Safety Champions: Arnold Bros. Transport

Safety Champions: Arnold Bros. Transport

​​​​​​​​Going the Extra Mile for Safety LeadershArnold Brothers Transport received its SAFE Work Certified designation in November 2017ip

As far as Manitoba success stories go, it doesn't get any more home-grown than Arnold Bros. Transport Ltd. Started in 1958 by two brothers from rural Manitoba transporting their grain product to markets across the province and in the U.S., the company has since grown to a business that employs drivers (company and owner operators), mechanics and office personnel at locations and yards across the country.

Continued success through safety

This year marks the company's 60th anniversary - 60 years that have brought significant change, as well as the need to evolve to stay successful and competitive. One way that Arnold Bros. Transport has worked to ensure this continued success has been to commit to safety and to pursue the SAFE Work Certified designation for their business.

"We've always had a concern for safety in our workplace and we've often been asked by our customers 'Tell us your safety plan and what you do for security and safety', but we also recognized that we required a more transport-focused safety program," said Rob Wensel, Director, Driver Services and Safety & Compliance, Arnold Bros. Transport.                                                                                                                                            

Making the commitment early-on                                                                          

With assistance from RPM, the industry-based safety program for the trucking industry, Arnold Bros. Transport evaluated their business practices and made a commitment early-on in the process to build a culture of safety that went beyond the requirements for certification, and instead set the goal to make their workplaces safer for their workers.

"For us a culture of safety is one in which everyone is thinking about safety. We want to ensure our employees go home safe at the end of the workday, and, that as a company, we are allowing our employees to be safe at work. We want employees to be able to come forward if something isn't safe," said Don Binda, Chief Operating Officer.

Launched by SAFE Work Manitoba in January 2017, the SAFE Work Certified program works with industry-based safety programs, such as RPM, to deliver customized safety and health certification to Manitoba businesses in trucking, manufacturing, construction, motor vehicle and agriculture. Each of these industry-based safety programs bring an in-depth understanding of the unique safety and health challenges for their respective industries, and can offer knowledge, experience and solutions specific to the industries they support.

"When the Manitoba Trucking Association announced the launch of RPM, we saw it as a focused safety program and the perfect opportunity for us to combine all the different things we were doing for safety, " said Wensel. "For us safety wasn't a major shift, as we were already a safe company, we just needed some help in formalizing it all and SAFE Work Certified helped bring it all together."

Shift in attitudes concerning safety

Arnold Bros. Transport achieved their SAFE Work Certified designation in November 2017, and their renewed commitment to safety hasn't gone unnoticed by employees nor by the company's safety and health committee. In the three years since he's been with the company, Tyler Bennett, Yard Maintenance and Dock Foreman and a member of the company's safety and health committee, says he's seen a shift in how the company talks about safety and has seen the attitudes of employees also move towards being safer at work.

"At first, safety changes were met with some resistance, but I've learned that you can teach an old dog new tricks and soon everyone started to see that this whole approach to safety isn't a money thing or about making things harder for people, it's about keeping people safe and healthy," said Bennett.

Bennett says that Arnold Bros. Transport has also worked hard to partner with its safety and health committee and has demonstrated a willingness to take action to implement recommendations provided.

"Management has helped us out and has been very co-operative when we've proposed changes," said Bennett. "Now we've got mandatory safety vests in the yard, safety signage throughout the yard, better air quality in the shop, and we're making it safer for drivers by putting in side grab handles on trailers."

While being SAFE Work Certified comes with the reward of a prevention rebate of 15 per cent of their Workers Compensation Board (WCB) premiums, Arnold Bros. Transport  insists that the financial incentives are not the main motivator for the company to become safer.

"None of us in management want to be in the situation where we have to talk to a spouse or a significant other and tell them that their loved one isn't coming home," said Cindy Harrison, Director, Human Resources.  "This is about the people that work here, keeping them safe and making safety front and centre of everything we do."

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