Phoenix Truck & Crane: Raising the Bar on Safety

“When did you get hurt?” may be the response when you mention safety consciousness. Injuries can have long-term—even career-ending—consequences. An injury was the impetus for Phoenix Truck & Crane to build its rigorous safety program.

Bill Dick founded Phoenix 30 years ago. An owner operator, he experienced companies’ poor treatment of professional drivers. It didn’t sit well with Bill, so he started his own company with the credo that drivers would be respected. From one truck, Phoenix has grown to a fleet of more than 150 owner operators and company-owned cranes.

Trucking has changed since Bill started Phoenix, as has the area around the company’s Coquitlam base. Growth in BC’s Lower Mainland meant high-end projects and higher professional expectations. All companies had to step up their game, including safety practices. Phoenix was there and played a role in establishing the requirements for crane operators to be certified (Fulford Harbour Group Cranesafe Certification).

Bill’s son, Trevor, now the company’s vice-president, was injured in 2011 by a load-related fall. Fully engaged in the industry’s growing emphasis on safety, Bill gave Trevor a blank cheque to create a new safety program, one second-to-none. Trevor found a new calling. He notes that “pain and suffering motivate people to watch out for everyone else.” He developed an entirely new safety program and attained COR certification in only four years.

Trevor acknowledges he had to overcome some resistance to the new safety culture; push-back is common whenever you introduce change. Truck drivers tend to be rugged individualists but many veteran drivers embraced the changes immediately, having learned from experience how important safety is.

When it comes to the team or their loads, Trevor “doesn’t mess around.” There are no corners cut, no grey areas; the first instruction to new drivers is that rules will not be bent and doing so is reason for dismissal. The no-nonsense, practical approach protects drivers and assures clients of an impeccable safety record.

Owner operators undergo two days of training and orientation, including a truck inspection to ensure compliance with Phoenix’s requirements. Daily pre- and post-trip inspection reports exceed industry standards. Random monthly inspections are conducted in the field by a dedicated team whose sole job is to visit owner operators wherever they are. Where the industry used to be about telling drivers to “go there, figure it out,” now scout technical field team members assess sites to resolve problems and safety issues before the vehicle arrives. Phoenix drivers have a services department to support them and ensure no one is ever on their own. Regular monthly safety meetings (by phone during the COVID pandemic), memos, emails, and constant communication provide attaboys and continual learning. And Trevor is always available.

The safety program keeps up with the changing workforce. Millennials, not yet highly represented, are joining the transportation industry. Their expectations differ from previous generations’ — they expect more guidance and respect. Companies have to learn to engage them; one way is a safety program that ensures the company has their backs.

Phoenix has that aced. Their safety culture is enthusiastically embraced at all levels, says Sabrina Christie, Phoenix Sales & Marketing. “People are really proud of our program.” The company’s safety committee members happily proclaim themselves safety geeks, which makes Trevor the chief geek.

The results are safe operations, great reputation, repeat customers, good relationship with WorkSafe, and a happy workforce. And recognition: SafetyDriven’s Large Employer COR Award, 2016; SafetyDriven’s Health and Safety Innovation Award, 2016 and 2018; and four Phoenix drivers were recognized in SafetyDriven’s 2020 Driver Appreciation Week.

Phoenix’s safety program is a pledge to its workers, whether they drive a truck, operate a crane, or occupy a desk. It is summed up in the Phoenix Truck & Crane Occupational Health & Safety Manual: “The personal health and safety of each worker of this company is of primary importance.”


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The Road Ahead: How to Prepare for Bill C-65

The modernization of the Canada Labour Code is having a significant impact on federally regulated workplaces.

Over the past year, the Canadian government has introduced several changes to federal standards including flexible work arrangements, vacation pay, employee termination policies, pay equity, and more.

One important new piece of legislation is Bill C-65, which protects against harassment and violence in the workplace. Bill C-65 introduced the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, which were published in late June. The new legal framework will come into force Jan. 1, 2021, just three months from now.

The new regulations apply to all federally regulated employers, including trucking and logistics companies that operate outside of their home province. These employers now have a legal obligation to understand and implement an anti-harassment framework for their workplaces.

