By Myron Love
WINNIPEG, MAN. – Every year, there are approximately 600 injuries among new car dealer service technicians and body shop personnel. In addition to the real human cost of injuries to workers, the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association estimates that workplace injuries cost the motor vehicle industry about $30 million annually.
With these figures in mind, the MMDA has created the Motor Vehicle Safety Association of Manitoba (MVSAM) to try to make a difference.
MVSAM was officially introduced at a press conference held at Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg on May 19.
“Our industry’s success depends on our workers,” said Brian Lowes, the president of Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg and MMDA vice-president, speaking at the press conference.
“We are committed to keeping them safe and healthy by making safety through injury or illness prevention a priority – and the MVSAM will help us achieve this.”
The MVSAM was two years in the making and, noted SAFE Work Manitoba COO Jamie Hall, is the first new industry safety association established in the province in over 20 years.
“At SAFE Work Manitoba, we want businesses to know that making employee safety a priority makes good business sense,” Hall said. “A safety association is a positive step in that direction and we’re here to help any industry wanting to follow the Motor Dealers Association’s lead.”
The executive director of the new association is Daryl Nielsen, who served at Red River College for 25 years as the college’s workplace safety director.
“I am excited and honoured to have been offered this position,” Nielsen said. “It will be a challenge for me working for an entire industry sector rather than one specific employer. We will be building from the ground up. I think we can really make a difference.”
“An industry safety program reduces the cost of doing business and leads to increased productivity,” Lowes added.
“The bottom line is that we want to ensure that at the end of the day, every one goes home without incident.”