Winterizing Your Safety Plan

Winter brings its own set of driving challenges. The responses of all road users to changing conditions such as reduced traction, unpredictable weather, cold temperatures and compromised visibility increase the likelihood of a serious motor vehicle incident.

As a carrier operating under the National Safety Code (NSC), you must:

  • Educate yourself and all drivers who work under your safety certificate of all National Safety Code requirements
  • Ensure all vehicles operated under your certificate are properly inspected and maintained
  • Ensure only competent and qualified operators drive your vehicles
  • Establish policies for safety programs and ensure that policies are followed

Regardless of the size of your trucking firm, an effective safety program will help you to:

  • Meet or exceed compliance requirements and their legal obligations to due diligence
  • Reduce the likelihood of a crash that may result in a serious injury or fatality
  • Identify unsafe equipment or conditions that may contribute to an accident
  • Be able to dispatch drivers and vehicles more efficiently
  • Spend less time at roadside inspections, if your vehicles is stopped
  • Avoid penalties imposed by WorkSafeBC or the Canada Labour Program and by Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE)

Dispatch*

  • Ensure dispatch operations include procedures for evaluating and communicating current and projected weather and road conditions
  • Be prepared to modify dispatch instructions when necessary:
    • Delay the trip
    • Adjust driving assignments to ensure compliance with hours of service requirements
    • Modify routes and plan for emergencies
  • Work with customers to reschedule pick-up and delivery times as safety concerns warrant
  • Work with your drivers to ensure they can complete the trip in the available hours and given current and expected conditions (driver, vehicle and environmental)
  • Assess the risk to drivers. Where risk is high, increase the frequency of check-ins.
  • Ensure your drivers monitor location-specific weather and road conditions
  • Adjust scheduling during winter months to allow drivers adequate time to arrive

*Depending on the organization, some or all of these may also be supervisor duties.

Drivers

Take steps to ensure drivers are winter-ready. Confirm that drivers:

  • Are made aware of all potential safety hazards to which they may be exposed and how to respond to these hazards
  • Carry out their work in accordance with:
    • The requirements of the Workers Compensation Act and the associated Occupational Health and Safety Regulation or Part II of the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
    • Your company‚Äôs written safety policies and safe work procedures or practices
  • Understand their duties under the Motor Vehicle Act and Motor Vehicle Act Regulation and the penalties for lack of compliance regarding use of chains when required
  • Know when and how to safely and properly install chains or other approved traction devices in compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act
  • Know the chain-up / pull-out locations and fuel stops for their routes
  • Understand and correctly follow the hours of service extension provisions for adverse weather conditions
  • Adjust their speed and driving behaviour to adapt to changing road and weather conditions
  • Report defects in any protective equipment, device or clothing, or the existence of any other on road or workplace hazard
  • Understand their right and responsibility to refuse unsafe work, which includes operating in unsafe conditions

Vehicles

Ensure that daily pre-trip inspections during winter include confirmation of:

  • Suitable chains or traction devices in good working order.
  • Sufficient coolant, washer fluid and oil levels in suitable condition; cab heater and defroster testing; proper wiper operation and good wiper blade condition; clear windows and mirrors; exterior lights in good working condition and free of mud and snow.
  • Fuel level and specification. Winter grade diesel fuel should be used when temperatures warrant.
  • Clean working surfaces such as cab steps, which can create slipping hazards from winter moisture and icing.
  • Appropriate First aid and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Safely secured winter equipment, including:
    • Copy of the emergency plan
    • Suitable wheel chocks
    • Extra diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)
    • Emergency warning devices
    • Spare headlight, turn signal and brake light bulbs and/or lamp assemblies
    • Air brake antifreeze (used according to the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions)
    • Flashlights and spare batteries
    • Mats, wire brush, wrench pliers, tire chalk (in addition to regular toolkit)
    • Sufficient emergency food and water
    • Warm, water-resistant clothing (including head and ear coverings), winter boots, multiple pairs of gloves

Joint health and safety committees or worker representatives

  • Consult and cooperate with the joint health and safety committee or worker safety representative and encourage their involvement in all aspects of winter driving safety.

For more Information and resources:

  • Visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca for free commercial trucking safety resources, hazard recognition tools, and an easy-to-use employer toolkit to help you winterize your fleet.
  • Follow @DriveBC on Twitter or visit DriveBC.ca for chain-up locations, current weather conditions, and highway cameras.
  • For information on the National Safety Code and the duties of carriers and operators, visit http://cvse.ca/national_safety_code.htm
  • Visit worksafebc.com for information about the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Contact WorkSafeBC for information on workplace health and safety, to report a serious incident, or to report unsafe working conditions.
    Phone: 604.276.3100 (Lower Mainland)
    Toll-free: 1.888.621.7233 (1.888.621.SAFE) (Canada)
  • For information about the Canada Labour Code Part II, view the summary at Employment and Social Development Canada
  • For information and advice on trucking safety, visit safetydriven.ca
  • For information and advice on log hauling safety, visit bcforestsafe.org