Shift into Winter invites media to take part in driving demonstration to kick off campaign

On Friday, October 1, the 13th annual province-wide Shift into Winter campaign kicks off in Pitt Meadows with a demonstration on a closed track of driving in winter conditions.

Media are invited to cover this event and participate in vehicle test drives in winter scenarios. You can conduct onsite interviews and take photos/videos. You’ll also have access to dash cam footage.

Four winter driving demonstrations will take place with the help of an instructor from the Justice Institute of BC:

1. Braking distance with mud and snow tires (poor tread) in wet conditions
2. Braking distance with 3-peaked mountain/snowflake winter tires in wet conditions
3. Evasive manoeuvre with mud and snow tires (poor tread) in wet conditions
4. Evasive manoeuvre with 3-peaked mountain/snowflake winter tires in wet conditions

Shift into Winter is an annual campaign designed to increase the awareness of safe winter driving practices and to help B.C. drivers and employers better prepare for winter driving conditions. The campaign is a joint provincial initiative led by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance — a group of 21 organizations committed to working together to improve safe winter driving behaviors and practices in B.C.

Event information

Date / Time:   9:30 to 11 a.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021

Registration: 9 to 9:30 a.m. You’ll need to sign a waiver and be fitted for a high-visibility safety vest

Location: JIBC Driver Education Centre, 18200 Ford Road, Pitt Meadows

Interview opportunities Video/photo opportunities
  • Shift into Winter campaign spokesperson Louise Yako
  • RCMP Fraser Coast Integrated Road Safety Unit spokesperson
  • Kal Tire spokesperson
  • Driving demonstrations
  • Winter tire chain-up demonstration
  • Winter tires display
  • RCMP vehicle
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement vehicle

 

Media contact

Please confirm your participation by contacting Gord Woodward, communications manager, Road Safety at Work, at 250-734-3652 or gord.woodward@roadsafetyatwork.ca.

He will be on site for the campaign launch event to assist you.

Background information

For more information about the Shift into Winter and the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca.

 COVID protocols

Strict COVID safety protocols will be in place.

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2020 Certificate of Recognition (COR) Achievement of Excellence Award Announcement

SafetyDriven Announces 2020 COR Industry Award Winners

SafetyDriven- Trucking Safety Council of BC (TSCBC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Certificate of Recognition Achievement of Excellence award for 2020.

The Health and Safety Certificate of Recognition (COR) recognizes and rewards employers who implement and maintain a functional health and safety management system. COR programs meet these requirements by taking a “best practices” approach to health and safety which minimizes risk to their operations and financial viability.

Companies who achieve COR- which involves standards for documentation, participation in training, an internal review process, and an on-site audit- are eligible for a 10 percent rebate on the previous year’s WorkSafeBC premiums.

SafetyDriven is a certifying partner for the transportation and warehousing sectors on behalf of WorkSafeBC, the body that issues the certification. The program is voluntary and all employers in BC are eligible to participate through their aligned certifying partner. Employers who are interested in the COR program are encouraged to enquire with WorkSafeBC or SafetyDriven regarding their eligibility.

Earl Galavan, SafetyDriven’s COR Manager, had the pleasure of notifying seven companies who earned their initial Certificate of Recognition in 2020, that they are being recognized with the COR Achievement of Excellence for receiving top marks on their certification audits.
“These companies have demonstrated excellence in workplace health and safety, and are committed to continuous improvement,” says Galavan. “After a great deal of dedication and effort, they have been able to achieve this significant milestone, and SafetyDriven is proud to be a part of their journey.”

COR Achievement of Excellence recipients for 2020 are:
• Aquatrans Distributors Inc.
• Central Island Distributors Ltd.
• Cooper’s Used Auto Parts Ltd.
• Gordon Aggregates Ltd.
• TRK Helicopters (B.C.) Ltd.
• Valley Waste & Recycling Inc.
• Vertec Transport Ltd.

Central Island Distributors Ltd. is also presented with the Best Overall Large Employer COR Award for 2020.

Congratulations to all of the winners! Learn more about SafetyDriven’s COR Program here. For more information on each of the winners, continue reading below.

Aquatrans Distributors Inc.

*Image courtesy of Aquatrans Distributors Inc.

