“Tow Operator Workplace Safety is a matter of primary concern”.
Bill 15, formally titled the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act -2014, initially started off as a defensive response to allegations of fraud in the vehicle insurance sector. This legislation soon morphed into a regulatory tidal wave directed at Ontario’s towing service providers. The primary focus of this regulatory framework addresses a number of concerns including consumer and public safety protection as well as the recent introduction of mandatory CVOR registration.
Under the consumer and public safety aspect of Bill 15 the government’s policy framework is in an ongoing state of expansion notably including a mandatory tower training program which is currently under active consideration and development. The Government has made it clear that the tower training program must include training of recommended workplace safety-best practices protocols. With this in mind WreckMaster is now in the process of developing an add on module to its current training and certification program that will specifically address these roadside workplace safety issues. This new course content will include consideration of the respective obligations of both the towing operator and the tow company owner.
In order to be proactive in the development of the necessary workplace safety-best practices protocols, WreckMaster has been consulting with Government policy representatives. WreckMaster believes that any developed best practices must be industry supported and sustainable from a technical training perspective.
WreckMaster also takes the position that appropriate workplace safety best practices must necessarily reduce the potential risk of injury to the operator, whilst at the same time minimizing the risk exposure of the occupants of the casualty vehicle and the risk exposure of the motoring public. In order to accomplish this type of safety conscious synergism, the industry’s best practices must be practically supported by Government’s roadside protocols and vice versa.
“Tow operators work in a workplace that is NOT under their control”
From WreckMaster’s perspective as a trainer, the practical safety problem for the tow operator relates to his/her limited control of the actual workplace environment. WreckMaster notes that although the tow operator is in full control of the use, condition, and maintenance of their equipment, the tow operator is not in control of either the highway and roadways nor the driving habits of the motoring public.
In many cases, the tower’s only means of protection is their attention to the risks involved while working on roadside and their ability to react and get out of the way. Towing professionals that work at roadside require additional protection. There are no concrete barriers, no flashing digital lane merger signs, no flagmen and no lane blockers. As readers are also well aware, serious concerns have been raised by tow operators, law enforcement and many other stakeholders, as to the low level of driver compliance with the recently amended move over legislation. Statistically, one first responder dies every six days as a result of being struck in a roadside traffic incident.
This workplace environment must change. These workplace safety issues must be must be addressed. There is no sense in WreckMaster teaching workplace safety-best practice protocols that cannot be practically implemented.
WreckMaster Workplace Safety and Best Practices Survey
WreckMaster’s management and training staff believe that seasoned tow operator veterans are the best possible resource for knowing what works and what doesn’t work in terms of best practices required to ensure a safe workplace. Rather than waiting for the Government to tell us what are the appropriate workplace safety-best practices, WreckMaster has prepared a short on line survey which deals with all of the safety issues which were canvassed by the respective Coroner juries, in the two leading coroner inquest cases which sparked the current Government attention being paid to workplace safety issues.
We ask that you take a few minutes and go to WreckMaster’s home page and complete the on-line survey. This is extremely important. It involves your personal safety when you are at work. Let’s each do our part to make sure that each and every one of us goes home at night, to our families, safe, sound and ready to meet again “in the ditch”.