Our latest Safetip is about developing a motor fleet safety program as part of your occupational safety and health plan.
To put into perspective the importance of developing a motor fleet safety program, let’s look at the latest available statistics for fatal occupational injuries in the U.S.
In December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018.
According to the BLS, transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event, accounting for 40% of all work-related fatalities.
Specifically, fatal event type “Roadway incident involving motorized land vehicle” accounted for 24% of all fatalities. It was the sub-category with the highest number of fatalities.
9 Elements of a Program
Both the National Safety Council and the insurance company Travelers have identified elements of an effective motor fleet safety program. The former in a Safety+Health magazine article, and the latter on its website.
We combined the two lists to produce a consolidated one. Here are the nine elements that should be part of your program:
1) Data Analysis and Risk Identification. Turn data into information, and information into action. Identify and analyze high-probability factors that lead to crashes and other incidents, and develop plans to reduce risks.
2) Motor Fleet Policies and Procedures. Formal, written fleet safety policies should clarify rules about who is allowed to drive a work vehicle, seat belt use, distracted driving, how to report an incident, what to do when there’s a breakdown, scheduled maintenance, etc.
3) Management Commitment and Support. Leadership commitment is important to support all aspects of worker safety, including motor fleet safety. It can help to ensure that the program is followed.
4) Compliance. Determine which government agencies have authority over the organization’s activities (e.g. DOT). Learn what regulatory requirements and traffic laws apply. Plan compliance audits.
5) Driver Qualifications and Selection. Driving standards and expectations should be clear. Hiring criteria and a thorough screening process for drivers should also be established. In addition, organizations should be able to monitor, evaluate and correct an employee’s driving performance.
6) Identification of All Drivers. Identify everyone who drives on behalf of the company, even employees who use personal and/or rented vehicles.
7) Driver Training. Make sure that all drivers understand vehicle safety policies and procedures. The NSC recommends four types of training: 1) new hire training, 2) refresher training, 3) remedial training (for drivers who had an infraction or were involved in an incident), and 4) ongoing or annual training.
8) Incident Investigations. Establish a process to investigate crashes and other types of incidents. Identify root causes and any new, potential hazard or risk to help prevent future incidents.
9) Vehicle Inspection, Repair and Maintenance. This can help to reduce accidents, downtime, and costly, unexpected breakdowns due to faulty equipment. It also helps to improve employee morale and company reputation.
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