Crew Transportation

If I have not mentioned it yet in any of my articles, the number one cause of worker injuries and fatalities is motor vehicle accidents. Most of those occur on the way to or from the work site. Most companies today have some kind of ?travel? or ?journey? management plan as part of their safety programs. The government tries to do its bit by having ?hours of service? requirements in place for drivers of larger vehicles.

You are also starting to see more and more companies providing ?crew trucks? to limit the number vehicles being driven to and from the job sites and to try ensuring that those vehicles are driven by competent person?s. A second option a number of companies are using now as well as the use of professional crew shuttle services, that is companies who take care of delivering your people safely to and from a worksite.

Part of the reason for this shift to crew trucks, buses, and shuttle services was in reaction to the sheer number of incidents that were occurring on the roads, even today far too many people are getting hurt on the roads.

Federally transport Canada and provincially British Columbia and Alberta both have developed regulations about the transport of workers in all industries. There are some common elements to all these guys that are worthwhile knowing.

First of all, if you are required to take a crew truck to work, then your employer is also required to ensure that reasonable measures are taken to evaluate road, weather, and traffic conditions to ensure the safety of the workers. In practical sense you will see this as radio controlled access roads, frequent road maintenance (graders) and road rules and hazards communicated in safety meetings to workers.

All workers in the vehicle have to be in their seat belts and no one can be standing in a vehicle unless protected from being thrown off balance. If it is essential for your work to have all or part of your body outside the vehicle while it is in motion then you have to be adequately restrained.

For those of you staying inside the vehicle then you will be happy to know that the vehicle has to have effective ventilation (and no, an open door does not count) and there has too be clean air. You can see why these two requirements are linked, especially the day after the cook has made her famous homemade beans.

The passengers have to be able to talk to the driver and there has to be more than one way out of the vehicle. That means that the door handles/latches for the passengers in the back seat have to be easily accessible to them as well. In addition at least one exit must be on the left or rear side of the vehicle; that way if the vehicle rolls it can still be exited. Also, and I know this seems silly but all the doors must be closed and latched while the vehicle is running.

Heh, did you know that your crew transport vehicle also has to have at least a small first aid kit and a fire extinguisher that works! It is amazing how many times this is overlooked. From experience I also know that when operating in many oil & gas companies areas you are also required to keep a winter kit (fire starting device, shovel, tow rope, etc) in your vehicle when operating on their roads.

I have less experience with the forestry companies requirements on their roads, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say they probably have some similar requirements. I do know for a fact though that on forestry roads, besides the fact that the companies have to make sure the roads and bridges are safe for all vehicles there is also a burden (rule) placed on crew trucks to not pass logging trucks and low bed trucks unless there is some kind of signal from the driver of the truck and only under suitable road conditions.

Here is a good one, the driver of the crew truck MUST be competent and have a drivers license. You would be surprised how many times checks have been done of vehicle drivers only to find out there license was suspended. All it takes is a quick call to the insurance company and your employee can have a drivers abstract faxed to your office.

Before the vehicle even hits the road at the start of a work shift it must be inspected and maintained to make sure it stays safe for use. Any defect found which might affect the safety of workers must be corrected before using the vehicle. If your crew truck happens to be a larger one (say a bus) then if it transports more than 12 passengers it must have an aisle at least 25cm wide providing access from each seat to an exit or emergency exit.

Make sure you vehicle is equipped with good tires and that the tire proessure is adequate prior to leaving. Remember that your safety requires you to exercise good judgment at all times. If you must travel give yourself plenty of extra time for getting to your destination. Speed limits are for perfect, dry conditions so adjust your speed according to the conditions.

Ok, and some final really obvious stuff, but you cannot smoke in a crew truck, you cannot drink alcohol in the truck (drivers or passengers), and please obey all the traffic sign on the back roads we often use up here, they are there for a reason.

Stay safe and I will talk to you again next week.

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Rob Mandeville is a Safety Advisor and Auditor at Action Health & Safety Services. He has his OH&S certificate from the UofA, and is currently studying for his CRSP ( Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professional) exams. If you have a question about health and safety or an idea for an article you can reach him at rob.mandeville@actionservices.ca