Established in 1987, Aquatrans Distributors Inc. is a family-owned business that has grown to become a full-service provider of freight hauling to and from Vancouver Island, Port Metro-Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and Washington State.

Gaining COR Certification was a large goal not only for management, but for the entire Aquatrans team. Because health and safety is one of their core pillars, Aquatrans ensures their employees have a safe work environment to go to while also being able to service their customers efficiently.

“Transitioning toward a COR Program was both challenging and rewarding for our team. All of our team members from leadership to drivers worked continuously and diligently to ensure that Aquatrans not only met but surpassed COR requirements. We implemented policies and procedures, increased company wide communication and collaboration, and with the help of our entire team, received our COR certification in 2020.” -Isabella Scott, Business Innovation & Administration Manager

Central Island Distributors Ltd.

*Image courtesy of Central Island Distributors

Also known as “CID”, Central Island Distributors Ltd. specializes in LTL and FTL overnight freight delivery service to and from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island. It was started in 1992 by Alex and Dave Dugan with one five tonne truck, one tandem axle tractor, and one 28-foot van trailer. Almost 30 years later the company has 52 power units, 115 trailers, 26 electric power jacks, and 12 forklifts distributed across facilities in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Delta.

CID originally decided to pursue COR certification as an effort to implement a formalized program that was recognized and approved by WorkSafeBC. It was important to their company that they have an all encompassing and easy to understand program that can be embraced by all employees.

“We have found the COR format to be scalable as we continue to grow, and specifically meets the needs of the Transportation Industry. After going through the process to become certified, Central Island Distributors now recognizes that well trained and dedicated staff are a direct result of a Healthy Safety Culture.” -Ron King, Fleet, Safety & Compliance Manager

Cooper’s Used Auto Parts Ltd.

*Image courtesy of Cooper’s Used Auto Parts


Gordon Aggregates Ltd.

Gordon Aggregates Ltd. hauls aggregate, rip rap, coal, sand, contaminated soil, and organic spoils throughout BC and Alberta. With various configurations of heavy-duty dump trucks and trailer equipment for all hauling needs, Gordon Aggregates is committed to achieving the highest standards in safety, professionalism, and service.

TRK Helicopters (B.C.) Ltd.

TRK Helicopters (B.C.) Ltd. was created in 2004 and is a fleet of light, intermediate, and medium helicopters used for diverse operations from fire fighting to mineral exploration and tourism. They offer many services including forest fire fighting for all fire centres across the country, mineral exploration and mining, heli-skiing, wildlife capture, wildlife surveys for provincial and federal government, sightseeing tours and remote site access for telecom carriers across Canada. TRK Helicopters has bases in Langley, BC, Whitehorse, YT, Haines Junction, YT and Merritt, BC.

Valley Waste & Recycling Inc.

*Image courtesy of Valley Waste & Recycling Inc.
Valley Waste & Recycling Inc. is a family-owned waste management company that has been serving the Fraser Valley for over 20 years. They offer a variety of services including garbage disposal and recycling, roll off container rentals, curb side pickup, septic tank services, hydro excavation, and portable toilet rentals.

Whether it’s their customers, employees, site visitors, or members of the public, Valley Waste & Recycling Inc. always puts safety first.

“We want to do everything in our power to be confident that everyone stays safe while using or providing our waste and recycling services, which is why we decided to pursue the Certification of Recognition. It was hard work, but we’re happy to have done it! We’re very proud of all the Valley staff for working together and staying safe out there while performing quality service.” -Leah Harmatuik, HR Coordinator

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WorkSafeBC: Regulatory Amendments as of September 1, 2021

Regulatory amendments to high visibility apparel, mobile equipment, and safety headgear

In April 2021, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation, which took effect on September 1, 2021. Included in these changes are amendments to the following sections:

Section 8.24: High Visibility Apparel

This section has been amended to maintain worker safety when exposed to vehicles or mobile equipment.  The purpose of the amendments is to maintain worker safety by removing the reference to the WorkSafeBC standard and adopting the requirements of CSA Standard Z96-15, High-Visibility Safety Apparel for workers exposed to vehicles or mobile equipment. The amendments also incorporate permitted design modifications for certain emergency response workers.

To ensure compliance with the amended OHS Regulation, employers must confirm that the high visibility apparel they provide to workers meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z96-15.

