HOW DOES YOUR BRAND SIZE UP?

When I was training drivers I tried to make an impression that you, the driver, are the creator of attitudes about your business. Think of any transportation business out there. Generally speaking, there is somebody at the top, a Chief Executive Officer. Then there are Middle Management, accountants, clerical people and sales staff.
Unless they were wearing some sort of uniform would you know which company they represented? By just seeing them, would you be able to form an opinion about their company?

You may think of yourself as a lowly driver but you are probably the most important person in the company. Let me show you.
Let’s imagine you are in the position of hiring one driver for your business. Two applicants show up. They are exactly the same age, size and, gender. They both are very pleasant, very polished looking, and both have twenty years’ experience driving commercially. Matter of fact, the only difference between them is that one has driven a local taxi for twenty years and the other, a Greyhound Bus. Has your comparative impression of the candidates changed any from a moment ago?

Most people do at this point. As drivers go, the name Greyhound has created an impression on most of us and therefore, we are more likely to look at their driver favourably. Absolutely nothing is different but our own pre-formed opinion. So, where did that judgment come from? It was created by watching the majority of Greyhound buses on the highway, in the news and by word of mouth. It’s called “perception”.

Here is the opposite. Without giving you the name, there is a particular trucking company from Phoenix, Arizona that currently has the worst driving reputation in North America. If you are aware of the trucking industry to any degree, you likely know that name and make jokes about their drivers along with the rest of us. That kind of bias may have been created just because people with cameras might have been in the right/wrong place at the right time. I would not want my name associated with that company and because of their reputation, I doubt you would either.

The message that I tried to get across to our drivers was that you are driving a “billboard”. Every move you make as a driver is being watched, observed and, photographed by the general public and because the vehicle is marked with your company’s name, an overall impression is automatically being formed and shared.
Does it matter? It sure does! Who do you think the “general public” is? From the Prime Minister right down to a six or a seven-year-old kid who will probably someday become, or not become, a customer just because of his or her impression.

What you do as a driver can provide a whole industry with a reputation – good or bad. Go ahead, think for yourself. Do you have a picture that comes to mind when you generally think of taxi drivers, car parts delivery services or car rental jockeys at airports? The size or style of the truck may make a difference or the type of business like a specific courier or aggregate service.

Certain things that a professional driver has done in-front-of us stick Nick-2015in our brains whether we are conscious of it or not. Attached to my memory is a particular large US moving company name. On a tied-up four-lane Interstate somewhere in the mid-west USA, you could see traffic for miles ahead at a near stand-still. In the distance, you could see several lit-up traffic control arrow signs directing traffic from the left to the right lane. Whatever the cause, we knew it had been there for some time.

This particular moving company driver had taken it upon himself to become a traffic director positioning himself straddling the lanes, trying to squeeze traffic behind him to the right lane. As he did that, a lady in a four-wheeler in the left lane behind him would attempt to go out around him on the left because there was a half mile of empty space ahead of him. As she did, he would yank the wheel to the left and cut her off. This happened two or three times. She just wasn’t catching on.

Finally, when she did it a fourth time, he popped it into neutral, hit the button, jumped out of the cab and aggressively started trudging back toward her with a tire-thumper in his hand. Every driver there was ready to jump out themselves to pound on him.

When we finally reached the bottleneck, several miles down the road, two tractor-trailer drivers had died in a fiery crash on the median. He probably knew about this a long time before we did through his CB contacts and reacted. I will never forget the name of that internationally known moving company. He created a really bad impression for that hauler in the minds of a lot of people on that highway that day.

You cannot control what is going through people’s minds or how they look at situations but everybody has an opinion. How you are perceived as a driver of a marked vehicle can make all the difference for many years to come.

Keep your people safe.
 The beauty of life is in your hands.
THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

MY BIG STICK

MY BIG STICK

By Nick Nicholson

When you look at that title, one conjures up the sense of power, authority and we often relate it to some type of enforcement. We’ve all heard the assertion, “Walk softly and carry a big stick”. As a safety practitioner in the transportation industry, I was well known for using “My Big Stick”. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

I took an old broom and cut about three feet off the handle, rounded the cut and I carried it as a pointer. That was my big stick. It was much more precise pointing out specific areas on the wall screen with that stick to make my point. I could have used one of those little laser pointers but the stick had a much bigger purpose.

