Fleet Safety Council

For more than 60 years, the Fleet Safety Council (FSC) has played a major role in promoting health and safety in Ontario’s transportation industries. Its regional chapters meet regularly to share best practices, hear from guest speakers, and support workers.

A recent episode of the IHSA Safety Podcast looked at the Council’s ins and outs— and how safety-conscious workers can make a positive impact by joining a local FSC chapter.

How would you describe the Fleet Safety Council?

Charlie Charalambous: It’s an association of safety professionals from across the province all working together to promote health and safety in the transportation, transport, bus, and coach industries. It’s non-profit and managed by volunteers. We have eight chapters that are open to anyone with an interest in transportation safety. We meet regularly to share best practices, and we have guest speakers on a number of health and safety topics that are relevant to our membership.

Charlie Charalambous is a Coordinator, Research, Stakeholder, and Public Relations at IHSA

What first attracted you to attend the council meetings?

Donna Bisch: I was introduced to the Fleet Safety Council back in 2003. An IHSA consultant suggested I check it out. I was new to the industry and he thought the council would be a good resource. I remember my first meeting being intimidating: I was one of the youngest and most inexperienced members there. However, I was soon intrigued and engaged. It was a great opportunity to meet people, and to gain knowledge and understanding of the transportation industry. After a few meetings, I had a couple of members take me under their respective wings and become my mentors. It really opened up a lot of doors for me and contributed to my professional development.

Donna Bisch is a Health and Safety Manager at Stericycle and Chair of the FSC’s Joint Executive Committee

The Fleet Safety Council formed almost 60 years ago. How did it get started?

CC: In 1964, a small group of commercial driver trainers all got together in Toronto to discuss forming an organization that would help improve safety among commercial drivers. The very first meeting of what was then called the Transportation Safety Association Council of Driver Trainers took place in January 1965, with seven members in attendance. That group would later become the Toronto chapter. Over the years, the need for regional chapters grew, which is how we got to where we are today with eight chapters across the province.

What is the value of attending regional chapter meetings—and the annual Fleet Safety Council Conference?

DB: For me, it became a great platform for networking, and I became motivated to be part of the bigger picture and work towards making a difference. I was able to work with leaders in the industry, and had the opportunity to share my experience and skills accordingly. Over the years, the meetings’ guest speakers and resources have provided me with great takeaways that allowed me to make a meaningful contribution as a certified safety professional as well as within the organization I work for.

CC: The FSC Conference has been around for over 30 years now. It’s a one-day educational event, and it has sold out consistently for the last seven or eight years. When we organize the conference, our goal is to find speakers who have not spoken at our regional chapters over the last year. So the content is all new and relevant. The day before the conference we also have our annual networking day, which includes something like a bowling event in the afternoon for the members to get together and have a good time, followed by an evening reception in our sponsored trade showroom.

Is there a cost to join the Fleet Safety Council and attend chapter meetings?

DB: Most chapters charge $50 per year for an individual membership, or $100 for a corporate membership, which allows three people from the same organization to attend meetings. Most chapters host 10 meetings a year between September and June. Our Northern Ontario chapter hosts four meetings per year, because its members are spread across a large geographical area. Each meeting is about 2.5 hours long. Most meetings have a guest speaker from places like the MTO, OPP, CVSA, and legal experts. Members also receive a monthly newsletter with updates from the FSC and IHSA, industry and regulatory news, as well as press releases.

What do you suggest for people who are interested in learning more about the FSC?

CC: First, visit our website, fleetsafetycouncil.com. From there you’ll be able to find out more about our chapters, our meeting schedule and guest speakers. You can also call us at 1-800-263-5024, extension 6040, or email us at admin@fleetsafetycouncil.com. We can make arrangements for you to attend any chapter meeting as a guest. There’s no obligation. Come out for free. Check it out. I guarantee that you’re going to like it, you’re going to see the value in it, and you’re going to want to join.

Now hear this

The interview above was edited for clarity and brevity. Listen to the full Fleet Safety Council podcast (episode no. 47) at ihsasafetypodcast.ca. Then visit fleetsafetycouncil.com to learn how you can join the Fleet Safety Council.