Part 16: Mobile Equipment

The purpose of the amendments is to improve safety for those who operate and work around mobile equipment, and to improve clarity of the requirements for all stakeholders.  All of Part 16 has been reorganized and streamlined for better flow and access to information. The provisions of Part 16 have also been modernized to meet current practices and standards.

In total, there are 63 key changes, of which 19 are new requirements. All employers who use mobile equipment need to review the revised regulatory requirements to ensure their equipment and work practices are compliant.

Section 8.11(1): Safety Headgear

These revisions were made to improve occupational health and safety requiring employers to follow the hierarchy of controls to eliminate or reduce risks. The hierarchy of controls ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection to the lowest. Under the amended requirements, employers must take measures to eliminate the risk of head injury first. If the risk cannot be eliminated, engineering controls and administrative controls must be applied before relying on safety headgear. Workers must wear safety headgear if it is not practicable to eliminate the risk of head injury, or if engineering and/or administrative controls are not adequate to reduce the risk of head injury to the lowest level.

A new OHS guideline has also been developed to provide information on identifying and controlling the risk of head injury from overhead hazards by following the hierarchy of controls. The acceptable standards for safety headgear have not changed with this amendment.

If workers cannot wear a hard hat because of religious or other reasons, employers may have to offer accommodation.

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What’s Down the Road – Post-pandemic?

The pandemic has brought many changes. Some of them may linger well after the pandemic ends.

We will eventually see an end to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus may be here to stay unless we can eliminate it by vaccinating every human on the planet, which is unlikely. If we’re very lucky, it will peter out on its own; the only human disease that we’ve been able to wipe out is smallpox. So don’t expect to see the end of this particular coronavirus. It’s possible there will be precautions we will always have to take, such as getting a regular booster shot (like a flu shot).

The pandemic has been difficult for all occupations, including professional drivers. Trucking companies saw revenues fall by 23%, suppliers and service providers saw a 39% drop, motor coach companies took a hit of 97%. Optimists are looking at the post-pandemic period as one of prosperity, much like the 1920s economic recovery after the end of the First World War and the end of the H1N1 flu pandemic of 1918-1920 (aka Spanish Flu). Trucking will play an important role in that recovery; analysts predict a strong environment for commercial transportation beyond 2021.

Workforce
According to Trucking HR, in 2019 the trucking and logistics sector employed 650,000 workers—4% of Canada’s workforce. Drivers made up 46% of that workforce. Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey reported that the truck transportation industry had an average job vacancy rate of 6.8% in 2019, more than twice the national average of 3.3%. The demand for trucking increased in the middle of 2020 as people turned more and more to online shopping for everything, although supply chain issues caused problems. If that momentum continues, the trucking industry will need more drivers. However, that is a challenge right now; older drivers are retiring and young people hesitate to enter the field.

Paperwork
There will always be paperwork. The pandemic caused changes in the way forms and paper are handled everywhere. The uncertainty about whether the virus could be transmitted on surfaces meant digitizing paper and sharing it electronically. That change makes sense and should be here to stay, especially when combined with freight-tracking technology, which supports locating and reallocating assets and provides enhanced real-time visibility of trucks and freight.

All That Cleaning
The uncertainty of what we were dealing with led to workplace assessments, physical distancing, and strict hygiene guidelines that included lots of handwashing and sanitizing vehicles to prevent surface transmission of the virus. We may have gone a bit overboard on that, but it did keep the seasonal flu away. As researchers studied the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they learned that it is not transmitted on surfaces, which the Centers for Disease Control announced on April 5, 2021. Rather, it is an airborne virus; people catch it through exposure to respiratory droplets containing the virus. As we move forward, we can hope that the time-consuming tasks of sanitizing everything we contact in the course of a day can end, but it it’s still a good idea to wash your hands often along with things you touch often, such as doorknobs and steering wheels, to avoid cold and flu viruses.

Deal with Anxiety
Will we face another pandemic? No one can say for sure, but pandemics have happened throughout human history. We learn from them—the rapid development of an effective vaccine against COVID-19 has been nothing short of miraculous. It’s important not to let anxiety about the future affect your mental health. Take precautions, including getting vaccinated. Stay informed with reliable sources, Talk about what you feel with someone you trust.