One of the things that happen in a classroom is that people get comfortable. When they do, they can drift off into, at the minimum, a mesmerized state, if not totally asleep. As they sit there, you know that they are taking in roughly ten present of what you are saying and, down the road, will only remember only about ten percent of that.

As an instructor of material designed to keep people alive and safe, there are moments when I wanted to make sure the participants in my class absorbed all the information and didn’t forget. So, I carried a big stick!

There are probably a million things that a driver trainer can say to Nick-2015help keep the trainee safe. When you want to emphasize the most important message the candidate will hear in that class, you want to have something that catches everybody’s attention and ensures that he or she is fully awake. You want them to remember it for the rest of their lives and hope that they remember it when it becomes a hazard to them in real time. Ah! That big stick!

To me, it is generally acceptable for a driver to keep the vehicle between the white lines, drive at a speed enabling you to avoid trouble when it shows up, and be aware of the dangers that other traffic creates. But, there is one major factor that will keep most drivers safer on the road than all others. To me, that one factor is called “space cushion”.

What is “space cushion”? It is the safe following distance you leave between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. The gap that you allow so that you can stop safely without hitting that vehicle ahead. As you have a responsibility to other drivers as well, it is also the distance you build into it so that not only can you stop without hitting that vehicle but, to provide sufficient warning to the vehicle behind to do the same. Human safety is most important. Prevent injury.
So, the big stick! I would ask the class to sit back and relax and “dream along with me” for a few minutes. “Close your eyes if you like and just listen.”

In a monotone voice, I would begin to tell a story where you are on your day off and have decided to enjoy the nice weather by going for a drive with the person you love the most in this world. I would interject that I didn’t care if it was your spouse, or somebody else’s, same sex or different, your child or perhaps your grandchild. It has to be that person you care the very most about sitting beside you, I continued.

Lulling the audience to sleep, I would express to them: “You’ve been following a tractor-trailer down the road for quite some time and you’ve begun to trust the actions of the driver: smooth slow downs, plenty of pre-signal warning, no sudden moves, stable on the road” – a very comfortable ride.

“All of a sudden, the brake lights come on, the trailer starts to go sideways, smoke comes from the tires and WHACK!” With my big stick coming down hard and flat on a table surface, the noise was deafening. The whole room would jump.

“You see the glass shattering in-front-of you I continued, you feel the steering wheel coming into your belly, you smell the steaming anti-freeze escaping, you hear tires screeching behind you and the vehicle comes to a stop. Shaking your head, you look around to see, still sitting beside you, that person you love so much – their eyes are wide open with a fixed stare but, you know that there is nobody in there. You’re looking at eyes that will never look back at you again. They are gone and you know it.”

At about this point, after asking the class how they feel, that I go into my spiel about the “three-second space cushion count” (for cars). “When the back bumper of the vehicle ahead passes a stationary object on the side of the road, begin counting, one-thousand and one, one-thousand and two, and one thousand and three. If your front bumper passes that same stationary object before the word “three”, you are following too close. Back-off and try your count again until you fit within that space.”

Using my big stick, now as an indicator, I now point to the screen and follow along as a visual depicts the spacing required to emphasize my message. Increase that distance for larger vehicles. From feedback, I know that it has worked.
I only wish everybody had learned and practiced it every day. We’d be a lot safer.

Keep your people safe.
 The beauty of life is in your hands.
THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

THE PLEASURE OF INSTRUCTING ADULTS

THE PLEASURE OF INSTRUCTING ADULTS

As a child, I was a very poor student – a “dreamer”. As a teenager, I was a belligerent student and I confess that I would not have wanted to be one of my teachers.

Thinking back, I believe this activity was because I didn’t want to be there. Gazing out the window to exciting weather, watching people driving by (always a desire) and just living life had my interest. It didn’t matter, both snowstorms and warm sunny days were appealing and I wanted to be outside in the elements.

I was not able to see the connection between learning and my future potential ability. Algebra, a topic that comes to mind. I haven’t used algebra much in my career, however, I do understand the abstract principle of substituting a symbol to represent huge, vast, and overwhelming things, bringing them down to a size your brain can simplify. “A”, “b”, and “x” have made life so much easier to comprehend at times.

