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Winter has arrived bringing with it the challenges of bad weather. Before winter strikes full force, make sure you and your car are ready. During the busyness of the holiday travel season, take your time to follow these tips to ensure you get to your destination and back home safely.



  • Before driving, make sure snow and ice are cleared off of your car. If snow has fallen when your car was parked, take the time to thoroughly brush it off the vehicle including the roof, windows, side view mirrors, headlights, taillights, and license plates. Driving through a small cleared spot on your windshield reduces visibility and is dangerous.


  • Slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. Follow the posted speed limit but use common sense. If a road sign posts the speed limit of 100 km/h, that doesn’t mean you should drive at that speed if the road is icy or snow covered. Check road conditions often and choose the route you’ll take ahead of time. Stay off of roads during major storms unless travel is absolutely necessary. When driving behind a snow plow, maintain a safe distance behind. Snow plow drivers do not always have the best visibility and can create clouds of snow that reduce your visibility.


  • Allow for longer braking distances. Start braking sooner than what is normal in dry weather. On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop. Use gentle pressure on the brake pedal and avoid locking the wheels when braking. Locked wheels can make a vehicle slide or skid. If you have a vehicle without an antilock braking system, apply gentle pressure repeatedly to avoid locked wheels. If your vehicle starts to skid, steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly. Avoid sudden actions such as quickly turning the steering wheel, acceleration or shifting a manual transmission.


  • If you don’t already have them, get winter tires. They provide better traction and can shorten your braking distance by as much as 25 percent. All season tires are not the same as winter tires as they tend to lose their grip when the temperature drops below 7 C. If have four or all wheel drive, don’t develop a false sense of security. 4WD and AWD systems only provide traction when accelerating. They provide no advantage when braking or cornering. Do not use cruise control on slippery roads.


  • Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank more than half full. The extra volume can help reduce moisture problems in your fuel system and a topped up gas tank is an asset if you become stranded. Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space. Carry supplies such as: a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blanket, road map and compass, extra clothing and footwear, rags or paper towels, sand or road salt, a flashlight with extra batteries, emergency food such as granola bars or nuts, an ice scraper and snowbrush, a cell phone, a candle in a deep tin and waterproof matches, a shovel and booster cables.

Are there any other preventative winter driving tips that we should add to our list? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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Winter conditions in Alberta can start in October and continue through to April. Weather and environmental conditions during this time create hazards. Pre-season planning is an important aspect of handling winter conditions. Planning is the best way to ensure risks such as minimizing cold exposure and protection from blowing wind. A risk of injuries to workers may include: slippery ice or compact snow, poor driving conditions, falling snow and ice from overhead, blowing snow reducing visibility and inadequate lighting. Here are some important factors to consider when getting a site ready for winter.



Roadways, walkways and parking areas should have adequate drainage to avoid water accumulation and be properly marked so they are easily identified during heavy snowfall. Permanent or immovable objects are to be marked with reflective barricades or stakes to allow for visibility. In work areas where snow drifts can occur, a snow fence should be installed. Installing a snow fence prior to freezing is recommended as it becomes more difficult to install once the ground is frozen. Grit or sandboxes can be placed in centralized locations for easy access. Cords and cables need to be away from walkways and raised off the ground or buried if possible. All buildings and trailers used during winter should also be assessed. Proper lighting, snow removal, handrails and other safety features are to be taken into consideration to ensure the workers safety.


Lighting and Heating

With less sunlight in winter it’s important to have lights set up on the jobsite. In permanent work areas such as laydowns and office areas, permanent lighting may be more practical. In temporary work areas, portable lighting may be more suitable. Paying attention to the placement of lighting is critical as is placing barricades around lights. Gas powered lighting, heaters and generators should be placed so exhaust does not enter enclosed spaces and all equipment must be properly grounded. Heating and temporary power should meet with designated standards.



Before the winter season arrives, any unnecessary excavations should be filled. Consider snow that will be removed from the excavation and where spoil piles will be placed. If space is available, the excavation should be bermed to create a physical barrier preventing vehicles and equipment from entering the excavation. If berming is not possible, high visibility markers should be placed at a distance from the excavation.



Identify what equipment will be required for snow removal. Equipment such as graders, front end loaders, bobcats, snow and leaf blowers, shovels, brooms and ice scrapers or chippers may be needed. As snow removal equipment creates slippery surfaces, after the snow has been removed, grit should be placed soon after the snow removal has been completed. Snow disposal areas can be determined according to the site. Temporary snow storage areas can be created where snow can be compiled and transported to a centralized snow dump. To avoid flooding during spring melt, snow disposal areas should not be placed on high ground.


How are you preparing your construction site for the snow and cold weather? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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In the latter part of our decade working in Alberta's construction industry, we've invested more time and effort into our online presence to further our company values of transparency and accountability. Now, we're celebrating a recent accomplishment of hitting over 2,000 followers on Facebook and 7,000 followers on Twitter by taking a look back at some of our greatest posts on social media!



Did we miss any of your favourite posts? Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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November 11th marks the anniversary of the 1918 Armistice agreement that ended the First World War. The perception of war changed for Canadians after the reality of this experience. As the victory of the war ending was celebrated, the awareness of the loss was devastating. 61,000 Canadians lost their lives and the need for commemoration was started as a way to show gratitude towards the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country.


During the Second World War, Canadians fought valiantly on battlefronts around the world. More than one million men and women enlisted in the navy, army, and the air force. When the war was over, over 42,000 Canadians had lost their lives. The hard fought end to this war did not provide the troops with a long peace. Canadian soldiers were mobilized to South Korea to fight an invasion by North Korea. When this war ended in 1953, Canadians stayed as part of the peacekeeping force. More recently, the War in Afghanistan has been another war that Canadians have served in. Over the years, more than 118,000 Canadians have died in foreign conflicts.