Understanding the issues

Trucking HR Canada is working with Labour Canada to prepare our industry for these changes. This work started a year ago and included the following:

  • Surveying more than 300 industry employees and 100 employers on how workplace harassment and violence affect them;
  • Interviewing employers to probe further into how they manage these issues;
  • Researching best practices in terms of policies and training; and
  • Developing resources and training that will help trucking and logistics companies address harassment and violence in the workplace while ensuring their legal obligations are met, if not exceeded.

Through this work, we have learned a lot about what kinds of issues will be important for the industry as we move closer to the entry into force of the new regulations.

For example, we have learned that trends in trucking and logistics follow those in the general workforce. The industry’s harassment and violence incidence rate of 15% is similar to the Canadian workforce average (16%). Incidences of physical assault (2%) and unwanted sexual attention (2%) are also on par with Canadian averages for these types of incidents, according to Statistics Canada’s most recent General Social Survey (GSS) conducted in 2016.

That doesn’t mean that addressing harassment and violence is any less of a priority for trucking and logistics. In fact, half of the workers polled said that they have been affected by this issue over their career. And many of these incidents go unreported – meaning that employers may not be aware of the degree to which harassment and violence are impacting their workplaces. In fact, harassment and violence are more of a “workplace” issue than many initially thought. While many respondents to our survey believe harassment and violence are more prevalent at a client or customer’s place of business, incidents are far more likely to occur at their own workplaces.

Work to do

Part of the rationale surrounding the emergence of Bill C-65 was to make sure that all federally regulated employers are working from the same rule book when it comes to addressing harassment and violence in the workplace. For the trucking and logistics sector, there may be an adjustment period as employers adapt to new federal obligations. For example, half of the employers we surveyed said they had no formal process for preventing or managing incidents of workplace harassment and violence, and 60% did not provide mandatory workplace harassment or violence training for their employees. This will all have to change under the new framework.

As an industry, we clearly have much to do. It is time to fully recognize workplace harassment and violence as a key moral and operational concern.

Join us

Rest assured, Trucking HR Canada is here to help.

Please join us for an informational webinar Nov. 14 with an attorney who specializes in employment law. The webinar will brief employers on what has changed with the arrival of Bill C-65, cover new regulatory requirements, and discuss key compliance topics.  Trucking HR will also provide details on training and other resources we have developed specifically to support trucking and logistics employers.

For those interested in learning more about how workplace harassment and violence affect our sector, Trucking HR will also soon be releasing a summary report on its findings. Check out our website for more details, and stay tuned as we bring more information your way.


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WorkSafeBC Rate Consultation Sessions

Join WorkSafeBC, and other employers in your region, to learn more about the preliminary rates for your industry and what you can do to reduce injuries, claim costs, and your insurance rate.

Here’s what you can expect

As part of our commitment to continue serving our stakeholders while reducing the potential spread of COVID-19, we are hosting this year’s rate consultation sessions virtually.

The virtual sessions will be presented on a secure online platform. We will email the session link to employers who have registered for a session in advance of the scheduled date. The sessions include a 60-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer period.

The presentation topics include:

  • The financial state of the workers’ compensation system
  • Rate and classification changes
  • How you, as an employer, can influence your rates through improved health and safety and return-to-work activities

Register for one of the sessions

Monday, October 5, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Monday, October 5, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Resources to help you reduce your premium

While your base premium rate is set using the historical costs of injuries for your industry, you have the opportunity to earn a discount for your business by reducing your claim costs.

We offer tools and expert advice on how to do this through injury prevention, workplace safety, and disability management and return-to-work programs for injured workers. For best practices in injury prevention and injury management that could help you lower your costs, visit our industry health and safety pages.

To learn more about what’s driving costs in your industry, browse our industry health and safety data.

If you have a question or feedback

  • Send an email to Rate Consultation
  • Call 604.247.7333
  • Write to WorkSafeBC at PO Box 5350 Stn Terminal, Vancouver BC V6B 5L5

Additional resources and registration

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Registration Open for Second Round of CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program that Helps Reduce Operating Costs

Langley, British Columbia— The BC Trucking Association (BCTA), in partnership with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, announces the second offering of the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency (HDVE) Program.

The Province of British Columbia has committed $1.4 million to a second year of the program that features a course for fleets on fuel management and incentives for the purchase and installation of approved fuel-efficiency devices. For 2020, BCTA will be delivering the CleanBC HDVE Program Course in selected communities and via webinar for trucking companies across British Columbia, with an expanded list of approved devices.

