#Trucking Fleet #Safety Program Essentials @thecargoexpert

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 www.MySafetyManager.com. Reach Sam by email at STucker@CarrierRiskSolutions.com.

An effective fleet safety program is a critical part of any organization’s risk management planning. This is especially important because transportation related incidents account for over 40% of all fatal workplace injuries. Though there are tons of free resources out there, I haven’t found many that hold a match to one that I recently read.

Though this approach can be applied to most businesses and organizations, those who operated large trucks on a regular basis should take special note.

The National Safety Council’s trade magazine, (Safety and Health) recently had an outstanding article that features a boatload of practical advice from James A. Solomon. Solomon serves as the organization’s director of Defensive Driving Program Development and Training.

In the article, Solomon outlines NSC’s 9 core principles for establishing an effective fleet safety program. Those are (in order of how each should be completed) listed and summarized here:

Data analysis and problem identification

You have to really understand what is causing or what could cause your transportation related accidents.


Motor fleet policy and procedures

All areas of an organization must work together to establish and communicate effective and consistent rules and guidelines related to the proper use of vehicles.

Obtain management commitment and support

It all starts at the top and flows down. The key to implementing any real lasting change in the organization is to achieve actual buy in and support from the C-Suite.

Loss investigation

A critical part of any effective fleet safety program is understanding the circumstances that led to your organization’s incidents and accidents. Could the incidents be learned from? Could the accidents have been prevented? How can you use the current and past information that you have to prevent future incidents and accidents?

Driver qualifications

Driver qualification for DOT regulated industries is set in proverbial stone and outlined in CFR Part 391 . While this can be used as a good guide for other organizations, it tends to be overkill. Focus on establishing a solid understanding of what is expected of each person operating a vehicle on behalf of the company. Develop a way to monitor performance, reward good behaviors and correct bad ones.

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You can’t escape the fleet part of fleet safety. Having well maintained vehicles is a key to safe operation. Solomon promotes effective communication between departments who have responsibilities for fleet purchasing, maintenance and risk management as being very beneficial in this area.


Driver training

NSC’s “Motor Fleet Safety Manual” recommends establishing four types of training which includes when the driver is first hired and at various other times during a driver’s time with a company. This area of a program can often be overlooked or de-emphasized, which can directly lead to an increase in accidents and their associated costs. Establishing a schedule and sticking to it will help you reap the rewards of all of your hard work.


On the road, everyone has to answer to someone. That someone could be local law enforcement, a State or the Federal Government. It’s important to understand which rules and regulations your organization’s drivers must follow. Here’s a hint: If your operating vehicles in commerce and the gross combined weight of the vehicle exceeds 10,000 lbs (think of a large pickup truck hauling a nice sized trailer filled with materials as well), then that vehicle and it’s operator typically fall under Federal DOT regulations. Keep that in mind as there are roughly 400 pages of regulations that then come into play once that threshold is breached.


Goal setting

You have to know where you want to go in order to get there. After you’ve laid a solid foundation in steps 1–8, you can then optimize your fleet safety program by setting SMART goals to reach for.

By using this framework, organizations of all shapes and sizes should be better able to manage their transportation related risk. The NSC has also provided a cool fleet safety quiz for you to use with your organization’s drivers.

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Here is an excerpt from the Safety and Health Magazine article on an effective fleet safety program:

Your fleet might be larger than you realize, according to James A. Solomon, director of Defensive Driving Program Development and Training at the National Safety Council. Solomon has more than three decades of experience at NSC, and during that time he has helped train countless safety professionals about the importance of understanding their fleet and keeping workers safe.

Large vehicles such as pickup trucks and vans may be part of a fleet, but the same holds true for often-overlooked vehicles such as all-terrain utility vehicles and self-propelled machines. A formal, written fleet safety policy statement is an essential component of an effective safety program. The policy statement should be the result of a collaborative effort across departments, experts say.

New hire training is important, but it does not cover everything. Organizations also should place an emphasis on refresher training, remedial training and ongoing (or annual) training programs.

Take a moment to think about the vehicles in your organization’s fleet.

Depending on your line of work, you might have envisioned full-size vans, pickup trucks or sales sedans. Perhaps you thought about semi-trailers or school buses.

Keep thinking. Do you have any all-terrain utility vehicles that you use on the grounds? How about riding lawnmowers or self-propelled snow blowers?

Your fleet might be larger than you realize, according to James A. Solomon, director of Defensive Driving Program Development and Training at the National Safety Council. Solomon has more than three decades of experience at NSC, and during that time he has helped train countless safety professionals about the importance of understanding their fleet and keeping workers safe.

“You’ve got to have a program to protect your people,” Solomon said. “A proper operating fleet is a great investment. It saves lives, prevents injuries and saves money — which adds to the bottom line.”

A safer fleet means a safer workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation incidents are the №1 cause of death in today’s workplaces. In 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available), 1,891 workers were killed in transportation incidents. That represented 40 percent of all fatal workplace injuries. Roadway incidents and pedestrian vehicular incidents accounted for most transportation-related fatalities.

To help organizations protect workers, NSC recommends nine essential elements of a fleet safety program.

Click here to view original web page at www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com