From observing all the realities and tragedies of wars, it reminds us of the true nature of conflict and the devastation and destruction that war can bring. The red poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance Day as it is associated with death and renewal; the seeds of the flower may remain dormant in the earth for years, but blossom in abundance when the soil is churned. In 1914, poppies appeared in the fields of Flanders and in Northern France and became an inspiration for the famous poem “In Flander’s Fields” by John McCrae. Wearing a poppy has become synonymous with Remembrance Day all over the world as we honor those soldiers who lost their lives in battle.


Monuments commemorating the lives of Canadians who died in conflicts overseas occupy a prominent place in towns and cities throughout Canada. Canada’s most prominent war monument is the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where the Remembrance Day ceremony is attended by the governor general, the prime minister, senior Legion officials and a parade of veterans. It is also attended by the Silver Cross mother; the Royal Canadian Legion chooses the mother of an Armed Forces member killed in military service to represent the mothers of all Canadian veterans killed in military service. The Unknown Soldier is located at the foot of the National War Memorial and contains the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who was killed in the First World War. The Tomb represents all Canadians killed overseas who lie in unmarked graves.


We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions. We have the freedom to participate in life the way we want to under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went to war believed that our values and beliefs were being threatened. On Remembrance Day, honor the veterans who have dedicated their lives to helping us live a life free from war by making a donation to: - committed to helping homeless and at-risk veterans reintegrate into civilian life. - honors and supports Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, First Responders and their families.

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The benefits of community-business partnerships are numerous. From a business perspective, the relationship provides visibility for companies working within the community. A partnership can open up new business opportunities when the community directly or indirectly supports the business. Working within the community can expose a company to processes and/or skills that if implemented, can improve business operations. For Taurus, the main reason for a community-based partnership is simply to give back to the community. Contributing to the greater good and the betterment of society is a core value that Taurus is committed to.


Taurus believes that being involved in sports assists in creating and developing a healthy lifestyle. By promoting teamwork and healthy lifestyles, young people are provided with the foundation to succeed in life. Some of the agencies Taurus has been involved with are the Fort Saskatchewan Minor Hockey Association, Devon Minor Baseball, and Fort Saskatchewan Lacrosse. In addition, they supported the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in 2014 by being involved with the Olympics Hockey Marathon for Kids. They are involved with the NAIT Athletic Scholarship Program which awards athletic scholarships to students. NAIT parallels Taurus’s values as it recognizes that participation in intercollegiate sport has a positive impact on the overall development of students.


Taurus also supports a variety of other community agencies. They have been directly involved with the Fort Saskatchewan Toy and Food Drive. For many years the Fort Saskatchewan Motorcycle Association holds a Cancer Ride and Motorcycle Weekend to raise funds for the Cross Cancer Institute. The ride encompasses a route of about 200 Kilometers through towns and hamlets around Fort Saskatchewan. Over the past years, the event has grown and has become the second largest contributor from the ranks of the nonprofit organizations raising money for the Cross Cancer Institute.


The ALS Society of Alberta is another association that Taurus supports. ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is a rapid, serious neurodegenerative disease which attacks the nerves in the body. Individuals affected by this disease are left completely immobilized with an inability to talk, swallow and breathe. The society is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information and support for people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). It is one of the largest funders of ALS research across Canada. Once again, this agency complements many of Taurus’s core values. They believe in respect, caring, service and accountability and are dedicated to the betterment of people affected by ALS.


Creating a successful business often includes caring for a wider community. A partnership can help employees feel that the effort they put into work every day contributes to the greater good. Having happier staff can lift morale and increase productivity. Knowing that the firm you are working for compassionately contributes to society in meaningful ways promotes connection and involvement on an individual and corporate level. Taurus sets an exemplary example for staff and all members of the community who are involved with the company.


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The commitment and transition towards green construction or sustainable building is increasing as society is becoming more conscious of the environment. Building green is good for the environment, the community, and the economy. By using less energy, less water and fewer materials and natural resources, green building has a less harmful impact on the environment.


Five focused areas are to be considered with sustainable construction: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental air quality. These categories are interconnected and are to be considered at all stages of construction. The benefits of green construction translate into a growing demand for construction companies and investors over the next several years. It is predicted that Canadian firms expect to grow their green practices from one-third (reported in 2014) to one-half by 2017. Investment in green construction can help to reduce energy use and emissions through increased efficient energy and water use, adoption of renewable energy generating technologies and improved integration of buildings and communities.




The World Business Council for Sustainable Development identifies three pillars of sustainability - the environment, social reasons and economic benefit.


  • A green building has less a less harmful impact on the environment. Using recycled materials and minimizing waste during construction has a beneficial impact environmentally. After the building is completed, the owner benefits by saving as much as 70% on energy and water savings.


  • In a report completed by the Canada Green Council and McGraw Hill Construction, social reasons were identified as being an important factor in building green. 42% of people surveyed said client demand and “doing the right thing:” were the top triggers for future green building projects in Canada. 60% considered the ability of green buildings to promote greater health and well-being among occupants as the most important social reason to build green.


  • Investors are assured that significant dividends on their investment as 68% of owners reported decreased water consumption in their buildings.  82% of owners/developers reported decreases in energy consumption. The median reduction in  operating costs over five years for green building was reduced by 17%; the median payback for the investment in a green building is approximately eight years which was consistent with studies conducted in the U.S and globally.



Taurus is a leader in the area of sustainable construction. Every precaution is taken to ensure there is no negative impact on the environment. They utilize trained and qualified personnel, implement qualified assessment services and ensure environmental standards are met when constructing and managing environmental holding areas. Site reclamation, recycling programs and proper waste handling and storage are other measures that are taken to create eco-friendly construction processes. There is currently little pressure on companies to adopt green approaches, however, many construction companies are beginning to incorporate green practices into the building cycle. Companies are realizing that the long term benefits of becoming green are positive and will become the standard down the road. With this in mind, it is likely that the green building trend will continue to expand in the coming years. Also, as the public develops a clearer understanding of what green means, energy efficient approaches will become standardized.

What do you think of the construction industry's move to more environmentally friendly processes? Let us know in the comments and get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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Taurus was established in 2006 and is comprised of a management team with extensive history in the construction industry. Our mission to be a leader in the field of construction is supported by a belief in safety, accountability, reliability and superior customer service. Our team of experts employed at Taurus are knowledgeable about best practices and are committed to providing customers with the facts they need. Change is constant in the construction industry and Taurus rises to the challenge of exploring new and creative ways to implement ideas and solutions.


Located in Fort Saskatchewan, Taurus provides services all over Western Canada. Our Projects Group is managed by engineers and technologists who employ specialized technologies and systems to achieve a productive outcome. With a stellar reputation in our field, Taurus is always committed to their vision which encompasses safety, quality, respect, innovation and teamwork.




Taurus has a commitment to meeting deadlines and staying within budget. We have an accommodating approach to meeting client’s needs and take pride in the quality and efficiency of our work. Whether the project is restoration, site preparation, a new facility, earthworks, or industrial work, Taurus offers experienced personnel to provide the highest quality of work. With safety being our primary focus, we are dedicated to preserving the quality of the environment for future generations. Taurus has achieved success in a variety of major projects since we were established in 2006.


  • In 2006 Taurus provided site grading for the All Star RV Superstore located in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

  • We provided underground utility (gas and water) for BA Energy located in Fort Saskatchewan in 2007.

  • In 2008 we completed a project in Sherwood Park for Lockerbie and Hole. The project involved a 30-acre module yard expansion.

  • A project at Consumers Cooperatives Refineries in Regina, Saskatchewan was undertaken in 2009 with Taurus providing common services on site.

  • In 2012 we worked with the Northwest Redwater Partnership in Redwater Alberta providing common services and civil works.

  • 2013 involved projects of yard management at Bechtel, ATCO Yards in Ryley, Forestburg and Duchess, Alberta.

  • Also in 2013, Taurus was involved in the construction of ROW Access along the power line

and related field works. The project was for SNC - Lavalin, WATL Access Central and

South from Red Deer to Langdon in Alberta.

  • In 2014, we completed a project for the City of Leduc installing underground utilities.


Commitment to clients and employees ensures that Taurus continues to grow as a leader in the construction industry. We are dedicated to improvement in all areas and consider Safety, Quality, Time and Cost as our main project goals. Senior executives are involved in every project from the beginning to completion which ensures that efficiency and high standards of performance are maintained. A strong commitment to clients’ needs and a capacity and commitment to improvement are inherent within the vision of the company. Our focus on leadership and commitment to quality will continue to be standards Taurus upholds in all future projects. 

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Injuries on construction sites is a concern for workers, but civilians should also be informed about potential hazards they may encounter if they are entering a construction zone. Dangers such as unstable work surfaces around holes or trenches are an example of why it is necessary to be cautious and aware of safety when encountering an area under construction. Be aware while walking around scaffolding, ladders and other building structures and be alert to possible obstacles. Pay attention to guardrails and other structures that define is likely that workers have established the boundaries as a safety precaution.


Equipment that is used on-site should only be operated by qualified personnel. Every year, workers are injured while operating powered industrial trucks and forklifts. Civilians should be aware that operating this equipment requires special training and if they hear the reverse signal alarm they should exit the area where the equipment is in use.


Workers on construction sites follow specific safety standards such as wearing head protection or other protective clothing. There are strict guidelines that must be followed when dealing with hazardous chemicals or materials. Precautions vary depending on the construction site and while workers may be aware of potential dangers, civilians may not be as informed. Using caution while being around any construction project is crucial for employees and civilians alike.


Road construction has been steady in Alberta and many major projects are currently underway or have recently been finished. Unfortunately, road construction means slower drive times as well as the possibility of increased car accidents. In order to minimize the risk of traffic accidents, motorists should consider the following:


  • Motorists must obey the posted speed while driving through construction zones. When workers are present, fines for speeding in these areas are doubled. A worker is deemed to be present when they are on or near the road and are operating heavy equipment. Flag persons and other workers working with tools on the ground are also considered to be present and at risk.


  • Drivers convicted of violating the Traffic Safety Act can have demerit points applied to their driver’s record if they are convicted of the fine. 1-15 km over the speed limit can amount to a fine of between $57 - $89 with two demerit points, 16-30 km over the speed limit can amount to a $103-$177 fine and three demerit points, 31-50 km can cost $187-$351 in fines with four demerit points; anything over 50 km requires a mandatory court appearance with the court setting the fine and a possible six demerit points.


  • Even if it seems like there is no activity in a construction zone, there may be other less obvious hazards such as loose gravel chips and uneven pavement that can be dangerous for vehicles traveling at high speeds.


  • Cooperate with other drivers to keep moving smoothly. When traffic needs to merge due to a lane closure, ease into the driving lane early and leave gaps for other vehicles to merge. Expect that travel will take longer due to construction and plan accordingly. If you know the whereabouts of a construction zone or if it is a route you  travel regularly, consider using an alternate route.


Do you have any safety tips for civilians to add to this story? Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!

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Taurus is connected to several associations and companies that help us maintain high standards of competency and quality. Our partnerships vary as need dictates; to gain a better understanding of the of the commitment Taurus has to superior work and client service, it’s helpful to note who our partners are.


Alberta Construction Association

The ACA lead Alberta’s construction industry in government advocacy, public relations, industry practices and promotion of a skilled workforce. Comprised of more than 3,000 member companies, they are involved in institutional, commercial and industrial sectors. This includes general contractors, trade contractors and manufacturers and suppliers.


Alberta Construction Safety Association

The ACSA builds links and connections within the community as a designated safety leader. They provide quality certification programs in safety training such as the COR/SECOR certification program or the NCSO (National Construction Safety Officer) program.


Edmonton Construction Association

Encouraging ethical business practice the Edmonton Construction Association is an acknowledged voice of the construction industry. They are a leader in technology and communications delivery and promote industry excellence through encouraging education and maintaining high standards for the industry. As a non-profit organization, they draw on the skills, expertise and dedication of volunteer members.


