CANADA - The Vice President Operations with Steve's Livestock Transport says the introduction of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea into North America has heightened the awareness of the importance of training drivers and wash bay personnel, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Founded in 1987 by Steve Brandt, Steve's Livestock Transport is the largest commercial livestock transportation company in North America.
Rick Peters, the Vice President Operations, says in the mid-1990s Steve Brandt recognized the importance of cleaning livestock trailers to prevent the spread of disease and that's when the company built its first wash bay.
Rick Peters-Steve's Livestock Transport:
What PED did was it caused us to reevaluate our protocols, the measures that we were already taking prior to that.
It heightened our awareness for training.
We needed to spend more time training and probably the biggest thing was awareness for our drivers, our wash bay personnel, help them understand what this virus was doing in the industry, that it was in fact rapidly spreading and we had a key role to play in minimizing or preventing the spread of that disease.
Furthermore, it used to be in our livestock transport industry we would bring a driver in and we would shown them how to do things.
We'd have a trainer but it might just be a couple of hours.
Now we've become very focused in our training in every specific area, whether that is driving, livestock handling, biosecurity.
Every new driver spends 244 documented hours with a driver trainer just to make sure that we've gone through every process and they understand what needs to happen.
In our wash bays the personnel go through an orientation program before they start to wash.
It's important that they understand why they're washing this trailer, why this trailer that's hauling livestock needs to be as clean as it needs to be so the training part is not only on how to physically wash a trailer but it's also training on understanding why we do what we do.
Mr Peters says this heightened focus on training has been highly effective in helping contain the spread of PED.
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