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Wheeler Transport Wins Top Safety Award For CPPI Fuel Haulers

PORT MOODY, B. C. - Safety has become a major priority for a Port Moody, B. C. fuel transport company - and it's paying off.


SAFETY FIRST: (L-R) Grant Allen, general manager; Tony Spring, vice-president; and Darrell Spring, president, have taken a safety-first approach to running Wheeler Transport.
SAFETY FIRST: (L-R) Grant Allen, general manager; Tony Spring, vice-president; and Darrell Spring, president, have taken a safety-first approach to running Wheeler Transport.

PORT MOODY, B. C. – Safety has become a major priority for a Port Moody, B. C. fuel transport company – and it’s paying off.

Wheeler Transport has earned this year’s Best Carrier Performance safety award from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI). It’s a step up for the company, after winning last year’s CPPI Improvement Award for Reduced Product Mixes.

Wheeler Transport, a fleet with about 100 pieces of equipment between trucks and fuel tankers and a branch in Kamloops, credits three safety initiatives for rising to the top spot. One of those initiatives is a safety bonus for all Wheeler Transport drivers, a straight percentage of the gross. If the drivers are incident-free, they get this payout at the end of the year, an incentive that’s typically earned by 90% of the driving staff. It’s a financial bonus that ultimately creates a cost savings to the company, according to the president.

“If you have no incidents, in the long run you’re actually saving money,” says Darrell Spring, a copartner with brother Tony.

The other key ingredient to Wheeler Transport’s safety program is a full-time health and safety officer. It’s the total focus of Kelly Stead, a former driver who knows the job well.

“He is continually having what we call tailgate meetings with the drivers at shift changes, putting on safety meetings, inspecting site locations and working with the drivers,” says general manager Grant Allen. “It’s really an ongoing process with the safety officer, and you have to really believe. Like anything else, you have to be committed to safety. It’s not a job you can do in a haphazard way. To be effective, it has to be your total focus.”

The third successful initiative is the company’s implementation of the Smith Defensive Driving traffic safety course, a program promoted widely in the US, and by a few oil companies on this side of the border.

“Initially both Chevron and Imperial were believers and asked us to look into the system, and we adopted it three or four years ago,” says Allen. “We’ve put all of our staff through this system, including drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and all of us (management).”

The initial course is eight hours, and a refresher is four hours. One goal is to encourage drivers to focus on the present traffic scenario, and to look as far ahead as three traffic lights along a route in preparation for the next maneuvre.

“So, instead of hammering the brakes, you can gear down on the truck,” explains Allen. “You can bring it to a nice slow pace, and then pick up when the light changes, because you’re in the right location. It’s those little nuances that really do make a difference.”

Another safety initiative promoted by the Smith Defensive Driving system is encouraging drivers to keep an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front, and to drop a common impulse to prevent a car from cutting in front by driving aggressively to close the gap. It’s an exercise demonstrated to be not only safer but also, just as time efficient.

“The times don’t change, and if they do, it’s very, very minimal,” Allen says.

The principals of Wheeler Transport attended the CPPI’s fifth annual Western Division Fuel Carrier Safety Awards luncheon at the Westin Calgary on Apr. 16 to receive their award. However, the president prefers to pay tribute to the 50-plus employees who work for Wheeler Transport, and who have continually improved the company’s safety record.

“We’re very proud of the fact that our employees have earned this award,” says Spring.


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4 Comments » for Wheeler Transport Wins Top Safety Award For CPPI Fuel Haulers
  1. Joanne Morgan says:

    Hi Tony, saw your post, stopped by to say hello..Take care, Jo Morgan-Reis
    from Burnaby B.C….Joanne..

  2. K.Passey says:

    WOW I would have never guessed this Company would have won a safety award.
    Last tues the 16th I had one of their trucks pass me dangerously up on the Paulson in B.C. Passed the truck behind me and myself before a curve against the line forcing an oncoming Dept of Hiways truck off the road onto the shoulder…..that was bad enough then when we came to the brake check he blew right by it without so much as slowing down I suspect because he din’t want to face a couple of pissed off drivers. I have been driving truck for 30 years and this sorry excuse for a driver should be punted …I can’t find an e mail address for this company so please post or pass it on to them and I will be more than happy to talk to a Supervisor.
    K.Passey

  3. Bill says:

    @K.Passey,

    I find it interesting that I came across this post, because one of my employees from the Dept of Hwys was the guy who was run off onto the shoulder….and it was not the driver from Wheeler Transport….it was YOU who was driving recklessly. I will not mention your company name, because your company is nowhere near the status of Wheeler anyway. I will say this though…if you are going to go around and slander other drivers for other companies, at least be factual when you do it, and don`t drive like such a hazard on our highways…..you could kill someone.

  4. She says:

    On September 20th on the Hope Highway a Wheeler truck was coming up from behind and passed every car there was and then cut right in front of us dangerously just missing the front end of our car. My boyfriend that was driving said we are already going 10 km above the speed limit so the Wheeler truck that’s passing everyone must be going at least 20 above the speed limit. He passed everyone and pulled into the brake station. Just wanted to report this because his driving was pretty reckless and someone could of been hurt.

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