Safety is key to the success of any transport company. Successful companies strive to ...
have a solid workplace safety culture. It helps employees feel valued and shows clients that you are reputable and take your work seriously.
Safety is the foundation of your success
Establishing an effective safety culture doesn’t come from the top down, with the executive imposing rules that everyone has to follow, or else, because it’s legislated. It’s more than worker buy-in, too. It comes from corporate values that line up with personal attitudes to create a safety environment that works for everyone. It doesn’t happen by accident; you need a plan and some strategies.
For safety success, every company needs an effective health and safety policy supported by a joint health and safety committee, best practices, and resources that help you communicate with workers and clients.
Health and Safety Policy
A good health and safety policy sets out your safety principles in writing. You can post it where everyone in your business can read it and share it easily with clients and auditors. It should list the legislation you follow, such as the Canada Labour Code Part II, the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulation under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC, and the Workers Compensation Act of BC. It should also make commitments about how you’ll meet your goals, such as by providing a safe workplace and recognizing your employees’ rights.
Joint Health and Safety Committee
The Workers Compensation Act requires employers to set up a joint health and safety committee (JHSC) if they employ 20 or more full-time and part-time workers. Companies with more than nine but fewer than 20 workers must have a health and safety representative who has the same role as a committee. The JHSC, or representative, helps reduce workplace injury and disease. You won’t be on your own to establish your committee. SafetyDriven provides WorkSafeBC’s handbook and keeps you informed about changes to regulations.
- Composition of committee. The Workers Compensation Act requires your JHSC to have at least four members made up of worker and employer representatives. At least half the members must be workers. The committee must have two co-chairs, one chosen by worker representatives and one by employer representatives.
- Role. The JHSC promotes workplace health and safety; consults with workers and employers; recommends improvements to health and safety policies and practices; and promotes compliance with the legislation.
- Duties and functions. The JHSC, or representative, identifies unsafe situations and recommends ways to address them; advises the employer of required programs and policies; and makes sure inspections and accident investigations are done.
Your aim for setting up best practices for your workplace is safety, which means keeping your workers safe, healthy and on the job. Employers and managers can support such practices by thinking of safety as a shared responsibility. Show support by committing to a safe workplace and modelling the attitude and behaviour you want to see in your workers. Communication is key. You can promote and champion safety programs by spreading the word. Communication is especially important for a transportation company where a large portion of the workforce is often far away from the head office. Doing regular evaluations backs up your programs by examining how well your policies work and making improvements. Transportation companies also benefit by earning the Certificate of Recognition.
SafetyDriven provides practical resources to help companies establish and promote their safety programs. Posters; safety articles; handouts; and templates and forms, including checklists, are available for free. Use them to communicate with your workforce, to support good safety practices, and to organize your safety activities.
As you prepare your company for safety success, there are plenty of companies to provide inspiration, including Quality Move Management, Alchemist Specialty Carriers, F&G Delivery, Kool Pak Canada, and the many COR certified companies that have worked with SafetyDriven.
Each year as I write my January editorial, it’s early December, and I am often refl ...
ecting on the year that is almost over and the new one around the corner. As you read this, it’s 2021 and the start of a brand-new calendar-year full of projects, projections - and COVID-19.
This pandemic has thrown the world for a loop, and the ride is not over. And throughout it all, the vocational truck fleet industry has worked tirelessly, keeping deliveries on schedule and ensuring that necessary services were still being done to help people stay safely home.
Many are tired, struggling, and burning out as we near the pandemic’s one-year mark. Regardless of beliefs, we have all been impacted in some way. The fatigue is real. But work trucks must keep running. The wheels are turning, and the rubber is hitting the road.
How do you fight driver fatigue as well as your own day-to-day management? How do you help your staff focus on the job at hand while being understanding and compassionate of a world turned upside down?
1. Have a Plan
First and foremost, any business continuing operations in any capacity must have a plan in place, specifying exactly how to handle a potential or positive case. Fleet managers must consider more than just a business office but the health and safety of their drivers on the road, whether local, return-to-base or long-haul over-the-road and everyone in between.
2. Keep Communication Open
Make sure all employees know whom to call and what to do if they are not feeling well or are diagnosed with COVID-19. If someone has symptoms, don’t plan on the driver self-isolating a terminal, have a plan in place and a direct line of contact for immediate action.
3. Keep Drivers Focused Through Incentives & Gamification
One way you can help keep drivers focused and motivated is through incentives or gamification. There are several ways to promote safe driving, and it doesn’t have to cost the company much if anything. Options can include basic accolades in meetings or newsletters or gift cards to favorite local restaurantsfor take-out.
4. Promote Health & Wellness
Mental and physical health is usually a struggle for fleet drivers, and today, with many gyms closed or limited, personal health and wellness has never been more important. Encourage drivers to get exercise in any safe way they can. Promote the value of proper sleep and eating habits (and make sure your routing and scheduling allow for it!) and ensure that all employees know when they are well enough to work – and when they are not.
5. Take it Day by Day & Be Flexible
It’s not only hard to plan for an uncertain future; it’s downright impossible. With regulations varying not only by state but what can feel like week-to-week or even day-to-day, it’s essential to take each day one at a time and focus on the solvable problems and what you can accomplish that day with the resources available.
6. Burnout IS Real
Currently, those still working are experiencing an interesting dichotomy. There is an intense feeling of gratitude and thankfulness that income is being generated, but many are alsofacing burnout.Many businesses have had to downsize and operate with smaller staff sizes. Some fleets, especially those in the last-mile delivery arena, have seen the demand for their services explode.
And, while some fleets can utilize a quick short-term rental unit when a business has an unanticipated peak, last-mile delivery often requires specialized upfits and vehicles to accomplish the job, ending up with more demand than the supply chain can support.
The Bottom Line
This is a tough topic and a tough time. Regardless of beliefs, it’s crucial to look at your fleet and the people who make it run every day and make sure they are happy, healthy, and able to thrive. I urge all of you to think about your staff’s wellbeing as the new year begins, and I look forward to writing to a different tune at the start of 2022.
What are you currently doing to help combat COVID-19-related fatigue and help keep your drivers and fleet-related staff motivated and on task?