Health and Safety

Cell Phone and Portable Electronic Device Usage Reminder

There has been an increase of drivers being called in for meetings due to the use of electronic devices while driving.

The primary responsibility of the driver is to operate the vehicle safely. The task of driving requires full attention and focus. Cell phone use can distract drivers from this task, risking harm to themselves and others. Therefore, the safest course of action is to refrain from using a cell phone/electronic device while driving.

No call, text, or email is so important that it’s worth risking your life or the lives of others.

Year in Review


Sikh Donation

PPE Mask donation from the Sikh Motorcycle Club and The United Sikhs.


Indigenous Reconciliation Dance

new execsNew Executive Board sworn in
rally 1

Rally in support of hotel workers from Unite Here Local 40

rally 2

Rally in support of hotel workers from Unite Here Local 40


Black Ribbons in support of fallen Unifor Local 111 member.


Orange Shirt Day


Orange ribbons in support of National Indigenous History month


Indigenous Reconciliation Dance


Black Ribbons in support of fallen Unifor Local 111 member.


Pink Shirt Day

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

The right to refuse unsafe work starts with you. If you have reasonable cause to believe that performing a job or task puts you or someone else at risk, you must not perform the job or task. You must immediately inform your supervisor or employer, who must then take the appropriate steps to determine if the work is unsafe and remedy the situation

Committee Updates:

Women’s Committee:

The Women’s Committee is co-chaired by Stephanie Shepherd and Michelle Hertner. All female members and retirees are welcome to join the committe

The purpose of this committee is to provide support and encouragement in leadership and educational roles for female members so they become more active in the local union and the workplace

The committee is currently working with the Employer to put up bulletin boards to post information and to have feminine products available in the women’s washrooms.
Meetings are currently scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month.

Please contact Stephanie and Michelle for more information.

facebook imageFacebook page: Women’s Group of ATU Local 172

Committee to Advance Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (CAEID):

The Committee to Advance Equity, Inclusion and Diversity is a committee established to advance Equity, inclusion, and Diversity at the workplace by creating awareness, education, and information. Membership is open for all. We are working in collaboration with Vancouver and District Labour Council Anti Systemic Racism Committee.

Why is Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Important?

Simply put, diversity, equity, inclusion and diversity are important because people deserve better. Providing a more rounded, more inclusive culture for employees is an essential first step in improving overall employee engagement. When considering business benefits, too often people start from an economic standpoint. Instead, we should start from a social one. That’s why the most important benefit of equity, diversity and inclusion is also the most obvious: by creating an actively inclusive workplace, you’ll also create room for productive dialogues in tackling prejudice throughout our workforce.

Come out and join our ever-evolving committee.

Thank you Bisrat Melese-Lencha

Meet your new ATU Local 1724 Executives:

  • Vice President
  • Glen Orango
  • Vice President
  • Financial Secretary
  • Marty Copeland
  • Financial Secretary
  • NOFA Representative
  • Ramesh Nandan
  • NOFA Representative
  • Casual Representative
  • Jancie Okada
  • Casual Representative

October is Ergonomics Month

October is International Ergonomics month dedicated to raising awareness of ergonomics and musculoskeletal hazards and prevention in the workplace. Musculoskeletal injuries (MSI’s) are defined as injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or their related soft tissue. Signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal injury can be immediate or gradual. Ensure that you see a doctor for the correct treatment if you feel you have an MS

For office workers MSI hazards are generally related to their computer workstations and their posture while working. WorkSafeBC has a guide on how to properly set up your desk. It can be found on the WorkSafeBC site and is titled “How to Make Your Computer Work Station Fit You”. Key points to remember are:

  • The top of the monitor(s) should be at eye level and a minimum of an arm’s length away.
  • lbows, hips, and knee joints should range from 90-110 degrees and your bottom should be all the way back in the seat and your back against the seat back to maintain your spinal curves.
  • The back of your knees should have 2-3 inches of clearance from the seat pan and your feet should not be hanging they should be flat on the floor.
  • You should not have to reach to operate the keyboard or mouse.

For drivers and mechanics MSI hazards come in a wide variety. Driver hazards come from the tasks involved in driving and from the door-to-door service we provide our clients. For mechanics the hazards come from lifting, pushing, pulling and awkward body postures.

For mechanics try to avoid awkward positions by adjusting the height of your work when possible. For lifting WorkSafeBC has a guide for proper lifting. It can be found on the WorkSafeBC site and is titled “Back Talk: Key points to remember are:

  • Keep the load close to your body, the stress on your body goes up exponentially the further away it is.
  • Do not lift and twist, shuffle your feet.
  • If you feel the load is too heavy ask a co-worker for help and/or use a mechanical aid i.e. forklift, crane jack etc.

For drivers, studies have shown that there is strong correlation between sitting for long periods of time and MSI’s due to a static posture and a restriction of blood flow through the muscles. Key points to prevent MSI’s are:

  • Make sure your seat is adjusted so you can reach the wheel and pedals comfortably (hip joint should be 110 degrees).
  • Maintain correct posture in your seat with your bottom back in the seat and your back against the seat back for support and to maintain your spinal curves.
  • Move your hand position frequently and don’t grip the steering wheel too hard for too long.
  • Make minor changes to your position in the seat frequently (2x hour minimum).
  • Tighten and relax different muscles/muscle groups when safe to do so.
  • When securing and moving wheelchairs maintain correct posture and an athletic stance (knees and back slightly bent).

Athletes do not go into a game without the proper equipment and warm up and you should not start your job without the same. For drivers and mechanics good solid footwear is key. A shoe with good upper support and an anti-skid sole is recommended light- weight hikers for drivers and safety shoes for mechanics). Note: HandyDART personnel get a discount at Mark’s Work Warehouse if you show up in uniform.

A dynamic warmup and frequent warmup/stretching at the start of the shift and after driving for extended periods has been shown to be beneficial. A dynamic warmup is any form of aerobic exercise to raise your heart rate and core temperature, it can be a 5- minute brisk walk, skipping, jumping jacks, etc. It should be followed by body part specific exercises such as arm/leg circles, knee raises, lunges, push-ups against the bus, yoga etc.

Keep in mind that cold muscles are more susceptible to MSI injuries. Make sure that you dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

Prepared by the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC)