Accidents and injuries cost fleets in a huge way. Truck drivers are no exception to health issues of various sorts. Many drivers choose to ignore bad habits that may lead to serious health and safety issues over time. Often drivers must get out of the truck when picking up and delivering freight. Truck yards and warehouses are dangerous for pedestrians in these locales and can lead to slip-and-fall accidents, being struck by falling freight, getting crushed by forklifts, or trucks in the yard. Accidents also occur while driving and may or may not be the fault of the driver.
Management may feel the need to criticise or even rebuke the driver for being careless. But does that seem to change a driver’s habits? Hardly. To improve fleet standards what is really needed is a culture change in the fleet. Truck drivers are proud of the work they do. They don’t become better or healthier when someone gives them negative feedback.
Behaviour-Based Safety (BBS) is finally inching into trucking, one fleet at a time. Progressive management is significantly better when it rewards good behaviour instead of playing the blame card. Whether you manage a fleet, a truck yard, or a warehouse you need to create a new safety program if you want your business to grow by fostering a new environment for your employees.
Employees of any sort will thrive if they are rewarded for what they do well, and they will strive to become better at their occupations. If glaring problems still exist, apply gentle coaching by showing them how doing it better will improve them. When it does, reward them. Some rewards for positive behaviour may be free dinner cards, time off with pay, prizes and other fun ideas! Good behaviour will become contagious, and all your employees will participate.
Keep in touch with employees frequently to provide good feedback. Over time, your safety department may turn into a safe haven for workers as they seek out praise. Business will gradually improve as your people strive to be the best they can be. Fleet safety scores will improve with time and your insurance company will hold you in high esteem.
Applying BBS to your fleet can bring about changes in employee attitudes that can change their lives and those of management. Everyone is likely to benefit from such an adjustment. Behavior Based Safety depends on the willingness from both drivers and management to commit to the program. But given the benefits for both parties, there should be no difficulty in making the change to BBS. It will require a learning curve on both sides but should be exciting for all participants. Embrace it and prosper.