Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions' innovative safety management platform can be found online at MySafetyManager.com. Reach Sam by email at STucker@CarrierRiskSolutions.com.
Let's face it....nobody wants to sit through another boring safety meeting where Bob the Safety Director drones on about DOT compliance, rules, regulations, log books, sleep apnea, accident prevention, etc.....
Safety Directors/Managers of trucking companies have an incredibly hard job.
Frankly, they're the ones that are always pissing in the punch and causing everyone to do more work in the name of "Safety". It's not that they want to ruin everyone's good time and always be the bad cop...it's because they have to.
To borrow one of the best lines from the hit 1992 movie "A Few Good Men"
(before Tom Cruise went off the deep end)....
You have the luxury of not knowing what I know.... And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.
Now, please let me explain that I don't feel that Transportation Safety Professionals are like the brave men and women who proudly serve our country each day (My utmost thanks and respect to each and every one of them and their families, may God bless them all!!).
But, Like the illfated Colonel Jessup, these other brave men and women who devote their lives to fleet safety are in a very similar position.
As far as most are concerned, Safety sucks.
For fleet owners, the Safety department is widely seen only as a cost center to the organization. Truthfully, it can be a cost center. The programs that are developed and implemented cost money and time, which is always in short supply at a trucking operation.
For commercial vehicle operators (CVOs...see Drivers), they would probably rather have dental surgery than sit through another presentation of The 34
Hour ReStart and You!
(No offense if such a thing actually exists...It just popped into my head)
If you asked your CVOs, the mere existence of the safety manager sucks. Not Bob necessarily as he is a super nice guy and they can tell that he really has our best interest at heart, but Bob is ALWAYS having to piss in their Cheerios.. Because of safety directors, everyone has to do more work. Plain and simple.
DOT regulatory compliance is hard! Helping CVOs prevent accidents is hard!
Auditing and keeping records is hard. In a nutshell, protecting a fleet is hard!
Nobody especially relishes hard work. As humans, we are genetically inclined to take the easiest path to accomplishing a task.
When the easier path is taken and then Bob the Safety Director tells you that your path choice is stupid because CFR 3126.96.36.19922.who gives a crap says you have to choose the harder path to do the task, then Bob had better get used to eating alone in the cafe that afternoon.
But Bob is there...on that wall....Each and every day.
Bob helps protect a company's bottom line, CVOs and the general motoring public. Bob is there to help and not hurt. He doesn't want you to have to work harder. He's just the messenger...the teacher...the helper.
If we have Bob (and 50,000 or so other Bobs and Janes) on that wall, then we feel like we are doing our part to help run a safe fleet.
"Bob's got this", you think..."We are safer because of Bob" you feel...."Bob handles safety for us so we don't have to...that is what we pay him for"....you say.
While each of those may be true, Bob is only the Quarterback on the Safety Team. With the help and approval of the coaches, he can call the play and try his hardest to execute it, but getting the ball to the end zone is everyone's responsibility!!
We pay lip service to Safety....we all say that "Safety is our number 1 priority", but we all know that it's not. That statement is horse crap. We should probably stop kidding ourselves for the sake of meaningless soundbites.
Safety really is everyone's job!! Bob should be looked at more like Jesus than Judas. He, and every one of his other brothers and sisters in safety management are there to help and not hurt....despite how grotesque and incomprehensible their existence might be to others.
I recently founded the Transportation Safety Professionals Association of America (or TSPAA for short). Pronounced T Spa..like T is going to the spa to get a manipedi..
This new Association is dedicated to those brave men and women who put it all on the line for fleet safety every day. It's time to come out from being subcommittees of larger Associations and get really real about who we are and what we do!
The time to join together to help ourselves and others is now. Lives really do depend on us and our efforts!! For more info about the TSPAA and to join the movement, please visit www.TSPAA.org.