Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2017)
Teamsters Canada’s Local 419, the union that represents Toronto Pearson International Airport’s regular baggage workers, sites insufficient safety training of temporary workers in baggage handling as the cause of recent injuries.
According to a statement from Local 419, issued on July 17, 2017, Swissport Canada Handling Inc. hired nearly 250 temporary workers for safety-sensitive positions at the airport in May 2017. The Union, which believes that the employer has compromised workplace safety, has filed a formal complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Local 419 VP Harjinder Badial says its members normally get from 3 to 4 weeks of basic training to work on the ramp. “They have been only given 3 to 4 days of actual training,” he says of the temporary workers. “It is a serious concern, because there are so many different safety components when you are loading and offloading an aircraft.”
Badial sites a recent incident in which an agency worker was injured when his hands became caught in a conveyor belt. In another instance, a temporary employee left the ladder leaning against the tail of a parked aircraft, causing damage to the plane when the plane moved.
Pierre Payette, Swissport Canada’s Vice President of operations for Toronto, explains that the company subcontracted the temporary agency to deal with the summer travel rush – a right that the company has under its current collective agreement. “All workers employed by the subcontractors receive the same training and are required to meet the same industry standards as Swissport’s own employees,” Payette says. “We are confident that protocols are being followed.”
Payette adds that all Swissport employees get at least 10 days of classroom training before starting their new jobs. “In addition, employees go through on-the-job training specific to the role they will play. This is vital to ensure safety operations and is consistent with industry standards.”
The baggage handler has to be on top of his game. He has to ensure that customer service is A-One and that his approach to baggage handling is ergonomically sound.
If incidents/accidents happen during the lifting and toting process, it is usually a lack of concentration and poor technique that is to blame.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Material Handling’ and ‘Proper Lifting Techniques’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.