“Our government is pleased to continue supporting the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program in partnership with the BC Trucking Association,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This program is designed to teach participants how to develop a fuel management program that will reduce operating costs associated with fuel. I encourage people in this sector to sign up for this opportunity that will help save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We’re grateful for continued support and commitment from the Province for the CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program, which provides vital funding to assist BC companies in greening their fleets,” says Dave Earle, BCTA president and CEO. “Through the CleanBC HDVE Program, we can collectively do our part in the fight against climate change and, at the same time, implement improvements that put us among the greenest fleets in North America.”

The goal of the CleanBC HDVE Program is to assist BC-based fleets to invest in equipment and best practices for reducing fuel usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Companies that successfully complete the pre-requisite course and meet all eligibility requirements may apply for rebates of 30 to 50 percent on verified devices and equipment.

BCTA launched the first CleanBC HDVE Program in October 2019, scheduling courses in Langley, Kamloops, and Prince George. This offering saw participants from 117 companies across BC, operating 15,839 heavy-duty vehicles in total. Thirty-seven companies out of 42 applicants successfully obtained funding for fuel-saving equipment such as wide-based tires, aerodynamic devices and auxiliary power units (APUs, for in-cab power services) as well as fuel-efficiency training for drivers. Altogether, BCTA estimates these companies have reduced their emissions by approximately 13.9 million kilograms of CO2, equivalent to removing about 2,934 passenger cars from BC roads.

“Thanks to the CleanBC HDVE Program, we were able to outfit our tractors with clean, electric APUs that have cut idling emissions from our trucks in half,” says Pardeep Arora, director, Triple Eight Transportation Inc. “We’re pleased we’ve reduced our fuel usage and costs while still keeping our drivers comfortable in their vehicles.”

To be eligible to participate, companies must have one or more heavy-duty commercial vehicles in their fleet (a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight greater than 11,794 kg) that is licensed and insured to operate in British Columbia, conducts business in British Columbia, and has a terminal located in British Columbia.

The free, pre-requisite CleanBC HDVE Program Course teaches participants how to develop a Fuel Management Program for any size fleet, incorporating measures to improve fuel economy based on what will work best for each operation. It will also show how to develop a baseline of fuel consumption and track progress as part of the company’s program.

Locations for the CleanBC HDVE Program Course include the Kootenays, Vancouver Island and Langley, as well as through on-line webinars. In response to input from previous participants, we’ve condensed the content for delivery over four hours and will offer sessions on Saturdays, so that operations with fewer staff can attend without affecting their work week.

Registration opens September 17, 2020, for sessions scheduled on October 1 in Langley (BCTA training room) and on September 29, October 13 and October 29 by webinar, with dates for other locations to come. Sessions take place from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, except for the October 13 webinar, which is offered in the afternoon, 12:30 to 4:30 pm. Full details and registration forms will be available on the BCTA training calendar on bctrucking.com.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants are eligible to apply for CleanBC HDVE Program Incentives, featuring rebates on the purchase and installation of qualifying fuel-saving equipment. For the second round of the program, we’ve increased the Incentive amount to $15,000 per vehicle, up from $10,000, leaving the maximum amount per fleet at $100,000. As well, the HDVE Program now allows additional time for successful participants to meet installation requirements: 65 days for retrofits (from 45 days) and 120 days for new equipment (from 90 days).

Applications for Incentives open January 25, 2021, and close February 5, 2021.

Interested fleets are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. As with the first round, BCTA will be ensuring that funding is allocated equitably among successful applicants by region. Although BCTA is a member-based organization, there is no requirement to belong to the association to participate in the CleanBC HDVE Program.

This is the second of three potential program offerings for which the Province of British Columbia has committed $1.4 million annually.

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

For the expanded list of qualifying equipment eligible for HDVE Program Incentives and the rebates available for each in the second program offering, see:

CleanBC Heavy-duty Vehicle Efficiency Program Year 2 BACKGROUNDER

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And the winner is…!

Driver Appreciation Week

General trucking and moving and storage companies have a powerful partner in safety with SafetyDriven.

