Connecting Workers with Safety—From a Safe Distance

Finding new ways to communicate about safety and stay safe in an uncertain time.

We are all adjusting to the “new normal.” The COVID-19 situation is still changing. It is an uneasy background to businesses reopening after the shutdown and requires essential services, like transport, to work within distancing regulations and strict hygiene procedures.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of workplace safety. The challenge is to engage workers and provide safety information when physical distancing rules out face-to-face meetings.

We wanted to learn more about communicating safety under COVID-19 restrictions. We contacted three safety advisors at SafetyDriven — Shay Ryan, Darshan Gill, and Brad Zall. They agree that there are advantages to methods such as signage, handouts, conference calls, emails, texts, and online meetings.

“Different tools appeal to different audiences. Find out what catches the attention of your workers, making sure to keep the message brief and on-point,” says Ryan.

“While there is no one perfect solution, a combination of methods is likely what will be the best way to communicate,” Gill adds. “For industries such as trucking where workers are widespread, emails/newsletters or pre-recorded video messages are effective tools.” He echoes Ryan’s point about making communication focused and brief. “Keep the message clear and concise. There is so much information available these days that workers may have a hard time sorting through it all. By consistently delivering a clear and concise message, safety managers provide a trustworthy and consistent source of reliable information for workers to follow.”

Many businesses are replacing in-person meetings with online meetings or video conferencing.

“Zoom has become a very useful tool for meetings,” says Zall. He suggests becoming familiar with your video conferencing tools before a meeting. “And don’t forget to use the mute button when not speaking to limit noise interference,” he adds. Your colleagues probably won’t hold it against you if they can hear a child or pet, but it is distracting.

It is still important to have an agenda for your virtual meeting.

“Keep to the agenda; don’t drag out the meeting. Many find these kinds of meetings stressful and uncomfortable,” Ryan points out. “If an issue is brought up during the meeting that isn’t on the agenda and doesn’t need immediate attention, use a ‘parking lot’ to make note of issues for the next meeting and/or hold a special meeting for just that issue.”

“While the social aspect of being able to see your coworkers can certainly be a good thing, it is important to be aware of overdoing Zoom meetings,” Gill cautions. “As with in-person meetings, some online meetings can and should be replaced by emails. Not every meeting needs to be a Zoom meeting.” He also suggests that organizers send follow-up emails to add value to video meetings. “Very few attendees in Zoom meetings take notes and if the information is relevant and important, having it available after the meeting for reference can be an effective tool.” Soliciting feedback is still key.

“Whether through video meetings or emails/memos, provide workers with an opportunity to communicate their concerns and ask questions they may have about items related to the discussion,” says Gill.

Zall suggests that safety managers ask workers to confirm that they received the communication. Review the information with the worker to be sure there is no misunderstanding.

“Ask questions about the feedback they give you, take notes, and copy them in on all documentation based on their specific feedback,” says Ryan. “Keep going back to them to make sure any suggestions/issues/solutions they have provided remains from their perspective. If they have provided a solution for a safety issue, make sure to also get their feedback after the solution has been put in place, ensuring a control measure actually works for those who face that hazard.”

Finally, with all the distractions right now, how can safety managers ensure that safety remains everyone’s top priority?

Maintaining a presence with regular communication is vital, Zall says. “As a safety manager, you may not be meeting face-to-face with employees, but it’s important for workers to know you are still available.”

Ryan agrees: “Be present and available. Take the time to talk to people on both a professional and personal level, demonstrating that safety isn’t just legislated policies and procedures. Be mindful that everyone’s mind is elsewhere and not everyone will be convinced they can be at work without fear.”

Gill says safety managers can address fear by demonstrating they take the pandemic seriously and are taking measures to keep everyone safe. “When this is done effectively and workers are able to see that their health is being looked after, they are able to spend more time focusing on the safety/hazards of their actual job.”

For COVID-19 resources for trucking and moving and storage, visit SafetyDriven’s COVID-19 page.

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BC’s Essential Freight & Passenger Services Hard Hit by COVID-19 Economy

Langley, British Columbia—The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) says that results of a second COVID-19 Impact Survey of its members, focusing on operational challenges for April 2020, indicate that trucking and motor coach companies and the suppliers who support them in providing critical services to British Columbians are severely strained by the ongoing effect of the pandemic, including significant revenue losses and staff layoffs that continue to increase.

“Our members have been incredibly heartened by the public’s growing awareness of the essential role that our industry plays in their lives – in the comfort and care that they experience as families and communities, during ordinary and extraordinary times,” says Dave Earle, BCTA President & CEO. “But in these extraordinary times, we’re hard hit. The viability of the road transportation industry and the economy always go hand in hand.”

