March 15, 2017
By Myscha Stafford
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator

Myscha StaffordChapter meetings this winter have already covered topics ranging from sales, overtime pay, social media, lighting, new plant material and of course, safety. In February and March, every chapter had a safety blitz which featured workplace and road safety as their main topics.

In 2014, there were 447 fatal road collisions on Ontario highways. Nearly 25 per cent of these fatalities involved large trucks. Of these fatal collisions, 115 were pick-up trucks, 12 were delivery vans and 110 were large trucks. (MTO Preliminary 2014 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report Selected Statistics). Clearly, there is a need for increased commercial vehicle safety.

Chapters are dedicated to educating you and your staff on road safety. With presentations across the province by Ministry of Transportation - Ontario (MTO) and from retired Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer Jim Slykhuis, each chapter has provided the opportunity for members and their staff to get the latest information on safety regulations for operating commercial vehicles.

With the help of Toronto Chapter president, Jonas Spring and Jim Slykhuis, here are some key things to remember when operating your company vehicles this season:
  • Schedule 1 is the most popular for trucks. If you are stopped by MTO, the officer will ask for pre-trip and Schedule 1.
  • These are available on the MTO website. In the Commercial Vehicle Operator Safety Manual, module 8 has the details on what needs to be included in the Schedule 1 as well as templates for your use.
  • Ladders are the most common thing that fall out of trucks and force people to swerve out of the way.
  • Loads of mulch, sand, or screenings must be covered with a tarp.
  • Don’t drive down the highway with bags of garbage – these must be covered.
  • You must have flags on items hanging five feet over the bed of the truck.
  • Bungee cords are no longer allowed. Instead, get one-inch web straps to tie down your blowers, etc.
  • Tie downs cannot have knots, stretches or any deformation.
  • Straps must have tagged or embossed working load limits.
  • Don’t use blue or red lights on your trucks for snow plowing.
  • All minor defects on a vehicle must be recorded and reported to the operator. The operator is required to repair these.
  • If there is a major defect, the vehicle cannot be operated. These defects must be recorded and reported to the operator immediately and the vehicle must be repaired prior to being driven.

Toronto Chapter board member Joe Pereira of Landscapes by Lucin has also offered some valuable advice on what documents you should keep on-hand when operating commercial vehicles:
  • Form 82: Four steps to follow in case of injury at work.
  • First Aid Kit – Reg. 1101 tells you what you need to have in your first aid kit.
  • Daily pre-trip inspection log book.
  • Your safety bible; the green book outlining the Ontario Health and Safety Act and regulations.
  • And of course, your driver’s license.

As chapter meetings wind down before the busy spring season begins, each chapter is hosting an annual general meeting. If you want to get more involved with your local chapter board, this is your chance. Chapter boards are volunteer positions made up of individuals dedicated to helping you run a successful business through continuing education and events. They also organize community projects to advance the horticulture profession. If these are values you share, perhaps you may want to consider joining your chapter board.

When chapter meetings wrap up this April (before a break over the summer), your chapter boards will be hard at work planning meetings for fall. If there is a topic you would like to see at a chapter meeting, please share it with us. Meetings are designed for your benefit and your feedback is welcome. I encourage you to take advantage of the remaining chapter meetings happening this March, including the Golden Horseshoe Chapter’s Gear Up for Spring event which includes presentations from MTO and the Halton Police Commercial Vehicle Unit. Plus there is a trade show with local vendors and networking opportunities with over 400 fellow professionals. Register for free online at
Full details for these meetings can be found at or you can contact me at or call 1-800-265-5656 ext. 2333.