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The Keys To A Stellar Safety Program: Strategy, Training and Technology

In our first installment of The Keys To A Stellar Safety Program, we took a look at the two building blocks of an effective safety management program, company culture and a focused risk assessment program. This week we will look at the next founding principles.

As a fleet manager, once you’ve addressed the cultural and risk-related operational concerns, it’s time to move on to developing a strategy. After all, as a wise man once said, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Developing a Coherent Strategy

Once you have laid out your goals, your strategy should be built around reaching those goals and objectives, whether they are short or long term.

Here is an example of a goal and potential strategies:

  • Improve CSA scores
    • Reduce the number of avoidable accidents
    • Improve truck driver training
    • Implement in-cab alerts for speeding drivers
    • Use incentive programs to improve operator scorecards

When you are coming up with a strategy, ensure it includes a specific and actionable safety policy. The policy should be distributed across all company channels as a short document that outlines what the organization considers safe and unsafe behavior.

The safety policy should serve multiple goals, but the main one should be creating a sense of individual responsibility and accountability, no matter what level of the organization you are at. Whether it be the CEO or a front line technician, everyone in the organization must feel engaged with the company safety policy.

To make sure there remains a level of fun and engagement around it, try to incorporate safety recognition or incentive programs to reward specific safety “good behaviors,” if you will. One example could be a reward for the truck driver with the least number of speeding incidents within the desired time period. Whether it be a pair of movie tickets or a dinner out, no doubt the driver will appreciate it and remember their good behavior.

Proper Safety Training

While analyzing culture, detecting risk and developing a strategy all work great on paper, the real rubber hits the road when you need to actually begin training your people on your safety policy. A good program will provide your workers with the tools they need to protect their health and prevent injuries.

An effective safety training program does more than just educates your people, it empowers them to take control of their own safety, whether they are in a cab or in the back office.

Remember, training should not be about training for training’s sake. You must move beyond simple training and create a method for evaluating how successful your safety training program is. You have to make key parts of the program include engagement, reward and retention.

Tapping into Technology

The capstone on your effective safety management program should include the use of technology to improve your safety measures. As we’ve reported on before, technology is changing trucking, and in many ways this isn’t a bad thing.

From scalable cloud technologies to new smartphone apps, there are plenty of ways to transform the way your employees think about safety. Here are some ways you can integrate technology into your safety program:

  • Apps: Whether they monitor driver behavior or provide a quick look into driver scores on a leaderboard, apps can both inform and empower at the same time.
  • E-forms: Ask any truck driver and they will tell you paperwork is a headache. With e-forms the fleet manager can create custom job forms that provide relevant data to both the driver and the back office, almost instantaneously.
  • ELD: Since they are now mandated, ELDs can be used to automate HOS compliance, vehicle inspections (DVIRs) and IFTA. Imagine faster inspections and more accurate data.
  • Last-mile services: New technologies allow for last-mile routing and excellent site navigation, both of which help decrease on-site accidents.

In the end, no matter how you address your fleet safety program and initiatives, always remember that without buy-in, you won’t get very far. Make sure you, your fleet and the decision makers at the top all have safety at the front of their minds.

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