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Prepare a Fleet Safety Plan

A vehicle safety policy should express your company’s concern for employees’ safety and describe their responsibilities as drivers and passengers. The policy should cover employees’ responsibilities when they use any vehicle as an agent of your company: for example, company vehicles for personal use, personal vehicles for company business, and rental or leased vehicles used for business. Employees also should acknowledge, in writing, that they have read and understood the policy.

Motor vehicle crashes also have far-reaching effects on victims and their families, and cost employers millions of dollars annually. If your employees need to drive when they’re on the job, you should manage motor vehicle safety just as carefully as you manage any other aspect of your business. Consider the following to keep your employees safe when they’re driving and to ensure that your company’s vehicles are safe to drive.

Involve the managers

Managing driver safety starts with commitment from the top. Management’s commitment to motor vehicle safety helps ensure that employees follow safe practices and that company vehicles are properly maintained. If managers aren’t committed to safety, employees won’t be either.

Do a risk analysis

A risk analysis can track how effectively your company is managing vehicle safety. Start your analysis by determining what data your company has on its motor vehicle accidents; you"ll need this data to establish a baseline for evaluating accident trends. Don’t forget recordkeeping logs such as the OSHA 300 and OSHA 300A. It’s a good idea to keep data on all incidents that involve motor vehicles — even those that don’t result in damage or injury.

For you analytical types, here's some number crunching formulas you can use for evaluating motor vehicle incidents:

  • Incident rate = number of incidents X 100 / number of vehicles operated.

    For instance, given: Number of incidents = 5 Number of vehicles operated = 20

    5 incidents/20 vehicles = 1 incident/4 vehicles = .25 incidents x100 = 25% incident rate per vehicle.

  • Incident rate = number of incidents X 1,000,000 / vehicle mileage

    5 x 1,000,000 miles/20,000,000 miles = 5,000,000/20,000,000 miles = .25 incident rate per 1,000,000 miles driven

  • Injury incident rate = number of incidents with injury X 1,000,000 / vehicle mileage
  • Incidents per 10,000 deliveries = number of incidents X 10,000 / number of deliveries
  • Incidents per 10,000 loads = number of incidents X 10,000 / number of loads
  • Passenger injury incident rate = number of vehicle incidents resulting in passenger injury X 1,000,000 /number of passengers carried
  • Passenger injury rate per million miles = number of passenger injuries X 1,000,000 / vehicle mileage
  • Vehicle incidents per 200,000 hours = number of incidents X 200,000 / number of hours worked
100 and 1,000,000 are constants in the above calculations. Incident rates are usually expressed as percentages or a raw number (such as a workers' compensation MOD rate). The "100" is placed within the calculation so that the result will be expressed as a percentage. The 1,000,000 constant is in the calculation so that the result will be "per million miles driven." The denominator mileage is the actual driven by all vehicles.

For instance:

5 incidents/20 vehicles = 1 incident/4 vehicles = .25 incidents x100 = 25% incident rate per vehicle.

Develop safe drivers

Define driver qualifications. Make sure that driver qualifications and special licensing requirements are included in employees’ job descriptions.

Run record checks. Tell prospective employees that your company will review their state motor vehicle records and check references from previous employers as part of the hiring process. Review employees’ driving records at least annually.

Evaluate employees’ driving records. Consider establishing a point system for assessing employees’ driving records and determining those whose driving is not satisfactory. For example, you could assign “points” for different categories of moving violations then determine how many points trigger an unsatisfactory driving record. Educate and train. Ensure that your employees understand your company’s vehicle safety policy when they’re hired. Many companies have discovered that their new hires have more motor vehicle accidents than veteran employees. Require new hires to participate in safe-driving training as soon as possible after they’re hired. Other employees should have the opportunity to periodically update their driving knowledge and skills.

Key training topics cover:

  • Defensive driving skills
  • Substance abuse policy
  • Distracted driving hazards
  • Characteristics of aggressive driving
  • Vehicle inspection procedures
  • Necessary emergency equipment
Discipline and reward. Make it clear to employees that those who violate vehicle safety policies will be disciplined. Drivers who have a history of preventable incidents should receive training that improves their skills. Also, give credit to employees who have exemplary driving records; recognition or special privileges can be effective incentives.

Keep accurate records. Each employee’s personnel file should have the following information: a copy of the employee’s current Oregon motor vehicle record, reports of incidents involving company vehicles, reference checks from former employers, training records, and a copy of the employee’s current driver license.

Keep the vehicles safe Fleet safety. Don’t overlook crashworthiness when your company purchases vehicles. You can learn about the safety of a particular vehicle make and model at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

Choose appropriate equipment upgrades. Before you purchase items such as trailer hitches, cargo racks, or custom tires and wheels, make sure that they’re appropriate and safe for drivers and passengers.

Prepare for emergencies. All vehicles should have equipment that helps drivers respond to highway emergencies. Flares or warning signs, a first-aid kit, flashlight, a reflective safety vest, and a fire extinguisher should be essential items; drivers must know where they’re located and how to use them.

Establish a regular inspection/maintenance schedule. Develop procedures that ensure company vehicles receive thorough inspections and maintenance on a regular schedule such as miles driven, hours operated, or calendar days. Have employees report mechanical problems to their supervisors immediately.

Document and investigate incidents

Report all incidents. You company should have a written procedure that tells employees what to do if they’re involved in an accident or if they damage a vehicle. The procedure should identify who to notify and what forms are necessary to report the incident; require employees to report incidents within 24 hours.

Incident review and analysis. Review all incidents to determine why they occurred and how to prevent them from happening again. Identify what caused it (the primary surface causes) and any contributing factors (contributing surface causes) and safety management system weaknesses (root causes). Put the findings in writing.

Source: OR-OSHA Construction Depot Quarterly

Copyright ©2000-2015 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Students may reproduce materials for personal study. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).