Mandatory Commercial Truck Driver Training to Improve Road Safety in BC

B.C.’s highways will be safer for everyone with the introduction of mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for new Class 1 commercial driver’s licence applicants.

B.C.’s program will exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers.

“Having mandatory entry-level commercial vehicle training will result in better-trained new drivers and improved road safety for everyone in British Columbia,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’ve worked collaboratively with the trucking industry to create a new MELT program for B.C. that will strengthen the industry and prepare drivers to operate safely across B.C.’s challenging climates. This training will ensure new commercial drivers are trained to a higher, consistent standard.”

MELT for Class 1 driver’s license applicants will become a prerequisite for Class 1 road testing starting Oct. 18, 2021. B.C.’s program will include best practices from other Canadian jurisdictions, and emphasize safe operating practices for mountainous geography and diverse driving conditions to ensure commercial drivers are prepared for B.C.’s highway network and the changing weather patterns encountered in the mountains.

“Mandatory training for those operating the largest vehicles on our roads will improve safety across B.C.,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “MELT is a vital step to furthering the success our province has seen in reducing traffic fatalities in recent years.”

B.C.’s Class 1 MELT program for new drivers of heavy commercial vehicles will stipulate a minimum required number of practical behind-the-wheel driving hours, in-yard hours and theoretical instructional hours. ICBC is the regulatory body for driver training schools and instructors in B.C. and is consulting with the commercial driving industry, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to finalize the curriculum.

“Safer Roads Canada is pleased to see British Columbia join the other western provinces in rolling out a MELT program that takes into account the challenging driving conditions and terrain in this province, including winding, narrow mountain passes and icy highways,” said Lawrence and Ginny Hunter, Safer Roads Canada board members, whose 18-year-old son Logan was fatally injured in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash. “We hope this program succeeds in putting better-skilled new drivers on Canada’s roadways so future tragedies can be prevented. This is a step in the right direction in recognizing the challenging conditions these workers face every day on our roads.”

The program will be delivered by licensed driver training schools in B.C. beginning in early summer 2021. Consultation with the trucking and driver training industries in 2019 has provided valuable input to support the development of B.C.’s MELT program.

The Class 1 MELT program is being designed to align with the new Standard 16-Class 1 Entry-Level Training framework introduced as part of the National Safety Code in February 2020, and with mandatory Class 1 entry-level training standards in other Canadian jurisdictions.

Legislation to support the introduction of B.C.’s Class 1 MELT program was passed in August 2020 by the Province in Bill 2, the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2020.

Quotes:

Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO, ICBC –

“Confidence and experience behind the wheel are important in any vehicle, but it is especially important to have the confidence of good training when driving a large commercial vehicle. Future Class 1 drivers completing the MELT program will have a combination of on-road experience and theory, making them a competent addition to the industry, operating safely on B.C. roads.”

David Earle, president, BC Trucking Association –

“MELT will improve the behind-the-wheel driver training for people before they become commercial drivers, which will ultimately improve safety on our roads. Creating a higher standard of competence before people can be licensed will help improve driver decision-making, leading to fewer mistakes on the road. The BCTA is supportive of this positive move by the provincial government, as the new driver training program will benefit us all.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s MELT program for Class 1 drivers will exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard 16 for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers.
  • Existing B.C. Class 1 drivers will be exempt from MELT.
  • Effective Oct. 18, 2021, individuals applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver’s licence must complete an ICBC-approved Class 1 MELT course before attempting an ICBC Class 1 road test.
  • If you are in mid-process of applying for a Class 1 driver’s licence and hold a valid Class 1 learner’s licence, more information on what this change means for you is available at: icbc.com

Learn More:

For ICBC’s FAQs for commercial drivers and driving schools, visit: https://dtcbc.com/driving-schools/melt/default.asp

For general ICBC Class 1 MELT program information for drivers: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Get-your-commercial-driver-licence.aspx

For a list of funding and grant opportunities for applicants interested enrolling in a Class 1 MELT course: www.gov.bc.ca/vehiclesafety/training-grant

For more information about commercial vehicle safety in B.C., visit Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement: www.cvse.ca

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Certificate of Recognition (COR) Incentive Payments Changes Coming

Change to how you receive incentive payments

Beginning in May/June 2021, Certificate of Recognition (COR) financial incentives will no longer be mailed as physical cheques. Instead, if you meet the program’s incentive eligibility criteria, the payment will be credited directly to your WorkSafeBC account. This change will eliminate delays in reimbursement created by mail delivery disruptions or outdated contact information, will eliminate the step requiring you to deposit your cheque, and will reduce our environmental footprint. If you have any questions about this change, please email partners.program@worksafebc.com.