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CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program Offers Incentives and Reduces Emissions

On July 21, 2021, the BC Trucking Association (BCTA), in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the third offering of the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency (HDVE) Program.

The HDVE Program is a key component of the provincial government’s efforts to support its legislated targets for significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 30 years. By providing carriers with fuel management strategies and incentives of up to 50 percent for approved fuel-efficiency devices, participation in the program significantly reduces fuel consumption and associated GHG emissions by up to 35 percent. Eligible BC carriers are invited to apply for incentives of up to $15,000 per vehicle, and $100,000 per fleet towards the purchase and installation of fuel-saving equipment and technology.

Since its launch in 2019, BCTA estimates the impact of the HDVE Program to have removed the equivalent of 8,808 passenger vehicles across North America. The Province of British Columbia has committed $1.4 million to Year-three of the Program that runs until March 31, 2022, or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

Key Features

Key features of the program include:

• A free, half-day HDVE Program Course that teaches participants how to develop a Fuel Management Program for a fleet of any size.
• Incentive amounts of up to $15,000 per vehicle and up to $100,000 per fleet for purchase and installation of approved fuel-saving equipment and technology, including wide-based tires, aerodynamic devices, and auxiliary power units.
• Funding allocated equitably among successful applicants by region, and carrier type and size.

Priority funding allocation for Year-three has been given to new applicants. Applications are being accepted from new applicants as of August 9, 2021, and from all applicants beginning September 13, 2021.

BCTA is working in collaboration with Indigenous businesses and communities to encourage program participation. Additional HDVE Program details, including a list of qualifying equipment, can be found in the HDVE Program Guide.

Eligibility

To be eligible for program incentives, BCTA membership is not required. Companies must meet the full eligibility criteria that are available in the HDVE Program Guide, including:

• Must have one or more heavy-duty commercial vehicles in their fleet with a gross vehicle weight greater than 11,794 kilograms.
• Vehicle must be licensed and insured to operate in B.C.
• Must conduct business in the province with a terminal located in B.C.

Applicants must also successfully complete the free, pre-requisite HDVE Program Course. This half-day course is offered online and in-person and describes the benefits of using different fuel-saving technologies and practices. Participants learn how to develop a Fuel-Management Program for any size fleet, incorporating measures to improve fuel economy. The course also demonstrates how to develop a baseline of fuel consumption and track progress as part of the company’s program. Those who are interested in attending can sign up for free on the BCTA website.

For more information on the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program, visit BCTrucking.com.

To learn more about CleanBC, visit cleanbc.gov.bc.ca.

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WorkSafeBC: Proposed Policy Amendments on Determining Workplace Status

Determining workplace status

Our Policy, Regulation and Research Division is releasing a discussion paper on determining workplace status with options and draft policy to stakeholders for comment.

“Workplace status” refers to whether someone is an employer, worker, or independent operator. A person’s status defines the rights and responsibilities the person has under the Workers Compensation Act, including compulsory coverage for workers, and obligations of employers to pay assessments into the accident fund.

At issue are changes to WorkSafeBC’s workplace status policies to ensure the policies remain up to date. Changes are necessary to align policy with the Workers Compensation Act and the common law, and to enable WorkSafeBC to make decisions which reflect the changing nature of work in British Columbia.

The discussion paper, with options and draft policy, as well as information on how to provide feedback, can be found here:

Proposed policy amendments on determining workplace status

You’re invited to provide feedback on the options until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors will consider stakeholder feedback before making a decision on the proposed policy amendments.

Policy, Regulation and Research Division
WorkSafeBC

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Nearly 90% of Trucks Pass CVSA Brake Inspections

The out-of-service rate for this year’s unannounced Brake Safety Day, conducted July 19 across North America, showed a nearly 4% improvement over 2019 (the last year there was a inspection blitz).

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance reports 1,273 trucks were sidelined because of brake-related critical vehicle inspection items this year compared to 1,667 trucks in 2019.

This year, CVSA conducted 10,091 inspections across Canada (946, 11.4% out-of-service), Mexico (487, 2.9% OOS) and the U.S (8,658, 13.3% OOS), resulting in a North American out-of-service rate of 12.6%. Last year’s overall OOS rate was 16.1%.

Fourteen vehicles were removed from roadways in Mexico for brake violations. In Canada, 108 vehicles were placed out-of-service for brake violations, and in the U.S., 1,151 vehicles were sidelined due to brake violations.

