B.C. truckers take care of business

B.C. truckers take care of business
The Trucking Safety Council of British Columbia has created a draft business plan and is inviting its members to give their input.

“We’ve determined that there needs to be an organization in British Columbia that’s dedicated towards addressing truck safety,” says Rob Weston, executive director of the council.

In cooperation with WorkSafeBC, the council was created to be the occupational health and safety organization that will represent the province’s trucking industry, he says.

According to the council, there are 10 to 15 fatalities and more than 1,000 injuries each year in the trucking industry. This costs about $165 million in WorkSafeBC and Insurance Corporation of B.C. claims each year.

“The business plan embraces programs and services and communications that basically don’t currently exist for the trucking industry,” says Paul Landry, president and CEO of the British Columbia Trucking Association, which sponsored the creation of the council.

The plan outlines how the council is to be governed, staffed, organized and funded for the next five years.

One of the main components is the Certificate of Recognition program, Weston says.

The council has been approved by WorkSafeBC to be a certifying partner for a Certificate of Recognition program in the general trucking and moving and storage industries.

“That program essentially provides incentives for employers to develop occupational health and safety plans and to monitor the performance of those plans over time,” Landry says.

According to the business plan, these employers can get up to a 15 per cent rebate in WorkSafeBC premiums.

Landry says this program will hopefully be running by the end of this year or early next year.

The other main component is to provide specialized training and programs, which are “primarily … intended to raise the culture of safety within the trucking industry,” Weston says.

While the trucking industry is “already pretty safe,” other safety factors, such as lifestyle issues, need to be considered, he says.

“WorkSafeBC records show that there are more injuries not related to truck crashes … than there are to truck crashes themselves. So we want to look at things like falls and sprains and ergonomics.”

Another service the council will offer is free safety consulting, which will give employers information and advice on how to improve health and safety in the workplace.

There will also be a truck safety forum to enable employers and workers to learn about current safety best practices and a speakers’ bureau that will allow industry representatives to share their stories of safety success and the lessons they learned with other industries, their peers and the public.

Employees and employers of WorkSafeBC’s general trucking and moving and storage classification units, were encouraged to give their input on the business plan at several town hall meetings held throughout July.

“We just want to make sure the industry is aware of the council, is aware of what we’re doing and give them the opportunity to provide input to us,” Weston says.

Others who are professionally involved in providing occupational health and safety services were also urged to give their feedback, Landry says.

Each town hall meeting runs from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The Cranbrook meeting took place last Thursday at the Sandman Hotel at 405 Cranbrook St.

The Nanaimo meeting will take place July 7 at the Best Western Inn at 70 Church St.

The Prince George meeting will take place July 8 at the Ramada Inn at 444 George St.

The Langley meeting takes place July 15 at B.C. Trucking Association at 20111 93A Ave.

Those who can’t attend the meetings are encouraged to view the plan at www.safetydriven.ca and provide their comments.

The council will submit the final business plan to WorkSafeBC in the fall for approval.