Financial incentives are an important part of the certificate of recognition (COR) program, so it’s necessary for employers to understand the process and criteria they must meet to be considered for an incentive.

If you are an employer who has achieved COR certification and are in good standing with WorkSafeBC, you will be considered for an incentive approval.

It’s important to note that incentives and COR certificates are two different streams. You may have a valid certificate and still not be approved for an incentive.

Process
To be eligible for an incentive, there are a number of steps involved after registering in the program.

After completing all required training and meeting other program standards, you must successfully pass your certification audit in order to be considered for an incentive for that year. In each of the following years (years two and three), you must successfully pass your annual maintenance audit to maintain your certification and to be considered for an incentive. In other words, you must have successfully obtained or maintained your certification for the incentive year to be considered eligible for an incentive.

Once your audit has been completed and verified, your certifying partner will update your status with WorkSafeBC indicating you are eligible for COR certification. In the year following your audit, WorkSafeBC will check to see if your company or organization is in good standing. After this verification, you will receive either a letter regarding your incentive status or an incentive cheque.

Criteria
To be considered for an incentive, your organization must:

  • Have achieved or maintained your certificate in the previous year (in other words, you conducted and passed an audit that met the certifying partner’s verification process)
  • Be in good standing with WorkSafeBC in the current year

To be approved for an incentive, your organization must be in good standing with WorkSafeBC. Your organization will not be approved for an incentive if, in the previous year, you have:

  • Engaged in activity that would cause WorkSafeBC to impose, or consider imposing, an administrative penalty
  • Suppressed claims for compensation or a claim cost
  • An outstanding balance related to your WorkSafeBC employer account
  • Failed to register with WorkSafeBC
  • Not reported payroll to WorkSafeBC for the audit year
  • Engaged in any misconduct WorkSafeBC considers inconsistent with participation in the COR program

This list comes from Assessment policy AP1-42-4.

Overview of timing and scheduling
WorkSafeBC initially considers certificates for incentive payments in the second quarter of the following year. The beginning of the second quarter is when the Partners Program considers payroll for the previous year to be stabilized. If the incentive is not paid by the end of the second quarter, the audit is reconsidered for incentive three more times before the following year.

For example, if your organization is certified at any point this calendar year, it will be considered for an incentive as early as the second quarter of the following year. You can expect to receive a cheque and/or correspondence by the end of June. Please contact our office after July 1 if you have not received a cheque and/or correspondence related to the prior-year audit.

Incentive amount
WorkSafeBC uses the following calculation to determine the incentive amount:

Employer’s reported assessable payroll x (CU base rate / 100) x 10%

See also
Find your classification unit, industry, or rate
Report payroll & pay premiums

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ICBC and Police Urge Drivers to Leave their Phone Alone

A new Ipsos survey reveals that most drivers believe that texting (95 per cent), talking (88 per cent), or even just looking at (80 per cent) your handheld phone while driving is risky, and yet 38 per cent still admit to using their phone at least once in every ten trips.​

Since B.C.’s distracted driving law came into effect in January 2010, more than 455,000 tickets have been issued to drivers for using an electronic device while driving.

More than one in every four fatal crashes on B.C. roads involve distracted driving, which is why police and ICBC continue to educate and enforce this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 78 lives each year.*

This month, drivers will be hearing one message – leave your phone alone when you’re behind the wheel.

Police across B.C. are ramping up distracted driving enforcement during March, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phones alone. The campaign also features radio ads, digital advertising and social media.

Any activity that takes away your focus on the road is a distraction, but studies show that using electronic devices, like smart phones, is one of the most common and riskiest forms of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is the second leading contributing factor in traffic fatalities in B.C., behind speeding and ahead of impaired driving, and is the top contributing factor in police-reported injury crashes.

ICBC is dedicated to helping all British Columbians stay safe on the road. For more information, check out tips and statistics on icbc.com.

