Are your employees properly trained for working safely with the COVID-19 reality?

Covid-19 has been a major part of our lives, day in and day out since government shutdowns and restrictions took place in Mid March of this year. We have been living with this in every aspect of our lives for over 7 months, and with the throws of the second wave upon us, it is not going away anytime soon. We as a society have learned a lot since the early days of the pandemic as the science has evolved. We know the simple things that we can do to protect ourselves and others, like wear masks, physically distance, wash our hands, clean and disinfect frequently, just to name a few. Unfortunately, what we have also seen, is a large amount of misleading information. This misinformation is not only shared on social media but has been spread around by some world leaders and on some mainstream media outlets. This has led to a large amount of confusion and made it so it is not always easy for people to trust or understand what steps they should truly take to reduce the spread of this virus.

While employers have done their best to ensure they take the steps required to protect their employee’s and visitors from contact with the virus, it is not always easy to ensure your entire workforce understands how the virus itself works and why the steps that the company has put in place need to be followed. Governments have done a great job providing guidance documents and best practices for workplaces to follow, and this has been invaluable to employers. For a program to have the best rate of success however, a true understanding of the virus is needed by those who are required to follow the guidance. It is no different than hiring a driver and asking them to drive your truck safely and efficiently. In order for that to occur, we can’t just hire a driver who has a proper license and send them out on their own. When they come on board, we spend time to mentor them, refine their skills and teach them the specific skills needed for handling the equipment, freight, and customers. Sending them out and telling them to be safe will never work if we do not provide the means and knowledge to achieve this ask. With this in mind, how many companies have been able to provide training to all of their employees on COVID-19 and how the virus works? My guess is this is a low percentage, and through no fault of your own. With the virus being so new, the training programs, for the most part, have yet to be developed. In addition, companies have been working hard to ensure they keep up with and follow ever changing government guidelines and regulations, not to mention just trying to keep the lights on and employees on the payroll. This has been a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone, with no playback or history to refer to as to how to handle this situation.

With this in mind, the PMTC Board of Directors has agreed to partner with Bluedrop Learning Networks, a Canadian-based globally recognized e-learning innovator to bring a proven COVID-19 Work Safe training course to our membership, and for our extended carrier and stakeholder groups.

Bluedrop’s interactive online training course, which launched with great success by the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador in July, was developed under the guidance of several noted national experts, including Canada’s former Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Mowat. The course has now been tailored specifically for the trucking/shipping/freight management industry.

The results of the training are equally impressive. An online survey of over 200 course registrants was recently conducted to assess its impact. Prior to completing the course, only 49% of survey participants passed a knowledge check on COVID-19 best practices. After completing the course, the pass rate increased to 95%. Overall, participants showed a 53% increase in workplace COVID-19 safety knowledge after completing the course. 81% of those completing the course said that they now felt ‘very confident’ in their ability to keep their co-workers and customers safe from COVID-19. Finally, 95% of survey respondents stated they would encourage their co-workers to complete this training.

The COVID-19 Work Safe Course has since been adopted by WCB agencies and employer groups in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Manitoba with more to be announced shortly. Bluedrop CEO Emad Rizkalla recently showcased the solution at the 22nd World Congress on Health and Safety at Work as an example of global innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the next few weeks the course will become available on the PMTC website at www.pmtc.ca, and we will provide more information at that time. The PMTC will receive zero revenue from this course offer, nor will Bluedrop. The reason for this partnership is to make the course available for as many companies and employees as possible, to ensure we all have the tools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep all of us safe!

In the meantime, for more information on the training or the impact that it’s having, feel free to visit the SkillsPass Resource Page, and you can also register for the free 30-minute overview webinar on October 29, 2020 at 1pm EST. You can register HERE

Mike Millian
Mike grew up on a beef farm in rural Southwestern Ontario in Huron County and began his career in the Trucking Industry in 1990 at the age of 18. Mike spent three years working for a local carrier Hauling Livestock and bulk agriculture products. At the age of 21 Mike went to work for a long Haul Refrigerated and general freight carrier and spent 5 years hauling freight in all 48 US Mainland States and 6 Canadian Provinces. The Carrier then opened a Certified Driver Training School in 1998 and Mike came off the road to become one of the Schools First Certified Driver Trainers. In 2000 Mike Transitioned into Safety and Compliance for the Fleet, while still working part time as a Trainer for the School. In 2002 Mike moved over to a Private Fleet and became the Safety, Compliance, Maintenance and Training manager for the Hensall District Co-operative’s Commercial Trucking Fleet. Mike spent the next 12.5 years with Hensall and oversaw the Fleets as it grew from 40 Trucks in 2002 to over 160 in 2015. In January of 2015 Mike moved into the Trucking Association business and was named the President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, where he remains in his current role.