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CPPI honours safest petroleum haulers

CALGARY, Alta. - Safety is at the number one concern of any professional driver or fleet manager, no matter what you're hauling. But the risk attached to transporting a load of gas or diesel is substa...

CALGARY, Alta. – Safety is at the number one concern of any professional driver or fleet manager, no matter what you’re hauling. But the risk attached to transporting a load of gas or diesel is substantially higher than hauling a load of bananas. That’s why the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) each year rewards the safest petroleum haulers in Western Canada.

“Petroleum products by nature are dangerous goods, to us and the environment,” noted Carl Hector, regional manager for Alberta and Saskatchewan with Trimac Transportation.

When you head out for a drive on the highway in Western Canada, you are more likely to share the road with a trucker hauling petroleum than a load of bananas.

“Gas is the most hauled commodity in North America,” added Len Comtois, safety director with Trimac. “People take it for granted but it’s very dangerous. One spill and you could have a fire, so it warrants a lot of attention.”

Four carriers were recently honoured for their attention to safety by the CPPI.

CPPI’s Western Division established the Common Carrier Awards in 2004 to recognize transportation companies who completed the delivery of petroleum products in a safe manner. Collectively, the four award-winning carriers made more than 217,492 deliveries in 2006 on behalf of CPPI member companies in Western Canada.

“It’s a good recognition for the folks who haul products for CPPI members,” Ted Stoner, vice-president of CPPI, said. “We look at incident reports, and trends and tracking. We’re looking for reductions over previous years, overall safety performance, and safety promotion among drivers and fleets.”

CPPI is a national association of Canadian refiners and marketers of petroleum products, which serves and represents those sectors with respect to environment, health and safety and business issues.

“There are many products carriers haul for CPPI members and we’re getting into more stringent rules and regulations, especially with the introduction of ultra low-sulfur diesel, so carriers really have to watch product mixes,” added Stoner.

During last year’s awards presentation, Scamp Industries picked up the Improvement Award for Product Mixes. For the 2006 edition of the Common Carrier Safety Awards, the Langley-based carrier was honoured as the Best Overall Carrier, excelling in all safety areas.

“We really covet this; it’s like the Stanley Cup for us to win an award like this,” said Jay Cambell, owner of Scamp Industries.

The family-owned and operated trucking outfit has been servicing B.C. for 20 years and was founded by Campbell’s father on a principle of safety and hard work.

“Safety always has to be first. Without safety we wouldn’t be here,” Campbell said. “We have a responsibility to preserve and protect the public and we always try to minimize and negate incidents.”

Scamp and its 67 drivers exclusively haul light petroleum products – gas and diesel – and address every incident as soon as it transpires.

“We have an instant review committee and investigative team to find the root cause of an incident and address it immediately, even if it’s minor,” explained Campbell. “We believe that it all starts with leadership and we’re dedicated to our causes. This is a very grassroots company fuelled by a huge spirit.”

Paul’s Hauling has been recognized as a leader in safety among carriers who service CPPI member companies for the past couple of years. As last year’s overall safety winner, Paul’s Hauling returned to Calgary this year to pick up the Improvement Award for Reduced Product Spills.

“We’re always on a continuous improvement and we have teams within the organization to review incidents. The Incident Reduction team was established last year, which has helped us achieve this,” explained Barry Bembridge, general manager for Paul’s Hauling. “They do root cause analysis so we see where we need to improve, what happened and why; and those results direct our safety initiative.”

The Winnipeg-based company services all of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, with about half of its 200 drivers hauling petroleum products.

Training is one important aspect of the safety initiatives at Paul’s Hauling. As well as ongoing training and constant interaction with its drivers, the carrier has also introduced a more lucrative pay package to entice the top drivers in the industry.

“We raised pay by 20% during the last 18 months and we think that has helped,” said Bembridge. “We’re getting quality guys and they don’t have to think about money and can concentrate on the job at hand.”

Most importantly, Bembridge noted safety has to be present in every aspect of the organization and at the forefront of employee’s thoughts at all times.

“Safety is a culture and has to be present throughout the organization and it is in ours,” he added. “It’s like a heartbeat that has to be there all the time.”

Trimac Transportation was the recipient of two awards this year and credited its employees for bringing in the hardware.

“It really comes down to people, if you want to summarize it,” said Comtois.

“It has to be there throughout the whole organization, from the mechanics to the drivers to the dispatchers,” added Norm Kennedy, vice-president of Trimac’s western division.

Trimac is headquartered in Calgary and provides carrier services all across North America, with approximately 450 drivers hauling petroleum products. The outfit has been around for more than six decades and safety has always been a priority for the company.

“We’ve been around for 62 years and have a well-established program, which we continue to deliver,” said Kennedy.

“There is a focus on field awareness and field safety with our product handlers and drivers,” added the company’s safety director. “We have an established safety program we administer daily with our drivers and facility personnel.”

As well as incidents, Trimac follows up with its employees on near misses as well, in an effort to minimize any occurrences in the future.

“Every incident is investigated through a fact-finding process,” explained Comtois. “Corrective measures are sought out, followed up and implemented to ensure it does not happen again; and that’s every incident, no matter how small.”

To ensure its employees continue to achieve success in safety, Trimac is shifting towards a central training centre. The centre will be based in Edmonton and provide training for all employees west of Thunder Bay, Ont.

“Right now there are too many training places and not everyone is getting the same message,” Kennedy said. “We hope to reduce incidents and frequencies even further by delivering the same message to everyone.”

CPPI 2006 Common Carrier Safety Awards

* Best overall carrier who excelled in all safety performance areas – Scamp Industries

* Improvement award for reduced product mixes – Westcan Bulk Transport

* Improvement award for reduced product spills – Paul’s Hauling

* Improvement award for reduced vehicle accidents – Trimac Transportation

* Improvement award for reduced personal injuries – Trimac Transportation

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