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Green Lights Environmental is a driving force behind health and safety

Green Lights Environmental (GLE) does the things no one else wants to do. “The difficult to dispose of waste chemicals is what we specialize in,” explained Mike Moellenkamp, president and owner of GLE. “We thrive on your challenges.”

Nine years ago, Moellenkamp started the Sudbury-based waste management, safety training, and compliance company to fill the health and safety gaps he saw in Northern Ontario. At the time, Moellenkamp was living a few hours south in Barrie working for a family-run environmental company. He had worked in various fields, but the one thing all the jobs had in common was the opportunity for him to take a leadership role in health and safety. “I was always the one who would step up to create training programs,” said Moellenkamp. Eventually, he started thinking about doing health and safety full time, and about moving back to his hometown.

“Through some of my contacts in the mining industry and other industries here in Northern Ontario, I heard there were waste streams no one would touch, that no one knew how to handle,” said Moellenkamp. He figured that was as good a place as any to start. GLE started with waste management; not just removing the standard refuse like oil and paint, but the riskier waste like cyanides, toxics, and other volatile chemicals.

The company quickly grew in size and scope, and now includes comprehensive, customized health and safety training and compliance services for a broad range of industries and clients from mining companies to government departments like National Defence and Environment Canada. They offer both instructor-led and e-learning online training on subjects that range from standard WHMIS to ladder safety to chemical spill clean-up.

“Hands-on, in-person is the best way to learn,” said Moellenkamp. “But if you are limited by time, then we’ve got your solution.”

GLE’s training and activities are compliant with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), the Ministry of Labour, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, Ontario Dental Association guidelines, Health Canada regulations, and Regulation 347 of the Environmental Protection Act.

The company’s broad range of offerings means they can take you through the entire process start to finish, from waste removal to health and safety auditing to compliance. Moellenkamp recently added another project to his portfolio with MySDS.ca. The online material safety data sheet (MSDS) management system is a separate company from GLE but operates with the same goal: to fill a health and safety gap.

“There are other online material safety data sheet (MSDS) systems, mostly American, and it was costing me thousands of dollars to utilize their online libraries,” said Moellenkamp. “I was paying money to look through someone’s library of safety data sheets, and thought, why am I paying all of this money and I have to do all the work to maintain compliance.”

He came up with an idea. He would create an online MSDS library system - MySDS would do all of the work for the client, allowing employees to be more productive. It took a couple of years but now clients can get safety information through the system anywhere that has internet access or cellular service.

With the growth of GLE and the addition of MySDS.ca, Moellenkamp’s operations have grown more than a little over the past nine years. “It was just me when we started off, with a very small desk in our bedroom – that was the office – with binders and boxes of paperwork scattered everywhere.”

There are now six employees, he’s moved offices twice, and is currently looking to hire another round of employees and move a third time to accommodate them. Moellenkamp comes by his passion for health and safety honestly. His father Fred was a safety representative at INCO’s Sudbury mines when Moellenkamp was growing up. “He did it back when that wasn’t the very popular thing to be. 'Health and Safety', was just in its infancy. They were wearing their hard hats, but they didn’t have all the information to back up what they needed to do.” Now Moellenkamp is part of the driving force, pushing for safer workplaces in Ontario.

“It was one of the reasons I started Green Lights Environmental,” he said. “My dad did health and safety successfully to the best of his abilities. I needed to take it to that next step.”