Quotes:
Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Police across the province continue to put a strong focus on removing distracted drivers from our roads to help keep British Columbia’s roads safe. When you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for the care and control of that vehicle and the safety of all those around you – that means there is no time for distractions like your cellphone, even when stopped in traffic. Keep your eyes and focus on the road because no distraction is worth the risk of causing preventable serious injuries or deaths.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs & Driver Licensing

“Even short glances away from the road increases your risk of crashing. Safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”

Regional statistics*:
Every year, on average, 25 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

Every year, on average, 31 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Police data from 2015 to 2019. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

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International Roadcheck Set for May 4-6 with Emphasis on Lighting and Hours of Service

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set May 4-6 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck.

Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

“CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.”

Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations. Inspections of motorcoaches, passenger vans and other passenger-carrying vehicles also include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.

Inspectors will be looking for critical vehicle inspection item violations, outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. If such violations are found, the vehicle will be placed out of service, which means that vehicle cannot be operated until the identified out-of-service conditions have been corrected.

Vehicles that successfully pass inspection, without any critical vehicle inspection item violations found after a completed Level I or Level V Inspection, should receive a CVSA decal. In general, vehicles with a CVSA decal are not re-inspected during the three-month period during which the decal is valid. Instead, inspectors focus their efforts on vehicles without a valid CVSA decal.

Also during an inspection, inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment. A driver will be placed out of service if an inspector discovers driver-related out-of-service conditions.

Each year, CVSA asks its member jurisdictions to capture and report data focusing on a certain category of violations during International Roadcheck. This helps bring awareness to certain aspects of a roadside inspection. This year, inspectors will capture data on two categories, corresponding to the two main inspection categories of the North American Standard Level I Inspection – driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. For the driver category, hours of service will be highlighted this year, and for the vehicle category, inspectors will be paying special attention to lighting.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the lighting violation “lamps inoperable” (Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 393.9) was the number one vehicle violation in fiscal 2020, accounting for approximately 12.24% of all vehicle violations discovered that year. And during last year’s International Roadcheck, the top driver out-of-service violation category in North America was hours of service, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.

“It’s important to remember that International Roadcheck is a data collection effort,” said Sgt. Samis. “The inspections conducted during the three days of International Roadcheck are no different from the inspections conducted any other day of the year. Other than data collection, the inspection process is the same.”

As was the case last year, in consideration of COVID-19, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols during 2021 International Roadcheck.

In addition, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, every effort will be made to get vaccine shipments to their destination, quickly and safely. COVID-19 vaccine shipments will not be held up for inspection, unless there is an obvious serious violation that is an imminent hazard.

International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and its National Guard.


Stay up to date and sign up for one of our newsletters for more information on Commercial Vehicle Safety, Occupational Health and Safety and more!

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2021 WorkSafeBC Student Safety Video Contest

Submit your original production for a chance to win cash!

Theme — I am doing my part

When workplaces in B.C. are healthy and safe, they contribute to a safe and healthy province. Every person in the workplace can contribute by doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. How are you doing your part?

The theme of this year’s contest — I am doing my part — challenges students to create a self-filmed video (maximum two minutes) that explores how young workers can stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the workplace. Think about how diseases spread and how you can protect yourself and your co-workers from being exposed. Consider how following health protocols and procedures established by employers help to keep us all safe and healthy.

Video considerations
This year, to ensure physical distancing, you must work independently and film the video yourself rather than in a team. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a creative way to get your message across. All styles of video are fair game: drama, comedy, documentary, music video, stop-motion, animation — the choice is yours! (Note: only live-action productions will be considered for the bonus prize of the Actsafe Aspiring Filmmaker Award. For more details on this prize, see Bonus prize below, or visit actsafe.ca).

Need inspiration?

Check out the winning videos from 2006 to 2020.

To learn more about COVID-19 protocols for different industries and what they mean for workers and employers, visit the COVID-19 information and resources page on worksafebc.com.

Eligibility and prizes
You can enter the contest if you’re a B.C. student in grades 8 to 12 with a teacher or youth organization sponsor. There’s one category for students in grades 8 to 10 and one for students in grades 11 and 12.

There’s $10,000 in prize money to be awarded to the winning students and their schools or youth organizations. Entries will be judged on the impact of their safety message, original creative concept, and technical execution. The top entry will win additional prize money from the Focus on Safety Youth Video Contest and compete for additional prizes in its national competition, with support from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).