“Inspectors conducted their usual inspections and reported brake-related data to CVSA for Brake Safety Day,” said CVSA President and Delware State Police Sgt. John Samis in a press release. “We are sharing the results to call attention to the importance of commercial motor vehicle brake safety.”

CVSA places a high priority on brake system function and condition because they are critical to vehicle safety. Despite that focus, brake-related violations continue to dominate vehicle out-of-service conditions. Brake system violations was the top vehicle out-of-service category during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck commercial motor vehicle and driver inspection and enforcement safety initiative.

Brake system violations at Roadcheck 2020 were 3,163 vehicles out of 12,254 inspections, or 25.8%.

Inspectors Focus on Brake Hoses, Tubing
Inspectors compiled and reported data specifically on chaffed or damaged brake hoses and tubing this year. Broken out by country: Canada reported 251 chafing violations, Mexico reported 186 and the U.S. reported 1,288 — with is roughly proportionate to each jurisdiction’s overall number of inspections and overall vehicle populations.

    •  Inspection data revealed a total of 664 (38%) Category 1 violations, defined as brake hose/tubing wear that had extended into the outer protective material. This is not an out-of-service condition.
    • There were 509 (30%) Category 2 violations, meaning wear had extended through the brake hose/tubing outer protective material into the outer rubber cover. Category 2 violations are not out-of-service conditions.
    • Inspectors saw 275 (16%) Category 3 violations, where the wear makes the reinforcement ply visible, but the ply is still intact. This is not an out-of-service condition.
    • A category 4 violation is when the reinforcement ply is visible and the ply is completely frayed, severed, or cut through. Inspectors recorded 169 (10%) such violations. Vehicles with Category 4 chafed hose conditions were placed out of service.
    • Brake hose/tubing wear for Category 5 violations is when wear extends through the reinforcement ply to the inner rubber layer. Such violations accounted for 108 (6%) of the trucks inspected. A Category 5 violation is an out-of-service condition.

“Brake hoses and tubing are essential brake system components and must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and flexible,” Samis said. “We chose to focus on brake hoses/tubing this year in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries as a result of commercial motor vehicle brake-system failures from pressure or vacuum loss due to brake hose/tubing deficiencies.”

Performance-Based Brake Testers
Some jurisdictions in the U.S. use performance-based brake testers (PBBT) as part of their vehicle inspection process. A PBBT is a machine that assesses the braking performance of a vehicle. On Brake Safety Day, 68 PBBT tests were conducted. Four percent (about three vehicles) of PBBT-tested commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for insufficient brake performance.

Brake Safety Day is the Alliance’s unannounced brake safety initiative; however, CVSA also holds Brake Safety Week each year and announces those dates publicly well in advance. This year’s Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Aug. 22-28.

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CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program Offers Incentives on Approved Fuel-Saving Devices

Langley, B.C.:  The BC Trucking Association (BCTA), in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure proudly announces the third offering of the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency (HDVE) Program. The HDVE Program is a key component of the Province’s efforts to support its legislated targets for significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 30 years. By providing carriers with fuel management strategies and incentives of up to 50 percent for approved fuel-efficiency devices, participation in the program significantly reduces fuel consumption and associated GHG emissions by up to 35 percent.  Since the program launched in 2019, BCTA estimates the impact of the HDVE Program to have removed the equivalent of 8,808 passenger vehicles across North America.  The Province of British Columbia has committed $1.4 million to Year-three of the Program that will run from July 21, 2021, to March 31, 2022, or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

“The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is pleased to partner with the BC Trucking Association to support the transition toward a cleaner, more sustainable trucking sector,” said Rob Fleming, Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure. “The CleanBC Heavy-duty Efficiency Program is helping to combat climate change and enabling B.C. carriers to save money by using less fuel. By joining forces, we’re leveraging BCTA’s expertise to administer the program and its many benefits to B.C.’s trucking industry.”

The interest the program has received over the past two years has grown exponentially and Dave Earle, BCTA President and CEO, expects that Year-three will continue to see the same trend.

