Trimac Transportation: Service With Safety

At Trimac, “service with safety” is more than a motto. A solid safety culture is the company’s core.

Jack McCaig launched Trimac Transportation (then known as McCaig Cartage) in 1932 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Since then, while the company has transformed many times, it has maintained its family roots, being led by the McCaig family and Jack’s three sons, Bud, Roger, and Maurice. Today, the company has grown to become the leading bulk carrier in North America. Trimac fills a niche within the trucking sector, transporting the raw materials to make the goods we all need and want.  

To say that safety is important to Trimac would be an understatement; Alex Guariento, VP Safety, describes the company’s safety culture as “a marathon” of learning. Everyone at the company is empowered by Trimac’s safety commitments: 

  • I make safety a part of every decision 
  • I make safety personal 
  • I have the courage to intervene 

These three simple statements are powerful because they set individuals up for safety success. 

While safety has always been important, an accident in 2018 compelled a conscious safety program. A tanker explosion at a facility in Newfoundland prompted many questions about how it happened, but more importantly, how the company let it happen. Fortunately, no one was injured and the Trimac leadership realized safety needed to be prioritized better to reduce situations where accidents could happen. 

That incident was the main driver behind Trimac’s Rooted in Safety program. Guariento notes that it’s not a set of rules or policy book dictating from the top down; rather, it is a learning culture that promotes proactive safety practices to engage everyone from the ground up. Year over year, it has resulted in significant accomplishments, such as earning the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) Competitive Safety Award three times; the prestigious award recognizes the best safety program and record for the year by a tank truck operator in North America. 

Every aspect of the company’s work is part of its safety culture, including scheduling, tools, procedures, and behaviours. A person working safely is recognized. A mishap is an opportunity to learn. People watch out for each other. Drivers are integral to Trimac’s safety record as they take their safety culture on the road; they are mindful of their own and clients’ safety. Their empowerment within the company has helped them support clients when unsafe practices have gone unnoticed because a long-standing process was never questioned. The result has been risk reduction in their own and clients’ facilities. 

Guariento says communication drives Trimac’s safety culture; at home, toolbox talks, bulletins, monthly meetings, and everyday opportunities for discussion help staff stay safety-aware. For drivers on the road, onboard tech connects drivers to supervisors and safety videos allow drivers to keep up with the company’s in-house training program, which includes Safety Tune-ups—short safety videos that drivers can watch at day’s end or while their truck is being unloaded. Regular safety communiques cover every aspect of Trimac’s work.  

Drivers of bulk carriers log lots of time away. Trimac encourages drivers to use the Headversity app, which supports mental health by focusing on mindfulness. Managers keep an eye out for behaviour that could signal someone is struggling.  

During the pandemic, as Area Manager Besnik Gasi notes, Trimac “doubled down on communication” to keep everyone—drivers, mechanics, loaders, office staff—safe. They established a pandemic response committee to oversee daily updates, PPE purchasing for all locations, best practices for physical distancing and sanitizing, and how to minimize contact with shippers and delivery locations. The technology already in place supported new processes, such as scanning documents from in-cab computers to minimize contact with others, and helped office staff transition to working remotely.  

 They held virtual safety meetings and training. They partnered with customers to ensure driver safety and establish mutual solutions to follow COVID guidelines on-site, which included allowing washroom and shower access for drivers. There has been a silver lining to the pandemic; Gasi notes experiencing the “uncertainties of the pandemic with minimal face time has brought teams closer and they’ve been able to leverage technology to fill gaps and operate safely in the communities they serve.” 

 Trimac is a good place to work, as evidenced by being named a Top Fleet Employer in 2021 and a Top Company for Women to Work For in Transportation four years in a row (2018 – 2021). Trimac supports Women Building Futures (WBF) and Women in Trucking (WiT). They also support a women’s Youth Apprenticeship Program and have an active Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging council that educates and engages teams on the issue. Their policies regarding women and a diverse workforce are particularly important today, given the commercial driver shortage. 

Trimac became COR-certified in Alberta in 2004 and in BC in 2014; the company is COR-certified as a large employer. 

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At R.J. Fisher, it’s all in the family

Ronald “Ronnie” Joseph Fisher, founder of R.J. Fisher Transport, always said the secret to his success was being a family man.