It wasn’t until I started to work that I began to find learning useful. The secret of learning something and taking it back to work to use was instantly exciting. What I learned was packed into my tool bag, as I practiced, it became experience and lifelong knowledge that I have never forgotten. Even now, if it has not been used for a long time, it comes back. If you were into computers, how about the MS-DOS commands that you once knew well and used every day?
At some point in time, I began to share my knowledge with others. My injury in 1979 was probably my greatest motivator because I began to think about safety after that. My first dealings with the WCB (compensation board) were with my own injury and later, as a Dispatcher, I automatically took over the writing of Form 7” s (initial report) for every injury the company had. Eventually, I fell into the “safety” role, because of that. That’s when I really began to study and I found myself taking as many courses as I could. This was stuff that I could use.

It was an automatic transition, sharing what I had learned and utilizing it to try to prevent people from getting hurt. Helping to prevent damage to vehicles put a smile on the boss’s face, and keeping costs (injury and property damage) down made me feel worthwhile.

That brings me to my instructional career. The delight of my career. Nick-2015Courses that I took enabled me to teach various safety-related subjects. I found that the candidates in my classes actually wanted to be there and therefore made it very easy for me to present and for them to absorb information. The material I was teaching was being used immediately, on the drive home from the class.
These were adults that I was teaching. Like me, they had turned the corner to understand that learning was for their own benefit. They could choose, to some degree, as to what they wanted to learn. They also chose to use it, or not, in their daily living. Those who listened, paid attention, who followed the safety tips provided usually stayed safe and out of trouble. That’s where my knowledge became useful to them which they, in-turn, shared with their families.

Yes, I did a lot of Lesson Planning. Yes, I prepared drawings, gathered and inserted pictures and gobbled up traffic and crash news articles to expose road and safety hazards. Constantly changing as the presentation equipment I used became more sophisticated, the lessons became better and better. They became more and more interesting. I would often hear: “When is the next class?”
Something I found amazing was the amount of new information I accumulated from the students. These folks were all experienced drivers, each had a story to tell. Some were horrendous mishap stories where the individual really learned the hard way, through severe injury to themselves or experiencing extremely scary or destructive circumstances. Each added something to my toolbox. I used it well.

I found that I usually had to extend my planning for class-time by about an hour or more. The reason? Out of a class of around 20 candidates, 15 of them would hang around later to tell me of their own experiences. As long as I was willing to listen, and they had the time, they would ply me with their stories. Often, they would show up in my office at a later time with something they had thought of because of our classroom dialog. Each piece would stimulate my thinking.

Teaching safety to adults was a fascinating and rewarding experience for me. Each of us has experienced some form of safety knowledge with everything we have done all our lives. When you learned to ride a bicycle, you learned safety. When you learned to cook an egg, you learned safety and when you learned to drive, you learned safety, bigtime. The past knowledge that has been growing since childhood is there, in the back of your mind, just ready to be exploited. The more interesting you can make it for others, the better teacher and safety practitioner you become.
Being a safety practitioner may be a career that you might want to consider.

Keep your people safe. The beauty of life is in your hands.
THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

June Meeting Location Changed to Caistorville Golf Course

Due to our annual elections and our annual golf outing our June meeting will be held at the Caistorville Golf Course in Caistor Centre, Ontario. If attending please bring your golf attire and clubs and join us after the meeting for a round of golf.

Caistorville Golf Centre

See you there!

HFSC Meeting picture

Leanne Quail talks Smart Start at May 2018 HFSC Meeting

Comments included “One of the best presentations ever!” and “Finally a new approach to old school techniques” as Leanne Quail of Paul Quail Transport talked about her new and fresh strategy for bringing on new drivers to her fleet. She offered techniques and solutions to help her bring new drivers on in a comfortable way using programs already in place. The meeting even went long due to the engaged audience. Thank you Leanne for a great presentation and you can learn more about Paul Quail Transport at www.quailtransport.com.

Leanne Quail

Other topics discussed at the meeting included driver medical forms, ELD compliance, Regulations in different jurisdictions, CRA rules for owner operators, and cargo theft.

Hamilton Chapter Meeting

Learn more about joining our Chapter by clicking here

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

 

ARE MY IDEAS PRACTICAL?

When I was a child, (60 years ago, at least) I often dreamt of roads having wires implanted into the pavement that a magnet could follow to keep everybody in their own lane. This made so much sense to me because everywhere I looked, I could see multiple wires cluttering the sky for electricity, telephone and in those days, the telegraph. I knew it could be done, obviously affordable – why wasn’t it?

Since those days, I have often thought of solutions to critical problems that keep killing people on our highways. Little by little, I see those things coming into existence and wonder why I never made any money promoting them. You know what I’m talking about. truck by Bruce OutridgeThings like ABS brakes (initially on aircraft), electronic stability programs, lane stabilizers, vehicles that can sense what’s ahead and stop before impact, etc. Instead of governments changing traffic control by manipulating the roadbeds, they’ve left it up to vehicle manufacturers to react with individual and separate solutions.
Before a fellow by the name of Ralph Nader came along and opened his mouth, none of these things were even considered. He really embarrassed governments and manufacturers into action. Still, things happen that can be avoided. People make mistakes. If there is a means whereby technology can overcome human error, then it should be utilized quickly.

 

Take, for instance, the number of high vehicles that continue to hit low bridges. An electronic eye, suspended some distance ahead, slightly lower than the obstruction could divert higher vehicles avoiding the route altogether using traffic controls. Usually, trucks suffer physical damage but, double-decker buses (more of them travelling on North American roads these days) cost lives.
It’s taken many years but finally, the majority of the population are using seat belts. The “but” here, is that seat belts could be designed a whole lot better. Speak to any race car driver or compare their crash fatality statistics.

Speaking of race cars, have you ever heard of “roof crush”? So many, many automobiles are designed with roofs that will not withstand the car’s own weight. We’re not talking convertibles, here. People inside die – why? Are you aware that the little “Fortwo” Smart car has a cage built all around it like a race car for the occupant’s protection? So, why isn’t this mandatory for all vehicles?

From my perspective, vehicle occupant safety is a result of a whole lot of things. If you have a vehicle that has been constructed with safety in mind, run it on roads that were constructed with a safety mentality then, taking a trained operator, who is actually paying attention and thinking about what he or she is doing, you still have enormous risk to overcome.

Human error is still the largest factor in road crashes and it takes a fraction of a second to happen. If you are human then, it could be your life changing error.

Fleet Safety Council’s Safe Driver of the Year for 2017 was Mike Lotakow. He tells me that he was initially trained in Poland where the course to drive tractor-trailer is two years long. Are we Canadians, the have-all country of North America, missing something here?

From an engineering standpoint, I see the Ontario Government going backward. Have you noticed the number of onramps that have been removed from secondary roads in this province in recent years? Pretty well all intersections these days must come to a complete stop before turning right. Yesterday’s ease-on ramps, with yield signs, that kept traffic moving have disappeared.

So, are my ideas practical? Over the years, I have written to various government officials (mostly Ontario) with suggestions as to how to minimize danger on our roads. Sometimes I get a response from (usually) my local politician stating that my message will be forwarded to the Minister responsible and that’s it. Nothing ever happens. The only change that has ever been made through my contribution was the addition of the extra lane leading from the EB 403 to the NB 407. They really screwed that one up. There was a lot of carnage before they took action. That was a big push from the public. Have you considered the stupid, convoluted EB Niagara exit at that same interchange?

Governments ignore the findings of their own Inquests. The government orders Inquests, they conduct them, they insist on recommendations and then, they ignore them. It’s like another trial that the victims have to go through without closure. From what I see, it’s mostly governmental fraudulent deception.

From what I can see, it takes huge movements of citizens to get action from the government, something the size of the Humboldt Bronco’s bus crash or the white Ryder van incident in Toronto, otherwise “safety” is just another word.
Keep your people safe.

The beauty of life is in your hands.
THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

TURN YOUR MIND TOWARD PREVENTION

I talk a lot about paying attention to hazards and that everybody should be aware. This is great if you can think of them when you need them, react to them and prevent an injury or other carnage.

Lets consider some things that happen in our daily lives that may seem frivolous at first. What is the most dangerous component of operating any vehicle? You, the operator, of course.  We must be competent, physically able, mentally able, without the effect of alcohol, drugs or any other stimulant. At the moment, I will not drive, not because I can’t, not because I haven’t got a licence but, because some heart doctor who knows a whole lot more than I do said so.  I’m not taking that chance. Can YOU learn anything here?

