Many Ontario transportation enforcement officers (TEOs) are unhappy with working conditions that they say compromise safety on the job. But are these workplace concerns compromising road safety as well? There's reason to believe that they are.
The mental health of truck drivers remains one of my biggest concerns. Ten years ago, I first wrote about what I thought was a monster issue hiding just below the surface of daily trucking life. “Hiding” was the key word there, and it still is. Are we making progress? Yes, but there’s much more to do.
The business of selling truck parts is, well, a big business by every measure. The aftermarket that cares for Canada’s Class 6-8 trucks, trailers and container chassis was worth an estimated $4.06 billion last year, according to analysts at MacKay and Company. And the mergers and acquisitions among component suppliers are underway at a breakneck pace.
My favorite quote from The Irishman is when legendary Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino, bellows to a group of truck drivers at an organizing meeting, “If you got it, a truck brought it!” Ironically, until I watched the trucking/mob flick over the holidays, I thought that iconic saying was a trucking association tagline. The quote also speaks to the realities of being a trucker.
Cleaner air comes with a price tag. It’s paid every time equipment evolves in the name of controlling emissions. A tighter focus on particulate matter gave us diesel particulate filters. When regulators squeezed the allowable levels of NOx, we saw the widespread introduction of exhaust gas recirculation and diesel exhaust fluid. The current push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has led to the rollout of everything from new oil categories to aerodynamic refinements and lighter components. Even battery-electric and hydrogen-electric trucks are now on the horizon.
For workplaces covered by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) -- or those who are required to have such coverage -- an employee may not have the right to sue the employer in a civil action for constructive dismissal. This is because workplace harassment that causes chronic mental stress is considered a workplace injury for which WSIA benefits are available.