SafetyDriven’s Driver Appreciation Week 2020 was a big success! We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for nominations of drivers who go the extra mile to operate safely. Besides being good at what they do, drivers had to operate in BC and be in good standing with WorkSafeBC to be nominated. We received nominations from drivers’ managers, supervisors, colleagues, friends, and family. Seven winners were chosen at random. Get to know them on our feature page!

SafetyDriven – TSCBC initiated Driver Appreciation Week to celebrate and recognize the important contributions made by the men and women of the trucking industry, the unsung heroes of our business. With COVID precluding the planned carnivals and barbecues events, this year we chose to celebrate online!

We’re celebrating the trucking industry all year long—we want everyone to know about companies and individual drivers who demonstrate safe practices, show continual improvement, and make safety fun. If you missed the submission deadline this year, don’t worry— Driver Appreciation Week is an annual event and you can nominate a driver at any time, all year, right here.

We send a big thank you to everyone who participated! Thank you also to all the drivers who were nominated for their excellence in safety and the people who nominated them. We look forward to continuing to celebrate safety and recognize those who take their safety practice above and beyond. Although we could only choose seven nominees, in our books everyone with good safety practices is a winner!

Remember to check out our safety topics and resources to help you operate safely.

You can depend on SafetyDriven for all your safety needs.


NOMINEES AND WINNERS

Quality Move Management

Winner Steve Maidment. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Steve joined QMM in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to get “moving” right away and very soon become one of QMM’s most dependable drivers. QMM notes that they have received numerous positive remarks from their customers; they appreciate the hard work, dedication and safety consciousness he brings to the job on behalf of QMM.

WinnerGord Burnett. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Gord Burnett is as hardworking as they come, and he is committed to providing nothing but an outstanding experience to QMM’s customers. He has been with QMM for 10 years and is one of their most reliable and dedicated drivers. Gord has continued working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting customers in both Canada and the US with careful attention to safety protocols. Despite the difficulty of this unusual time, he has also taken on personal challenges in learning a new technology platform to minimize the amount of paperwork and waste within the shipping industry.

WinnerCurtis Rennie. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Curtis Rennie has been with QMM for 24 years, and he is the only Owner Operator who also owns his trailer. As kind and hardworking as they come, Curtis has been known to pack shipments entirely on his own, and was voted QMM’s 2014 Owner Operator of the Year. He has continued to work tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting customers in Canada and the US and paying careful attention to all safety protocols while ensuring the best customer service in all his shipments.

Murray Turpin. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Jeff Campbell. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Clayton Burnett. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Doug Nelson. Nominated by Christina Welsh.

Phoenix Truck & Crane

Chandanpreet WinnerChandanpreet (Chandan) Bhambi. Nominated by Blake.

Chandan has been with Phoenix Truck & Crane for only a little over a year, but his hard work, professionalism and dedication to the company and their safety standards are making him one of their most reliable drivers!

Rodney Dylan.  Nominated by Teresa.

Curtis (Curt) Hellyer. Nominated by Randi Bodnar.

Bogdan Tarekanov. Nominated by Rob Farrell.

Glen Transport

Kurkel CameronWinnerKurkel Cameron. Nominated by Jay Howard.

Kurkel Cameron has been with Glen Transport since December 2013. He is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, and came to Canada to build a better life for his family, whom he relocated to Canada after becoming a permanent resident. Kurkel is dedicated and proud to be a commercial driver and always follows the company’s safety protocols. He is always positive and an incredible example to his peers. The team at Glent is extremely proud of his accomplishments and proud to call him friend.

Colton Stishenko. Nominated by Tara.

Euroasia

WinnerRaghbir Singh. Nominated by Garry Ugra.

Raghbir has all the qualities of a good driver who follows all safe driving procedures. He is conscientious in dealing with customers and colleagues. He makes sure incidents are reported within the approved timeframe and is always eager to learn new things, to know how he can be a better driver, to understand practices that will prevent accidents or collisions. Raghbir maintains all his paperwork properly and submits it on time.

Supreme Trucking

Ladher Nonihal.  Nominated by Guninder Sarao.

KTL Transport

Baghwant Sangha. Nominated by Suraj Suman.

F&G Delivery

Peter KandolaWinnerPeter Kandola. Nominated by John Kandola, David Law, Robert Lowey, and Randy.

