“We will add your distinctiveness to our own.” A popular quote from Star Trek, this idea of taking the best of something to make it stronger is not something foreign to industry and safety leaders.
The ideal of development and growth is a pursuit of ongoing excellence and refinement that demonstrates our commitment to safety and those we are tasked with keeping safe.
In Alberta, employers have multiple obligations to workplace safety, and often, these obligations are spoken of seperately of each other to avoid muddying the waters.
Two of One - Part 3
All About The Hazards
In Part 2 of the Alberta OHS Code, Hazard Management & Control is discussed. Employers read about the needs to create hazard assessments and identify what it is that they do that can harm their workers. They break down the jobs, the tasks, the health & safety hazards, they rank them, and then they control them.
The HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS indicates how best to control hazards. Eliminating them is a priority, but if you cannot eliminate a hazard, you are required by law to control it. In commercial trucking, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate many hazards.
The primary hazard that commercial drivers experience is that of driver fatigue. Sitting for long periods of time, staring out at an open road for what can seem like forever, and driving at all hours of the day can take its toll. There’s no way to eliminate fatigue, but you can manage it by shifting how people look and relate to it. Fatigue Management & Journey Management Programs are effective administrative hazard controls because they educate and change how people work around the hazard.
Another effective hazard control available to commercial drivers is the Hours-of-Service Regulations. Whether you’re a Federal Carrier or a Provincial Carrier in Alberta, there are regulations in place that limit how much you can drive in a day to ensure you get enough time to properly rest. At a provincial level, you contend with shift limits and your reset is always the same. At a federal level, you contend with day / shift / cycle limits and all 3 must be in alignment.
Training is also a quintessential element in managing hazards for motor carriers. The Alberta Commercial Vehicle Certificate & Insurance Regulation (AR 314/2002) indicates that drivers are to be trained to do the things that are required of them. The province of Alberta has standardized this to mean that drivers are to be trained in the following:
a) Hours of Service
b) Trip Inspections
c) Cargo Securement
d) Weights & Dimensions
e) Transportation of Dangerous Goods (if required to haul them)
As part of this training, you also learn to manage another hazard that you cannot eliminate: your own vehicle. A large part of both NSC and COR Programs, the idea of establishing a set frequency to monitor and maintain your equipment is so that your equipment doesn’t fail when you need it the most. A commercial vehicle is a moving hazard. You do not want to wait until your brakes fail, or your tires are worn out before replacing them.
By law, you are to check your vehicle once every 24 hours and document that inspection. Also: any truck/tractor/trailer in Alberta with a Gross Vehicle Weight of over 4500kg is required to be inspected by a licensed facility annually as part of the province’s CVIP Program. Motor Coaches are every 6 months.
And the list goes on. However, the underlying principle is that none of this is meant to be “red tape”. It’s all meant to keep you safe, and by being able to adapt your Health & Safety Management System (HSMS) to factor in both OHS and NSC legal requirements, you streamline and simplify your operation & set yourself up for success.
How Do I Get a COR / SECOR?
Although companies have the right to pick the Certifying Partner of their choice to participate in COR, the Certifying Partner for the commercial trucking industry is the Alberta Motor Transport Association. Each Certifying Partner has their own set of approved requirements to hold a valid COR / SECOR, but all require participation in a 2 or 3 day course where you learn how to build & develop a Health & Safety Management System that meets COR standards.
COR / NSC Audits
Although similar, COR and NSC Audits on their own evaluate different elements of your Health & Safety Management System and they score them differently. A COR Audit on its own will NOT satisfy NSC requirements nor will an NSC Audit alone satisfy a COR. Your COR Audit document is available from your Certifying Partner. The NSC Audit is proprietary and not distributed, but a compliance quiz that mostly matches the NSC Audit is available from Alberta Transportation.
Stay tuned, as part 4 in the 4-part series that will be released in September 2022.
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