Kevin Ian Schmidt

Establishing a Fleet Safety Program

Unlike other workplaces, the roadway is not a closed environment. Preventing work-related roadway crashes requires strategies that combine traffic safety principles and sound safety management practices.

Crashes are not an unavoidable part of doing business.

Accidents are more expensive than most people realize because of the hidden costs. The more accidents that occur in a workplace, the higher the costs — both in direct costs paid by insurance premiums and greater uninsurable indirect costs.

Typically, companies will suffer from the more numerous indirect costs that are not usually covered by any insurance. In fact, studies show that the ratio of indirect costs to direct costs varies widely, but may be as high as 20:1. The magnitude of indirect costs is inversely related to the seriousness of the injury. The less serious the injury the higher the ratio of indirect costs to direct costs.

Below are examples of direct and indirect costs of accidents in the workforce:

Direct costs (insurable)

  • workers compensation costs
  • legal insurance costs
  • vehicle insurance costs

Indirect costs (uninsurable)

  • any wages paid to injured workers for absences not covered by workers’ compensation
  • the wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage associated with the worker injury
  • the overtime costs necessitated by the injury
  • administrative time spent by supervisors, safety personnel, and clerical workers after an injury
  • training costs for a replacement worker
  • lost productivity related to work rescheduling, new employee learning curves, and accommodation of injured employees
  • clean-up, repair, and replacement costs of damaged material, machinery, and property
  • the costs of OSHA fines and any associated legal action
  • third-party liability and legal costs
  • worker pain and suffering
  • loss of good will from bad publicity that may result in loss of business

As you can see, there are many possible indirect costs associated with each accident. Every accident prevented represents potentially huge savings to the company.

This should be a foundation of justifying a fleet safety program in your workplace!

 

This whitepaper, developed by NETS, OSHA, and NHTSA, will help employers understand the impact of motor vehicle crashes.

 

Mission and Elements of the Fleet Safety Program

Like any other aspect of a workplace safety program, a Fleet Safety program should be well written, including the mission statement. Don’t neglect Fleet Safety simply because it isn’t an issue yet.

  • Mission: Your program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safe. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, improve behavior, and increase skills to build a “be safe” culture. To do that, it’s important to educate the driver to improve attitudes. Improved attitudes will influence decision-making, behaviors, and ultimately driver performance.
  • Elements: By instructing your employees in basic safe driving practices and then rewarding safety-conscious behavior, you can help your employees and their families avoid tragedy.
Check Out: Basics of a Fleet Safety Program

Your Fleet Safety Program should at least include the following elements:

          • Written policy
          • Program administration (roles and responsibilities)
          • Driver selection, authorization, and review
          • Driver training
          • Driver incentives and recognition
          • Driver discipline
          • Drug and alcohol testing
          • Emergency equipment
          • Vehicle inspection and maintenance
          • Accident reporting and investigation
          • Recordkeeping

Getting started in establishing a World Class Fleet Safety Program

The following 10 Action Steps, originally developed by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), will help you improve your fleet safety performance and minimize the risk of fleet motor vehicle crashes. Following these steps helps to ensure that you hire capable drivers, only allow eligible drivers to drive on company business, train them, supervise them, and maintain company vehicles properly.

Think about developing a team to work on these steps:

  1. Develop ways senior management can demonstrate commitment & employees can get involved.
  2. Develop written fleet safety management policies and procedures.
  3. Develop and insist on the use of driver agreements.
  4. Complete Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) checks.
  5. Report crashes and make sure they are effectively investigated.
  6. Make sure vehicles are properly selected for the job, that preventive/corrective maintenance is performed, and that inspections are regularly conducted.
  7. Institute a fair and objective disciplinary action system.
  8. Recognize and reward professional performance, and offer incentives for sustained professionalism.
  9. Conduct effective safety meetings, driver training, and communications systems.
  10. Work with regulatory agencies to ensure the regulatory compliance is achieved.

 

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