By Andrew Shepherd
Ottawa, Ontario -- December 13, 2013 -- Whatever your thoughts about global warming, there is no doubt that extreme weather events have become much more common in recent years. Environment Canadareports that 2013 was the second highest year on record for hail storms. Western Canada saw 371 severe weather events during the year.
After the storms subside, support personnel see a deluge of a different kind--a massive influx of insurance claims and long wait lines at collision repair facilities. Industry insiders also talk about an influx of “storm chasers” – hail repair companies that are often transitory.
This is becoming a serious issue for the collision repair industry as even cosmetic repairs now involve removing bumpers, doors and panels, reconfiguring restraint systems and management of corrosion protection, sensing technologies, etc. In 2013 Alberta Autobody Trades Officers made a special point of enforcing laws pertaining to the use of skilled trades for any repair involving the removal or adjustment of panels.
In Fall 2013, a group of industry stakeholders met to improve the professionalism of PDR. Wawanesa Insurance, Co-operators Insurance, Shield Autobody and Southgate Volkswagen Collision of Edmonton and PDR Canada, a major hail repair company, met with Alberta Trades and I-CAR Canada to explore the skills requirements of PDR technicians. David Rowley, Supervisor, Appraisers at Wawanesa, noted that “We ended up focusing on 13 courses, or about 50 hours of training. We certainly feel that this could form a minimum requirement with today’s complex vehicles, but we understand that much more industry consultation is going to happen.”
Domenic Serra, President and CEO of PDR Canada, is fully supportive. “We operate across Canada, dealing with every weather condition Canada has to offer – we need to ensure our staff is trained as thoroughly as possible,” he says. “And frankly the consumer and the insurer are going to be better protected if there is some sort of skills requirement for PDR companies.”
Serra has already committed his staff to the training path developed by the group.
Jeff Hicks, owner of Shield Autobody in Edmonton, has also encouraged all of his staff to participate in I-CAR training. “We’re going to advise the other insurers in our area – we all want safe, efficient repairs for our customers and we’re proud that we’ve developed a solution with I-CAR Canada” says Hicks. “This is a great step forward for the industry.”
Toronto, Ontario -- November 18, 2013 -- Effective July 1, 2014, Ontario employers will have to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The first of its kind in North America, the new regulation mandates basic safety awareness training for all Ontario workers and supervisors – with a specific focus on small business and vulnerable workers.
Ottawa, Ontario -- November 18, 2013 -- Aboriginal peoples are well-represented in the skilled trades, with participation roughly equal to representation in the Canadian population. As population growth among indigenous peoples continues to outpace the Canadian average, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum says Aboriginal peoples will continue to be an important segment of the skilled trades workforce.
Las Vegas, Nevada -- November 6, 2013 -- The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has developed an interactive, online vehicle lift safety course based on its popular Lifting It Right DVD, hosted by racing legends Richard and Kyle Petty.
ALI is partnering with dealer services provider KPA, which has trained more than one million automotive industry professionals, to produce and deliver the online program. It will be available in early 2014.
Lifting It Right: 2014 Online Edition covers the wide variety of lift types used in professional vehicle service and repair shops, the lifting and lowering process and the importance of planned lift maintenance performed by a qualified professional. A narrator guides the viewer through each section, highlighting safety measures with easy-to-understand instructions and relevant scenarios. The viewer learns which lifts work best for certain jobs, as well as best practices for spotting a vehicle, selecting proper adapters and working under the vehicle. Real-world scenarios with corresponding questions are presented throughout to gauge comprehension. At the conclusion of the program, a certificate of completion is generated and stored online. This certificate can also be printed for display or placed in employee training records. Upon completion, each participant will also receive a copy of ALI’s Automotive Lift Safety Tips card and the Lifting It Right safety manual via mail.
The course’s online records management component will significantly simplify the lift operator training process for dealerships, independent repair shop owners, government agencies, vocational schools and other facilities equipped with vehicle lifts.
“Health and safety officials across the U.S. and Canada have increased their focus on vehicle service providers. They recognize the importance of lift operator training and are looking for evidence of lift safety compliance,” says R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, ALI president. “Currently, shop managers have to provide the training DVD, print out a copy of the written test, and then score the test and file the completed paper copy for each employee. By creating an online version of Lifting It Right, we’ve taken the burden off the shop and made the process more convenient for everyone.”
For more information on ALI, please visit autolift.org.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- November 5, 2013 -- At the 2013 SEMA Show, I-CAR technical presentations on blueprinting and advanced vehicle technologies to help collision repair professionals achieve complete and safe repairs and greater repair efficiency will be conducted. Various sessions will be offered every afternoon at the SEMA Collision Repair & Refinish Stage from Tuesday, Nov. 5, through Friday, Nov. 8, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.
"Blueprinting is becoming increasingly popular as more collision repair professionals start to realize its cycle time, supplement frequency, parts ordering and overall efficiency benefits," says Steve Marks, I-CAR Industry Support Manager, who will lead or co-lead the various SEMA presentations. "These presentations will provide a deeper dive into the essential blueprinting and technology topics that many technicians and estimators have previously only heard or read about."
The blueprinting presentations and sessions highlighting advanced vehicle technologies are an outgrowth of I-CAR’s ongoing Repairability Technical Support initiative to improve industry access to technical repair knowledge, address gaps in repair procedures and enhance industry technical communications with OEMs.
The full schedule of I-CAR's free half-hour presentations, which are open to all SEMA attendees, includes:
The blueprinting sessions explore content also covered more fully in the I-CAR course Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery (BLU01). The Live class is available for registration on i-car.com along with a wide array of I-CAR courses addressing new technology topics.
For more information on I-CAR, please visit i-car.com.
To learn more about SEMA, please visit semashow.com.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- November 4, 2013 -- I-CAR has officially launched its new Live-only courses in steel parts repair and replacement, giving technicians the up-to-date information they need to make the right decisions in replacing and sectioning steel unitized parts with today’s advanced materials.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- October 30, 2013 -- I-CAR and BMW of North America will partner to offer a SEMA-first presentation on the carbon fibre and aluminum BMW i3, the first mass-produced vehicle with a passenger compartment made completely of carbon fibre. The free half-hour presentation will be offered four times throughout the 2013 SEMA show: Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m.; and Friday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m.