BCTA has been carrying out monthly COVID-19 surveys of all its members. Following implementation in March, the association surveyed members a second time for operations in April 2020 and will continue to trace the trajectory of the pandemic’s effect.

Results of the second COVID-19 Impact Survey indicate that:
– Trucking companies have, on average, experienced a 29.8 percent drop in revenue, a further drop of 9.3 percent following our first survey in March;
– Motor coach companies continue to be hardest hit by COVID-19 measures, with an average 96.1 percent drop in revenue, a further 4 percent reduction from March; and
– Industry suppliers, BCTA’s associate members, realized a 35.9 percent drop in revenue, a further 7.7 percent drop compared to March.

Trucking companies, though providing essential supplies like food, fuel and medical equipment, are struggling with severe decreases in demand for transporting other types of cargo, including cross border and in support of Asia-Pacific trade. As well, too many return trips are empty.

“None of these numbers are good, but we’re especially concerned about motor coach companies,” says Earle. “BC’s motor coach businesses have been devastated by the shutdown of tourism, the cruise ship industry, ski hills and parks, and headline concerts and entertainment events.”

Large numbers of commercial vehicles are parked, whether heavy trucks or buses, and, relatedly, the businesses that supply new vehicles, parts, insurance, and other services are similarly strained.

As employers, BCTA members are also struggling to keep staff working, and layoffs increased from March to April, in spite of government wage subsidy and other programs:
– For trucking companies, 37 percent of survey respondents had to temporarily lay off an average of 5 employees in March. By April, 53 percent of businesses responding reported an average 22 temporary layoffs, and 24 percent reported an average of 2 permanent layoffs.
For motor coach companies, 77 percent responding temporarily laid off an average of 25 employees in March. In April, 92 percent of respondents reported an average of 41 temporary layoffs, with 15 percent reporting an average of 17 permanent layoffs.
– For associate members, 42 percent of respondents had to temporarily lay off an average of 24 employees in March. In April, 40 percent of respondents reported laying off an average of 34 employees. Among these businesses, 10 percent of respondents had to permanently lay off an average of 7 employees; in April, 7 percent of respondents reported permanent layoffs of an average of 11 employees.

Overall, 85 percent of motor coach respondents indicated they were concerned about the survival of their business if current conditions continue for at least the next three months, compared to 37 percent of motor carrier respondents, and 18 percent of associate member respondents.

Despite the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the commercial road transportation industry in BC, about 90 percent of BCTA’s members support government measures to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our industry appreciates current federal and provincial government relief measures,” Earle confirmed, “but further action is required to ensure the protection of BC’s supply chain in response to COVID-19 and its aftermath. We recommend strategies like expanding provincial sales tax exemptions for equipment and continued support for investment in clean technology. For motor coach companies, an extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy could help motor coach companies providing seasonal transportation survive, while we all adapt to the ‘new normal’ in BC.”

BCTA conducted the second COVID-19 Impact Survey between April 29 and May 14, 2020, and received a very strong response rate from members, at 24 percent of trucking company members, 62 percent of motor coach members, and 23 percent of associate members.

BCTA associate members include truck and trailer manufacturers, and dealers providing sales, service, repair and/or rentals; driver training schools; safety or environmental consultants; HR or employment services; insurance and financing providers and consultants; transportation management system providers; and communications and legal services.

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BCTA, a member-based, non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization, is the recognised voice of the provincial motor carrier industry, representing over 1,200 truck and motor coach fleets and over 200 suppliers to the industry. BCTA members operate over 13,000 vehicles, employ 26,000 people, and generate over $2 billion in revenue annually in the province.

For more information, please contact: Dave Earle, President & CEO
Office: 604-888-5319 Mobile: 604-787-1335 Toll-free in BC: 1-800-565-2282

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WorkSafeBC Request for Proposals

WorkSafeBC’s Research Services has just issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the following topic:

Risk factor assessment tools for musculoskeletal injuries
Deadline: July 31, 2020 at 4 p.m. PST

Researchers worldwide are invited to apply.

About WorkSafeBC’s Research Services

WorkSafeBC is dedicated to keeping workers and workplaces safe and secure from injury, illness, and disease. To achieve this vision, WorkSafeBC supports the best scientific evidence on issues concerning workplace health and safety through a competitive grant program. Grants address priorities set by the Board of Directors and contribute to: improving health and safety in B.C. workplaces; fostering successful rehabilitation and return to work; and ensuring fair compensation for injured workers.

