Heavy equipment. Moving vehicles. Dangerous chemicals. These are just a few of the potentially dangerous items fleet maintenance staffs and drivers encounter daily at work.
Because of these threats, it’s crucial for fleet operations to uphold safety policies to create a healthy workplace.
Make Safety a Priority
For safety to be top-of-mind for drivers and shop staff, fleet operations must make it a priority. Staff members should know their safety and well-being is important to the organization.
Safety information and policies should be accessible by all employees. In the shop, Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals must be visible, and First Aid kits should be nearby. If needed, operations can conduct drills or bring in experts to prepare the staff for potential incidents.
Fleet drivers need to take precautions as well. While drivers are expected to follow all traffic laws, operations can also enforce rules that aren’t laws. These can include: aggressive driving, sudden braking and quick acceleration. To ensure drivers are following safety rules, operations can use telematics to track driver behaviors.
Assess Current Work Environment
Operations need to assess the current safety level of their workplace. Fleet leaders should walk through their shop and other work areas to identify potentially dangerous areas and equipment. Some leaders might even want to bring a safety or OSHA expert with them to help call out additional risky areas.
After an initial walk-through, operations should perform regular checks on equipment to ensure it is working as expected. This will help prevent potential accidents caused by malfunctioning assets. Organizations should also routinely take inventory on First Aid and other medical supplies to make sure they are properly stocked.
For drivers, vehicles should be regularly inspected during preventative maintenance appointments to ensure the brakes, steering, heating and cooling, and other crucial items are in good condition. In the cabin of the vehicles, drivers must routinely inspect mirrors, windows and other safety devices. Drivers should also promptly report any issues with the vehicle that could signal a potential issue.
Properly Train All Employees
Operations should ensure all staff members are properly trained on the equipment, vehicles, and skills required to perform their jobs.
Organizations might consider establishing the following processes to make sure employees are adequately prepared for their job duties:
- Create a training program for staff members upon joining the operation or changing jobs. The employee should show competency before being allowed on the job.
- Review skills with employees on a regular basis to ensure all safety precautions are being followed.
- Schedule ride-alongs with drivers periodically to monitor their driving behaviors.
- Ensure all employees’ required licenses and certifications are up-to-date.
Enforce Healthy, Safe Behaviors
To promote long-term workplace safety, fleet operations need to enforce ongoing healthy and safe behaviors. Focusing on safety once or twice a year during company initiatives won’t have a lasting effect. Instead, fleet leaders should make sure their employees’ health and safety are always at the forefront.
To do this, operations should keep records of both safe and unsafe behaviors by employees.
Any on-the-job incidents and injuries should be documented. These records will help determine if there is an unsafe pattern with specific employees. Any citations for drivers, or any notifications about unsafe driving behaviors, should also be documented and kept in their records.
In addition to documenting unsafe behaviors, operations should also track safe actions. Acknowledging employees who go out of their way to remain safe and avoid risky situations can help encourage ongoing safe behavior by the entire staff.
Fleet operations should investigate all incidents involving their shop, vehicles and employees.
Any incidents in the shop should involve a full investigation to determine how the incident occurred, why it happened, and the extent of any injuries that resulted from it.
For drivers, all accidents and incidents on the road will need to be documented and investigated. This is necessary for insurance claims, but also for the operation to fully understand what happened. Risky behavior behind the wheel can put both the operation’s driver and other drivers and pedestrians on the road in danger.
RTA Fleet Management Software’s solution can help keep your operation safe with Preventative Maintenance, Driver Reporting tools and more. Contact us to start a free trial.