For the second consecutive year – and the fourth time in the past six years – Home Hardware has been awarded the Safest Large Fleet Award at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual conference, held in Uxbridge on June 23 and 24.
With nearly 500 trailers in the company’s fleet, Home Hardware trucks have become a common sight all across Canada as they drive approximately 17 million kilometres each year to deliver products to the more than 1,000 dealers across the country.
That visibility is one of the motivating factors for ensuring their trucks are the safest on the roads.
“When you have those big yellow trucks travelling right across the country, they’re pretty easy to spot and so it’s important that the drivers are always safety-conscious,” said Paul Straus, president and CEO of Home Hardware Store Limited, which was founded in 1963 and has its headquarters in St. Jacobs.
“We’ve got a good group of drivers who really take their job seriously and practice their safe driving habits,” Straus added.
The fleet is based in four main distribution centres across Canada – Elmira and St. Jacobs, as well as Debert, Nova Scotia and Wetaskiwin, Alberta – and the company has taken the industry-lead in developing road safety policies and training programs.
About six years ago they adopted a Carrier Safety Management System to track the hiring and training of new drivers, as well as analyzing their driving habits and the ongoing maintenance of each truck
“We look at speed, hard braking, idle times – and we’re always looking for patterns,” said Dennis Shantz, national fleet manager for Home Hardware. “We do follow up with the driver and let him know if there is an issue and we have it corrected.”
A carrier’s safety record is largely determined through what the Ministry of Transportation calls a CVOR audit. Over a two-year period, the provincial government looks at all accidents or infractions by drivers, roadside inspections at highway weight stations, and other safety information to determine their rating.
Currently, Home Hardware maintains a 10.5 per cent rating under that system, with scores ranging from zero to 10 per cent considered “excellent”.
The Private Fleet Safety Awards were created in 1998 by Zurich and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada to recognize trucking fleets that are most dedicated to safety and improvement, with the goal of encouraging improved safety and best practices in safety management for private fleets.
Home Hardware previously took home the top award in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
“I think we’re very proud to win it for the fourth time, and I think it goes to show that we’re doing a lot of things correctly within the trucking division,” added Shantz.