In the trucking industry, safety is one of the biggest factors for a company’s success. Maintaining good safety practices not only ensures a stronger company, it helps keep your drivers and employees healthy and happy.
However, implementing safety changes can be difficult. It takes a massive shift in the corporate culture, but to achieve this shift, you need to apply dozens, if not hundreds, of small, seemingly minute details. But these details can add up to monumental changes and a safer direction for your company.
Safety training never ends. No matter how experienced, reliable, and confident your drivers are, constant training should be a part of your company culture. This should include meetings, surveys, videos, pamphlet information, and any other form of training you can think of. You might get initial pushback from a few drivers, but make it abundantly clear that constant training, with the end goal of zero accidents, is an essential, non-negotiable part of your company.
There are many resources you can use for safety training. Ryder Safety Services, for example, offers a wide range of driver training videos that are available at a nominal fee. These videos cover everything from safety fundamentals to HazMat topics and even driver wellness information.
Your drivers deserve high-quality, reliable safety equipment and apparel. Help them do their jobs to the best of their abilities by providing them with excellent safety products, such as warning triangles, first aid kits, LED flares, warning flags, and all the other items that help keep your drivers safe. Make sure your company is stocked with a full supply of safety vests, helmets, gloves, and other apparel as well.
Although routine inspections are a regulated and mandatory part of the trucking industry, they often become neglected. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for drivers to go through the motions, which is understandable if the company’s management isn’t holding people accountable.
Make safety inspections part of your company culture, emphasizing the need for inspections at pickup, drop-off, stops, and returns. Make sure your team can rattle off the key points of a safety inspection while ensuring they use a physical or digital checklist to complete the process.
Consistent maintenance can help you achieve two significant goals. First, and most important, it can help you maintain safety for your drivers by ensuring the trucks are dependable. Second, it can save money in the long run by helping you avoid significant repair bills.
Maintenance programs should include critical components such as the steering, brakes, tires, wheels, couplers, and suspension. Make sure you and your team are familiar with these maintenance points so everyone stays safe on the road.
If your company is growing and you are starting to struggle with operational management, it may be time to hire a safety manager. Having a safety manager on your staff puts a single, highly-trained person in charge of the essential task of monitoring and operating the safety procedures. You’ll be free to focus on running the business while knowing that a dedicated, trained professional is handling your safety.
Safety manager duties will include driver instruction, monitoring safety records, and ensuring compliance with DOT, OSHA, and HazMat laws.
If your trucking company is having serious issues with safety and you’re looking for a plan to keep things in control, start with the top or most frequent safety violations first. This can include bad brake connections, damaged or discolored windshields, broken turn signals, and uncertified fire extinguishers. Once you rein in these issues, you can work your way down to less frequent or less serious problems.
A good company starts with the hiring process. Because safety is such a vital priority in the shipping industry, you need to take your time with the hiring process and find candidates who share your commitment to safety. There are numerous resources for companies that want to find safe drivers.
For example, you can use the DOT’s pre-screening program to research a driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Use this resource as a component of your screening process and you’ll be more likely to find a driver who will deliver safe, meticulous service to your company.
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