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Drive for Safety & Success

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You have worked long and hard to build a company that is known for its reputation of professionalism, honest business practices, customer service, and technical skill. You know that a million factors have to work together seamlessly in the background for your company to succeed and you know that the talent that you hire ultimately becomes the face of your company. Your customers see your technicians on a regular basis and how they perform reflects heavily on your company’s image and reputation. This is why training is so important and why it is necessary to maintain that training with continued education.

One of the most important factors for your team to be trained on is safe driving practices and building an on-going safe driving program is an important step in maintaining the quality that you expect from your workforce.

President and CEO of Aire Rite Airconditioning and Refrigeration and
ACCA Senior Vice Chairman, Don Langston puts the importance of hiring and continually training safe drivers in perspective by explaining why his company maintains a well-trained team of drivers by explaining, “We want to hire and promote safe drivers. They are driving around in big mobile billboards for our company.”

Langston’s prospective employees go through a tough and thorough screening before they are hired. The screening is designed to make sure applicants do not have a DUI, reckless driving convictions, and/or too many speeding tickets. Langston explains that if these issues exist with a prospective employee that most company auto insurance providers will deem them as high risk. Being deemed high risk could disqualify the applicant altogether or cause the rate to insure them to be significantly higher, which in turn affects the company’s bottom line.

Once an employee is hired to work for Langston’s company they become part of an on-going Safe Driver Program that focuses on continual training and monitoring of their driving practices.

Aire Rite Airconditioning and Refrigeration’s Safe Driver Program provides a solid example for others to follow. It consists of the following:

Safe Driving
1. Driving Record Motor Vehicle Reports from State of CA Dept of Motor Vehicles
2. Points on record compared to skill level requires a risk to reward aspect to meeting the company’s safety standards and work load

Onboarding New Hires Includes

1. Safety overview of OSHDa driving and driver documents
2. Ride along with retired law enforcement driver consultant
3. Ride along with seasoned company employees
4. Use of outside third party Hazard Perception Evaluation (HPE)
5. Third party safe driving video repository
6. Third party assignment of up to six videos related to HPE
7. Third Party Driver Safety Program through Fleet Response
8. Telematics through Verizon Networkfleet that connects to third party driver safety system
9. Point system based on 700 driving issues disseminated from 40,000 issues from extensive customer data and multiple State DMV’s, NTSB, OSHA, and National Safety Council (NSC)
10. Driver Portal of all driving history and driver event documents in single location repository
11. Driving school for additional training or remediation on a case by case basis.
12. Driver Complaint system utilizing third party retired law enforcement consultant
13. Investigate and provide a formal report
14. Driver record as part of the annual performance review

General Safety for the Work Environment
1. Onboarding safety orientation
2. Near miss practices of feedback for proactive mitigation of potential serious safety issues
3. All technicians trained in OSHA 30 hour course
4. All technicians trained in NFPA 70E
5. EPA Universal/608
6. Ongoing safety trainings
7. Outside third party audit annually of company safety program and procedures

According to OSHA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for all ages. Crashes on and off the job have far-reaching financial and psychological effects on employees, their coworkers and families, and their employers.

OSHA recommends that every company with a fleet of vehicles needs a Safe Driver Program to save lives and to reduce the risk of life-altering injuries within their workforce, to protect their organization’s human and financial resources, and to guard against potential company and personal liabilities associated with crashes involving employees driving on company business.

On its website, OSHA outlines the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety’s (NETS) 10-Step Program which provides guidelines for what an employer can do to improve traffic safety performance and minimize the risk of motor vehicle crashes. According to NETS, following these steps helps to ensure that a company hires capable drivers, only allows eligible drivers to drive on company business, trains them, supervises them, and maintains company vehicles properly. NETS suggests that adherence to these 10 steps can also help to keep motor vehicle insurance costs as low as possible.

By working with these steps as a guideline a company can design a customized Safe Driver Program based on their particular needs.

NETS 10-Step Program includes the following steps:

1. Senior Management Commitment & Employee Involvement
2. Written Policies and Procedures
3. Driver Agreements
4. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
5. Crash Reporting and Investigation
6. Vehicle Selection, Maintenance and Inspection
7. Disciplinary Action System
8. Reward/Incentive Program
9. Driver Training/Communication
10. Regulatory Compliance

If you are looking to build a Safe Driver Program or to strengthen an existing program, the following resources will be helpful:

Ruben Porras

Posted In: Management, Safety

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