As part of its “Develop a Culture of Safety” seminar series, NAFA’s U.S. Division hosted expert Susan Miller on March 1st to talk about building a security culture in fleets.
Prior to her work as Senior Program Director for GeoTab, Ms. Miller worked as a fleet manager for several large U.S. companies. “This corporate experience allowed me to see that the corporate culture, when based on respect and human values, will facilitate the implementation of a prevention program and a safety policy for all team members.”
Specifically, for road equipment, Ms. Miller detailed the many impacts caused by an accident involving a vehicle in your fleet. “In the most dramatic cases, there is a loss of life or quality of life. On another note, this type of event will have a significant economic impact and could cast a negative light on the company’s image. In addition, especially here in the U.S., there are always potential lawsuits, no matter how serious the incident.”
Addressing the source
According to Miller, implementing a company safety policy starts with driver recruitment. Even in a context of labour scarcity, she recommends strict screening of candidates. Check references, understand why this person left or lost their last job, and check their driving history. Although they may not be well received, drug and alcohol tests can be part of the verification process.
Ms. Miller recommends a probationary period of a few months. Obviously, the new candidate will have been informed of several important elements managing his professional activities. The company’s safety policy must be shared and understood, as must the training program and the methods that will be used to monitor driving behavior, including telematics tools.
During this probationary period, the driver also needs to know who will be monitoring his behavior and guiding him to relevant training courses, as needed. Other drivers can also be involved during this period to see if the candidate is adopting the company’s best practices.
Miller reminds us that a good onboarding program, including safety expectations, is highly valued by applicants. An employee who knows what is expected of him and understands the ongoing training program will be more likely to stay with the company, while productivity will increase by 70%.
Creating a committee
For this expert, driving safety has become a real social concern. Within the company, she recommends the creation of a safety committee that will allow the creation of a policy corresponding to its reality and its values.
“Managers must be involved, but so must partners such as insurers and suppliers, who often have interesting proposals on this subject. Employees should also be involved to give their own perspective on the measures that the committee wants to put in place.”
The outcome of these discussions should be a shared policy, a training program, and a protocol for analyzing all incidents and accidents involving fleet vehicles. The committee could also document its policy by looking at how other fleet managers tackled the issue of safety.