Contractor Qualification Network (CQN)

CQN is an information technology company that specializes in automated supplier management. They have an online database which contains a broad range of capacity, commercial, health and safety and quality management data for suppliers in the construction, oil and gas, power, transportation, mining and forestry industries. By reducing duplication, simplifying data distribution and streamlining the handling of supporting documentation, cost savings are achieved.



ISNetworld streamlines processes involved with maintaining safety, insurance, quality and regulatory information on contractors and suppliers. They help to standardize contractor management across multiple sites and geographic regions and ensure that safety standards continue to improve.




Construction Labour Relations (CLR)

CLR is an employers’ association representing construction companies in collective bargaining with the Building Trades Unions, collective agreement administration, labour law matters and joint initiatives with other industry stakeholders. They deliver programs to foster safe, healthy production workplaces.


Alberta Government

The Alberta Government has established Work Safe Alberta which is a government-led initiative to help prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Occupational Health and Safety identifies hazards and issues to be considered and develops initiatives and resources that are designed for specific industries.



From safety to sustainability, Avetta focuses on environmental protection, occupational health, and safety at work. They focus on creating and growing long-term value by mitigating sustainability risks in the supply chain as well as developing business practices that provide initiatives that benefit society.


Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)

WCB was created by the government to administer the Worker’s Compensation Act. Funded by employers, it provides cost effective disability and liability insurance for work related injury and illness. Workers can be compensated for lost income and can access health care and other services they need due to a work related injury.


Partnership in Injury Reduction (PIR)

A voluntary program which operates through the combined efforts of WCB, the Ministry of Labour, industry partners, safety association employers and labour groups, PIR encourages injury prevention and the development of effective workplace health, safety and return to work plans.


If you'd like to learn more about our partners in the construction industry, contact us here!

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Regulatory requirements play an important role in any construction project. Standards are set to ensure that a project complies with environmental regulations such as managing waste or air emissions. This also helps companies to reduce their company’s carbon footprint on every site.


Taurus understands the need to protect the environment and is committed to operating a sustainable business. By incorporating procedures that value environmental standards, Taurus is dedicated to making sure the environment is not impacted in a negative way.


Site-specific WHMIS/TDG trained personnel

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System is Canada’s national hazard communication standard. Hazard classification, cautionary labeling of containers and provision of safety data sheets are some of the ways trained personnel ensure the health and safety of workers and the environment. Personnel trained in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods work towards making sure that any hazardous materials are transported safely either by road, rail, boat or air.


Qualified Environmental Assessment Service

The environmental assessment process ensures that projects proceed in an environmentally acceptable manner and are compatible with the Environmental Protection Act. When environmental effects of projects are of concern, the process generates benefits by providing comprehensive project planning and design, maximizing environmental protection, enhancing government coordination, accountability, and information exchange and facilitating permitting and regulatory approval of projects.


Emergency spill response, containment, pickup and remediation

When an emergency occurs it is important to have a cost effective plan for clean up. Buildings, roads, and natural environments can be adversely affected by chemical contamination from substances such as hydrocarbons, mercury, lead, food grade products, acids, and caustics.


Construction and Management of environmental holding areas

The location and size of storage areas must comply with safety and environmental standards.


Dust control

Dust control measures are applicable to any construction site where there is the potential for air and water pollution from dust traveling across the landscape or through the air. Dust control includes practices used to reduce or prevent the surface or air transport of air during construction.


De-Watering and Vac truck services

Unwanted water can pose a threat to small or large construction projects. The collecting and removal of water during a project requires specialized knowledge and equipment.


Site reclamation, topsoil, and landscaping

Restoring land to its original use ensures that the goal of maintaining a healthy environment is achieved. Site reclamation can be ongoing during the completion of a project and can vary according to the work being done.


Implementation and maintenance of recycling programs

Asphalt, bricks, wood, cardboard, concrete, drywall, land clearing debris and site preparation debris are examples of some construction materials that can be recycled.


Waste handling and storage management

The Canadian Environmental Act identifies ways in which waste must be dealt with during construction. Safe containers must be labeled and kept sealed. They must be stored in a secure area. Hazardous waste storage methods must also meet specific requirements.


Sub-grade protection liners installation

A liner system must be impermeable and provide optimum environmental protection. The integrity of a lining system depends on the condition of the prepared subgrade. Using synthetic liners in combination with a prepared subgrade creates a composite lining system.


If you'd like to learn more about our environmental safety procedures, get in touch with us here.

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In 2006, Southern California Architect Peter DeMaria, designed the first two story shipping container home in the US as an approved structural system. Shipping container architecture has grown in popularity over the last several years due to the containers wide availability, low expense, and inherent strength. All shipping containers are the same width and come in two standard heights and lengths. This simplifies design, planning, and transport and makes them perfect for modular design. Containers continue to be used in a variety of unique and creative ways.


Containers of Hope


Located in San Jose, Costa Rica, Benjamin Garcia Saxe created a 1,000 square foot home using two 40 foot shipping containers. A slanted roof was built between two containers using scrap pieces of metal that were leftover from making the windows. This unique aspect of the design allows sunlight in but lets hot air escape and provides enough cross ventilation to keep the house cool.  The entire cost of building this home was $40,000.




Grillagh Water House


Four used shipping containers were used by architect Patrick Bradley in the creation of a home in the Irish countryside. The primary structure was made up of four 45 foot shipping containers which were assembled around a steel framework to form two cantilever forms. The upper level cantilevers over the lower storey culminating in a balcony. The location of the upper level takes full advantage of the view and natural sunlight allowing the beauty and tranquility of the Irish countryside to be fully experienced. The containers were insulated and weatherproofed to prevent the buildup of condensation.




