When it comes to fleet management, there are literally dozens of factors to account for. But among concerns like fuel efficiency and cost cutting, the issue of safety reigns supreme. If you’re going to focus on anything over the next year, it needs to be keeping your fleet safe.
5 Tips for Better Fleet Safety
Having a safe fleet is absolutely paramount to your company’s success. Unsafe drivers not only pose a risk to themselves and other drivers on the road, but they also put your vehicles and bottom line at risk.
A lack of safety leads to high insurance costs, expensive repairs, and could potentially result in costly lawsuits and claims against your company. In other words, this isn’t something you can play around with.
If you want to improve your fleet’s safety, it starts with creating a proactive plan. Here are several tips to consider as you craft a new approach:
- Create Safety Policies
Safety policies are basically rules and guidelines that tell your fleet drivers what’s considered safe as it relates to their job. You probably already have some policies in place, but you may need to clarify and organize them into a single document so there’s no confusion or knowledge gaps.
Once the safety policies are compiled into a driver’s handbook, host a training session where you review these rules with your drivers so that everyone is on the same page. Give your team time to ask questions and practice any policies that may require further clarification.
- Reward Good Behavior
To get the most out of your employees and drivers, you should reward them for their good behavior. This concept, known as positive reinforcement, is based on the idea that if you reward a certain action, it’s more likely to be repeated in the future. The two underlying purposes of positive reinforcement in the workplace are to acknowledge the desired behavior and to encourage the desired behavior to take place.
There are a variety of ways to carry out positive reinforcement, including through monetary compensation, verbal feedback, public recognition, and even advancement opportunities. For best results, you’ll need to use a blend of these four approaches.
- Reprimand Bad Behavior
It’s not enough to reward good behavior. You also need to reprimand bad behavior. As uncomfortable as it may be to call an employee out, it has to happen. If someone breaks a rule (whether intentionally or not), they have to hear about it.
The way you approach reprimanding bad behavior is up to you (and will usually be dictated by the circumstances). Publicly shaming an employee typically isn’t a good idea, but there are plenty of other ways to go about it. This includes private conversations, docking pay, and/or putting an employee on probation.
- Account for Physical Health
Back and neck health is extremely important for fleet drivers. (If you’ve ever taken a road trip with a sore back or neck, you know what we’re talking about.) Do everything you can to prioritize good physical health for your employees.
There are numerous ways to account for physical health. You obviously need to choose comfortable vehicles that allow drivers to adjust settings to fit their body type. But you should also consider office furniture in boardrooms and other workspaces for when they aren’t out on the road driving. (For ergonomic office furniture like standing desks and adjustable chairs, check out BTOD.com.)
- Ensure You Have the Right Technology
If you’re adamant about keeping your drivers safe, you need the right tools and technology to reliably track what your drivers are doing and what the status of each vehicle is at any given time.
As fleet management expert Ben Billson explains, “Telematics software can help you pinpoint problem driving and speak to that driver before it results in a safety issue. Then, at the other end, telematics data will give you the clearest picture of who in your team is driving safely to single them out for praise.”
In other words, if you use something like a telematics software at the center of your fleet safety program, it’ll give you the insights you need to carry out these other initiatives. In addition, you may also want to use a cargo van load board for your fleet.
Adding it All Up
At the end of the day, it’s up to your drivers to make wise decisions that put safety first. However, you can set your drivers up for success by doing things like creating better policies, incentivizing proper behavior, and ensuring you have the right technology in place.
Keep this in mind as you enhance your approach to fleet safety.