3 Steps to Address the Safety Fundamentals In Your Fleet
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Posted by Cliff J. on June 7, 2019 in Trucker Focus

With so many safety methods and products available to the trucking industry, it can be difficult to know where to start. A motor carrier's safety efforts should start simply and grow as the company’s needs evolve.

 

In my travels, I often see carriers overlook the fundamentals in favor of unnecessarily expensive or complex actions. For example, I have seen management spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading equipment to address their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC score, when only a few pieces of equipment or a couple drivers caused the issues. Instead, they should have begun by focusing on the basics, including:

 

  1. Hiring experienced, professional drivers using a driver qualification file checklist.
  2. Having drivers demonstrate, through road tests or training, their competency and comfort performing required tasks. For instance, can the driver demonstrate competency in completing a driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR)? If not, this training must be promptly provided.
  3. Having management audit 3 to 5% of the fleet weekly to ensure DVIRs are being completed properly.
  4. Auditing the maintenance shop to ensure safety defects are being repaired before the vehicle is released back to operation.  If shop personnel need training, provide it.
  5. Using CSA scores to educate both drivers and maintenance personnel where issues exist and are repeating.  
  6. Creating a plan to address the shortcomings and setting goals to improve.

 

I recommend addressing these fundamentals in three steps. Step one is assessing your company's policies and procedures, whether informal or not.  For example, do procedures adequately address driver hiring and training and empower drivers to be successful with the right tools and equipment to complete the job safely and on time?

 

Step two is operations. Are the activities outlined in policies and procedures actually completed, or are those policies just gathering dust? For example, if a driver is not able to drive per company policy, is he or she dispatched anyway, for just one more load? Or if a safety defect is found, is the equipment used anyway until maintenance has time to fix it correctly?

 

Step three is auditing. Are you achieving the desired results from operations that you expected or needed to achieve? If not, what can be adjusted in policies and procedures to positively impact operations so the desired results can be achieved?

 

Management must lead the way. Providing appropriate top-down support is essential to creating safe operations and helping a motor carrier achieve success.

Cliff J. is our Trucking guru
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.


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