World’s Biggest Periscope


The architectural firm Barata e Arquitetos Associados created a 12-metre tall periscope in Brazil using a shipping container stood on its end. Known as the Superiscope, it provides a view across Lagoa Santa lagoon. Two mirrors are attached to an MDF framework and set at a 45-degree angle. As light is reflected from the mirrors, a viewer at the bottom can see the image framed at the top.




Zigloo Domestique Complete


Created by architect Keith Dewey, this 1,920 square foot home is located in Victoria, Canada. Eight 20 foot containers were used in construction. The tops of the containers were removed to improve the height of each floor which allowed room for the installation of proper insulation. An in-floor heating system was also installed in this 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home. The cost for the project was estimated to be $180/sq ft ($360,000). Approximately $70/sq ft ($140,000) was saved on construction costs. The build was completed in eight months.




Converted shipping containers

Architect Josué Gillet created an asymmetrical home in France using converted shipping containers. The home has three layers of containers and incorporates a rooftop terrace into its design. Each floor is approximately 100 sq metres in size. The ground floor contains a lobby, a sewing studio and an area for laundry and utilities. The main living space on the first floor consists of an open concept lounge, dining area, and kitchen. Two bedrooms are also located at the front of the house. The upper level is comprised of the master bedroom, an ensuite bathroom, and an easily accessible large roof terrace.



What are your thoughts on the shipping container craze in home building right now? Let us know by reaching out to us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

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It’s difficult not to notice the amount of construction that is taking place in Edmonton. Some of the projects are ongoing while others are partially completed. With so much construction occurring in Edmonton this year, it’s interesting to note some of the projects that have recently been completed.  Here are a few projects that have either been completed or are well on their way towards the finish line.


Rogers Place


One of the largest and most impressive construction achievements opened it’s doors on September 10th. The idea for the development of a new sports arena and entertainment facility began in 2007. The Katz Group made a formal presentation to City Council in July 2010 and by October 2011, the City voted to purchase the land proposed as the site for the new downtown arena. The final agreement was reached in 2013 and construction began in March 2014. At the cost of around 600 million dollars, the 1,110,900 square foot arena can seat more than 18,000 for an Oilers game or 20,000 for a concert. The 60,000 square foot Grand Villa Casino is attached with 600 slot machines, 28 table games, and seven restaurants.


Loblaw’s CityMarket Grocery


The Edmonton Brewery District accommodates an urban lifestyle with a blend of products and services. With close proximity to MacEwan University and Edmonton’s new ice district, the Brewery District is within a block of the new transit station and future LRT line. The new Loblaw’s supermarket which opened in June is located in the Brewery District and is not a typical grocery store. With 40,000 square feet, the store offers ready to eat food, a coffee shop, patisserie, made in store gelato, an in-store dietician, juice bar and a giant wall of cheeses from all over the world. This luxury supermarket offers Edmontonians a completely different shopping experience than what they are used to.


102 Avenue Over Groat Road Bridge Replacement


After construction struggles due to improperly placed bridge girders, the 102 Avenue bridge was finally opened in August. Work to replace the bridge began in July 2014 and was scheduled to be finished in September 2015. Three girders buckled which pushed back the opening of the project. The completed $32 million bridge has four lanes of traffic which allows buses to cross. In addition, it has wider sidewalks and a bike lane.


Walterdale Bridge Replacement


Work on the Walterdale Bridge is still ongoing, however, the project achieved a major milestone in April when the second and final arch was lifted onto the structure. The 2,000-tonne arch segment was lifted 20 metres to attach to the permanent arch structures built into the berms on the north and south banks of the river. The arches are at their ultimate height of 54 metres and span 206 metres from one bank of the river to the other. The lift took about eight hours to accomplish and crews immediately began welding and bolting the structure. Ongoing work will include constructing the bridge deck and attaching it to the arch, setting bridge cables and finally... connecting roads to the new bridge to open the bridge for vehicle traffic. By 2017, the old bridge will be removed, landscaping and trail connections will be finished and the project will be completed.




How did you find the busy summer construction season in Edmonton this year? Were there any major projects we missed? Reach out to us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to let us know!


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Construction sites are high risks areas, it’s undeniable. In fact, in a 2014 survey featured by Time, construction laborers had the third highest number of deaths, next to truck drivers and agricultural workers. Take a look our list of 5 hidden dangers you might not always consider when on the construction site.


  1. Tools and Machinery

There’s this so-called “Blue Finger”, technically known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. It’s a painful condition which is caused by excessive use of ground working equipment and vibrating power tools, like riveters, grinders, drills, chainsaws, and jackhammers. 

Once you have the syndrome, it can be irreversible, so taking the necessary countermeasures is really important. Ideally, the best form of prevention lies in the hand of employers. As much as they care about productivity and efficiency, they must also exert the same kind of effort in maintaining safety. They should provide tools with lower handle vibration or reduce the time of the workers’ exposure per day. On the laborers’ end, they can follow some safety practices, such as keeping the hands warm, getting rid of smoking, gripping their tool as lightly as possible, keeping the tool well-maintained, using ISO-certified gloves that cover the fingers fully, taking a 10-minute break from using the tools each and every hour, and seeking medical help if HAVS symptoms are felt.


2. Aerial Threats

Falling debris, heavy buckets, and scaffolding can cause serious injuries to construction site workers. Any object dropped from 64 feet high hits the ground in just 2 seconds. Thus, aerial threats can potentially strike people before they know it.

The safety measures that must be followed to minimize aerial threats include safely organizing and tethering all objects at the aerial job site, safely storing and transporting objects to and from the aerial job site, and obliging laborers to wear hard hats and steel toes at work.


3. Airborne Materials and Particles

The heavy activities going on in a building construction site could kick into the air a heavy dose of dust and other harmful materials. For construction laborers on the site where asbestos is everywhere, the risk is even more troubling. 

The workers must wear personal protective equipment, and their work clothing must not allow dust collection. 


4. Negligent Machine Operation

Some workers operating heavy machinery with slips can cause a great deal of damage and injury. Sudden changing of direction or backing up is the usual cause of this trouble. All machine operators must be experienced and well-trained to minimize operation slips.