Peter has worked for F&G for the past 32 years. His dedication, commitment to the industry professionalism and safety consciousness are exemplary. The Safety and Compliance Manager at F&G, who has have served with Peter on the F&G Safety Committee (FGSC) for the past two years, notes that Peter’s experience, insight, and example have been priceless in helping shape F&G’s safety culture. All of their efforts paid off last year when F&G received their COR certification. Peter continues to be a great help in creating, communicating, and promoting safety policies and procedures, and will continue to be a help for many years to come. One of Peter’s nominators commented that he can back a 53-foot trailer around a corner in one shot. They don’t make truckers like him anymore! From F&G—thank you, Peter!

Cascades Recovery

Stephen Payne. Nominated by Trish Rossum.

Kool Pak Canada ULC

Kulwinder Sekhon. Nominated by Kavita Kohli.

Nortrans

Neville Morrissette. Nominated by Mike Bissell.

 

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Speeding tops violations during Safe Driver Week

GREENBELT, Md. – Speeding accounted for about half of the infractions recorded during Operation Safe Driver Week from July 12-18, as enforcement teams across North America applied a special focus on unsafe driving behaviors.

About 66,400 drivers were found engaging in unsafe behaviors overall, leading to just over 71,300 warnings and citations.

The event marked the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) first enforcement initiative of the year, as other campaigns were postponed or canceled. Brake Safety Week initiatives ran from Aug. 23-29, while the annual Roadcheck blitz moved to Sept. 9-11.

Operation Safe Driver Week itself involved 3,681 enforcement officers from 55 Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, interacting with 29,921 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 36,500 passenger vehicle drivers.

The commercial drivers were issued 4,659 citations and 6,077 warnings. Among those, speed accounted for 2,339 citations and 3,432 warnings. Passenger vehicle drivers received 17,329 citations and 14,792 warnings, with 14,378 of the citations and 11,456 warnings associated with speed.

The top five citations issued to commercial drivers included:

    1. 1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions – 2,339

2. Failure to use seat belt while operating commercial motor vehicle – 1,003

3. Failure to obey traffic control device – 617

4. Using a handheld phone/texting – 269

5. Improper lane change – 122

During Operation Safe Driver Week in 2019, the top five citations issued to commercial drivers included:

    1. 1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions – 1,454

2. Failure to use seat belt while operating commercial motor vehicle – 954

3. Failure to obey traffic control device – 426

4. Using a handheld phone/texting – 249

5. Improper lane change – 92

While failing to use seat belts is one of the top cited issues, the situation is improving. The overall use of seat belts for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses is at a record high of 86%, CVSA reports. But in 2017, 13% of large truck occupants involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a safety belt. Forty-five percent of them were killed in the crash.

The number of people using a hand-held mobile device is still troubling, though. U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) research finds that commercial drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event like a crash, near crash, or unintentional lane deviation when dialing a mobile phone.

“Although CVSA is a commercial motor vehicle safety organization, it was important that passenger vehicle drivers were also involved in this annual week-long driver safety enforcement initiative,” said CVSA president John Samis, a sergeant with Delaware State Police. “When commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, no matter who was at fault, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the smaller and lighter passenger vehicle. Preventing crashes from happening requires every driver – commercial and personal – to be aware of how to safely share the road with other types of vehicles.”

Source: Trucknews

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​ICBC Urges Caution Over Last Long Weekend of Summer

If you’ll be travelling over Labour Day long weekend, ICBC is asking you to share the road and do your part to drive safely.

September Long weekend

Every Labour Day long weekend, approximately four people die and 600 people are injured in 2,100 crashes throughout the province.*

The key to sharing the road safely is staying focused on driving and looking out for road users around you. Avoid distractions which will take your eyes off the road and your mind off driving. Police across B.C. are cracking down on distracted drivers as part of this month’s enforcement and education campaign.

Top 4 tips:
1. If you find it difficult to take a break from your phone while driving, turn it to silent and keep it out of reach and out of sight. You can help keep your family and friends safe by not texting, calling or answering if you know they’re behind the wheel.

2. Allow at least two seconds of following distance between vehicles in good road conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads. Increase your distance when you’re following a large vehicle such as an RV (it can block your vision) or a motorcycle (it can stop quicker than a car).

