LANGLEY, B.C. — While many safety developments aim to protect drivers while out on the road, a new safety program in B.C. is planning to focus on everything else.
In April 2009, WorkSafeBC approved the B.C. Trucking Safety Council‘s application to implement a safety certificate of recognition (COR) program for companies in WorkSafeBC’s General Trucking and Moving & Storage classification units.
A COR program is a major component of WorkSafeBC’s voluntary Partners in Injury and Disability Prevention Program (Partners Program), which offers incentives to employers who implement health and safety management systems in their workplaces to reduce injuries and to help injured workers to return to work safely.
Employers who join the Partners Program agree to work with a Certifying Partner – in this case, the BC Trucking Safety Council – to implement a safety management system and meet a set of audit standards to earn a COR. In return, certified employers earn rebates of up to 15 percent off their WorkSafeBC premiums.
A COR program has been in operation in Alberta for some time now, but the Partners Program is relatively new to B.C. The program underwent a successful pilot testing between 2002 to 2005 in the road building, oil and gas, and construction industries.
According to the B.C. Trucking Safety Council’s research, the trucking industry experiences an injury rate of 6 per 100 person years, coupled with average claim duration of over 70 days, resulting in annual injury claim costs of approximately $30 million.
Interestingly, only a small percentage of industry-related claims originate from highway accidents. Instead, over 67 percent of injuries documented over the past five years were sprains, strains, tears and fractures – in other words, injuries that companies and their employees can prevent in many cases through a higher level of safety awareness and performance on the job.
The safety council hopes to be able to roll out the COR program to the trucking industry in early 2010.