If you are a company that requires employees to drive as part of their job, you need to establish a fleet safety program. Automobile accidents occur every five seconds with death and injuries as part of the mix. As an employer, you cannot be too careful when it comes to safety and liability. Most fleet accidents are caused by driver error and are preventable.
These tips will help you avoid motor vehicle crashes and keep your employees safe.
Tip 1 – Set up a Safe Driver Program
A joint effort by the NETS, NHTSA and OSHA designed to reduce motor vehicle accidents suggest that employers set up a safe driver program. They even offer a brochure to help you set one up.
OSHA explains that “your program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safely. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, improve behavior, and increase skills to build a “be safe” culture. 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.”
Tip 2 – Written Policies and Procedures
Make sure your employee handbook includes detailed information on safety rules and procedures that employees must implement in their jobs. Have them sign an agreement to these terms to make sure they read and understand them.
Tip 3 – Ongoing Safety Training
Motor vehicle safety is not a one-off but an ongoing conversation with employees. Upper management needs to be on-board and committed to long-term safety and results. Hold regular training sessions with updated information on safety issues, proper use of seatbelts, fatigue, and drug and alcohol use when driving. Remember not all employees are the same. Some will need extra training and one-on-one instruction.
Tip 4 – Driver Screening
One of the best ways to prevent accidents is to screen potential employees, review their driving record, and hire only individuals with a clean and safe driving record. The Department of Motor Vehicles can provide driving records to employers.
Tip 5 – Vehicle Maintenance
Just as important as your drivers, it is critical to keep your machinery in good working order. Make sure you have a plan for regular maintenance and safety inspections of all your vehicles. The NHTSA offers lists of the safest and most reliable cars to include in your fleet. Consider technological upgrades to your vehicles to help drivers be safe and more accountable for their driving behavior.
Tip 6 – Rewards/Disciplinary Action
Have not only a disciplinary action plan for employees who incur infractions (even minor traffic tickets or minor scrapes) but also a rewards program for those employees who display exemplary driving records while in your employ. Ask for employee feedback, so everyone is on the same page. Drivers can be your eyes and ears and bring up issues you didn’t even know about.
Tip 7 – Regulatory Compliance
Make sure you comply with all local, state and federal driving and road safety rules. If one of your employees is in an accident, report it to the police and follow insurance guidelines as well. Consult the agencies below to familiarize yourself with the laws and compliance regulations that you need to be aware of:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
- National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
Work-related crashes impact both the employer and employee in financial and psychological ways. Implement a robust program to avoid these issues and keep everyone safer and your bottom line healthy.