Your bus or motorcoach company can reduce accidents and save money when you create a workplace culture focused on safety.
It’s vital for executives, managers, and employees to be aligned on safety goals. Safety starts at the top of the organization, where policies are set in place, responsibilities are made, and procedures are created, all of which have to trickle down the ladder in the workplace.
If you fail to create a safety culture, your business is likely to fail. Whether you like it or not, a culture will be created within your organization.
It’s up to you to take an active approach to shaping your culture to create a productive one, or else you might not like what it turns into. Just like a parent who ends up with a rude child because they never taught them to say “please” and “thank you,” you can end up with a company culture that cares more about saving time than preventing accidents.
Remember: it’s up to you to create a safety-centric culture.
In the bussing industry, and most industries, it’s common for herd mentality to decide what the culture of the workplace is. Your new hires will look to the veterans on how to behave, what to do, what to care about, and what to ignore. They’ll show them “the way things are done around here.”
“The way things are done around here” could be never cutting corners on safety, never rushing to make a stop on time, never skipping a pre-trip inspection, and always cleaning up your workplace to help prevent workplace industries.
Or, “The way things are done around here” could be skipping steps in a pre-trip inspection to save time, ignoring issues around the yard, and putting time and effort above safety. If this is your culture, the education and training you put in for new employees will be less effective. Worse yet, when your employees start to disregard safety, your risk of a million-dollar accident goes way up.
Your incentive for creating a safety culture is much greater than any other transportation company out there. Your operators are sent out carrying hundreds of passengers a day. That means if an accident happens, you face a much greater risk of lawsuits from injuries. If you invest the time, money, and resources into creating a safety-centric culture, you can enjoy:
If you create a culture of safety, you ensure that the core value your business operates on is safety. You can make “the way we do things around here” something positive and productive.
Building a safety culture isn’t as easy as saying “Hey team, we need to be safer around here” with a stern face and high hopes. There are clear steps you need to make as a leader to ensure everyone is meeting your expectations. This all starts with you and other leaders. If the company leaders are able to practice what they preach, a strong safety culture will fall into place.
With that in mind, we’re going to dive into three ways a bussing company’s leadership can develop a safety culture:
Senior management must implement policies that set clear expectations of what is and is not acceptable behavior. You also need to have upfront consequences for when the policies are broken.
On their own, policies don’t influence people to behave in safe, productive ways, but they’re the cornerstone of your culture.
Here are four safety policies every bussing company should implement.
There’s one more thing that’s important to point out about policies. When there are only negative consequences for breaking policies and no rewards for following them, you might have a harder time enforcing them.
Think of it this way: on your daily commute to work you probably go 5, 10, or sometimes 15 over the speed limit. It isn’t acceptable by law, and the consequences of speeding are still prevalent. However, you’re willing to bet you won’t pass a police officer or won’t get caught. The risk of punishment is outweighed by the reward of breaking the rule (or policy).
It works the same way with your operators. Your operators might be willing to roll the dice because they don’t think they’ll get caught, but they’re more willing to do the right thing if there’s a reward, such as accident-free mileage bonuses or even just a thank-you from upper management.
Don’t just operate on punishments and fear. You also need rewards.
Collecting data is crucial in maintaining a safety culture. You can tell your team to follow policies and complete tasks, but without tracking data, there’s no way to determine if your methods are working. There are two big components to collecting data: tracking and analyzing. We suggest implementing these into your safety program to solidify your safety culture.
You need to track all accidents, traffic violations, and traffic convictions. There are plenty of great options for event video recorders or similar telematics that make this easy.
You need to track:
You can also track data based on regions, vehicle types, etc.
As you collect your data, it’s crucial that you analyze it for trends such as:
By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions on what topics you cover in training, when you conduct training, who needs remedial training, and who you keep and who you let go.
Training is the backbone of creating a safety-centric culture. You need to train your operators on how to reduce risk, prevent accidents, and save lives.
Upon onboarding, a proper training program can instruct new operators on the “ways of the road” and policies they are expected to follow under your company. For current employees, an effective training program allows them to enhance their job performance and prevent future accidents from happening.
There are many different types of training that can support a safety culture. Finding what is right for your company is important. We recommend incorporating some form of each of the following categories to create a well-rounded safety program:
Training can come in many different forms depending on your personal circumstances. Once again, we recommend you use a combination of the following:
Safety Culture is the foundation of a strong company. If you don’t build a solid foundation now, over time it will slowly crumble. Investing in a safety-centric culture allows you to avoid accidents, have more dependable workers, and have a powerful operation. Avoid business-threatening mistakes and make safety your top priority and #1 shared value.
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