safety culture

Why Does Safety Culture Matter? 

The trucking industry has been under scrutiny over the past couple of years. With discussions of increased accidents, regulations and lawsuit verdict sizes have increased.  

When you look at the numbers, you can see that, while accident statistics are improving, there is still room for improved safety on the roads. Trucks accounted for 4,842 fatal crashes in 2020. This makes up 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes. 

If you take the costs of accidents into account, it’s even more reason to develop a strong safety culture. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), the average cost of a fatal crash for trucking companies is more than $500,000. This doesn’t even include potential jury awards if you end up in court. 

Where your company fits into these statistics will depend on what type of safety culture your company has.  

What Does Your Culture of Safety Look Like? 

To get an answer about what type of culture your company has, you need to determine how much you account for safety in each aspect of your business. Culture means it’s ingrained into a group of people. 

The truth is everyone has a culture of safety, it’s just that some cultures are more positive than others. If you want a positive culture, you must get everyone on board. 

This means, that if you’re going to put safety policies in place, you must enforce them. You need to lead by example or drivers will never take it seriously. 

This also means you need to put the time and effort in to make things work. Improved safety will take time to develop. 

You may even lose some people at first who are unwilling to make the necessary changes. In the end, if you stick with it, you’ll be left with drivers that are right for your culture, more loyal drivers, and drivers willing to refer others to your company. 

How to Build a Positive and Sustainable Culture for Your Company 

A strong safety culture protects your company. When you can prove a record of safety, you reduce your chances of large verdict sizes, reduce violations that can cost you your business, and even improve your insurability. 

If you want a strong, positive culture of safety that is sustainable, certain things need to be put in place. 

Start at the Top 

Safety starts from the top. Management must be on board, or no one else will get on board. Every decision that is made must start with safety in mind. 

Management must lead by example. This includes enforcing safety policies. 

Put Policies in Place 

Once you begin to get everyone on board, you need to make sure there are safety policies in place. These policies should reflect the desired culture of safety. Regularly review these policies and make sure they continue to reflect your desired culture. 

Putting policies in writing shows dedication, but it also means you need to stick with those policies. If you have policies and you don’t enforce them, you do more harm than good and could end up losing your business from a nuclear verdict if an accident occurs.    

Complete Audits 

You can’t just put safety policies in place and expect everything to run smoothly. You need to review your progress, at least annually. This means auditing your company for compliance. 

Check that policies are being followed. Check that everyone remains in regulatory compliance. Check your logs, audit your records, and address any issues immediately. 

Training 

Training is essential for safety. To make changes, you need to show what those changes look like. Drivers need to know the safety points reflected in your policies. 

They need to understand regulatory requirements. They need refreshers on important safety topics. This means you need to provide consistent training, and you need to train regularly. 

Using an online training platform like Trucking 52 allows you to provide this consistent and regular training without disrupting work schedules. Drivers can access training at their convenience and complete training in a fraction of the time it would take for a traditional training session. 

Enforce Safety 

Just as important as training, is enforcing. You must enforce safety policies to develop a safety culture. This means you need corrective action measures in place. 

This also means you must follow these corrective actions. If it comes down to it, you need to be willing to let go of drivers that won’t comply. Simply put, standards need to be in place, and you need to stick to those standards. 

Make Safety Your Priority 

No matter what your safety culture is now, there is always room to improve and make it stronger. Training is a good place to start with that. 

If you are still relying on in-house safety meetings, chances are you aren’t getting as much out of training as you can. 

Trucking 52 gives you the tools you need to provide consistent training throughout the year. With our online training platform, you can track training progress and maintain all records, so you never have to worry about not being able to defend your company. 

Want to see for yourself how Trucking 52 can help you develop the culture you want? Schedule a free demo to see the platform for yourself. 

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