5. Power Lines and Electrical Cables

Every year, around 3 construction laborers are electrocuted while at work on domestic and/or commercial buildings. Electrocution is the 4th leading cause of death throughout the totality of the construction labor force. To avoid further risks, the management must comply with the electrical safety regulations of OSHA and should train their people on electrical safety. Construction workers must work with proper personal protective gear and use appropriate tools when testing or de-energizing live electrical parts. 



These are some of the threats and safety measures that can help construction workers migrate some of the risk involved. Indeed, even the riskiest type of job can pose less, if not zero risks with proper precautions set in place for maximum safety.

Have any other safety risks you've seen on the job site? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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Creating productivity on a construction site is beneficial for any business as optimal productivity translates into financial profitability. Avoiding delays and implementing plans that address problem areas are helpful in dealing with overall productivity. More specifically, here are four helpful ways to ensure that productivity is being dealt with effectively.


  1. Before the project starts, analyze it in detail.  Examine each phase of the process and set specific goals. Organize the workers and the potential job requirements to identify any obstacles or barriers that may occur. Set a schedule for procuring equipment and materials as resource unavailability is one of the biggest issues in delaying a construction project. Create a contingency plan to ensure that issues can be dealt with immediately if something should go wrong. Being prepared for time-consuming mistakes or issues maximizes job site output and increases profitability.


  1. Hire a dependable foreman. Every job needs a skilled and experienced manager who is able to ensure that the work is completed according to schedule and who can promote an efficient work environment. Most foremen make between 60 to 100 decisions per day that can impact the productivity, safety, and quality of the job site. A good foreman needs to have experience in skilled labor as well as management as he trains the supervisors as well as the crew. The foreman’s guidance subsequently affects the role of the supervisor. A trained supervisor knows the difference between challenging and policing and is aware of the need to focus on quality and safety. An immediate benefit can be seen from training all workers who have direct management over the crews.


  1. Provide training for the crew if needed. Quality of work and productivity can be compromised if the workers are not properly trained. If a project changes or new processes need to be implemented, make sure the workers understand why the changes are being made. The best time to put new processes into place is at transition times such as when the days get longer in the spring, when moving to a new job site, at the start of a new phase and when there are changes in team members. If necessary, provide instruction and training as the project dictates. Ensure that all workers are aware of safety on the job site as productivity can produce higher quality work with fewer accidents.


  1. Incorporate technology as a tool. Using mobile applications to jot down product orders, dimensions, and material lists while on the job site eliminates the tedious task of paperwork. New apps can enhance job site productivity with measurement tools, unit converters, LED lights, voice memo capabilities and more. Dealer locators can tap into GPS enabled phones to do the work for you while online tool catalogs can make it easy to identify tools and product numbers for purchasing. At this point in time, larger companies are more inclined to take advantage of technology, however, any size company can reap the benefits. Most technology is extremely affordable and can be beneficial in several aspects of the construction project.

If you have any ideas to add, keep in touch through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or contact us here.

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Mega-events such as the Pan American Games in 2007 and the FIFA Confederation Cup in 2013 translated into an era of massive construction for Brazil. In the late 2000’s Brazil was on an economic hot streak. Fast paced construction was the driving force of the Brazilian economy. Projects such as large hydropower dams, railways, oil rigs and offshore platforms all contributed to the prosperity of the country.


In 2011, Brazil’s thriving economy began to fail; income rates decreased and unemployment rose. Oil prices fell, shipyards closed and office buildings and hotels were left empty as hopes of a continuing boom died. Coordination between city, state and federal governments became increasingly difficult and construction projects began to lag behind.


In June 2016, the acting governor of Rio declared a state of financial disaster and requested $900 million in federal funding.  Combined with completing construction projects related to the Olympics, Brazil also faced political and health crises. The President and other members of Congress were under investigation for corruption and with one-quarter of Zika virus cases occurring in Rio, completing necessary construction projects for the upcoming Olympics was a major concern.


Under pressure, workers were expected to put in overtime which far surpassed the maximum 10-hour shifts stipulated by law. There was a lack of required safety equipment on sites and over 600 workers were hired informally. Accidents increased and when the Ministry of Labor conducted over 260 audits and inspections between January 2013 and March 2016, a total of 1,675 infractions were found and 38 temporary suspensions were issued on construction.


It was difficult to enforce regulations due to outsourcing by the main companies heading the construction projects. There was a lack of integration and it was not uncommon to find 50 companies working on one site. The tragedy of these issues is that 11 workers died on the job during construction for the Rio Olympics since January 2013.


When the Olympic Games finally approached, construction workers were still putting the finishing touches on several Olympic sites. The velodrome was completed in the nick of time and workers were still completing work on the Olympic Village right up until the Games started. Projects that were completed were not always up to par as evidenced when an elevated waterfront bike path collapsed into the sea when it failed to withstand a large wave. Concerns over water pollution, unrest, and crime all contributed to the serious problems Rio faced as the host city for the Games.

From a different perspective, many people believe that Rio 2016 was successful as it implemented reusable construction projects. The handball court is an example of what is called nomadic architecture. After the Games, it will be dismantled and the materials will be used to help build four schools. For a country that has spent billions of dollars amid a period of economic crisis, it remains to be seen what challenges Brazil will face in the future.


Do you have something to add to this story? Reach out to us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter, or contact us here

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Hazards during excavations can lead to serious incidents involving workers at construction sites. Trenches are the most serious threat as workers can be critically injured or die in cave-ins. Hazards such as falling into trenches or excavations, tripping over debris, objects falling on workers, exposure to underground services or overhead electrical cables, unstable adjacent structures, hazardous atmosphere such as toxic or explosive gasses and incidents involving vehicles and other mobile equipment all pose serious threats to safety.


