EDMONTON, Alta. – Westcan Bulk Transport recently took home gold for being Canada’s Safest Employers in the transportation.
The award was handed out by Canadian Occupational Safety in Toronto, recognizing the carrier, which has 800 trucks hauling across Western Canada, Ontario, and the western Arctic.
Westcan drivers are required to stop every three hours for an eight-minute break, something Dan Columbus, vice-president of health, safety, and environment at Westcan, said is important.
“You can do your walk around, you can do your stretches, you can check your messages, you can update your journey management plan, and then you can get back on the road,” said Columbus.
If driver fail to stop every three hours, a notification is sent to the driver through an electronic log system requesting them to pull over.
Westcan implemented this new policy last year, and despite the amount of time stopping every three hours takes, Columbus said it’s worth it.
“We feel that the efficiency of being prepared, alert, well-rested, not having incidents, and the continuation of work in the health of our employees, that’s a great investment,” he said.
The company also found a new provider for its fatigue management program last year, which has improved screening, therapy, monitoring, and follow-up for sleep apnea.
Westcan replaced around 100 machines at a cost of more than $260,000 to upgrade the fatigue management technology.
Other safety initiatives Westcan has employed included a “Distraction Month” to refresh employees on the dangers of distraction – company drivers are not permitted to use Bluetooth, unwrap food, or read maps while behind the wheel.
“We believe if your mind is not on task, no matter what task you’re doing, there’s a risk you could be injured, a family member could be injured, or environmental damage, it could be numerous things,” said Columbus.
Westcan is also prioritizing its health and wellness program to ensure employees are in top health throughout their careers.
“We know with our on-boarding process we get very healthy employees. Why is it that later, people get sick?” said Columbus. “Is it the way they eat? Is it the stress of home or the stress of work? We’ve taken our health and wellness program and we’re looking at prevention with our solutions. It’s body, it’s mind, it’s health, it’s about bringing all of that together.”