Safetip #72: Include Motor Fleet Safety in a Safety Program
A Safer Fleet Equals a Safer Workforce
According to a Safety+Health magazine article on motor fleet safety, many organizations underestimate the size of their fleets, which can include full-size vans, pickup trucks, sales sedans, semi-trailers, buses, all-terrain utility vehicles, riding lawnmowers, self-propelled snow blowers, and other vehicles.
In addition, numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that transportation incidents are the top cause of workplace fatalities. In 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available), 1,891 workers were killed in transportation incidents in the U.S., i.e. 40% of all fatal workplace injuries. Roadway incidents and pedestrian vehicular incidents accounted for most fatalities.
9 Elements of a Fleet Safety Program
The Safety+Health magazine article provides nine essential elements of a fleet safety program, recommended by the National Safety Council (NSC). The guidelines are in chronological order and apply to a variety of industries.
1) Data analysis and problem identification
Identify and analyze high-probability factors that lead to crashes, and develop plans to reduce the risk. Factors to consider include a driver’s record of traffic violations, weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle type, speed limits and drivers’ hours on duty.
2) Motor fleet policy and procedures
A formal, written fleet safety policy statement eliminates confusion and highlights the importance of safe driving. Policies should clarify rules about seat belt use, impaired driving, distracted driving, how to report a collision, what to do in the event of a breakdown, scheduled maintenance, etc.
3) Obtain management commitment and support
Leadership commitment is needed to support all aspects of worker safety, including fleet management. Safety professionals increase the likelihood of executive buy-in by educating and training the management team about the benefits of maintaining fleet safety practices.
4) Loss investigation
Conduct post-crash interviews, and establish causal factors and whether the crash was preventable.
5) Driver qualifications
Driving standards should be clear and concise. Organizations should use the standards to monitor, evaluate and correct (if necessary) an employee’s driving performance. NSC recommends these four steps when writing driving standards:
- Driver performance
- Performance monitoring
- Performance evaluations
- Corrective actions
Consider safety aspects when selecting fleet equipment. Also, fleet safety professionals do not need to be experts on maintenance, but they should be knowledgeable enough to manage the process. An effective fleet management process can help reduce crashes, maintenance and downtime while improving employee morale and company reputation.
7) Driver training
The NSC recommends four types of training:
- New hire training
- Refresher training
- Remedial training
- Ongoing or annual training
Determine which government agencies have authority and learn about the requirements. Be aware that state traffic laws may be different, which means workers that require interstate travel should understand differences between state laws. In addition, be prepared for potential compliance audits.
9) Goal setting
The NSC says that goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Goals can be specific to an individual or apply to a team.
Take Safety+Health magazine’s quiz if you want to explore this topic further and find out how much you know about fleet safety.
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