Now, I realize that all parts and pieces of vehicles need to be operating correctly in order for it to be safe but, have you ever considered what particular part(s) is the most dangerous to use? I would have to say the brakes.

Misused brakes have caused some of the most devastating heartbreaks for thousands of drivers and their families. Many happen because people react by jamming their foot on the brake when they should not be touching them at all.Many of us are capable of getting a vehicle going, winding up the speed, keeping it between the lines, and exceeding every safe driving principle that has ever been discussed.  The trouble arrives when something else comes into play and we need to stop safely.

Your vision is probably most important and then, having enough time to react to what you see. Next comes the slowing or stopping of the vehicle, considering all the facts you have such as things like, tire or other component conditions, weight of the vehicle, road conditions, weather conditions, other traffic and so on.

That’s just one of the many scenarios to living your life safely. Everything we do from getting out of bed to getting back in can have safety hazards that we have to circumvent to avoid damage or injury each day. I’ll avoid talking in-bed injuries!

So where do you begin?  In a previous article I stated: Prevent the kid from tripping over his own shoelace first and, in the worst case scenario circumstances, you may just save a life.”

Think about that for a second. Thousands of kids have run with Transforming into the Future Seminarshoelaces untied and got away with it. For the ones that didn’t, there were probably special circumstances like tripping and falling over a cliff, tripping and falling in front of a car, tripping and falling into a wood chipper. These dreamt up situations can keep getting worse and worse but, they could happen. As we can’t predict what may be coming other than, by tying up the shoelace, we can predict that the kid will not trip over it. One simple solution, if acted upon, may be all that it takes to actually save the life of your own kid. The key word there is “act”, right now.

Look at every simple thing you can find to pick out the hazards. Once you realize it’s a hazard, think about it, think what you could do to avoid or prepare for it in the future and act upon it. That carries right on up the scale to things you have to spend money on to rectify. New tires are expensive but, funerals far outweigh those costs especially, if there are several people in the crash.

If we want to stay safe and alive, then we have to be prepared to exercise the brain a bit to locate the faults that could damage us. Look at the mistakes of others to learn from them.  Look at crashes and injuries.  See if you can decipher what happened so that you can avoid it when faced with the same situation.

Sometimes, that’s the only good that comes out of horrible experiences – If you learn from it. Police reconstructionists usually respond to terrible crashes for legal purposes. To me, that’s a sick way of making lawyers wealthy. If we all could learn what not to do from these reconstructions and correct the faults for everyone before it happens again then, good may come out of it. Their reports are available but, you pay big bucks to get them.

I believe far more attention should be paid by governments to preventing future disasters than assessing blame. That’s the wrong thought process!

The millions that will be spent on the investigation and blame naming in the Humboldt Bus Crash for the benefit of legal profession could be much better spent on building a bridge over that intersection.  There are so many, cheaper things that could be done there and all other intersections that governments won’t even consider. That, to me, it is sinful. Now, there’s a place for the legal profession to shine.

Turn your mind toward prevention, utilize it and share it throughout your whole life.

Keep your people safe.

 The beauty of life is in your hands.

THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

REACTIVE SAFETY IS TOO LATE

REACTIVE SAFETY IS TOO LATE

There’s a reactive side and a pro-active side to safety. In so many, many instances we find ourselves on the reactive side which is the wrong place to be. That means that something has happened and now we have to take whatever action we can to mitigate the damage and destruction. My mind goes to a recent bus crash in Saskatchewan, students murdered in Florida or a rental van racing down a sidewalk in Toronto. Some of our responsive actions don’t really mean much, don’t do much and certainly can’t help much.
You hear our world leaders use clichés to try to ease the pain. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with you.” is a common statement. What else can they do? It’s already happened. That can’t bring anyone back.

If, through investigation, your government or that employer is found at fault for something that could have been prevented, then, watch them squirm. Watch them shift the blame onto anybody or everybody they can to evade criticism.

A very famous safety quote by Captain E. J. Smith (Captain of the Titanic – quoted in the press just before sailing) “it will never happen to me.”

I understand that we have to be fiscally responsible when it comes Nick-2015to spending dollars but, I see so many scenarios where, in trying to save a few bucks, deaths, serious injuries and whole families are destroyed because the decision maker places a higher value on currency than life itself. “Oh, we can’t spend that much!” Twenty-six miners killed at the Westray Coal Mine in Nova Scotia come to mind. Finally, it’s become a crime.

