Winter driving can be dangerous for heavy equipment operators, no matter how much experience they have. The risk of being in a crash increases in poor weather conditions. The risks are present whether employees are running machines or driving to and from work sites.
That’s why it’s time for employers to start planning now to reduce the risk – before the seasons change. The annual Shift into Winter
campaign recommends preparing drivers and work vehicles for what’s ahead. Tire and chain regulations
for commercial vehicles take effect October 1 in BC.
Know your legal responsibilities
Keeping your people safe is good business. It’s also your legal responsibility.
You need to ensure employees who drive for work:
- are aware of winter driving hazards and know how to assess risks
- are properly trained for winter driving conditions
- have the equipment and supervision they need to stay safe
To help meet your responsibilities, use our templates to develop or update your winter driving safety policy
. Involve staff to help you. Also review our Winter Driving Safety Tool Kit for Employers
Prepare your drivers
Drivers haven’t been in winter conditions for months so they’ll benefit from reminders. Hard-packed snow can be as slippery as ice. Frost, ice, and condensation in cold weather can create slippery spots. Wet snow and slush can build up in wheel wells and affect steering ability. Mud and snow can create deep ruts in the road that can affect driving.
Provide winter driving safety training, including how to install tire chains
or other approved traction devices. Have drivers practice in front of you to make sure it’s done properly.
Remind them to slow down to match the conditions, and leave at least 4 seconds of space between themselves and the vehicle ahead. Have them check DriveBC.ca
for road and weather reports before they head out.
Also have drivers review our commercial trucking resources
. They’ll find tips on reading the road, chaining up, traction, visibility, and trip planning. Make sure they know their legal rights and responsibilities.
Prepare your vehicles
in your fleet and make sure they all have tire chains. Each vehicle needs a winter weather emergency kit.
More resources to help you
Shift into Winter’s training resources for employers include our Keeping Your Employees Safe During Winter Driving
webinar and Winter Driving Safety for Employers and Supervisors