Transportation industry professionals in America employ hundreds of thousands of drivers nationwide to keep the country’s commerce on wheels. It’s often taken for granted that when a vehicle is loaded, that its’ cargo (and driver) will reach their destination unscathed, but this is not always the case. Professional drivers exist in one of the most dangerous professions in the country and for businesses who employ drivers, the risks are abundant.
Accidents and injuries are not only a concern in terms of employee safety; they also often result in workers’ comp claims that drive up costs for transportation professionals which makes getting from point A to point B a more costly endeavor for the business. In the highly competitive landscape of transportation, the rise in workers’ comp related costs can be a deal breaker for some companies.
I’ve worked with several Transportation Operations in my career, including one of our members Goulet Trucking in Massachusetts. Safety by far is what keeps these owners up at night, next in line is cash flow – and they do go hand in hand. Safety cost containment programs are one of the first things we address when working with our Transportation clients. Here’s a snapshot of the most important items on “the list”:
Fleet Safety Programs
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states that according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics more than 1,766 deaths a year result from occupational transportation incidents. With those numbers, implementing a Fleet Safety Program to keep vehicles (and drivers) moving safely down the road is a must for any transportation business.
Here are some of the basic components in a Fleet Safety Program:
- Identify Your Drivers: Identify everyone who drives on behalf of the company (employees as well as contractors/vendors) as you may not be aware of the extent of your non-owned vehicle exposure.
- Screen Drivers Carefully: Establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process for all drivers
- Train and Develop: provide ongoing education regarding driver and vehicle safety
- Manage Accidents: Have procedures in place for handling accidents and injuries to help mitigate losses.
- Inspection, Repair & Maintenance: Establish a plan for the maintenance of your vehicle fleet and maintain up to date and accurate records or inspections and repairs. This helps to not only prevent failure-related accidents; it also will serve you well in terms of proving diligence in the event an accident should occur and a lawsuit ensues.
Aside from safe driving training, drivers should be aware of some common sense knowledge that will help them to their part in minimizing the risk of collisions while on the road.
Drive Defensively: Be aware of errors on the part of other drivers, expect the unexpected and be on the lookout for other drivers driving erratically.
Get Plenty of Rest: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over the last decade more than 7,000 people have been killed in drowsy driving accidents.
Inspect Your Vehicle: In addition to regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance, drivers should always perform an inspection of their vehicles lights, tires, brakes, and windshield wipers before driving.
Know Your Route: Drivers should always be aware of their route so they don’t have to rely heavily on distracting navigation devices or maps.
Avoid Speeding: Not only should drivers obey posted speed limits, they should give themselves ample time to reach their destination so they don’t feel rushed and execute risky maneuvers in an effort to save time.
Safety is paramount on the road, and the responsibility of minimizing driving accidents and injuries falls on both the organization and the employee. At The Workplace Solution we are driven to do our part to help reduce the risks of doing business in the transportation industry. Our Workers’ Compensation Captive Insurance Program is the right solution for Transportation Business owners who not only care about their workers safety but care about putting money back into their pocket at the end of the year. Effective Fleet Safety Programs=Lower Work Comp Costs.
Dave Sinclair, CEO The WorkPlace Solution