3. With trucks and RVs, keep clear of their blind spots. When following, you should be able to see both mirrors of the RV or truck in front of you. If you’re behind a slow moving RV or truck climbing up a hill, leave extra space and be patient as they’re probably trying their best to keep up with the flow of traffic.

4. Check road conditions at DriveBC.ca before you leave. Be realistic about travel times and accept delays that may arise. Don’t rush to make up time – slow down to reduce your risk of crashing and arrive at your destination safely. You also save fuel by driving at a steady speed.

Regional statistics over Labour Day weekend:

  • On Vancouver Island, on average, 72 people are injured in 310 crashes every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, on average, 70 people are injured in 320 crashes every year.

  • In the North Central region, on average, 20 people are injured in 110 crashes every year.

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 440 people are injured in 1,300 crashes every year.

Source: ICBC


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National Trucking Week 2020: Considering the Essentials

 

Dave-Earle

By Dave Earle, President & CEO of BC Trucking Association

As we approach six months into a global pandemic, “essential” has taken on a different meaning. While economies shut down in an attempt to keep the coronavirus at bay and our healthcare systems functioning, we all had to grapple with two questions. Could we operate virtually?  And if not, was our service essential to daily life?

The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) was lucky to be able to answer “Yes” to the first question. More importantly, our members could answer “Yes” to the second. Throughout the pandemic, trucking companies and professional truck drivers in particular have reliably provided an essential service that helped the rest of us survive. But they didn’t do this in a vacuum. Many players helped out. For National Trucking Week this year, September 6 to 12, it seems right to acknowledge the community of effort that went into supporting our industry and its work.

We all had to pivot. We worked with federal and provincial governments and health authorities to establish protocols and exemptions to allow food and supplies to flow safely across the country and the border. Trucking companies learned to follow new health protocols, source and distribute masks, gloves and sanitizer to their drivers and staff, and figure out how to keep trucks on the road given changing demand and types of cargo for transport. They couldn’t just shut down.

Professional drivers felt the profound impact of these changes and uncertainty. Though truck drivers are already isolated in their vehicles while on the road, like other front-

line workers they could not maintain an immediate-family-only bubble. They not only had to think about their own exposure, but also the possibility of carrying the virus back to their loved ones. They couldn’t stay in controlled workplaces. They relied on protocols to work in unfamiliar, uncertain environments.

And, all of us—worrying about potential quarantines, stocking our shelves, embracing online shopping— became hyperaware that we couldn’t function without truck drivers.

As other businesses struggled with the shutdown, truck drivers lost access to many of the services that would have helped them: restaurants, card lock stores, washrooms and some rest areas became off limits or, like drive-thru-only food services, impossible to use.

No one anticipated the breadth of these challenges, and they inspired an unprecedented response. Restaurants, including small businesses in BC communities like Greenwood, Christina Lake and Midway, figured out how to serve truck drivers. A group of concerned business owners in Kamloops created a meal solution for drivers. Deploying food trucks at card lock locations throughout BC, with alerts for drivers via Facebook and a dedicated website, Meals for Truckers. From April to August, food trucks in Kamloops, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Chilliwack and, initially, Prince George served up meals and snacks. BCTA members, individuals, organizations and businesses voluntarily sponsored $70,000 in free meals for truck drivers at these locations.

Our provincial government also reacted, arranging for mobile washrooms at inspection stations and food trucks at BC rest areas serving commercial vehicles. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority set up washrooms for drivers hauling marine containers. Hotels launched special “truck driver” rates, including for short stays, enough time for a nap and shower. Communities like Valemount and Revelstoke contacted BCTA to share lists of local services catering to truck drivers.

This was happening not just in BC but across Canada and North America, as people posted “Thank you” signs in their windows, handed out sandwiches and sanitizer, stood applauding passing rigs at roadsides and fences. Use of the #ThankATrucker hashtag on social media, promoted by both the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations, is one indicator of the level of appreciation and encouragement.

The response of individuals, businesses and communities was heartwarming, welcome and essential. Without this support, the often invisible supply chain we all rely on would have crumbled.

COVID-19 is far from beaten. But our industry and other essential service providers are still going strong. Happy National Trucking Week to the industry, and, on behalf of BCTA’s members, thank you to all the players in our widespread and generous community for your understanding and support.