Shelby Fisher and her father Ronald J. Fisher

After driving for 15 years, including three within the modular building industry, Ronnie Fisher started his own company near Vernon, BC, in 1991 by himself, with just one truck. He gradually added a pilot car and driver. Now R.J. Fisher has four trucks and drivers, three pilot vehicles and one pilot driver, and an installation crew. They sub-contract pilot driving and crane operations.

To Ronnie, building his business was building a good life for his family. He hired family members, he said, because he had “to give the bums a job” but they didn’t get a free ride; he expected family to exhibit the same values and work ethic as he did and the same concern for clients. He was known for treating his employees like family, sharing in their successes and losses, and telling one-liner dad jokes.

Ronnie passed away in the spring of 2021. His legacy is the family business that continues his work, with people who are, like him, dedicated to the highway and its safety. Today, Ronnie’s daughter, Shelby, is the owner and president. She started with the company as a pilot vehicle driver seven years ago, worked in the office for two years, and assumed the reins in January 2021. But she didn’t come into the company as a newbie; she grew up in the office, bugging her dad to teach her the business. Drivers who worked for her dad and saw her grow up now work for her. It’s a unique situation.

Shelby says she was a bit nervous at first that these experienced professionals might not want to follow her lead, but she says they treat her with respect and are still the great team her dad put together. She continues to maintain the positive work environment that Ronnie inspired at R.J. Fisher where team members are both friends and family, making sure she extends that ethos to people new to their group. She is proving herself by taking the company into the future, “making things better in the best way possible,” to help it grow and thrive.

Moving large things is hazardous, with lots of moving parts. It takes intensive training to make sure workers and drivers are aware of the risks. The mechanics of hauling buildings hasn’t changed; it uses safety chains, cranes, and strapping over the roofs, which becomes more dangerous as the weather changes. A big hazard is the lack of truck awareness on the road; other drivers’ actions are often unsafe. The pilot vehicle drivers are there to support the truck drivers and to help make other drivers aware of the over-sized load. Shelby is proud of the company’s clean safety record and attributes it to the company’s great work environment.

The COVID pandemic did not slow R.J. Fisher’s work. Each driver drives the same truck all the time and their work doesn’t require much contact with others, so the team was essentially its own bubble. They wore masks as required and sanitized vehicle cabs if the vehicle had been out for maintenance; the cleaning practice will be retained after the pandemic to mitigate catching other viruses that can keep people off work.

R.J. Fisher Transport is working toward COR certification. It’s among the changes Shelby knows are necessary to continue the company’s success. Safety training is mainly done internally and supplemented by specific courses, such as first aid or Fall Arrest training, but will branch out as they expand the installation team.

Safety communication is managed in person; Shelby maintains an open-door policy; connects with each driver at the end of the day, realizing that being alone can be difficult; and is never more than a phone call or text away. The trucks are blue-tooth enabled, so drivers can reach out as needed. The work is such that drivers are often away for several days, or not—they could just as well be in the Vernon area for extended periods. At the end of each month, the team gathers as a family to mark their successes.

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At Urban Impact Recycling Ltd., Safety is the Job

Work safety tops the list of core cultural values at Urban Impact Recycling Ltd. In the competitive waste and recycling sector, Urban Impact sets itself apart through its 13 core values, the primary one being “safety is our priority, always.”

When the family-owned business was founded in 1989, it was the Lower Mainland’s first multi-material recycling company. It began with one truck and has grown to 35 that include rear load trucks, front loaders, tractors, roll-off trucks, and onsite shred trucks serving more than 6,500 customer locations from Whistler to Chilliwack. Urban Impact

Urban Impact has three operating divisions—Trucking, Plant, and Maintenance—that include 36 drivers and six maintenance workers, many of whom have been with the company for many years. The staff enjoys a family environment; CEO Nicole Stefenelli says, “ we work hard to keep our family of drivers working safely and efficiently.” She adds that the company’s cultural values unify the teams, who work together to provide outstanding customer service.

Safety Coordinator Elaine Leong, who joined Urban Impact in 2021, remarks the Urban Impact originally felt the safety value was enough as it was “simple, direct and clear,” and boosted the message to be more compelling. Over time, they added a second, more poignant, message that is displayed on all training material, signage, and documentation: “Work Safely. Make it home tonight. Family and friends depend on it.”

One of the core principles of the company’s safety program is that safety must be a lived value from the ground up. Other cultural values support the primary mandate, including:

• Genuinely care about people we work with. We are a flexible and fair employer.
• Be approachable. Staff have full access to our leadership team.
• Support staff’s health and wellness.