How to submit your video
Post your video on YouTube, then have your teacher or youth organization sponsor fill out the entry form and include the link to your video. We’ll review your video and if it meets our criteria (no inappropriate language or images and no copyrighted music, please), we’ll post your entry on our website. After submitting your YouTube link, you can also post your video on Instagram. Don’t forget to follow @WorkSafeBC and use the hashtag #SVCWorkSafeBC.

For more details, see the contest rules and the entry form.

Don’t want to make a video but still want to participate?

You can participate by viewing and rating your favourite videos. Check worksafebc.com regularly to see new videos as they are posted — and remember to get your family and friends to rate their favourites too!

Deadline

Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. But remember, the sooner you post your video, the more time people will have to view and rate it.

2021 contest sponsors

Actsafe websiteLondon Drugs websiteSeaspan websiteWorkSafeBC website

 

 


Bonus prize

One lucky creative student will win the Actsafe Aspiring Filmmaker Award, which includes tickets to the 2022 Actsafe Entertainment Safety Conference, screening of the film at a future Directors Guild of Canada event, and more! For more details, visit actsafe.ca. (Note: only live-action production will be considered for the Actsafe award.)

Questions?

Email yworker@worksafebc.com

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ICBC’s Trailblazing Road Improvement Program Celebrates 30 years of Safer Roads and Over 7,500 Projects​

For the past 30 years, ICBC’s road improvement program has championed innovations in road safety such as modern roundabouts and road safety audits, and invested over $209 million in 7,688 projects.

ICBC’s road improvement team is made up of engineers from across the province who work closely with local and provincial government to provide road safety expertise and research.

ICBC’s road improvement projects have reduced severe crashes – those resulting in serious injuries or fatalities – by an average of 24 per cent and reduced property damage claims by 15 per cent, according to a 2014 evaluation report of treatment sites.

When ICBC launched the road improvement program in 1990, it was the first of its kind in North America and became the model for other programs including State Farm’s Dangerous Intersections program in the U.S. and AAA Michigan’s Road Improvement Demonstration program.

“Since 1990, we’ve invested more than $209 million in road improvement projects and studies across B.C. which has helped save lives and prevent injuries on our roads,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO. “We’re proud of this program and the work of our engineers, and will continue to invest in road safety to make roads safer for everyone.”

In its initial decade of operation (1990 to 2000), the program helped co-fund a broad range of projects including rumble strips, signals, barrier installations and intersection re-design. ICBC also looked at improving visibility on B.C. roads with upgraded highly-reflective road signs and replacing stop signs.

ICBC championed two innovations in the second decade (2000-2010) – modern roundabouts and road safety audits. To date, ICBC has participated in 82 roundabouts throughout B.C., including numerous studies. Roundabouts are effective at reducing the frequency and severity of intersection crashes. Since vehicles aren’t forced to stop, they also reduce delays, congestion, noise, fuel consumption and emissions. Road safety audits are used to evaluate safety concerns and identify improvements at the design stage of a project to ensure safety issues are fully considered before construction begins.

In the last decade (2010 to 2020), ICBC has continued to work on improving high-crash and high-risk locations. This includes major projects on high-risk corridors such as Highway 3 from Princeton to Hope, reviewing sign and pavement markings for upgrades to best practices, expanding the roundabout program to new communities and completing numerous road safety audits.

Over the past 30 years, ICBC’s Road Improvement Program has won numerous awards, including the Transportation Association of Canada Decade of Action Road Safety Award in 2015 and the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award from RoadSafe in 2002.

The road improvement program is one aspect of ICBC’s commitment to help make B.C. roads safer. ICBC’s road safety investments focus on the systemic causes of crashes – drivers, roads and vehicles – and support programs that are proven to prevent crashes and help keep everyone safer.

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Truck Restrictions Make the Coq Safer

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Restrictions imposed on commercial vehicles on British Columbia’s Coquihalla Highway have helped reduce winter closures on the province’s busiest mountain pass, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said late Tuesday.

There were 11 closures on the highway last winter, compared to 27 in 2017-18, the ministry said.

“Enhanced chain regulations and the ‘No Trucks in Left Lane’ pilot program have both made positive impacts on the safety and reliability of the Coquihalla Highway,” the ministry said in an email to Today’s Trucking.

The province said it implemented several initiatives aimed at improving the reliability of its highways following the “challenging winter of 2017-18”.

