Can a Lack of Training be Costing Your Company?

Many companies view training as a compliance issue. Go through the presentation with your team, have them do a test, and get back to work! Once that documentation is in the filing cabinet the company is all set. I see this time and time again working in the industry and it is not the trainers that feel this way, but the company. Now of course not all companies view training that way with many taking it very seriously. We often assume that the larger the company the more in depth the training. One very large company however found out about the importance of training the hard way.

A recent investigation by Transport Canada may change the way you Train-wrecklook at training in your company. No doubt you have heard of the Lac Megantic train derailment that happened in July 2013 where a train load of dangerous goods exploded devastating a small town of 6000 people. The explosion killed 47 people and the case has been in court for four years. In a recent decision by the courts in October 2017 Irving Oil was found guilty on 34 charges and ordered to pay $4,000,000 in offences with $400,000 of that being direct fines to the incident. Although the incident happened in July 2013 the investigation turned up 34 violations between November 2012 and July 2013 that were directly linked to training and handling of the shipments. You can read the whole article here on the CBC News website.

The lack of training was in the field of Dangerous Goods and may not be understood by the mainstream population, but could be the difference in emergency response and how a disaster is handled. It was found that Irving Oil did not properly train their employees in the handling of dangerous goods and had improper documentation for the products the train was carrying.

This incident shows you the importance of training no matter what size the of the company is and Irving Oil is a huge operation in a very regulated industry. Many of us would assume that a company that size working in the refinery business would have the proper training in place. I believe they do have proper training available, but how it was delivered and received that made the difference between disaster and safety.

Of course this is a train incident and we are in trucking, but the same regulations apply in most cases and certainly the importance of training is important. Training is not about just showing a PowerPoint or filling in a test. Training is about making sure the recipients understand the importance of the training, why they need to do certain things, and how it can compromise safety and the company by not following procedures. Training is also there to make sure we don’t get complacent and forgetting those little things that can make the difference in how material is handled. In the Irving Oil incident it was found that one of the major violations was classification of a Packing Group from Class II to Class III. That difference shows a lower flash point on the product that may have played a part in explosions.

If you are looking to train your team do us all a favour and get proper training from a certified facility. Don’t just train to put documentation in your filing cabinet for compliance, use the training to show the importance of following procedures and being safe on the job. It may just save your company and people’s lives.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

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