Finning Canada last week announced that, effective Jan. 1, it prohibits employees from using any wireless communication decives –— handheld or hands-free — while operating a motor vehicle on company business. The prohibition will affect the work practices of at least 4,000 Finning (Canada) and Cat Rental Store employees at 80 locations in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Devices include cellular phones, BlackBerries, car phones, mobile phones, text messaging devices, pagers, two-way radios, Bluetooth-enabled equipment and other wireless devices.
“Finning is committed to creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our employees, contractors and customers,” said Ian Reid, president of Finning (Canada). “Out of concern for their own safety and that of their families and the public-at-large, we are encouraging our employees to adopt this practice in their personal lives.
“In our view, safety takes priority over productivity,” said Tom Petras, Finning’s environment, health and safety manager. Finning employees have been instructed to change their cellphone voice messages and allow incoming calls to go to voice mail while they are driving. Employees are expected to pull off the road and stop in a safe location to listen to or return cellphone calls.
According to the Coalition for Cellphone-Free Driving, based at the University of Alberta, talking on a cellphone increases the risk of a motor-vehicle accident four to six times, whether the phone is hand-held or hands-free.
In other Finning news, the company last week announced a $230 million order from oil sands giant Syncrude Canada for equipment and product support services. The transaction includes 20 Caterpillar 797B off-highway trucks that will be delivered during 2009, and a multi-year product-support agreement.
The trucks are being purchased to support Syncrude's oils ands mining operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Syncrude's equipment maintenance personnel will service and maintain the equipment.
Edmonton, Alberta-based Finning (Canada) is the Caterpillar dealership serving Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and part of Nunavut.