If your employees need to drive to perform essential job duties, they’re professional drivers. Pest control specialists, delivery drivers, and utility workers face nearly the exact same risks as a truck driver or bus operator does. The problem is, few companies recognize this. They accept high accidents as a fact of life. That doesn’t need to be the case for you. You can reduce your cost of loss and make your non-CDL drivers safer.
If you’ve followed along on our past blogs, you know what I’m going to say next: driving is the single most dangerous thing your employees do.
Your employees face the most risk for accident and injury while they’re behind the wheel. Driving poses more of a risk than hazardous materials, working with dangerous machinery, and even fixing downed electrical wire.
In fact, driving is the leading cause of death for workers in the U.S. regardless of industry.
This poses several challenges for your company:
When you line up all of these issues, it’s a wonder of how most companies can even stay in business. Why do most people accept these challenges as a fact of life?
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The reality is, accidents don’t “just happen.” You can prevent them and make your non-CDL drivers safer.
If we want to get anywhere in making our drivers safer, we have to understand what safety is.
We define safety as freedom from risk. The less risk we face, the safer we are.
We define risk as the possibility of suffering harm or loss. Your company faces the risk of lost profit and rising costs and your employees face the risk of getting hurt.
The issue is we can never be completely safe. We’re always surrounded by risk. You face risk just sitting here reading this article, and your drivers face immense risks when they’re behind the wheel.
While we can never be completely safe, we can reduce risk. We can make ourselves safer.
Of course, when we fail to reduce risk, accidents happen. That’s why you need to focus on reducing your drivers’ risk so they and your company suffer less loss and harm.
Risk comes from two main sources: unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors. So, we need to focus on reducing unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors. That’s easier said than done, but it is entirely possible.
We use a five-step model to describe how companies can reduce the risk their drivers face and prevent accidents. If you want to reduce your accidents, you need a combination of the following:
This is the single best way to prevent accidents and achieve “freedom from risk.” We can avoid risk.
We don’t drink and drive. We don’t venture into unsafe neighborhoods alone. We get a ladder when we need to reach something that’s high-up instead of getting an unstable chair. If we want to prevent accidents, we avoid risk whenever possible.
Unfortunately, due to your vertical/company, you can’t simply avoid risk the risk of vehicular accidents. You need to put drivers on the road to stay in business, grow, and complete essential work for your customers.
Next, in order to achieve freedom from risk we eliminate risk.
Companies who want to eliminate risks will:
When we eliminate risks, we become much safer. The chances of an accident occurring are much lower.
Next, people engineer solutions to reduce risk.
We use back-up cameras, lane-detecting technology, alerts/warnings when something is wrong with a vehicle’s engine, and event video recorders to deduce the cause of accidents.
Engineering is an important part of reducing risk, but alone, it does very little. This is largely due to the phenomenon of risk homeostasis/risk compensation where people tend to take more risks when they have safer equipment.
For this reason, it’s important to implement technology that helps reduce risk, but it is an ineffective way to prevent accidents on its own.
The fourth way to reduce risk - reduce human factors - is the one most companies overlook. However, it is one of the most effective ways to prevent accidents.
As we mentioned before, risk comes from two main sources: unsafe conditions and unsafe behaviors.
In other words, people and their unsafe behaviors or acceptance of unsafe conditions is what causes accidents. This is a good thing. It means that if we reduce people’s unsafe behaviors, we can reduce risk and prevent more accidents.
If you’re serious about reducing your company’s accidents, you should:
These strategies cost money, but not as much as accidents. How much does an accident cost you? Likely anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. A program like The Fleet Safety Course is guaranteed to reduce your accident rates by 20%.
Do the math - reducing human factors pays for itself and then some.
The final way companies reduce risk is by transferring risk. We guarantee that this is something you do because you’re legally required to do so.
We transfer risk by purchasing insurance. The insurance company - and all of their other customers - are all on the line for your company’s accidents. This helps you reduce the potential cost/loss you sustain from an accident.
However, this is the least effective method for reducing risk. It does absolutely nothing to prevent accidents and make people safer. While insurance is necessary, it really does very little to improve your bottom line.
On the other hand, if you work to eliminate risk and reduce the human factors causing your accidents, you and your employees can all be in a better position.
If you had an employee, vendor, job, or program getting in the way of your company’s success, you would do something about it immediately.
Yet, most of us sit on our hands when it comes to accidents. We assume they’re a fact of life. They’re not. Accidents can be prevented.
Accidents are resulting in lost time, higher costs of loss, and hurting your people.
By addressing the human factors causing your accidents, you can make your non-CDL drivers safer. And you can save yourself some time and money in the process.
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