“The trucking industry has risen to meet the challenge of mitigating the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve only just begun,” said Earle.  “The CleanBC Heavy-duty Efficiency Program is so successful because it gives B.C. carriers an immediate and effective incentive to lessen their carbon footprint.  BCTA is privileged to align with the Province for the third year in a row to enable our industry to take an active role in reducing emissions.”

Key Features

The HDVE Program Guide offers detailed information about the incentive program.

Key features include:

  • A free, half-day CleanBC HDVE Program Course that teaches participants how to develop a Fuel Management Program for a fleet of any size.  Course registration opens July 21, 2021.
  • Incentive amounts of up to $15,000 per vehicle and up to $100,000 per fleet for purchase and installation of approved fuel-saving equipment and technology.  See the full list of approved equipment and fuel-efficient driver training here.
  • Funding allocated equitably among successful applicants by region, and carrier type and size.

Priority funding allocation for Year-three will be given to new applicants. Applications will be accepted from new applicants beginning August 9, 2021, and from all applicants beginning September 13, 2021.

BCTA is working in collaboration with Indigenous businesses and communities to encourage program participation.

Eligibility

To be eligible for program incentives, BCTA membership is not required.  Companies must meet the full eligibility criteria that are available in the HDVE Program Guide, including:

  • Must have one or more heavy-duty commercial vehicles in their fleet with a gross vehicle weight greater than 11,794 kilograms.
  • Vehicle must be licensed and insured to operate in B.C.
  • Must conduct business in the province with a terminal located in B.C.

Applicants must also successfully complete the free, pre-requisite CleanBC HDVE Program Course that describes the benefits of using different fuel-saving technologies and practices. This half-day course, which is offered by webinar and in-person, teaches participants how to develop a Fuel-Management Program for any size fleet, incorporating measures to improve fuel economy. The course also demonstrates how to develop a baseline of fuel consumption and track progress as part of the company’s program. Registration for the CleanBC HDVE Program Course opens July 21, 2021.

How to Apply

The application process for the HDVE Program is broken down into three stages:

  • Stage 1: July 21- Registration opens for the free, pre-requisite CleanBC HDVE Program Course
  • Stage 2: August 9- Applications open for new applicants
  • Stage 3: September 13- Applications open for all applicants

Program Course registration information and application details can be found on the BCTA website.

More information

For more information on CleanBC, please visit cleanbc.gov.bc.ca.

For more information on the CleanBC HDVE Program, please contact Cory Paterson, BCTA Vice President at 604-888-5319 or CoryP@BCTrucking.com.

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Claim Suppression Study in B.C. Finds Under-claiming of Work Injury to be Common

Joint study by Institute for Work & Health and Prism Economics and Analysis also finds employer pressure, inducement not to claim seen in four to 13 per cent of work injuries

About half of British Columbia workers who have a work injury or illness that results in time away from work do not report the injury or illness to WorkSafeBC. The two most common reasons workers give are not knowing they are entitled to compensation or how to apply, and not thinking it’s worth their time to make a claim.

This is according to a recent study on claim suppression commissioned by WorkSafeBC and conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Prism Economics and Analysis. The study found an estimated four to 13 per cent of people with work-related injuries in British Columbia experience claim suppression—i.e. pressure or inducement from an employer not to make a claim.

The study was conducted using four data sources. They included:

1) a survey conducted in 2019-2020 of 699 B.C. workers who had experienced a self-reported, work-related injury or illness within three years before the survey;

2) a survey of 150 employers across the province, with those in the construction and transportation/warehousing sectors disproportionately over-represented;

3) a document review of 1,043 randomly selected no-lost-time claims filed between 2016 and 2019, conducted by WorkSafeBC staff who provided anonymized results to the research team for analysis; and

4) a document review of 601 claims that were rejected, suspended or abandoned, again done by WorkSafeBC and analyzed by the research team using anonymized results.

Findings from the study are now available in a policy briefing and a report.

In their report, the research team noted important differences between under-claiming, misrepresented claims and claim suppression. Under-claiming occurs when workers who appear to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits choose not to submit or proceed with a claim. Misrepresented claims are claims that are submitted and classified as no-lost-time claims even though the injuries or diseases do involve lost working time. Claim suppression refers to any overt or subtle act by an employer to discourage a worker from reporting an injury or disease or from making a claim.