But the ministry stressed that comparing seasons is very difficult.

That is because the severity of winter is made up of numerous variables such as the snowfall amount, number of storms, temperatures and wind, which are different from year-to-year, the ministry said.

The “No Trucks in Left Lane” was initially applied to the most treacherous part of the highway. It has since been expanded to other sections.

“Positive feedback has been one of the largest driving forces for the expansion of the pilot program to other locations along the Coquihalla Highway.”

When extreme weather is forecast on the Hope to Merritt section of the Coquihalla, the ministry and the local maintenance contractor implement what is referred to as the Coquihalla Snowshed Protocol.

The protocol has been in place for many years.

“Under the Snowshed Protocol, our contractor deploys additional resources to the area, and hires a tow truck to be on standby in case a commercial vehicle spins out,” the ministry said.

The protocol comes into force when more than 15 centimeters of snowfall over a 12-hour period is predicted for the Snowshed corridor, according to the ministry’s website.

“Its sole purpose is to make sure we can maintain safe and uninterrupted travel through the corridor during heavy snowfall or other challenging weather event.”

Last winter, the protocol was implemented 11 times, the ministry said.

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Behind the Wheel: Rick Rabbitt

Driving means learning every day.

SafetyDriven features Rick Rabbitt, one of our experienced drivers. We are never too old or so experienced that we can’t learn something, especially about safety. Sharing our stories is a great way to learn from each other.

Rick Rabbitt has been on the road for a long time. He passed his driving test in January 1986—that’s nearly 35 years ago, if you’re counting.

Rabbitt’s career began in maintenance before he ever got behind the wheel. He was brought up around trucks and equipment, learning from his dad and uncles how to look after vehicles before they taught him to drive. That experience gave him an appreciation for what it means to keep gear in good condition; he saw first-hand the cost of neglect in damaged equipment. It is far more costly to repair than to maintain equipment and worth the time it takes to repair something before it becomes a problem rather than put it off for just one more trip.

During his career, Rabbitt has driven logging trucks, dispatched trucks for the oil patch, been a supervisor with a fuel company, and been a Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officer. Today, he drives for Alchemist Specialty Carriers, driving tandem or tri-drive roll-off bins, tandem tractors hauling 53-foot vans, and B-train fuel tankers, end dumps, and roll-off trailers. He mainly does day trips now and the occasional load from Washington State, Logan Lake, and Kamloops.

Rabbitt estimates he has driven well over 2 million miles and has won a few safety awards, mainly for accident-free miles, which he humbly has forgotten the names of. Over all those miles, he has had close calls, mainly due to animals, weather, or traffic conditions, and a few incidents. He was accident-free until December 16, 2018. On that day—the day before his birthday—he was eastbound on Highway 5, the Coquihalla, travelling well under the 120 kph speed limit in winter conditions, when he encountered a vehicle with its 4-way flashers on. He used his engine brake to slow down, but the truck locked up and began to skid. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the truck was damaged and the trailer written off. Rabbitt says the accident was avoidable, as the road conditions were okay except for black ice.

Black ice is a hazard for any driver; professional drivers need to be especially vigilant, knowing when it can form (early morning and evening, especially when the temperature is between minus 5 degrees celcius and plus 5 degrees celcius), and watching for signs of it (vehicles ahead sliding is a good one; a slight sheen on the road may be another). Rabbitt says he encountered the same conditions twice last year and notes that being in a hurry to finish work often ends in an incident. There is no excuse, he says, especially for drivers of his experience. “Keeping your eyes and mind on the task is the ONLY way to avoid such mishaps.” The lesson learned, ultimately, is to stay home during extreme weather if you can. No load is worth injury, loss of life, or loss of the load and equipment.

Rabbitt notes that, while you might make mistakes, drivers should remember that accidents are avoidable. Drivers with plenty of experience can be safer and better drivers, but they can also become complacent. “Every day I drive, I learn more,” he says, recommending safety, courtesy, and professionalism in all things. “Be the driver you were when you passed your driving test.”


Have a great safety-related story or experience to share? Let us know! Contact SafetyDriven at 1-877-414-8001 or info@safetydriven.ca

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Kool Pak Canada ULC – Safety is Cool!

You might say Kool Pak Canada ULC is a cool company. It transports and warehouses frozen, chilled, refrigerated, and dry products.

