How To Implement A Fleet And Driver Safety Program To Meet OSHA Guidelines

Feb 9, 2021 | Business Insurance

Are you managing a fleet of vehicles? Did you experience accidents committed by one of your drivers? I bet you had the worst headache in doing your job when that happened! Facing a major incident is not a joke and requires your utmost attention especially when it involves other people. The costs and payments needed to settle the damages and injuries to others after the fleet accident are quite heavy to handle.

Consequences

When a major road accident involves one of the cars in your fleet, the worst consequence is if the company’s name gets a bad reputation. The fleet’s productivity is affected and your driver might be confined in the hospital for up to how many days. And what about your vehicles? For sure, the repair costs are all but a big loss in your business. It would create a bigger hole in your pocket if you need a replacement for that vehicle. Bottom line is, fleet accidents incur expensive costs and losses.

A successful business needs proper safety and good health measures in all aspects. These will ensure the continuous flow of your business. OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to ensure that every employer provides a safe working environment for their employees. Did you comply with their requirements for your fleet business? Here’s how you can implement a fleet and driver safety program to meet OSHA guidelines.

What causes fleet accidents?

You might be wondering what are the causes that lead to fleet accidents and fatalities according to FMCSA in 2018. These are:

  • Overspeeding. Imagine a large truck driving at its full speed. The moment an accident happens, it wouldn’t have much time to calculate its position since the impact is too big. Colliding against something might incur huge damages if the force is at its maximum limit. In 2018, speeding contributed 6.8% in fatalities for accidents caused by large trucks.
  • Distracted driving. This is the second in the list that caused 5.3% in large-truck deaths. It consists of four types of distractions that drivers often experience while driving. 

Visual – not focusing eyesight on the road and keep looking at other things

Manual – doing or handling something aside from the steering wheel

Auditory – affected by what is heard 

Cognitive – the mind is elsewhere, less focus on driving

  • Impaired consciousness. This reason had caused 4.4% of fatal accidents in the fleet of trucks. They were DUI, fatigued or sleepy drivers, sick, and drivers who were emotionally disturbed. 

Procedures to follow in implementing fleet and driver safety program

Every business follows government rules and safety regulations. They adhere to these rules and make their own guidelines to keep these provisions applied and be followed. How about you, what are the safety protocols you apply to your fleet business? Do your drivers conform to these safety rules?

An initiative from the top management will start the whole process. A good implementation works best with the help and support from the employees involved. Their cooperation matters so it is a must to have good communication with them about the plan. Monitoring and grasp for new technologies are good additions in enforcing the safety program.

Proper management

Of course, it wouldn’t be a success if the management itself doesn’t follow their signed orders and procedures. Strict implementation of your safety rules needs your attention and involvement to see improvements both on your business and your employees. Yes, it may be a tough job to run a business and at the same time spend ample time to oversee this. Enforce constant communication with your employees regarding the plans and reminders for safety. 

Remember, in order to comply with OSHA and other government agencies, you must implement these guidelines. The good part is your business will benefit more from the smooth run of operations and deliveries once it works. Bear this in mind and keep this whole thing working.

Policies and standard procedures for safety

Before you start, you have a lot in mind about the best ways to execute safety in your workplace. You also want that to the drivers’ performance on the road. To make it easier for your employees to understand and follow what you have in mind, create policies. Developing these policies must indicate what you expect them to do and your standard rules regarding safety. 

Distribute copies of these written policies and have a signed agreement with the drivers. Ensure that everyone understands the contents and what the company is aiming for. Review them at least annually to see the history of accidents. Make updates of new rules if you think the previous ones need improvement. 

Reporting of accidents and violations immediately

Regardless of how severe the situation is, it must be reported immediately to come up with better actions. The earlier it is informed, the quicker problem is solved. Make sure you can respond instantly. Put down in your protocol that all evidence must be kept and documented. 

Requiring valid license for every driver

Of course, it is the most basic requirement every driver should have. It is a must to be updated to keep all the information true about the driver’s identity. 

Following safety protocols 

Every driver is required to comply with safety and traffic rules.

  • Wearing seatbelts while driving 
  • Avoiding drugs or alcohol prior to driving. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or DUI is a big NO as it causes blurry vision and slows down reaction time 
  • The use of cellphones while driving should be discouraged. Texting while driving has caused thousands of car accidents in the US.
  • Following traffic rules. Having tickets due to violations causes hassle to the productivity of your business. Drivers with most violations often engage in accidents.

Proper management of fatigue

Each driver must have enough rest and be scheduled accordingly. Fatigue contributes to loss of attentiveness on the road. They should be aware and be reminded of the importance of taking care of themselves to avoid this. Lack of enough sleep and rush deliveries may be some causes of fatigue so be sure to know their schedules and routes. Allow nap breaks during overtime work. 