For more information on our research programs, please visit

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Fewer Drivers During Pandemic is No Excuse to Speed


With fewer vehicles on our roads right now, drivers may be tempted to speed. Even though it seems safer with fewer cars on the road, it isn’t. Speeding increases your risk of crashing and reduces the amount of time you have to react to the unexpected. ICBC is asking that we all do our part to prevent crashes, keep people safe, and avoid putting additional pressure on B.C.’s first responders and medical resources.

Every year, 82 people are killed in speed-related crashes, making speed the number one cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.*

Police have observed an increase in drivers speeding since B.C. declared a state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is why ICBC, the B.C. government and police are launching a month-long campaign focusing on speed and urging drivers to slow down.

Speeding is a concern for all road users, not just drivers. Many families are taking this time to get outside for walks or bike rides so it’s important for drivers to be extra cautious and look out for pedestrians and cyclists.

The campaign includes radio and digital advertising plus social media reminding drivers that the faster you go, the easier it is to make a mistake. Remember, if you must go out, check your speed and drive within the limits.

Learn interesting facts, get tips and more on

Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“While everyday life has recently changed for many in B.C., nothing has changed when it comes to road safety. Speed, distracted driving and impaired driving are just a few of the high-risk driving behaviours that put everyone at risk. With the use of intersection safety cameras and dedicated police agencies throughout the province, drivers are sure to be caught and held accountable when they make the choice to disregard the rules of the road.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs and Driver Licensing
“Whether you’re a driver, rider, cyclist or pedestrian – we can all play our part over the coming months by only travelling when necessary, and taking extra care on every journey. Driving over the speed limit really doesn’t get you there noticeably sooner, and instead increases your chances of crashing.”

Regional statistics*:
– On average, 26 people are killed every year in the Lower Mainland from speed-related crashes.
– On average, 12 people are killed every year on Vancouver Island from speed-related crashes.
– On average, 27 people are killed every year in the Southern Interior from speed-related crashes.
– On average, 18 people are killed every year in North Central B.C from speed-related crashes.

*Police-reported data, five-year average from 2014 to 2018.

Speed includes unsafe speed, exceeding speed limit, excessive speed over 40km/h, and driving too fast for conditions.

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New Resources Available for Employers, Drivers, Shippers and Receivers

Source: BC Trucking Association

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised some anxiety about truck drivers, especially cross-border drivers. We designed the following resources as a guide to help revise processes to create safe work procedures for pick-up and drop-off. The goal is to ensure pick-ups and drop-offs are site-specific. Our intention is to ensure good communication among drivers and each site they visit.

This document is an overview of how employers can safely have drivers on their work sites, regardless of whether they have crossed the US border.

All of the resources attached are designed to begin communication before the driver arrives on-site. Planning and communicating the details about what each party needs to do before the driver arrives will shorten the time the driver is on-site. This will lessen the chance of either person being exposed to the virus.

To assist you in preparing for increased operations under the “new normal,” I am pleased to advise you that SafetyDriven, our Health and Safety Association, has developed a collection of resources to improve communication around COVID-19 safe practices for how employers can safely have commercial drivers on their worksite. These resources have been reviewed and endorsed by the Provincial government and can be found here:

Minister Trevena has provided her endorsement, and we encourage you to use these resources to guide your business operations:

The commercial trucking industry plays a vital role in ensuring British Columbians can continue to access food, medicine, healthcare supplies and other essential goods and services.
I know industry members are facing some unique challenges as a result of COVID-19, and I want to express my gratitude for your dedication and resilience during this difficult time.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have identified commercial transport as an essential service. The industry
is encouraged to continue to operate while following the orders and guidance of the Provincial Health Office, ensuring that workers remain safe as possible while taking all necessary
precautions to minimize the risks of transmitting the virus.

The Safe Drivers Communication Tools Package is a valuable resource for commercial trucking companies that will help protect workers and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Its
common-sense focus on transparency and accountability will assure workers, employers and communities that the transportation sector is doing everything in its power to keep people
safe while continuing to meet customer needs. I hope you and your organization will take advantage of the information in this package as part of your commitment to excellence.

I know COVID-19 has touched all our lives and changed the way we do business, and I want to thank you again for your ability to adapt to this unusual time.
I hope you all continue to stay safe and well.


Claire Trevena
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

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Enforcement Officers Encouraged to Follow Covid-19 Protocols


OTTAWA, Ont. – Commercial vehicle enforcement officers are following a series of protocols specific to Covid-19, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) confirms in a memo released today.

Drivers are being told to remain in their vehicles during an inspection unless otherwise directed, while officers are being encouraged to maintain a social distancing gap of two meters away from drivers.

