How to Save Lives With a Safety Culture
By Patrick Krapec
September 17, 2019
Ask yourself: Does my safety program do enough to protect my company?
Actually, please stop asking yourself this question, immediately.
As fleet professionals, we need to look beyond the dollars and look at the stats. Around 40,000 people die each year in a vehicle accident. That means 40,000 families have their world turned upside down, 40,000 people never return home again and that’s 40,000 reasons to stop looking at safety like any other corporate program. We have an opportunity to make this world safer, so we need to shift our thinking from a safety program to a culture of safety.
Building A Safety Culture
To create this shift, it’s important to understand these differences and how you move from one to the other. First and foremost, a safety program is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s essential and creates the foundation for the culture change. But please keep in mind that a program is just a beginning and not the end. In my experience, safety programs check the box with a yearly motor vehicle record (MVR) and obligatory safety training. A culture of safety, on the other hand, consistently examines all aspects of the fleet in order save lives.
1. Committed Collaboration
Commitment is the most essential step in this transition. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with the most talented fleet professionals in the world. And yet, even despite their skill and talent, no one has truly succeeded in building a safety culture on their own. Commitment from the top of the organization down is critical to success. Beginning with the highest levels of your organization, engage as many stakeholders as possible. Ask for input and get their buy-in upfront. Connect people to the importance of your mission and let everyone see the passion you have for keeping drivers safe. You’ll be successful only if your message is consistent and known throughout your organization, from the CEO to the field employee.
2. Advanced Analysis
Analysis is the next critical step. Some companies will look at the past and analyze lagging indicators such as crashes per million miles, crash rate, average repair cost, etc. Though these are important and should be a part of your analysis, they simply do not provide enough information on their own. When analyzing fleet safety, you need to examine both lagging and leading indicators. What are those additional factors that provide insight into risky behavior before a crash occurs? Key areas to examine are preventative maintenance compliance, violations (parking, red light cameras, tolls), driver behavior data, training compliance, continuous MVR monitoring and technology distractions.
3. Sincere Solutions
Once you’ve gained commitment within your organization and done your analysis, you’re now ready to move on to the final step of implementing solutions. These should focus on one of the “Three P’s” of safety: policy, people and product.
- Policy: Is it comprehensive and customized? Do your drivers know what is expected of them and the consequences of not following these guidelines?
- People: What can be done to influence positive driving behavior? Can you implement better training, gamification, telematics, coaching, newsletters, rewards, etc.?
- Product: Do you have the right vehicle for the right job? Have you analyzed your upfitting requirements and interior distractions? Are you taking advantage of the most effective safety technology?
Wheels is passionate about keeping drivers safe. Let’s start a conversation about how we can save lives together. Email me at email@example.com.