According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average cost for an on-the-job vehicle crash is $16,500. If the accident results in an injury, the cost jumps to $74,000. If there’s a fatality, expect a hit of $500,000 and more. Add in insurance premium hikes, legal fees, loss of business, and other potential expenses and it’s easy to see how just one accident can have a devastating effect on a company.
According to Art Liggio, president of Newark, Del.-based Driving Dynamics, “Employers have a very clear legal and moral obligation to protect the public from any inappropriate actions by its employees. When employers cannot demonstrate that they have taken reasonable, consistent steps to properly train their employees to drive safely, juries and public opinion will make sure that these companies are severely punished for their negligence.”
What can a Safety Manager do to reduce the risk and frequency of accidents and improve driver safety, protect their company reputation and their bottom line? Follow best practice tips. The first five of ten are listed below, with the other five to be included in Glostone’s December newsletter:
Start with Hiring the Right Drivers
A great start to insuring your drivers practice safe, reliable and responsible driving habits is to hire those who have demonstrated these qualities in their past employment. The Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates employers take steps to research a potential new hire driver’s record. Start with these documents and do the homework. Go beyond the minimum previous employer verifications and acquire additional information such as the DOT Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) report, criminal background reports and Social Security number verification. Search public social networks like Facebook and call references to get a better picture of a new hire’s character. Spending time doing the proper screening now can save you time and money later.
Communicate Company Safety Policies
Have a comprehensive and clearly written policy manual of what is expected of drivers. Make sure each driver reads and verifies, in writing, that he/she has read, understands and will follow these policies. The very best policies involve everyone in the organization so that safety becomes the culture of the company. Samples and tips for writing an effective safety policy can be found in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) report “Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes” at: www.osha.gov/Publications/motor_vehicle_guide.pdf
Require New Hire Behind the Wheel and Classroom or Video Training
You have hired an individual that says they have the skill to drive for your company in a safe and lawful manner. Before allowing him/her to drive for your company, a short ride along can confirm those skills. In addition, basic classroom or video safety training can help ensure the driver understands the importance you place on safety and possibly eliminate bad habits before they become a problem for your company.
Capture and Track Data
“Both crash and [traffic] violation data are proven, key predictors of future losses to identify ‘at-risk’ drivers who may be candidates for remedial training,” said Liggio of Driving Dynamics. Use the data to pinpoint training needs, reward good performance and create safety measurement standards the drivers are expected to meet.
Create Ongoing Training Programs Using Multiple Formats
Not everyone learns in the same way. Using a range of training formats has a better chance of impacting every individual plus keep training interesting and positive. Effective driver training can include behind-the-wheel, online, in-classroom, one-on-one coaching, newsletters, publications, videos, text messages and emails. The key is to keep the training message consistent.
Next month: Five more Best Practice Tips to Improve Safety and the Bottom Line.