– 30 –


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Alchemist Specialty Carriers: Communication is Key

Where safety builds success

Alchemist Specialty Carriers is a growing concern. It began as a roll-off bin company handling hazardous waste disposal; in 2014, the company changed ownership and direction to concentrate on transporting dangerous goods and hazardous materials throughout Canada and the US. Today, it has nearly 50 drivers and support staff and in April 2020, added 10 shiny new Kenworth T880s to its fleet, beefed up with the latest safety technology.

Justin-CheverieJustin Cheverie, General Manager of Alchemist and a member of SafetyDriven’s Board of Directors, was a long-haul trucker for 10 years. He notes that the re-invented company has a robust safety-focused mindset that embraces a culture of support, community, and openness and says “trust, respect, and integrity are what drive our business.” Cheverie and the company’s leaders have worked hard to create a team of safety champions. There was some hesitancy to overcome initially, but the corporate attitude overcame uncertainty and those who were unsure of the new way forward have realized its benefits.

Communication is integral to the company’s approach to safety; tech in the trucks allows dispatchers to stay in touch—each driver is spoken with every day—and gives drivers access to courses, bulletins, and newsletters. Support is paramount. New drivers are mentored and do not drive alone before they are ready. When a driver is going to an unfamiliar site, an advance team visits to check egress, orientation, and controls.

Hauling dangerous goods requires specific training and certification in addition to all the usual compliance. Product control is crucial, especially for caustic or toxic chemicals and materials harmful to the environment. The biggest risk for tankers is rollover—summer traffic hazards take on a whole new meaning. Alchemist Specialty Carriers ensures rigorous training, provides personal protective equipment, inspects daily, tests trailers yearly, applies rigid controls and best practices, and ensures drivers’ buy-in to safety. Practices and policies are reviewed at least annually and revised as required.

Close attention to safety has paid off. Alchemist Specialty Carriers is COR certified, won Top Fleet honours in 2019 and 2020, and one of their drivers has won the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) award twice.

It’s clear that Alchemist drivers are engaged—who wouldn’t be, knowing the company has their backs?! The company also offers a great rewards program! Drivers earn points for their safety practice that can be exchanged for cash. Team members commended by a colleague for their safe habits earn scratch cards worth bonus points. Points are stored in the Safety Portal and tallied annually, earning additional points and entries into draws for gifts. It’s a serious incentive; a safety incident could result in lost points if negligence is found to be involved. Rewards keep safety on everyone’s mind. Jenna Tracey, Safety and Compliance, sums up the program: “It’s all about awareness.”

Cheverie summarizes the Alchemist Specialty Carriers approach to safety and teamwork: “Implementing and supporting an active and positive safety program provides many benefits to the health, success, and growth of both the business and the individual.”


Thank you to everyone who participated in our Driver Appreciation Campaign, watch for the following companies to be featured in our upcoming newsletters:


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Industry to Mark Trucking Week Under Covid Cloud

TORONTO, Ont. — The industry will observe the National Trucking Week during Sept. 6-12, against the backdrop of Covid-19.

The aim of the annual event is to recognize the contributions made by drivers and others in the Canadian trucking industry, which employs some 400,000 people.

Driver appreciation week(Today’s Trucking Photo File)

“It goes without saying that truck drivers should be celebrated 365 days a year for the invaluable job they do as the backbone of the Canadian economy,” said Marco Beghetto, vice-president of communications at the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

“During National Trucking Week, let’s make it a point to at least lend a smile and say thank you to the incredible job these essential workers do every day.”

This year, truckers have won rare public praise for braving Covid-19 to keep the freight moving. The pandemic has, however, made it difficult to hold big events because of health concerns.

Still, many fleets and trucking associations are planning to celebrate drivers.

In Western Canada, the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) and SafetyDriven of British Columbia will hold driver appreciation days.

AMTA volunteers will go to five commercial vehicle inspection stations to hand out goodie bags.

“All Covid-19 protocols will be followed and we will be handing out 2,000 bags in total,” AMTA said.

In British Columbia, SafetyDriven is holding a contest, Share Your Safety, to mark the occasion.

The first National Trucking Week was held some 20 years ago.

In the U.S., the American Trucking Associations will hold a National Truck Driver Appreciation Week during Sept. 13-19.

Source: Trucknews.com


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