Formerly Polar Express Transportation, Kool Pak is headquartered in Langley, BC, and celebrated 20 years in business in 2020. The company serves the Vancouver – Seattle corridor and offers less-than-truckload (LTL) and full-truckload (FTL) transportation services, with five temperature-controlled facilities in BC, Washington, Oregon, and Northern and Southern California. In January 2012, Polar Express joined Kool Pak’s transportation companies, which provide services across the contiguous United States.

With expansion, it was obvious a formal safety program was required. In 2015, Kavita Kohli was offered the opportunity to take on Kool Pak’s safety management. She charged ahead, learning as she went, taking SafetyDriven courses, becoming an internal auditor, to build Kool Pak’s safety program from scratch. The company became COR certified in 2017. It has 29 employees, including 15 drivers and owner operators.

Kavita recalls establishing policies and forming the safety committee with the support and approval of the executive at every step. Staff buy-in was immediate overall—drivers, warehouse workers, and office staff—which Kavita credits to “having really good staff who understand the value of safety. Everyone from the president down supports company safety.” Shortly after the program was implemented, Kool Pak held its first Safety Day to reinforce the importance of an operative safety program. It was very effective with the staff and with drivers in particular.

Left to right: Raymond Toovey, Terminal Manager; Harprit Gupta, Customer Service Representative; Kavita Kohli, Safety Manager; Angie Burkert, Accounts Manager; Jamie Plowman, President and General Manager

Kool Pak’s safety program involves everyone. The safety committee comprises one manager, one warehouse and one office staff member. Drivers have plenty of opportunity to participate when they aren’t on the road. The safety culture is open; all staff members receive the same information and everyone can bring their ideas and suggestions to regular safety meetings. SafetyDriven resources often inspire meeting topics.

Drivers and staff raise issues like workplace hazards, personal safety such as preventing back problems, incidents, near-misses, roadside accidents, and general driving practices. Suggestions are discussed in the meeting to decide if they will work on the ground as presented or with alterations. Managers and supervisors perform random spot checks, providing feedback immediately, and incidents are reviewed at safety meetings. The review gives the team the opportunity to support employees who are having problems and discuss safety practices. For drivers on the road, regular emails provide updates. For more immediate situations, drivers are called to ensure they remain informed. Regular communication with all staff helps improve the safety program continually.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kool Pak stocked up on personal protective equipment and introduced new protocols. Staff arriving at the worksite undergo a temperature check before their shift. Anyone with a fever is required to stay home; those whose jobs are conducive to working from home can do so. Before starting work in the office, staff sanitize their work stations. They wear gloves to handle paperwork and sanitize counters every hour. Drivers have their own office for paperwork with similar protocols. Only one driver can use the office at a time—they must wait in the warehouse if the office is occupied—and they are required to clean surfaces before working. A COVID update is provided every Monday.

The best reward of any safety program is, of course, keeping everyone safe, but Kool Pak ups the ante by offering cash and prizes. Annual Safety Days are held in September and October to reward those who have exhibited exceptional safety practices. Prizes, such as household items or Tim Horton’s gift cards, are awarded. The top prize for excellent safety performance is $250 in cash. Drivers with clean roadside inspections get $75 for level 1 and $50 for levels 2 and 3. Safety Days are also opportunities to remind drivers and staff about safety topics; during the pandemic, that has meant personal calls from Kavita to every driver out of town.

Along the way, Kool Pak has been awarded for its safety performance with the Overall Winner of Trucking Award from the National Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH) in 2019 and an honourable mention in 2018. The safety committee won SafetyDriven’s Safety and Health Week Team Champion award in 2018 and the warehouse manager won an Individual award in 2019. And Kavita herself won an Individual Champion award from SafetyDriven in 2018 and Safety and Health Week Champion from NAOSH in 2019.

Though Kool Pak may seem pretty chill, when it comes to safety, it’s all business.


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WorkSafeBC Innovation at Work Grant and Research Training Awards

Do you have an idea that could help improve workplace health and safety? Develop your idea into a practical solution with funding from one of our WorkSafeBC research programs. A

Apply for the Innovation grant

Important dates:

Competition launch: November 23, 2020

Application form due: February 12, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Apply for the Research Training Awards

Important dates:

Competition launch: November 23, 2020

Application form due: January 29, 2021 at 4 p.m.

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