Safety is communicated via bulletin boards that promote safety themes, but mainly through toolbox talks, known as the Safety Sandwich; the “bread” creates the form of the sandwich—the top slice is policy, training, and procedures, and the bottom is commitment, day-to-day feedback, and learning. In the middle are safety and safety meetings. The Safety Sandwich is served up using video, Power Point, and in-person discussion.

Following the lead of CEO Nicole Stefenelli, Urban Impact Recycling Ltd. embraces technology to communicate effectively, which includes using apps to send out bulletins about safety concerns such as using equipment to move heavy loads, using safe techniques for pushing and pulling bins, and using three-point contact when entering and exiting a truck.

Drivers have access to an app for reporting issues on the road, including submitting photos. The app was useful when a driver was injured at a client’s site where bricks had been used to mark the bays instead of painted lines. The driver, using the proper

Urban Impact

three-point contact, stepped down onto the bricks and turned his ankle. He was able to report the incident, complete with pictures, right away.

One way Urban Impact incentivizes safety is through the Driver of the Month award, which recognizes safety and customer service. It’s an important tool to recognize team members’ outstanding commitment to safe operations. Criteria for the award include excellent attendance; no damage, accidents, tickets; no disciplinary issues; receiving compliments rather than complaints; completing paperwork properly; keeping the truck cab clean and being well turned-out in the company uniform; and showing improved productivity or meeting targets.

The pandemic brought additional safety considerations, which Urban Impact Recycling Ltd., as an essential service, met by exceeding requirements with their COVID 19 plan. The priority was to keep teams safe on their own and customers’ sites. Stefenelli says, “to continue to deliver Toolboxes weekly with meaning and purpose, we moved outside but also used several apps to deliver content for the safety topics.”
Recognizing that vaccinations are a personal choice, Urban Impact offered help to team members who wanted to get themselves and their families vaccinated. They addressed physical distancing requirements by making physical changes that will remain after the pandemic—additional lunch areas and restrooms—and establishing separate entrances and having administrative and customer service teams work from home.

The Trucking division recently celebrated 333 days with no lost-time incidents, an internal record and major accomplishment. They celebrate each 100 such days with a shared meal or a commemorative hat or shirt. The celebration and the fun that goes with it are shared with the other teams. The Plant division recently celebrated their first 100 days with no lost-time incidents.

The company is not yet COR Certified but they are working toward it and intend to attain it in 2022. Urban Impact keeps a close eye on a variety of key safety performance indicators, which are communicated to the managers and supervisor each month for monitoring and communicating results. They continuously build on their safety program as they strive to reach their goal of zero incidents and zero accidents.

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Asking all drivers to Be Truck Aware

If you bought it, a truck brought it! Trucks and their drivers are essential to our economy. Share the road safely.

A fully loaded tractor-trailer weighs up to 63,500 kg (140,000 lbs). An average passenger vehicle weighs 1,800 kg (4,000 lbs). That’s a huge weight differential to take on when a motorist does something unsafe on the road.

Professional drivers see it too often—motorists taking some pretty unsafe actions around commercial transport vehicles. Every year in BC, approximately 60 people are killed in traffic crashes between passenger vehicles and large commercial vehicles.

And every day, truck drivers see close calls. For example, motorists pass commercial trucks, then merge immediately in front of them. It’s unsafe to do this because these large trucks need extra room to stop or turn. A fully loaded transport truck travelling at 65 km/h (40 mph) takes 36 percent longer to brake and stop than a passenger car travelling at the same speed. A fully loaded transport truck travelling at 105 km/h (65 mph) takes 66 percent longer to brake and stop than a passenger car travelling at the same speed.

Studies in North America show that, in fatal car-truck crashes, the driver of the passenger vehicle is at fault in at least 60 percent of the incidents. Studies also show that, in collisions between cars and large trucks, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are at least four times more likely to be killed than the driver of the truck.

Be truck aware

What does it take to operate a large commercial vehicle?

Few people know what it’s like to drive a large commercial vehicle. Motorists might change their perspective about sharing the road and their driving habits if they realized what it takes to operate a large commercial vehicle. The Be Truck Aware Alliance, a coalition of BC road safety stakeholders, offers this advice for passenger vehicle drivers:

• Leave space. Large trucks need extra room to stop and to turn. Don’t take away their turning or braking room.
• Don’t merge too soon. When passing a truck, make sure you can see both of its headlights in your rear-view mirror before merging back into the lane. If you merge too soon, the truck driver may not be able to see you or to stop in time to avoid a crash.
• Be visible around trucks. Either slow down or move well ahead of large trucks to stay out of the truck driver’s blind spots.
• Anticipate wide turns. Watch for trucks making wide swings to turn right. Never drive ahead in the right lane beside a turning truck.