Implementation of disciplinary actions for repetitive violations

Drivers that often commit violations must be reprimanded. This is to let them know that your company or your safety program is strict about its mission in implementing safety. Even a single violation must earn a verbal warning. Once they know about this, they will surely take good care of driving. 

Identifying drivers

It is quite hard to hire new drivers especially if you are not fully aware of their records as a driver, well, not yet. You must keep track of their previous driving records to ensure you employed trustworthy drivers. Drivers with poor records often commit accidents while working. 

Selecting drivers must undergo thorough screening including their pre-employment requirements such as medical and physical exams. A good team of drivers would ensure the productivity of your business operations and the safe delivery of products.

Training and rewards

After identifying them, let them have continuous training. Constant reminders about the standard safety procedures will improve their way of driving to avoid moving violations and accidents. As a way of motivating them to practice the set safety protocols, giving rewards will surely make a hit.

Defensive driving

They must undergo defensive driving to enhance their rational skills in dealing with the road’s unexpected mishaps. This training teaches them to work under pressure and have quick reflexes against potential accidents. This training aims to teach drivers to :

  • Avoid distractions while driving and be alert
  • Practice the standard speed limits and distances against other vehicles
  • Improve driving behavior and respect for other drivers on the road
  • Follow driving rules and regulations for safety
  • Adjust to weather and road situations

Not all may have a quick grasp of what is taught. It would be a good move to continuously train or have a refresher course for them every now and then. This is to ensure that your drivers are still adept with their job. Even old and experienced drivers need this to refresh what they have learned before.

Rewards for good drivers

Of course, who wouldn’t want a good reward after long hours of service in your job? Giving incentives motivates drivers to do good and perform well with their work. It is a good way to promote safety, a win-win for both the company and the employees.

You may give cash as a bonus for a job well-done every month. Another form is by giving additional vacation leaves for them to relax.

Monitor the progress of the safety program 

When it comes to monitoring, you just don’t keep track of your employees but also the performance of your vehicles. Poor behaviors of your drivers and vehicles that are not well-maintained often lead to accidents. You don’t often see the operation of your business as your driver is the one responsible for handing over the products. 

The best way to keep track of their performance is by installing technology devices. Another thing to be considered in monitoring is the maintenance of your fleet vehicles. The overall operation depends on the reliability of your fleet and the drivers.

Use of technology

The use of Telematics is one of them. It tracks the location, the real-time activity of the vehicles and their engines, and the driver’s behavior while doing their jobs. The benefits of telematics have been very useful over the years to fleet businesses. These are:

  • Fuel consumption monitoring reduces costs
  • Mechanical issues are seen immediately that maintain the excellent performance of the vehicle.
  • Easy access to the information needed through GPS and sensors even if the drivers are out for deliveries
  • Safety is ensured as the problems about the vehicle and the driver are addressed instantly to the management

Maintenance routine of vehicles

Regular check-ups of vehicles will maintain their life and reliability. Your business operations depend on their efficiency. Efficient work means satisfied customers. Aside from these, early detection of problems within the engines prevents further damages. It would save you from unexpected downtimes and late deliveries that will surely irritate your clients!

Knowing the problems by scheduled inspections mitigates in preventing further losses. Talk with your drivers regarding the possible reasons for some mechanical problems. They may identify them and you both can come up with better solutions such as preventing harsh brakes. It contributes to the abrupt wearing off of tires.

Another thing to be considered why you need planned maintenance is to comply with the safety standards. Even before you operate, the vehicles would undergo checking if they follow regulatory standards set by the government. If by any chance an accident happens because of faulty parts and your vehicle is found non-compliant, you might face a fine. Worse, you might have a lawsuit from the affected party! 

Being compliant makes your vehicles safe to travel on the road and to the people around the area. This will lead to a good name for your business. A good reputation retains customers, always remember that.

Ensuring fleet insurance

There’s no better way to be safe from unforeseen events but to be insured. This will ensure that you have a back up once operational losses appear in your business. You’ll never know when it will happen so it’s best to secure your safety. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Gotta find the best fleet insurance in Denver, Colorado!

Final Word

Implementing a fleet and driver safety program to meet OSHA guidelines is a challenge every company must face and comply with. It is not just because it is required by the law, moreover, the advantages it brings to your business should be your target. Those protocols from OSHA are guidelines that will improve the safety of your drivers and your fleet. It would bring you better results if you exceed those for the benefit of everyone in your company.

Your fleet of vehicles is your asset in delivering good products and services. But remember that your drivers are the heart of the production floor. Without them, the success of your business will not be possible. Proper management is the key to let these guidelines be followed and implemented smoothly. Everything else will follow by having a good rapport with your employees.

Contact us to help you with your insurance needs for your fleet. Our services cater to the best offers that will suit your budget. Our team is ready to answer all your queries and will assist you through the process. Let us help you today!