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Danatec launches company in the U.S. providing occupational health and safety training materials

CALGARY — Calgary-based Danatec has launched Danatec Inc., a company specifically aimed at providing occupational health and safety training materials for the United States.

The initial line of products will address chemical safety. The new products include; a handbook, an online training program, a self-teach training program, posters and instructor materials.

Danatec, with 14 employees in Calgary, has been growing steadily for the past several years. Since 2007, its revenue has jumped more than 50 per cent, with a 27 per cent growth rate in 2012.It has been in operation for 28 years and also has an office in Toronto along with distributors across Canada.

Martin took over the family business from her father about five years ago.

“We had more growth in the last three years than we’ve had pretty much at any other time in the company. We’ve been building a lot of new product in new markets,” said Martin.

“There was a big legislative change in the United States and we thought ‘you know what, it’s really good timing’. We’re ready for the U.S. market. A lot of our customers are already down there. So we thought we’d take a stab at building a really good product line that doesn’t exist currently in the U.S. space.”

She said Danatec is taking the strategies that work well in Canada and will be applying them south of the border.

The company’s first sale in the U.S. came last week and it will be in Chicago next week showcasing the new product line. Eventually it hopes to open an office in the U.S.

In the future, a move into international markets is also a possibility but Martin said the company has to walk before it runs into expansion.

“You know the sky’s the limit but we want to be strategic about what we do and really smart about what we do. We’re not really interested in growing really, really fast. We like to grow real steady. So we’re applying that concept to the U.S. market and you knows what the next five years will bring,” she said.

The issue of workplace safety has become an important one in recent years.

Earlier this month, the Herald reported that the number of workplace fatalities across Alberta shot up 18 per cent last year — and is on pace in 2013 to shatter a decades-old record for people dying on the job.

Data from the provincial government shows 145 occupational fatalities occurred in Alberta last year, the highest number reported since the height of the economic boom in 2008.

Throughout 2012, a total of 36 workers died in motor vehicle accidents, 58 from occupational diseases — such as exposure to asbestos or toxic chemicals — and 51 were killed in workplace incidents.

The grim toll has continued throughout 2013, with the province reporting 104 fatalities up until the end of June.

If the pace continues, more than 200 people will die on the job this year — eclipsing the 169 deaths reported in 1980 and in 1982. The worst year on record saw 221 employees killed in 1914, including 189 who perished in the Hillcrest mine disaster, according to data compiled by the Alberta Federation of Labour.

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