Make safety a priority on and off the road

By: sschnipper June 25, 2024

As featured in FleetOwnerIDEAXCHANGE – Gino Fontana

Often, when we talk about safety, we do so from the perspective of trucks on the road and preventing accidents on the highway. However, if your fleet has safety as a core value, you also need to focus on safety throughout your operations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a list of the most frequently cited violations of its safety standards each year.

For fiscal year 2023, that top 10 list looks like this:

Fall protection, general requirements
Hazard communication
Powered industrial trucks
Respiratory protection
Fall protection, training requirements
Personal protection and lifesaving equipment, eye and face protection
Machine guarding

The list covers a wide range of safety violations that occur across all types of businesses, and I suspect fleets are seeing many of these violations in their facilities. Most fleets have safety committees, but I wonder how frequently facilities are evaluated to see if they maintain safety standards. I suggest fleets consider, at a minimum, an annual safety review of their operations to identify any unsafe areas or to improve overall safety.

The shop is an excellent place to start that analysis, as there are a variety of potential hazards there. If you don’t already have a comprehensive safety checklist, I suggest you put one together; several sources can be used as a reference. Here are a few pointers to get you started: Walk through the shop to ensure all appropriate signs are in place and all hazardous material is marked appropriately. Check to see if any obstructions in walkways—such as hoses, cabling, or wires—could cause someone to trip. Is there material readily available to clean up spills? Are eye wash stations appropriately placed and easily visible?

Regarding safety, there is no such thing as too much training. Make sure you have regular training sessions to review safety practices and take action when there is an accident to determine how it could have been prevented. Put in new safety systems and practice what came out of your accident evaluation.

Ensure that messaging from the very top of the organization down through all levels of management reinforces the value you place on safety, not just for your drivers and mechanics (your front-line employees) but for all of your employees.