KENTVILLE, N.S. - Trucking companies in Nova Scotia will now be able to have more control over their safety practices and cut workplace accidents, thanks to a newly formed partnership between the Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA) and...
WORKING TOGETHER: (L to R) Stuart MacLean, Linda Corkum, Dianne Isnor and Bob Briggs.
KENTVILLE, N.S. – Trucking companies in Nova Scotia will now be able to have more control over their safety practices and cut workplace accidents, thanks to a newly formed partnership between the Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA) and the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia.
The partnership aims to combat the rising numbers of on-the-job injuries within member trucking companies and to educate all stakeholders so that roadways and workplaces may be safer.
“By partnering with the NSTSA we can more effectively share relevant information and encourage members of the trucking industry to put safety programs in place in their workplaces,” said Mary Kingston, director of communications for the WCB of Nova Scotia. “Having access to WCB information is helpful to employers when they are developing safety programs. This partnership presents a unique opportunity for us to work together with the association to help their members.”
The two-year partnership was launched as a pilot project between the two groups, said Dianne Isnor, NSTSA’s Executive Director.
“We will be building relationships and opening communication lines between industry and the WCB,” said Isnor. “The bottom line is we need better communication and education to provide increased awareness. That is what we are working towards with this initiative.”
Removing barriers that prevent workers and employers from thinking about safety is what Linda Corkum, NSTSA/WCB Liaison Officer, is attempting to do through one-on-one meetings with NSTSA member firms.
“I will sit down with the owner of the company and the safety officer and review their firm’s WCB account information and work with them to customize ways by which they can improve safety, lower their injury claims and thus reduce their insurance premiums,” said Corkum.
The WCB information fits hand in hand with the safety training programs that the NSTSA can offer so each group complements the other, said Corkum.
Many company owners are not aware of the information available to them at WCB. Nor are they aware of the options they have when it comes to managing and reducing their claims costs, Corkum added.
The NSTSA programs cater to all employees in the trucking firm and they need to know that these exist before they can take advantage of them, added Isnor.
“When we make them aware of their options through the firm meetings and provide them with information regarding the NSTSA’s safety training and educational sessions,” said Corkum.
“Not only does it break down the communication barriers but it lets them know who they can talk to and how they can acquire answers, so they feel more in control of their costs.”
“The discussions we have with members are very customized,” said Corkum, “which is only possible because of the relationship between the two groups.”
When conducting safety assessments and audits on behalf of the NSTSA, information on the benefits available is provided to the company representative. After the safety assessment or audit, the company receives a written notice advising it of the needed changes in order to comply with the federal or provincial legislation. Upon completion of the recommended changes, the firm is issued a NSTSA certificate of recognition signed by a representative of the WCB. The partnership project began in April 2004.
“Our numbers are up for registration of the safety training courses, safety assessments, audits and companies are calling to ask questions,” said Isnor. “The WCB is benefiting from this as well, as they are getting a better understanding of our industry and its needs, so we know that this initiative is truly working.”
NSTSA applies a three per cent levy over and above the rates that a company pays to support training sessions, OHS programs, safety assessments and audits. The NSTSA is directed by a volunteer board of directors – all of them representatives of the trucking industry. NSTSA programs are available to all NSTSA member trucking firms with employees residing in Nova Scotia.
Resource Personnel on the NSTSA Board include representatives of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour; Human Resources Kills Development Canada, Labour Affairs; Department of Transportation; Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board and Aldercomp Health & Safety Consulting.
As time goes by, the Atlantic trucking community will hopefully get a better understanding of working with the WCB through this partnership, said Ralph Boyd, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.
“Many employers in the industry are unaware of the activities and programs that are being offered by the WCB, so it is a great opportunity to become better educated,” said Boyd.