From my personal experience as a safety practitioner, my worst experience was my company ordered me to stay out of a building under construction. The words: “You stay out of there, it’s being built to code.” Regrettably, I did as I was ordered.

On a cool spring night, five years later, I got called out of bed because an employee had collapsed in that building. When I arrived, the man was deceased, still on the floor and although I was not allowed inside, I could see through the window that he was “cherry red” in colour. That provided an instant signal to me that carbon monoxide was involved.

Sure enough, following a long investigation with MOL court case where the company paid out a fortune, it was found that a mechanical vehicle exhaust system was installed in the three service bays but, not the wash bay.

We’ll never know why the employee closed the bay doors – when it was not normal for him. We’ll never know why he left the engine running. We’ll never know why the employee took the time to change a headlight while the vehicle was running inside with the doors closed.

What we do know is that the company spent millions having new automatic exhaust systems installed in all company service buildings, bringing staff in for grief counselling, entire staff retrained with what appeared to be, ridiculous (gone overboard) rules, rescheduling of staff and reporting procedures, the entire fleet’s exhaust emissions recalibrated for each vehicle, and massive fines and legal fees. In addition, publicity was not handled well and a poor reputation was developed by the media, fellow business owners and our own employees.

All the tools were available to prevent that tragedy and a lot more as well (community reputation) but, were purposely ignored, avoided and ridiculed to save a buck. My failure? My regret? I didn’t push back hard enough!
So, what’s the alternative?
The pro-active side of safety relies on a positive safety culture. It is a culture, led from the top, followed and promoted by middle management and carried out by the entire workforce to look for every reasonable precaution to save a life, stop an injury or prevent damage of any kind. Everybody has a part to play. Everybody is responsible for the other guy’s safety, no matter where or how small it is.

Safety culture is an “all inclusive” way of thinking from the newest employee to the person at the very top. It needs to include each and every hazard possibility and be carried forward to protect all. Thinking has to go into it, your thoughts have to be presented and everyone must listen. The discussion needs to include all viewpoints, evaluate the risk and everyone needs to share and train with the results.

Prevent the kid from tripping over his own shoelace first and, in the worst case scenario circumstances, you just may save a life.
Keep your people safe.

 The beauty of life is in your hands.

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council.

Chris McKean presents on COR at April Chapter meeting

At the April meeting for the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council a presentation on the COR safety program from IHSA was well received with good information. Chris McKean did a great job of sharing valuable information to make our workplaces safer. To learn more about the COR program visit www.ihsa.ca or call 1-800-263-5024.

Other highlights of the meeting was a new safety award being created by the Council, regulatory updates by Rick Gladman, and legal updates by Jodi Burness. To learn more about the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council or to register as a member visit our Membership page.

Please remember to stop for a moment of silence on April 28, 2018 to remember our fallen workers.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Educational Presentations at HFSC 2018 Spring Seminar

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council held their Annual Spring Spring Seminar 2018Seminar last month to a full house. The seminar included regulatory updates for the transportation industry and included four panelists hosted by moderator Mike Derry of The Guarantee Insurance Company.

The panelists included Nick Korakus of the Ministry of Transportation, Jodi Burness of Burness Paralegal Services, Rick Gladman of Old Republic Insurance, and Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck.

Below are a few outtakes from the presentations:

Nick Korakus was asked about Electronic Logging Devices and parking issues for truck drivers.

Rick Gladman was asked about new driver in the workplace and what types of regulatory items should be put in place.

Jodi Burness was asked what should be included in driver files should the company be called into court to defend a charge.

Chris Wilkinson was asked about drugs and alcohol policies in the workplace and how to handle them.

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council puts on a seminar open to the transportation industry each year in March. Join us for the next seminar and get the information as it is released by subscribing to our website. Click the FOLLOW button at the bottom right of your screen. If you would like to learn about past seminars click here.

About the Chapter

The Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council is part of the Fleet Safety Council of Ontario and promotes safety within the workplace and transportation industry. To learn more about the Chapter visit their website at www.hamiltonniagarafleetsafetycouncil.com

Promoting Safety within the Transportation Industry

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