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Insurance - What every construction company needs to know about fleet safety

image Stan Gregory, Safety & Risk Consultant, INSURICA, San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - Construction companies, because of the nature of the work they do, and the variety of vehicles they use in their work, have unique concerns, exposure and liability when it comes to their fleets. Too often, however, fleet safety does not get the attention it deserves until there is an accident. When that happens, matters of fleet safety can suddenly reach crisis mode. A good fleet safety program does the obvious – improving safety – while also minimizing the exposure of company vehicles and the employees who drive them. In my experience, over 90 percent of companies have significant fleet exposure because they do not have an effective fleet safety program in place.

    To understand the importance of a fleet safety program, consider its goal: to prevent the loss of life, injury, and property damage for employees as well as the public. A benefit of having a good program is minimizing the legal exposure that results from accidents. Any safety and risk consultant can share examples of the consequences that companies have faced for failing to have adequate fleet safety programs in place.

What a Good Fleet Safety Program Consists of
    A comprehensive fleet safety program should include policies and procedures, make provisions for regular employee training, and have accountability mechanisms built in.

•    Policies
    A comprehensive fleet safety policy will detail what rules to follow, what training is required, what hiring practices to follow, what vehicle inspections are mandated, what records must be kept, what road tests must occur, what audits will take place, as well as other things. For example, a policy might dictate minimum acceptable driver qualifications.

•    Procedures
    A comprehensive set of fleet safety procedures should describe how policies will govern operations by outlining a process and timetable or frequency for each policy. Every policy will therefore have one or more documented procedures. For example, a procedure might describe a testing process to ensure drivers meet minimum qualifications.

•    Training
    Training can encompass a broad range of topics including accident reporting, defensive driving, DOT audits, drug testing, hazardous materials, driving hours rules, and legislation surrounding commercial driver’s licenses. For example, training should encompass helping drivers maintain qualifications.

•    Accountability
    Without some accountability mechanisms, a fleet safety program is little more than window-dressing. For most construction companies, creating accountability means setting the expectation that it will rigorously enforce standards, and conduct its own spot checks and audits to ensure compliance.

About Stan Gregory
    Stan brings more than three decades of experience to his current role as Safety and Risk Consultant on the Risk Management Services team at INSURICA. He provides risk management solutions for customers in all industries, with a special emphasis on behavioral safety solutions. Stan’s primary focus is working with large employers to improve their risk profiles and implement custom-tailored safety and risk management plans. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and has been a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for 25 years.

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