Imagine being hired as a trucking firm’s safety manager with no trucking and little safety experience and in less than three years building an award-winning, COR-certified safety program that has the enthusiastic support of the company’s workforce. Sounds incredible, but it’s what David Law has done as the Safety and Compliance Manager at F&G Delivery. After working in warehouse management, Law was hired to fill a vacancy because he showed promise. It was a wisely prescient decision.
Walter Ford and Ken Gibson founded F&G Delivery in 1958 in Burnaby, providing local delivery service with pick-up trucks. In the 80s, they sold the company to their sons, Lloyd Ford and Brian Gibson, and moved it to Port Kells, Surrey. Today, as a major provider of truck and crane services, it has 140 owner operators with vehicles that include flat decks, Hiabs, cranes, and tractor-trailer equipment to service BC’s Lower Mainland.
When Law joined F&G two-and-a-half years ago, he was concerned about being accepted. He not only had to win over the owner operators, he had to learn the ins and outs of two unions. At F&G, truck drivers and administrative staff are Teamsters, while crane operators belong to the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). It sounds tricky, but Law has made it an opportunity for communication and openness grounded in safety.
Law climbed a very steep learning curve by taking every course he could to learn about load securement, defensive driving, vehicle inspections, transporting dangerous goods, and all applicable regulations, including the National Safety Code. He wasn’t alone; F&G supported him and SafetyDriven helped build their safety program.
The company’s existing safety practices didn’t go far enough. Law created a collaborative environment by breaking down barriers, essentially becoming the face of safety at F&G. Although one person can make a difference, he cannot be the safety policy—team buy-in is necessary. Before any policy is finalized, Law seeks individuals’ input. He also consults with the four other members of the safety committee, who collectively represent about 100 years’ experience, to review proposals to determine how well they will work on the ground.
Safety committee member Rob Lowey, a crane operator with 13 years at F&G, says the approach has made a huge difference because Law never just cites the rules; he works with people to figure out how to get the job done safely. Individuals having a voice has enhanced the company’s safety culture. Lowey says “people feel valued and protected by a safety program that is proactive, not punitive.”
F&G sees great results through collaboration. In 2019, F&G attained COR certification and won SafetyDriven’s Innovation Award, COR Best Overall Large Employer, and COR Achievement of Excellence. Also in 2019, National Occupational Safety and Health BC (NAOSH) awarded Law as their Trucking Champion and Law and Lowey as Individual Champions. One of F&G’s long-time drivers was a winner of SafetyDriven’s 2020 Driver Appreciation Week.
Drivers and operators are engaged in their safety; they ask for training rather than being sent. F&G will have every driver through COR training by the end of 2020. They feel more secure and understand better how a safety program helps them. They feel they own their safety, can use their knowledge to make decisions, and if things go wrong, the program is there to support them.
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