Social distancing is further supported by asking officers to avoid stepping onto vehicle running boards or entering the cab. That’s made possible by asking drivers to verbally report information and demonstrate the proper function of equipment like air pressures, dash warning lamps, seatbelts, and steering lash, while officers stand at a distance.

Officers are also being encouraged to “use discretion” when exchanging documents for an inspection, and to limit such exchanges. If possible, information like a driver’s licence number is to be conveyed verbally.

“Where physical document transfer does happen, ensure proper hygiene precautions are being followed immediately after,” the document adds, referring to steps such as exchanging gloves, washing hands, and sanitizing work surfaces.

Drivers are not being asked to sign documents such as tickets or inspection reports, either.

Access to scale buildings, meanwhile, is being limited to staff members.

“This information does not negate the enforcement officer’s ability to take appropriate enforcement action as required,” the memo stresses.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) had asked CCMTA to compile a list of the actions. The full document can be found at

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Updated April 10, 2020: BC Government Updates Self-Isolation Plan

Updated: April 10, 2020
Workers exempt from the federal Quarantine Act do not have to create a self-isolation plan, this includes Truck drivers.

Original post
BC Government announced new measures to boost COVID-19 response. “Effective immediately, international travellers (including from the United States) coming to the province are required to provide a self-isolation plan before or upon arrival to B.C., regardless of their point on entry to Canada.” This includes essential service workers who must travel across the border for work, such as transportation workers. However, they are only expected to implement their plan if they develop symptoms. Press Release:

The required Self-Isolation Form:

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Update to BC COR Program

SafetyDriven will keep working with stakeholders and clients during the COVID-19 crisis. WorkSafeBC has set up a plan for 2020 audits for clients who have achieved their Certificate of Recognition (COR) or are working toward it.

  • Certificate of Recognition (COR) for Audits in Progress
    For audits in progress now, follow COVID-19 best practices. That means you will stay 2 metres away from people (physical distancing). You will also make sure you always follow the guidelines for hygiene and washing your hands. There will be changes to operations because of COVID-19. Consider those changes to help you stay flexible while you conduct observations and interviews. You should still have access to documents and records because these changes should not affect document review.
  • COR Certifications that Expire on or Before August 31, 2020
    WorkSafeBC may grant audit waivers for certifications that will expire on or before August 31, 2020. Employers must contact SafetyDriven’s COR department to apply for this waiver.
  • COR Certifications that Expire Between September 01 and December 31, 2020
    WorkSafeBC has not announced any changes for certifications that will expire after September 01, 2020. We recommend that employers contact SafetyDriven or check with WorkSafeBC to find out about the latest updates. We will make adjustments as necessary.
  • Maintenance Audits (M1 and M2)
    Maintenance audits can be conducted at any time of year as long as they are completed before December 31. Consider scheduling your maintenance audit for the fall if it cannot be completed now because of safety or operational concerns.
  • Brand New Certification of BC Audits
    All new certifications must follow the standard processes and auditing requirements. For Employers seeking COR but are not able to follow the standard processes or to follow them safely, WorkSafeBC asks that employers put off new certification until they can safely meet the requirements.

SafetyDriven will continue to follow the advice of public health officials. We will provide updates based on their advice as well as information from WorkSafeBC’s COR Team.

SafetyDriven’s COR Department is available to answer your questions. Email us at or call 1.877.414.8001 | 604.888.2242 and one of the COR team members will return your call.

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Physically Distant but More Ways to Connect with SafetyDriven!

The COVID-19 outbreak has changed many aspects of our daily lives and operations, but we wanted to let you know just because we can’t support you in person, we are here to support the Trucking, Transportation and Moving & Storage industries in other ways. Our Safety Advisors are always available by email or phone on their respective cell phones as well as video conferencing! We have adjusted our new normal to best support our industries and wanted to remind you we have many resources available online:

  • Designated COVID-19 resource page for Trucking and Moving & Storage
  • Our Resources page on our website for safety information, posters, videos and more!
  • Online training courses available any time anywhere at your own pace.
  • You can also call 1.877.414.8001 | 604.888.2242 or email us at anytime and we will connect you with one of our Safety Advisors.
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We Want to Hear From You: Share Your Stories About Professional Driver Covid-19 Heroes

As Canada fights Covid-19, Canada’s professional drivers are holding things together. They keep on trucking – and we want to hear about the road heroes who make that happen.

Are you involved in trucking, transportation or moving & storage or know someone that is? We want to hear from you! Or do you want to offer special thanks to someone, we would love to share it and recognize our road heroes.

Please email your stories or comment to or submit it through our contact us page.

Let’s recognize those who continue to work hard and put their safety at risk everyday so we can continue to eat and be home, safe with our families.


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