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TRANSPORTATION

A. GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

The Department of Transportation works to maintain and improve New Brunswick's transportation system, and to continually improve vehicle and driver safety. The mission of the department is to provide and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system in all matters within provincial jurisdiction and to monitor and advise on all matters of federal jurisdiction.

B. MANDATE/PROGRAM SYNOPSIS:

Engineering Services

Operational Services

Strategic development and policy

Administration

C. PROGRAMS, POLICIES OR INITIATIVES IDENTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENT AS IMPACTING ON WELLNESS:

The Department of Transportation has 9 strategic goals of which 5 have a direct effect on safety and wellness:

1. To improve transportation safety, reducing the number of accidents and fatalities.

· Recent highway improvements have reduced the number of accidents. An independent program evaluation estimated that accident rates per 100 million vehicle kilometres will decrease by an average of 60%. Even more dramatic, fatalities are expected to decrease on average by about 80% for these pieces of roadway.

· New highway signage bases provide new break away technology in the case of impact, replacing former concrete and steel bases

2. To promote accident prevention with a view to ensuring safe workplaces and safe work practices.

· A number of workplace safety and wellness initiatives are in place in the department. These are outlined in detail in the following section.

· Improved workplace safety _ for example, bridge deck repairs now require enclosed scaffolding, whereas before, scaffolding was an open platform.

· Plow trucks require a sophisticated lighting system for visibility.

· Work Area Traffic Control manual has been implemented.

3. To maximize a sustainable level of service by making the best use possible of resources, systems and information.

· Sensors installed in maintenance trucks provide accurate details on road temperatures so
that specific measures can be taken for winter maintenance activities to minimize the use of salt and maximize de-icing of the roadway.

· Optimum salt rates for application at different road temperatures have been scientifically set in order to further increase winter maintenance activities.

· Customized weather reports are issued every three hours to provide timely information for planning purposes.

4. To improve productivity, particularly through training and development, sound human resources practices; and the provision of good working environments.

· All employees receive extensive safety training.

· Training regarding work areas, especially for flag people.

5. To be environmentally responsible, and to meet or exceed regulatory standards.

· New standards for oil tank storage have been developed.

· Salt storage has been cleaned up.

· Environmental Protection Plan has been developed and implemented.

D. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS:

Human Resources coordinates various programs within the department such as Safety, Workplace Wellness, Employee and Family Assistance Program, Employment Equity, Workplace Harassment, Attendance Management, Training, Labour Relations, Benefits, LTD, etc.

Workplace Wellness Program _ is a mechanism to motivate employees to do something positive towards their health and well being. The objectives of the program are improved employee health status, reduced health care costs, reduced absenteeism, reduced workers' compensation costs, increased productivity, and enhanced employee job satisfaction. The program has three levels _ awareness, lifestyle change, and supportive environment. Wellness committees have been established throughout the department to promote wellness and organize wellness events.

Following are workplace wellness activities offered to employees throughout the department:

· Workshops/seminars have been offered on the following topics: coping with stress in the workplace, recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression, financial issues, time management, team building, safe winter driving, smoking cessation, planning for retirement, RRSP's, RESP's, skin/breast/prostate cancer awareness sessions, diabetes, healthy lungs and lung diseases, the importance of having a will, drug interaction (prescription drugs), nutrition, etc.

· Promotion, awareness, and supervisory training of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) program. Volunteer Employee and Family Assistance Program representatives are located throughout the department.

· Flu immunization clinics, blood pressure clinics, glucose and cholesterol testing screening clinics.

· Blood Donor Clinics have been organized and sponsored by the department.

· Several fundraising initiatives — the monies raised have been donated to IWK, Fredericton Food Bank, Para-Skate, Disability Awareness, Labatts Relay, etc.

· Production of a quarterly Wellness and Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) newsletter which is sent out to all employees either electronically or hard copy. Employees are encouraged to enjoy physical movement, healthy eating, fresh air, rest and relaxation, and drinking plenty of water.

· The annual kick off of the walking program is held in May on Sneaker Day. Employees are encouraged to walk, run, or bike in this challenge. They are also encouraged to participate in and enjoy physical activities such as gardening, golfing, or any sport or physical activity.

· Various sporting tournaments/events held throughout the department.

· Workplace Wellness Fairs for employees are held periodically.

· Enforcement of a Smoke free work environment.

Employee Safety Program _ is a mechanism to promote and achieve a safe working environment for the employees and the public. The program is designed to respond to Occupational Health and Safety legislation and to facilitate the prevention of workplace accidents and injury. The program components include policy and procedures development, compliance, training, promotion, inspections and investigations, and research. Joint Health and Safety Committees have been established in each district and head office with a mandate to promote safety and make recommendations for the prevention of accidents and injury.

Following are activities to support employee safety:

· Employee training is provided on legislated topics such as first aid, WHMIS, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Traffic Control Person Training, as well as `occupational' specific, including: Supervisory Development in Safety, fall-arrest, construction site safety, respiratory protection and ergonomics.

· Compliance initiatives include worksite visits and occupational hygiene testing.

· Safe work procedures and safety policies are developed to manage workplace risks.

· Promotional initiatives include the production of hazard alerts, brochures and posters; the presentation of awareness sessions; promotion of NAOHS week; promotion of a scent reduced workplace; a safety award program and the production of quarterly statistical reports.

· Formal worksite/ field safety inspections and accident investigations are conducted to identify hazards and contribute to the development of prevention initiatives. Ergonomic assessments are conducted both in office and operational settings.

· Research is conducted on new innovations to enhance employee and workplace safety.

Although components of this program and other departmental policies and procedures impact directly on the safety and well being of the employee, the public also benefits. A few examples of other departmental initiatives include: the Work Area Traffic Control Manual; Construction Standard Specifications; Snowfighter (snowplow operator) policies and operator training; Vehicle Lighting Policies (to enhance the visibility of snowplows and other departmental assets); Fire Safety and Evacuation


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