care of each other” ensures everyone’s safety.
Bob has contributed to many safety initiatives throughout his career including:
His work on the steering committee for the development of the Sarnia Suncor “Lock out Tag out” Standard.
- Bob was the driving force behind several successful submissions for Fluor Driver’s “Think Different Build Better Program” eg “Equipment Cradle” and “Work Bench”
- The Act of Vigilance Program participation has increased by 80% with the expectation of one per day per worker, ensuring his team’s safety concerns have been addressed and mitigations in place.
- He was a “team member” first runner-up for the Suncor Operational Excellence Award for development of the Sarnia site “Break Here” program.
- The implementation of several safety measures, such as the Catalyst Cracker bleed ring at vapor outlet, Crude Unit 04-H110 blank location mods, 11E109 inlet piping redesign Verifiable Isolation for HCC Vapor In & Out among many others.
He has dedicated his career to promoting safety and has shown an unwavering commitment to ensuring that every employee goes home safe at the end of the day. His passion for this mission has inspired countless others to prioritize safety in their own work.
Bob’s inspiration for his career came from his father, who was also a UA pipefitter. He learned from his dad’s success and has worked hard to follow in his footsteps. Bob has been happily married to his wife, Les Foster, for 32 years, and they have two sons who both served in the Canadian Armed Forces.