Many workers may have a casual attitude toward safety, on the part of both employers and workers as they believe a cave-in will not happen to them. Because they believe cave-ins rarely occur, they are willing to enter an unprotected trench for a short time. A single cubic yard of dirt can weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds depending on the soil type and moisture content which highlights the importance of protecting workers from cave-ins. Statistics from the US indicate that cave-ins caused 67% of excavation injuries.  Injuries from backhoes were the second leading cause of injuries.  With these facts in mind, here are five ways to prevent injuries during excavation:


  1. Having a plan in place prior to excavation is the first step towards ensuring injuries or emergencies do not occur. Knowing in advance what tools and equipment are needed contributes to safety. Both workers, employers and project designers should be involved in identifying and implementing proper safety practices. Provide all employees with information regarding health and safety or safe work policies specific to the workplace. Workers should be advised of any potential health or safety dangers and appropriate precautions such as wearing personal protective equipment should be taken.

  2. Use protective systems against trench or excavation cave-ins. Sloping which involves cutting back trench walls at an angle should be inclined away from the excavation. Shoring using timber and hydraulic systems should be used as supports to shore up walls. Using prefabricated support systems such as trench boxes and shields can also be used for safety. Prior to excavation, strip the walls of trenches of any loose rock that may slide or fall on workers. Inspect trenches at the beginning of shifts and following heavy rainstorms.

  3. Mark and locate utilities before excavation.  Employers must ensure that all gas, electrical and other services are located or marked in or near the area to be excavated.  If a service poses a hazard, it must be shut off and disconnected before the excavation begins.

  4. Ensure that workers do not enter unprotected trenches. Trenches l.5 meters deep or greater require a protective system unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock. There must be safe access to all excavations, including ladders, steps, ramps or other safe means of exit for employees working in trench excavations. Keep the area around the excavation free of debris or construction material.


Operate and use all equipment in a safe manner. Defects in equipment should be reported to supervisors or employers. Be aware of mobile equipment or vehicles which can cause the soil to vibrate.


Taking reasonable precautions during excavation ensures that a project proceeds in a safe manner for everyone involved. Incidents at the work site are minimized and injuries are less likely to occur when safe work practices are followed.


Do you have more safety tips to add to this post? Reach out to us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter, or contact us here
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The economic downturn has certainly affected Alberta’s economy, but despite setbacks, construction projects are continuing to thrive. As the economy moves towards recovery here are some current interesting projects that are having a positive impact on the Alberta economy.


1. The North West Bitumen Refinery Phase 1


Alberta’s first refinery to be built in more than 30 years is located approximately 45 km northeast of Edmonton in Sturgeon County. The North West Redwater Partnership’s project is dedicated to maximizing the efficient use of resources. With the environment in mind, the refinery will provide integration of gasification with carbon capture and storage. 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 will be captured yearly while products such as bitumen will be converted into ultra low sulphur diesel and other products. The location of the refinery further contributes to the environmental footprint as local resources can be easily accessed and close proximity to major crude oil and diluent pipelines is advantageous.  The first phase is expected to be completed in September 2017 and approximately 3,500 workers are bused to and from the site daily.  The estimated cost of this project is 8.5 billion dollars.




2.  Edmonton Office Tower


The 27 storey tower developed by the Katz Group/WAM Development Group is expected to be finished in November 2016. Approximately 2,300 city employees will share the space with the private sector. The building features large floor plates where several city departments can interact. Located at 104 Ave and 101 St., the main level will include retail shopping and other services. The estimated cost of the project is 300 million dollars.




3.  Composting Facility, Shepard Landfill


In 2015, the work began on the City of Calgary’s new organics composting facility. It is expected to open mid-2017 and will be the largest of its kind in Canada. The facility will be able to produce high-quality compost from food and yard waste as well as dewatered biosolids. The facility is located south of 114th Avenue in South East Calgary and will consist of three buildings...the main building, curing building and storage building.  The total square footage of the facility is 521,000 square feet. Calgary city council approved a capital budget of 143 million dollars.




4.  University of Lethbridge Destination Project


The University of Lethbridge is developing a new science and academic addition to their campus.  The centre will be 36,000 sq metres in size and will become a science centre for southern Alberta.  With education, resources, and training unmatched anywhere in the world, the centre incorporates some unique features such as floating meeting rooms and a winter garden.  It will provide an interactive and educational experience for students and visitors. The estimated cost of development is 200 million dollars and is expected to be completed in 2019.




5.  Zoo Redevelopment Phase 1


The Calgary Zoo has a two-phase plan for redeveloping and improving their facility. At a development cost of $162 million, the First Phase will include changes to the areas of Destination Africa as well as the Shadow of the Himalayas.  The zoo plans to develop the area of the Himalayas to provide a home for giant pandas expected in 2018. Also included in the development are the Gardens area which includes the Enmax Conservatory. The project is expected to be completed in 2018.




Do you have more current construction projects to add to this story? Reach out to us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter, or contact us here

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With the uncertainty of the economy in Alberta, making decisions regarding career and job choices is becoming more and more difficult. There is no assurance that jobs will be available and it may be time to re-evaluate the belief that a university education guarantees a secure future. People have always sought the ultimate white collar job as the perfect career goal. As the economy changes, here are some reasons to consider working in a skilled trade as a career choice.


1. For anyone considering their options, expensive tuition fees for post-secondary education can be a deterrent.  On average, a university student currently pays $7,000 per year for tuition fees. Add living expenses to the budget, and total costs become extremely high.  According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the average Canadian student owes around $27,000 after graduating. This translates to paying student loan payments of $300 per month for a decade. Starting a career with debt makes it difficult to move forward financially especially when you factor in life goals such as buying a home or having a family.

student debt loans


2. With more than 50 trades and occupations in the construction industry to choose from, pursuing an apprenticeship is a good option to consider.  If you become an apprentice, you will begin earning money immediately. Obviously, the rate of pay is less than what a journeyman makes, but each year of apprenticeship means an increase in salary. Training programs associated with getting a trade are shorter in duration, therefore the educational expenses incurred are much less. The long-term benefits of becoming a skilled tradesman are apparent when income potential is considered….most trades pay very well and there are opportunities for advancement or becoming self-employed.  