Remember that trucks take longer to pull away from an intersection and to stop than a passenger vehicle. Be truck aware!

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Congratulations to Central Island Distributors Ltd.!

SafetyDriven – Trucking Safety Council of BC salutes the excellent work of Central Island Distributors for attaining the 2020 Certificate of Recognition (COR) Achievement of Excellence Award as well as the Best Overall Large Employer COR Award.

Central Island Distributors Ltd., known by its customers as CID, has more than 29 years of transportation industry experience. The company specializes in less than truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) overnight service between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. They are a trusted carrier for a large customer base of partner carriers and individual businesses.

It is a family business, started by father and son team Alex and Dave Dugan in 1992 with one 5-ton truck, one tandem axle tractor, and one 28-foot pup trailer. Since then, the company has grown to 52 power units, 115 trailers, 26 electric power jacks, and 12 forklifts distributed among their cross-dock facilities in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Delta.

As a growing concern, Central Island Distributors wanted to ensure they were safety compliant in all their locations. Ron King, Fleet Safety and Compliance Manager, took up the gauntlet.

“We wanted to elevate our health and safety program equally across all three of our terminals,” says Ron. “We recognize that much of our company’s strength comes from our well-trained and dedicated staff and I could see that SafetyDriven’s COR program offers structure and training, and it’s easy to follow.”

With his safety team, Earl Galavan, COR Manager at SafetyDriven, supported Ron and Central Island Distributors throughout the entire certification process and will continue to provide support as their safety needs evolve.

“Focusing on safety and continuous improvement is paramount in creating a productive workforce,” Earl explains. “By doing so, not only are you reducing the risk of workplace injury, but you also minimize risk to your operations and financial viability.”

As part of their continuing safety improvements, Central Island Distributors added a safety coordinator to their Victoria terminal to help monitor working conditions and address safety issues as they arise. In addition to regular warehouse, driver, and office staff meetings, they have recently implemented a monthly internal employee newsletter that delivers key safety messages to help everyone understand and retain what they learn. By taking a proactive approach to improvement, Central Island Distributors makes certain that safety is in the forefront and part of everything they do.

Ron notes, “It’s fine to have a safety program on paper, but to instill a culture of safety is an ongoing battle. You need to get the job done but you need to do it in a safe way¬, no matter what the job is. Rather than a safety program being a dusty document on our shelf, we strive to improve upon and incorporate it seamlessly into our daily activities. By adding an element of safety to every discus

sion, our goal is to promote and encourage a healthy company-wide safety culture.”

Expressing his appreciation to the SafetyDriven team for helping to build their health and safety program and guiding the company to COR, Ron says, “Earl has been a very valuable resource, and he offers a lot of insight and advice. Everyone at SafetyDriven is very approachable and responsive. I highly recommend this program. It does require a lot of effort from everyone to pass the COR audit, but once you do it’s well worth it. SafetyDriven makes sure you are well -prepared.”

Congratulations to Central Island Distributors for their success and demonstrating their commitment to a healthy and safe workplace!

The Health and Safety Certificate of Recognition (COR) is awarded to employers who implement and maintain an occupational health and safety management system that meets or exceeds the requirements for COR Certification. Learn more about SafetyDriven’s COR Program.

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Update: Printed COR Certificates

On March 20, 2020, WorkSafeBC stopped printing physical COR certificates in response to COVID protocols.  However, WorkSafeBC continues to publish and maintain all certification details which are publicly available on their website.  Companies requiring verification of their COR certification can access the details at https://corcp.online.worksafebc.com/Home/EmployerSearch.

New process as of October 1st, 2021.  Any companies successfully certifying or recertifying for COR after this date will receive a password protected certificate file in pdf format.  Should a physical copy be needed, the company must make the request to cor@safetydriven.ca who will print and forward a physical copy of the certificate.

Companies who certified or recertified before October 1st, 2021 and require a physical COR certificate, should contact WorkSafeBC with the request at partners.program@worksafebc.com. If there are any questions about this new process, please contact cor@safetydriven.ca

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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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