Workers’ reasons for not reporting

Among the 699 workers surveyed, almost six in 10 (58 per cent) had lost two or more days of working time due to a work-related injury. Among these, just over half (54 per cent) did not submit a claim to WorkSafeBC. Findings showed that under-claiming was more common among workers who were immigrants, had lower educational attainment, were not union members, were employed by small employers and worked on a temporary basis (directly or through temp agencies).

The main reasons given for not claiming were unrelated to claim suppression (see sidebar). The most common reasons included not knowing they were entitled to compensation or not knowing how to apply for WorkSafeBC wage loss benefits (40 per cent), and thinking it wasn’t worth the time to make a claim (36 per cent).

As for reasons indicative of claims suppression among those who were off work for two or more days but did not submit a claim, the top two were believing they would “get into trouble” (7.8 per cent) and their employer pressuring them not to apply for WorkSafe benefits (4.1 per cent). The survey also found 13 per cent of those off work for two or more days, whether they filed a claim or not, said their employer asked them not to report time loss and/or threatened them with repercussions if they did so.

In some cases, the claim suppression behaviour may have involved front-line supervisors who were acting contrary to the employer’s policy, says Dr. Ron Saunders, an IWH adjunct scientist and principal investigator of the study. About a third of the respondents who reported claim suppression behaviour also said that their employer assisted them in filing the report to WorkSafeBC.

Claim suppression appears to be higher in workplaces that offer rewards to employees if the workplace is injury-free, the survey results suggest. Among workers who indicated their employer engaged in claim suppression behaviour, about 41 per cent reported their employer operated an incentive scheme. In comparison, among survey respondents who did not indicate their employer engaged in claim suppression, 6.4 per cent said their employer operated an incentive scheme.

Employer perceptions

In the survey of 150 employers, the team found 6.0 per cent said they believed that, in their industry, lost-time injuries were “rarely or never” reported to WorkSafeBC. However, about 27 per cent of employers reported their belief that, in their industry, lost-time injuries were reported to WorkSafeBC as no-lost-time injuries “all the time or almost all the time,” and 25 per cent expressed their belief that no-lost-time injuries were “rarely or never” reported to WorkSafeBC.

The employer survey also showed that 72 per cent of employers provided a sick leave/disability plan, medical benefits plan or both. Roughly a fifth of these employers (21 per cent, representing 15 per cent of the total sample) allowed their employees to access benefits through one of these plans instead of claiming WorkSafeBC benefits. As well, 11 per cent reported that they provided a bonus or incentive to their employees to maintain an injury-free workplace.

From the analysis of no-lost-time claims, the team estimated between 4.1 and 12 per cent of these types of claims were misclassified—i.e. they may have indeed resulted in more than two days off work. From the analysis of claims that were rejected, withdrawn or abandoned, the team estimated between 12 and 19 per cent were “problematic” because documentary evidence in the claim file suggested a compensable, work-related injury or disease.

The fact that a file was problematic does not necessarily imply that the worker’s decision not to proceed with the claim was the result of undue pressure from the employer, says Saunders. However, some of the claim files did suggest the potential for employer pressure. For example, in 8.3 per cent of the files, the worker form (Form 6) indicated that the worker missed more than one day of work and sought medical attention, but no employer form was filed for the incident.

The findings of this study are in line with those of others looking at claim suppression or under-claiming in Canadian jurisdictions, says Saunders. Its findings were similar with respect to the approximate magnitude of under-claiming, of lost working-time incidents being misrepresented as involving no lost working time, and of claim suppression on the part of employers.

Read reasons for not reporting an injury and more stats here.

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Operation Safe Driver Week Set for July 11-17 With Focus on Speeding

This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 11-17 with an emphasis on speeding.

During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky driving behaviors in or around a commercial motor vehicle. Identified unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning.

“Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors,” said Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.”

CVSA selected speeding as its focus this year because despite a drop in roadway travel last year due to the pandemic, nationally, traffic fatalities increased. According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) preliminary estimates, the estimated rate of death on roads last year increased 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%. The increase in the rate of death is the highest estimated year-over-year jump NSC has calculated in 96 years.

In addition to speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other dangerous driver behaviors throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, such as reckless or aggressive driving, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices, failure to use a seat belt, evidence of drunk or drugged driving, etc.

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and with support from the motor carrier industry and transportation safety organizations. This initiative aims to improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies.

To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety in your area.

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