KENTVILLE, N.S. - Working together has proven to be successful for the Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA).The NSTSA was incorporated in 1999, and it has become one of Nova Scotia's best k...
KENTVILLE, N.S. – Working together has proven to be successful for the Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA).
The NSTSA was incorporated in 1999, and it has become one of Nova Scotia’s best kept secrets.
The Nova Scotia Trucking Human Resource Council saw Workers Compensation Board (WCB) rates skyrocketing and felt a need within the industry to do something about it, so the NSTSA came to fruition.
It’s main goal is to reduce workplace accidents and illness as well as the associated costs, and address occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues. The NSTSA achieves this in a unique way.
The NSTSA is a non-profit society, which is industry-driven by a volunteer Board of Directors and is a partnership between industry and government that is 100 per cent industry-funded, so in turn the benefits are fed back to the industry to meet required standards.
The NSTSA membership consists of firms in the trucking industry that are under the WCB categories of general freight, used goods moving and storage, liquid bulk, dry bulk and trucking industry other.
The NSTSA also accommodates others and is willing to provide the same services members have to associate members or non-members. Members currently receive the benefits without additional expense, however, associate and non-members are charged a fee determined for cost recovery only.
Dianne Isnor, executive director for NSTSA, says the industry is evolving to becoming a more progressive community, and much more safety-conscious, she says.
“We are seeing a shift with how the industry addresses safety issues, they are much more proactive now and they have been working a long time to reach that goal,” says Isnor.
Eighty per cent of the industry, as well as the Department of Environment and Labor through an Order of Council, agreed to allow the WCB to charge a three per cent levy over and above the WCB rates so that money can then be administered back to the industry by way of OH&S courses and education.
There has been a significant drop in WCB rates from 2002 to 2003. Liquid bulk, dry bulk and trucking industry other saw a 14 per cent reduction leaving the rates at $3.83 per hundred of payroll. General freight, used goods moving and storage and forest products has been reduced by seven per cent to $4.95.
If payroll is constant, says Isnor, then the minimum total savings for 2003 over 2002 are estimated at $594,743, which would cover the cost of the three per cent levy to date.
“When it comes to industry safety – you can’t beat it, I’m proud to be a part of it,” says Dave Roberts, executive director of the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia (TANS) and NSTSA Board member.
Roberts says the NSTSA has taken a lot of guess-work out of OH&S concerns and has made its services more user friendly.
“Our members are quite impressed with how the NSTSA came together and the services it offers, the ease of paperwork – the whole shot,” says Roberts. “They say it’s much easier and more trucker friendly than the way it used to be, and as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the best things that I’ve been involved with.”
The NSTSA facilitates the process required to meet the needs of the employer whether it be for a safety audit, air brake training, hubs, tires and wheels, first aid, fall restraint, WHIMIS, TDG, forklift, or anything that is connected with OH&S.
The organization also provides OH&S training to ensure that trucking firms are in compliance with the acts and regulations set forth by the department of Environment and Labor. Those firms who are federally or provincially regulated with five or more employees are required to participate in a two-day workshop and are provided with resource materials which can be customized to their OH&S needs.
“We have been asked by the WCB of Nova Scotia to participate in their strategic planning and industry having input is a major step forward,” Isnor says. “We have also been looking at additional reduction of WCB rates for those firms who have been audited and awarded a certificate of recognition, which proves that a firm is complying with OH&S acts and regulations.”
Roberts says it is critical to get this type of service in place.
“The other provinces should follow suit, it is something that everyone should be involved in. In Nova Scotia, every trucker has to have the OH&S training to work on certain projects, and these regulations don’t tend to be uniform from province to province so it is important to have something in place,” Roberts says.
Isnor notes that the decrease in accidents and associated costs, and the increase in the industry’s bottom line is an example of how industry partners working together can move the yardstick in safety.
For more information on membership or programs offered, visit www.nstsa.ca or call 902-678-2911.