Nova Scotia Trucking Association hopes to break the ice

by James Menzies

HALIFAX, N.S. – The issue of snow and ice removal from trailer tops continues to gain attention this winter, as several jurisdictions are reportedly putting more pressure on truckers to ensure their roofs are clean.

While several fleets have put into place best practices and designed or installed snow removal systems at their facilities, there has been no place to share information on these practices or systems. Until recently, that is.

Recognizing there were various types of trailer top snow and ice removal systems being used across Canada, the Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA) kicked off a Help Break the Ice campaign and Web site this winter. Available at, the Web site aims to serve as a central clearinghouse for information related to snow and ice removal tools and strategies that are being used throughout the industry.

The NSTSA knew snow and ice accumulation on trailers was a significant road hazard. In addition to slip and fall, overextension and strain injuries suffered by drivers trying to clear off their equipment, the debris also posed a danger to other motorists. Linda Corkum, executive director of the organization said the Help Break the Ice campaign began as an attempt to find out what people – both from within and outside the industry – were saying about the problem.

“What is the public saying? What kind of best practices are out there? We don’t have the answers to what every company is doing, so we launched the Web site so we could hear from motorists, trucking companies and drivers, so they could tell us their stories and we could tabulate feedback and do a better job of educating people on this topic,” Corkum says.

The NSTSA’s roots are in Nova Scotia, but the Web site can be national – even global – in nature. It currently hosts videos, news articles and research papers that have been published on the topic.

“We want to know what is out there, what is working and what isn’t, what is cost-effective and how we can promote the safe practices that companies do have,” Corkum explains.

So far, the campaign has been well received. The NSTSA designed a poster that is being distributed to fleets when the agency visits them to conduct its safety audits. The safety group is also encouraging companies to address snow and ice removal at their safety meetings during the winter.

Of course, NSTSA does not profess to have come across the perfect solution to snow and ice removal – at least, not yet. Corkum says the main objective of the campaign is to simply spread information that may be useful to carriers and drivers. What are the most effective tools the group has heard about so far?

The Erb snow removal system covered in Truck News last month was among them, and is now displayed on the Web site – both in video and PDF form.

Corkum says she has heard of other fleets that have similar systems in place, basically a catwalk inside a decommissioned trailer that allows drivers to safely climb up a set of stairs and clear off their trailer roof while within the confines of the second trailer’s walls.

The NSTSA notes the provincial scales near Halifax and Amherst have snow removal systems from Scraper Systems in place, and she says a local company is working on developing a mobile snow removal system drivers could take with them while on the road.

To contribute ideas or to request a free Help Break the Ice poster, visit or call 888-329-9660.

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