Safety is a priority for every company, but for fleet managers it should be the number one concern. Encouraging and enabling all employees to operate safely is critical, though not always easy with deadlines to meet, customers to appease and stakeholders to keep happy; but safety is non-negotiable.
Telematics can help you effectively monitor dangerous behavior, but technology is only an enabler. Creating company-wide culture of choosing the safest option at every turn requires more.
Make safety everyone’s concern
Every single person has an obligation to demonstrate, enforce and encourage fleet safety. Step one is to clearly define everyone’s role and how their actions impact safety:
- Managers must proactively identify risks, spot dangerous trends and act to mitigate them.
- Employees at every step of the logistical chain can contribute to safety by eliminating risks, like a dispatcher asking for a delivery in an unreasonable timeframe.
- Drivers & operators need to know it’s okay to choose safety first, no matter the deadline or business pressures, and should be educated on safe driving and jobsite practices.
- Senior management must reinforce safety as a value and put resources behind it.
Make employees part of the solution
There’s a common misconception that telematics is used to track what drivers and operators are doing at all times. Introducing a new system without explanation can be met with fear and misunderstanding. If you’re open about the change, explain the reasons why (like preventing risks such as speeding, fatigue, or being dispatched in unsafe weather conditions) and involve staff at every stage; they’ll feel like they’re part of the process and solution.
Create a safety policy
When you implement a fleet management system, adding it to your company’s Work, Health and Safety policy is a critical but often overlooked step. A clear policy should:
- Define Rules – outline guidelines for vehicle use to ensure staff understands exactly what’s permitted and out of the question.
- Detail Consequences – Workers are often concerned they’ll be out of a job immediately if the telematics system flags an unsafe event. Make clear what consequences different incidents have.
- Be Positive – Providing incentives for safe driving is equally important. Emphasis what drivers and operators can expect if they consistently rank high for safety or their driving improves by a certain amount.
Measure and train
While education, technology and policies help limit unsafe behavior, it’s still likely an occasional incident will occur. A key part of a safety culture is continual monitoring and coaching – one-on-one and fleet-wide.
Ranking every driver or operator in the business lets you see which are putting themselves and your business at risk, as well as those who deserve to be rewarded for consistently excellent driving. It also lets you proactively improve safety across your fleet, rather than only reacting to instances of unsafe behavior.
To learn how to predict and prevent any future unsafe events, check out our Safety Solutions.