3. The demand for skilled workers has continued to increase even during periods of economic decline.Canada is a resource-rich country and many huge construction projects are centered on resources. This creates a variety of job opportunities and an opportunity to relocate to different areas within Canada.  


4.Given the nature of construction, things are always changing as is the potential of finding a variety of work opportunities.  With so many options, work is never boring. Finding work in other countries is also possible... trades are in demand all over the world.


5. The number one factor in job satisfaction is being able to use your skills and abilities.  Finding a way to use your skills can make you more passionate about your work.  When you are working with your hands, it is not so easy to disengage from what you are doing. There is a satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from manual work that simply cannot be achieved in any other setting.  In addition, when work is done, you can go home content with the work day being over….no e-mails and after hours communication with the office.  You aren’t always “plugged in” and have a better chance to refresh your body and mind for the next day’s work.  


For too long skilled trades have been neglected.  The tide appears to be turning as blue collar work offers real advantages over white collar work.  Factors such as job availability, good pay, job security and benefits all contribute to a high rate of job satisfaction. The benefits of working in the skilled trades deserves serious consideration.

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Almost everyone today can relate to stress. Coping with the demands of everyday life is sometimes overwhelming and most of us don’t even realize how stressed we are. In simple terms, stress is our body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Our body releases stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which make our hearts beat faster and muscles tighten. Blood pressure rises, breath quickens and our senses become sharper.  The nervous system rouses for emergency action, preparing you to either fight or flee from what is perceived as a threat.  When stress becomes unmanageable, it can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. Effects of chronic stress can lead to problems such as depression and anxiety, auto immune diseases, pain, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems and cognitive and memory problems.


Work related stress is often brought on by fear of being laid off, more overtime due to cutbacks, pressure to perform or pressure to work at optimum levels. Construction workers are vulnerable to work-related injuries and pain and often put themselves at risk for more injuries and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. The industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and also has a high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain among its workers.  A 2012 study found that 40% of workers over age 50 had chronic back pain and 45% were more likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-injured workers.  


In addition to physical stress, construction workers often feel pressure when projects fall behind.  Delays and tight deadlines increase the amount of stress on workers and working overtime hours is often necessary to meet demands. Working long hours sometimes involves shift work which creates another set of stressors. Job security, worry about finances and physically demanding work all contribute to cumulative stress which is often overlooked or ignored.


Identifying factors that create stress is the first step in initiating change.  We may not be able to control the circumstances of our life but we can be proactive in how we manage stress. Here are some simple suggestions for coping with stress that can make a world of difference:

  • Exercise: activities such as walking, running, swimming and other aerobic exercises are good choices to shift the feeling of immobilization that a stress response creates

  • Engage socially: interaction with other people who listen and relate can quickly put the breaks on the stress response

  • Set aside time for relaxation: take up meditation, yoga or deep breathing to help your body initiate a relaxation response

  • Eat a healthy diet: minimize sugar and refined carbs, eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost (i.e. salmon, herring, sardines, flaxseed, and walnuts)

  • Get plenty of sleep: feeling tired can increase stress by causing irrational thinking...avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime and aim for at least 6 hours of sleep per night


Keeping a balanced life can all contribute to effectively dealing with stress.  At work, try to break projects into small steps and take scheduled breaks.  If you can, delegate responsibility and resist the urge to set unrealistic goals.  Don’t try to control the uncontrollable and keep your sense of humor -- lightening the mood has a positive impact on most workplace environments.

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At Taurus, we pride ourselves on the comprehensive Global Code of Conduct policy that guides our day-to-day operations. We work together as a collective to prioritize safe, ethical practices in our daily routine, and our Code of Conduct acts as a reference for any questionable situation an employee, client, or business partner may be involved in. Taurus is committed to delivering sustained growth through empowered people acting with responsibility and building trust, and we can't do that without a total team effort day in and day out.


How We Treat Each Other

First and foremost, safety is our primary concern for everyone on or near a job site. Each one of us is expected to take every safety precaution necessary to ensure a safe and secure workplace for all. We ask all employees to always speak up and raise a concern if there is ever a task being done that they consider unsafe or a vehicle or piece of equipment that's not operating properly. As a result of this policy, Taurus offers several channels to seek guidance, raise a concern, or file a report through our anonymous Speak Up program. Safety is everyone's responsibility, and you must insist that work is done safely no matter what your job is. 

Taurus employees and representatives are also expected to show respect and act with integrity in the workplace, ensure ethics in our business relationships, and perform work responsibly for our shareholders. We have detailed anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-violence policies that ensure all staff equal opportunity and a safe work environment.  


How We Treat Our Clients and Suppliers

Our contracts with customers always reflect the importance and value we place on their business. Integrity in the marketplace requires all Taurus employees to treat customers fairly, ethically, and in compliance with all applicable laws. When dealing with clients, we ask our employees to always earn their business on the basis of superior products, customer service, and competitive prices, present our services and products in an honest and forthright manner and deliver on our promises. 

At Taurus, we hold our suppliers to the same standards of integrity we hold ourselves. All suppliers must adhere to our Supplier Code of Conduct in order to do business with us. An unethical or illegal act of a supplier may hurt Taurus's reputation as a world-class company and cause a loss of goodwill in the communities we serve. 


How We Treat Our Community

Taurus' role in the community is guided by the principles of Performance with Purpose that has four core concepts - Performance, and Human, Environmental, and Talent Sustainability. Performance is our ongoing dedication to delivering financial results and ensuring long-term profitable growth; human is our commitment to providing customers with a variety of product and service choices to help them lead healthier lives; environmental is the way we protect earth's natural resources through innovation and efficient processes; and finally, talent sustainability refers to how Taurus invests in our associates to develop skills while creating employment opportunities in our community. 


If you're interested in finding out more about how we incorporate our values into daily operations check out our Global Code of Conduct policy, reach out us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or contact us here!


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